The Shapes We Mae

4 SIMPLE WAYS TO SMASH THE PATRIARCHY

Kate WeinerComment

Maybe I'm getting wiser (or lazier) but I'm not in the mood to be a puppet of the patriarchy. It's a lot of work for a lot of nothing and I have better things to do. Like make cardamom bread, pay rent, and cultivate community-based climate resiliency. In no particular order.

There are as many ways to smash the patriarchy as there are feminisms. Herewith, four of a thousand ways to take down the MAN. 

LOVE YOUR BODY

The awesome Audre Lorde argued that self-care is an act of political warfare. She was damn right. To love your body, to nurture your sweet soul, is radical in a society that seeks to imprison us in our own obsessions. Want to be a puppet of the patriarchy? Waste your incredible, life-giving, world-building brains & beauty worrying about the space between your thighs or the thickness of your hair. The patriarchy's purpose is to distract us from the real work that needs to be done in this world by shoving us toward navel-gazing spirals. And man, the world needs us right now. 

I get it—learning to love your body doesn't happen in a day. It's difficult to undo years of socialization. So a few things I like to remember are (1) it's not my fault (2) there's no shame in the struggle and (3) I'm a fierce, foxy, wildly imperfect woman who LITERALLY does not have the time in my full schedule to worry about my weight. So long as I am nourishing my luscious self and doing what I can to heal our one and only earth, I'm good.

RECOGNIZE INTERSECTIONALITY

There isn't one kind of feminism and there isn't one way to be a feminist. The patriarchy gains power through othering. It's essential then that we recognize that we are allied in our diversity, that we are unified by our differences. Colonialism, racism, and transphobia have impacted (and continue to impact) communities in different ways and that has given rise to different ways of fighting for, establishing, and assessing equality. 

It's also important to recognize intersectionality across movements. For movements to change the world, there has to be collision and conversation between points of view. The environmental movement(s) isn't happening in a sphere separate from the work of feminism(s); if anything, it's a profoundly vital part of our collective work. 

REFUSE TO REINFORCE THE RULES

We have to remember that no one really benefits from the patriarchy. Cisgendered white men might garner a few "wins" in the short-term but when you break it down, binary systems eat away at each and every one of us. The patriarchy forces us into a black and white system when our world is so many succulent shades of grey. 

I've been guilty of reinforcing the patriarchy in past relationships and I never want to hurt a partner that way again. You're not a less of a man for having feelings, or liking men too, or not caring about cars. It can be painful to sit with yourself and shed light on the ways that you are reinforcing the rules of the patriarchy. But by naming the problem, you can truly tackle it. That's work we need more of in this world.

CREATE FEARLESSLY

The patriarchy would like you to sit in a corner and be quiet. No to that! Be fearless about pursuing your passions. Create from a place of open-mindedness but also conviction that your wild art is of value to this world. Make art (not war); learn as much as you teach; love with an open hand. At some point in our lives, each and every one of has stopped a poem in its tracks or abandoned a project we loved because of self-doubt it didn't matter, or wasn't good enough, or couldn't change things. That voice isn't the truth. Create fearlessly in the knowledge that anything that nourishes you has the capacity to nourish others too.