[personal profile] nyla_musings
After reading Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain things to Me.

I am inspired. Thrilled. At the depth of thinking of this woman. Each essay stands alone. She is clarity itself. Without apologies. Says stuff about rape and violence against women as though she knows it is true.

We, in our generation, had to prove it. Again. And again. We had to have irrefutable research, had to become academics with multiple PhD's, had to PROVE to the world, especially the male bastion of cultural reality, that in fact women were relegated into invisibility not because we were dumb or "on the rag", but because men needed to keep us in our place. And furthermore, women were afraid to go out on the streets. They were afraid that if they were out in the world, mingling in affairs of men, without a male (husband, brother, father) at one's side, they might be mistaken for either a whore, or a needy, desperate woman, looking for a man to marry.

Our generation watched our mothers be "very good women", "good wives", "good mothers", as they "died" trying. We watched as they were given little credit. In fact, as Solnit mentions, they were invisible. And especially if they were married. And we fought to be visible. To have a voice. And many of us were heard.

We learned that the role of wife, or mother, the little boxes that the role put around us, were confining. And watching our mothers suffer at the hands of husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles , in other words: patriarchy.

In the meantime, my hypothesis is that as long as there is competition, men will need to prove they are on top, or right. And if we didn't think patriarchy was frightened by feminism, we didn't have to wait long to see the results. Look at how frightened church goers have needed to eradicate the progress of the women's movement. From birth control discussions, to discussion of abortion or sexuality information: all of it has disappeared from the discussion. I notice every day what has been eradicated. In fact the book "Our Bodies Ourselves" is now a banned book.

Women, now, in their 20's are having babies, lots of them. Word on the cultural street, is that women should stay at home. But the economy has fallen into a serious depression, educational opportunities have evaporated, women are once again remaining in marriages or situations where they are afraid to leave.

Ah, here we are. One step forward, 6 steps back. Only this time, everything that has changed has occurred since the fall of the twin towers of Sept 2001.

I'm so glad that I can write all this. And I must shout out to the 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement day of infamy: Oct 2, 1964. I am exercising my free speech efforts while I can.

Nyla
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March 2015

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