SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

Posts Tagged ‘patriarchy

Posted by Robin, Philly

hugging salt n pepper

A person-shaped salt shaker and pepper shaker hug each other, the salt shaker looks a bit taken aback.

This is post #2 in a series called I.N.A.Y.: It’s Not About You. I.N.A.Y. #1: “Effectively” Calling Out Patriarchy can be found here.

Recently, I had a series of discussions with a new male acquaintance about touching. Basically, I had tried to communicate that I disliked him touching me, and he kept doing it anyway. When he was confronted about this, his explanation was that he thinks people in our society are too isolated from each other, and in an effort to bridge our isolation, he goes out of his way to touch people.

The guy is certainly not the first person in my life to repeatedly touch me when I’ve tried to make it clear I don’t want them to, but I’ll give it to him that he’s the first person to have apparently put so much thought into it, indeed to have a theory around it.

The problem is, by reducing it to a formulaic theory (we’ve talked about the link between theory and patriarchy on here before), he is putting his ideology before the desires of actual people in his life. He is being harmfully dogmatic, his actions say “I know best what is good for you, better than you do. Even if you ask me not to touch you, I will because I know what you need.” I.E., he’s being paternalistic and entitled.

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posted by Christa (Philly)

Robin Markle helped me immensely with this piece.  It wouldn’t be possible without her. This paper was a companion piece to my internship with SDS that I completed January 2009. Most of this research is qualitative, although there is some quantitative data. I’m not speaking in absolutes, but researched behavior and trends.

Note: Parts of this article are framed it as male/female. I am not promoting the gender binary by any means. The most common binary term I used was “women-centered organizing”…I used this rather than feminist or trans/women/genderqueer-centered organizing because

1) A lot of the groups the articles studied about aren’t feminist. A lot of the groups are moderate/conservative/non-partisan women’s groups but have similar aspects of organizing.

2) In that same vein, I didn’t use trans/women/genderqueer-centered organizing because a lot of these groups ARE Cis-normative and binary. A lot of these groups aren’t radical, they have problematic aspects to them, but they also organize in some really effective ways, which means we should study and learn from the things they do right and grow away from the things they do wrong.

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Because it is a holiday weekend, I have spent the last two days around my family, including my parents,brother, and extended family. I never been incredibly close with my family, so I don’t spend a lot of time with them, and since I am often surrounded by progressive/feminist/activist/LGBTQQI/sex-positive/etc. friends and other folks at school, it’s always kind of disheartening when I leave the haven of this bubble. I hate to  call it a bubble because it’s not like we as a community are oblivious to the thoughts, beliefs, and lives of people who don’t share our political beliefs, but sometimes to me it feels like a comfortable, cozy bubble, which is both a good and a bad thing.

It is not even as if I deal with a constant barrage of overtly sexist, racist, classist, homophobic, conservative and/or fundamentalist bullshit- my family (minus  my neo-con, Fox News loving brother) is relatively liberal and they (even my brother, to a certain extent) are pretty accepting of my political views and activism/organizing. I make my dedication to reproductive rights no secret, and have no qualms discussing my feminist views and activism with my family. But I have observed things this weekend that have made me incredibly uncomfortable, and I share this because I’m sure some of you have seen the same, as it is the weekend of a capitalist, hetero-normative, materialistic, racist, and overall problematic holiday. The first instance came when my mother took no time to inquire about my sexuality due in part to my short hair, decision to take more women’s studies classes, friends, and activism. I told her that it was wrong to attempt to determine my sexuality on the basis of these things because there is no right or correct way for a female or queer person to be.

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Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro

i.e., I Can’t Believe You Guys Are Being for Real

by Adrian & Emilyn with special thanks to Christa.

an entirely accurate depiction of Emilyn (in the middle) and Adrian (on the right) defeating the metaphorical "monster" that is patriarchy.

DISCLAIMER: We recognize that the tone of this piece is probably a little aggressive or angry. That’s because we were really angry and upset and in a bad place when we wrote it. We’ve come back a few months later, removed some of the profanity, and tried to be not so confrontational. But it was also important for us to be able to express these things that we’ve felt for so long, and haven’t been empowered to say. So please, when you’re reading this, try not to get defensive, and try to acknowledge where we were when we wrote this.


dude bro: (noun) \ˈdüd \ˈbrō
1. a gender-normative male-bodied person who acts in a patriarchal way
2. one who is macho and/or overly- and obnoxiously-masculine, in the worst way(s) possible

dudely: (adj.)
1. something/someone with the qualities of a dude bro
2. dominated by men

cisgender: (noun.) (in this piece we use cismale/cismen/cisdude)
1. the contrast to trans on the gender spectrum
2. someone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth

  1. Stop prowling (also, stop denying it when you are).
  2. Stop lying to yourself — you’re not a good feminist.
  3. STFU&L (shut the fuck up and listen). Read the rest of this entry »

by Robin, Philly

men reading

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time and have had a hard time drawing decisive conclusions about. At this point I’ve been noticing it consistently for about 2 and a half years, though, and I think it’s time to throw my thoughts out there to hear what other people think. (And when I say people, I mean, women, trans and gender variant people, and MAYBE some dudes if you’re gonna do something other than get defensive.)

What is up with men and books? So many activist men I know have read about a billion books. All about leftist history and anarchism/communism and racism and sexism, apparently. I’m not trying to say women don’t read books, but to be honest, most of my female friends read much fewer books than the males I know, and they are more likely to read fiction.

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This is just something I’ve started fleshing out. I think it would be really good for us all to contribute so PLEASE add.

An Apology:

I can’t tell you enough how sorry I am that you are so confined to your awful gender norm that require you to ASSUME positions of power and that require that you have pretty much full control and autonomy over your own life. It sucks that no ruling power is above you besides a government that is made up of ….men. For that, I am truly sorry. I, as a woman, would love to be the first to apologize for boxing you in as my oppressor and making you writhe in discomfort when you talk about how much it hurts you to hurt me. I am SO sorry that by ‘working on your shit’ you mean ‘not’ and trust me, I know, from just how much you’ve told me, that that sucks. A lot. I know what you’re going through; I understand your struggle. I may never be able to understand it fully, but I will try my hardest, throwing aside my own problems to help you figure out yours. After all, it’s hard to be a feminist! Too many ambitions to save the world, too little time. Read the rest of this entry »