I know it’s a tremendously complex issue.
And perhaps I’d do better to stay clear of it, rather than stirring up shit storms…
I just know that the current narrative we have isn’t working and it’s time to create a new one. This is a conversation that needs to be had.
I find it sad that it seems impossible to even have a dialogue about gender conflict and reconciliation and question the current paradigm of women as victims and men as oppressors without being lambasted and accused of victim blaming.
Of course there are genuine victims and genuine perpetrators. On all sides. Women are oppressed, abused and mistreated and more. Men are much more likely to commit suicide, be homeless, suffer from mental health issues, have way tougher prison sentences for the same crimes committed by women and have have hardly any legal custody rights for their children. And the men’s rights movement that seeks to voice these truths has been repeatedly sabotaged by Feminists who feel threatened by the idea that men should be able to have a voice or might also be suffering.
We have to honour that there are victims, there is no escaping that.
AND I see how I have stayed in a victim identity in many moments in my life in order to regain my power over someone and I see how this happens all over the world.
I see how as a woman how I have manipulated and even provoked men to behave badly so that I can have moral superiority and feel powerful and I see this happening in the world.
I have witnessed myself demonising male sexuality when I was actually judging my own sexuality and projecting my fear on to another, contributing towards the very shame that spirals us into dysfunctional sexuality and rape culture.
I have cried for ‘equality’ but secretly meant ‘equality plus special benefits’ and enjoyed benefitting from double standards, such as making sexually lurid comments towards men, or being abusive towards men but being outraged if the roles are reserved. I’d like equality please but can I have it without equal prison sentences or army obligations or equal opportunities in shitty jobs like road-laying, rubbish collection, or coal-mining or other traditionally male jobs?
When I feel into how we associate ‘Patriarchy’ with being bad and ‘Feminism’ with being good, there is something in that narrative that makes me feel really icky inside. The world is full of victim perpetrators dynamics on all levels – politically, economically, between genders and within families and they get passed down one generation to the next and become vortexes, sucking in more and more people.
What can we do to step out and create a new story of peace and collaboration?
Before you tell me what I’m missing or how I’ve got it all wrong: I think the only point that I am making is that it’s more complex than many of us see and there is something about the current narrative that doesn’t ring true for me. And somehow I feel like my soul is woven into this process of reconciliation. I don’t know the answers but I want to dare to talk about it. As a white woman who is most definitely living in very privileged circumstances I feel a mixture of being even more cautious about being a voice, lest I am accused of being blinded from the context in which I speak from, and wanting all the more to be a voice, as the truth in my life and generally all those that surround me is that the times of a simple dynamic between oppressor and oppressed are not what they used to be, and as a woman, stepping out of being a victim and owning my side of things feels like potent activism.