Bubbas’ Nightmare

On an odyssey towards a moral life and the perfect microbrew

The first steps toward the end of the Patriarchy

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 7 May 2007

“Who will bell the cat?” asked the mice.

(A tip o’ the hat to by Octogalore.)

There’s been a lot of traffic in the blogosphere about concrete steps that could be taken to dismantle the Patriarchy. A daunting task to be sure, but in light of recent events, I feel I personally can no longer just sit on the sidelines and cheer others on.


1. Women must rid themselves of the disabilities caused by biological (reproductive) functions

In her book The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone declared that the first step to women shedding the dominance of men in modern society (the Patriarchy) was to rid themselves of the reproductive functions inherent in being female.

Her described solutions were a little Brave New World-ish for most to swallow, but I think there’s more than a grain of truth in there. As I mentioned in Octogalore‘s blog,

“When women have complete control of their reproductive functions (100% effective and safe birth control, access to emergency contraception, effective treatment of PMS/PMDD, etc.), and no woman need be hobbled physically, emotionally, or economically by reproductive functions–that’s a big step in the right direction.”

So, some big-time scientific and medical advances have to be met.


2. Teaching our children

The next step, more subversive in nature but available to anyone with kiddos, is to properly educate our children. They need to be taught that gender is no basis to judge worth or capabilities. A proper moral education for children includes the tenet that men and woman, as classes of people, are equal and are morally entitled to be treated as equal.

Of course, adults must first be taught that this step is necessary.

I have nicked shamelessly from Octogalore’s post that I could add neither enlargement nor addenda to.

3. Leverage

So. There’s a good start.

16 Responses to “The first steps toward the end of the Patriarchy”

  1. nightgigjo said

    When women have complete control of their reproductive functions (100% effective and safe birth control, access to emergency contraception, effective and treatment of PMS/PMDD, etc.), and no woman need be hobbled physically, emotionally, or economically by reproductive functions–that’s a big step in the right direction.

    So, some big-time scientific and medical advances have to be met.

    Actually, the main hindrances to that happening (as I see it) are not so much the ‘fault’ of lack of scientific or medical research, but are more a societal problem. Religiously-affiliated hospitals refusing to administer EC, lack of complete coverage for birth control (at least the Pill) by many health care programs (incl. my former HMO) and similar are the product of the patriarchy’s attitude towards women.

    Although, since scientific/medical research is funded by people subject to our societal standards (whether public or private monies are used) then yes, more could be done in science — but it’s the influence of society that prevents this from actually happening.

    Thanks for the good heads-up. I haven’t read Octogalore before today, but I like the stuff already. ^^

    [followed you in from Twisty’s place.]

  2. vera said

    I hope it’s not cheeky to suggest a fourth: (4) If you have money, share it with women who are struggling to raise children alone, or to escape abusive marriage, or live with disability and no health insurance. Write checks; put money directly into the bank account of a woman who needs help. Take what our materialistic culture would like you to spend on makeup and shoes each year, and put it to better use. Two strikes against the patriarchy for the price of one: less money goes to meaningless “feminine” crap, and more to the women who are truly battling it out in the trenches.

    [I also came here from Twisty’s.]

  3. RadFemanimewatcher said

    Actually I spend my allowance on DVDs/Books/CDs/tasty food/weekly Big Issue, I never buy makeup and own only three pairs of shoes (trainers, sandals, slippers). I still would like to help financially though, I’ve been considering not buying sweets to have money spare and for health purposes, maybe I’ll donate all that spare, I keep meaning to make donations but it always seems not to happen, because I don’t know how to use the internet to do it and I seldom have sufficient money on my person when in places with donation boxes (I internet order).

  4. Octagalore rather covered the money/power thing in her post cited above, but the one thing about money that I think bears making a point:

    Don’t just hand money off to some group claiming to empower the economically powerless. Not only is that lazy, it usually results in less than half the money going where it needs to. You wanna give money/direct help/time? Find someone deserving of help yourself, and help them directly. Assist in a job search; help an individual with her child care costs; take her children off her hands for a few hours so that she can enjoy some time for herself.

    Charity really does begin at home, not in the checkbook.

  5. octogalore said

    BN, many thanks for the hat tip, and Nightgigjo, thanks for the kind words.

    Re charitable giving, I agree with BN that giving time can be the most rewarding. But realistically if one has a full-time job and child, it’s hard to do as much as we’d like and the money can make a helluva difference. While some charities have big CEO perks and lower translation to the actual causes, I use http://www.charitynavigator.org as a way to judge whether a particular charity does a good job of making this happen. It gives specific percentages and allows you to evaluate whether management is paid reasonably.

    Vera, that’s a great suggestion, in terms of giving back. I do think, though, that “meaningless ‘feminine’ crap” is somewhat judgmental. Most of us have expenditures that aren’t purely need-based, and unless something’s wildly frivolous, how can we draw lines as to what is crap? That’s a slippery slope, IMO.

  6. My two cents: Find what gets your blood boiling and give money, time and energy (or even body parts – your long hair, a kidney, whatever) to that cause. (I registered as a bone marrow donor, which I guess counts as a body part).

    For me right now it’s reproductive rights, so I have money directly deposited from my paycheck to the account of a collection of women’s clinics in my county. It’s SO EASY! I just renew the arrangement once a year. Check your place of employment! They might have something like it too. Sometimes they’ll even match it!

    If your workplace doesn’t “do” paycheck donations, Paypal makes sending money SO easy. Every Christmas I go Paypal crazy with whichever cause is pulling at my heart strings.

    As for “crap” . . . augh don’t get me started. I’m the queen of useless crap. If I gave as much money to charity as I’ve spent on my $%&* appearance this last decade they’d probably have a plaque with my name on it somewhere.

  7. OOPS – By “find what makes your blood boil” what I really mean is FOCUS on just one or two things rather than frittering it over too many causes, because that just gets overwhelming. We’ll never run out of worthy causes that need money, and we can’t do it all.

  8. Mercurial Georgia said

    Re: Material Support:

    If you have money, if you have a place to live, if you have the time, go to your local women’s shelter, offer to let a woman (and her child?) live with you while she’s getting back on her feet, this lets her have an address and phone number she can put on her resume.

    ‘Adopt’ a woman who is 18 and just been kicked out; because after all, though she is legally an adult, most people at 18 aren’t financially independent and would be in a world of trouble if their family kicks them out for being gay or if their bullying fathers are still hitting them for not choosing the right course or marrying or whatever. Having a stable place to live, and having someone there who mentor you for a while, could really help. Someone to be supportive and encouraging you out of your slump, “Here’s breakfast, eat it and go for that job/class/counseling”, “Thank you for washing the dishes”(self-esteem because for a lot of abused women stuff like this is thankless work). Whatcha gonna do with your empty nest?

    …and, for those who couldn’t make the above long commitment, cheques for shelters, beddings, clothes, food; canned or regularly go crazy at sales and bring in groceries.

    Offer your services to drive women without cars to their interviews, offer to help teach women to drive.

    If you can hire people at your job, and the woman in question can do the job, hire her, I remember reading in Ming Pao about how a woman who is going through a divorce with her rich but a jerk husband who just cut her off, is working at a grocery store and they kept her even though she couldn’t come in some days yet because of court. Think of the SOCIAL Capital that does come back for you, and your children.

    If you have the money to spare, but not the time, and you have children or a big house, you can hire them as nannies and housekeepers…women who have been kept home too long will benefit from being paid for something they know how to do well while brushing up their skills for something else. You could even teach them if you are in a profession where you can pass on your skills informally; tailoring for example. Or even cooking, help her with her resumes, because it’s so damn strange, that women who have cooked as housewives for ages, no matter how good they are, won’t be hired as easily as men who have been through the classes…they’ll need actual experience in an eatery first.

    Offer to let them use your computer to type up their resumes and print it.

    Give them or lend them your suits and your make-up for their interviews, I read about a counselor in Ontario that does that for her dropped out students.

    Offer to babysit their pets if the shelter won’t take them or if the abusive fuck they can’t leave yet threatened them, offer to care for the pets until they are on their feet; pets can be very expensive and time consuming to care for, but emotionally abused women can be very attached to them, and they’ll feel much better if they didn’t have to part with their animal companion forever.

    Another woman freed is another blow to the patriarchy and a little less weight upon all of us.
    – MG

  9. vera said

    Oh, I’m not saying we should give up all comfort and wear burlap sacks. I’m just advocating a little direct action that many of us can afford, if we just take a good hard look at the choices we make when we spend our money.

    And I agree with the slippery slope comment. Very true, and something I think about often.

  10. octogalore said

    Vera, very true. I am dying for a new watch that would probably fall squarely into the “crap” category. That’s where the good hard look comes in, and every time I’ve given that look, the watch hasn’t been bought and I’ve made a wider choice (family, charity, etc). But, who knows, I may yet fall.

    Doing things that put smiles on others’ faces, I agree, is better than any smiles that would come from this watch.

    I got involved in a venture of sending out books on a feminist topic on a website once and ran into a “Vera” — was that you by any chance?

  11. vera said

    Octogalore: If it was fairly recent, yes.

  12. octogalore said

    Few months ago. If so, good to see you again.

  13. Pony said

    I live on less than $10,000 a year before any deductions, and spend none on appearance or fashion, but plenty of that on donations and small offerings. The donations vary, but lately have been to two women’s causes, and one world cause. I give the money donations in honour of someone; as thanks for something they have done for me or the community, for example to Medicine Sans Frontiers. The small offerings are primarily cooking and advice or research, accompanying people to situations needing advocacy help such as medical, legal or consumer, driving people, grocery shopping for people, sorting food at food banks, working at fund-raising drives. Like that. When you don’t have money to give, you have to give your time. It feels like nothing when you see what some do.

  14. Mercurial Georgia said


    Have you heard of the Quiverfull movement?

    Arrows for the war:

    I think, shall us of the knowledge and compassion enlightened want children again when we are in our 40s 50s 60s, we could always adopt, it can be very troublesome, but, in each of our own countries, even in our very own town, there could be orphan children waiting for a loving home. Adopting again later in life will both provide those children with a home, and balance out the Quiverfull movement without denting our health.

    – MG

  15. Mercurial Georgia said

    Small things:

    1. If you have an empty room, offer it to someone who had been just kicked out, so she’ll have an address/phone number to put on her resume.

    2. Offer to take in the pets of the abused, until they are on their feet again, sometimes abusers hurt the pet to get at the abused, and some shelters don’t take them, and it’ll do their emotional welfare a lot of good if they know they can get it back later.

    3. Offer them a ride to work or visit relatives.

  16. Yes, MG. I’ve heard of the Quiverfull madness.

    Anytime anyone does something outrageous because some piece of scripture (biblical or otherwise) says to do it, a 100dB klaxon should go off in the ears of every rational being within miles.

    This is the same mindset that persuaded almost 1000 people to drink cyanide-laced drink, or to keep sending donations to Jimmy Swaggart after he had been caught with a call girl for the third time.

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