I blame YOU!

19 Feb

You know what phrase I hate?

Anything that includes the words “I blame the patriarchy!”


I see it tossed around like pudding at a kids party, and I can’t help but wonder if this is just an excuse, a reason to deflect blame and make someone else the reason for problems.

I recognize that some parts of our society are not necessarily set up in a way that makes it simple for women to succeed. I realize that there are a lot of “bum rushes” in the work place, in life for women. We get the short straw sometimes. So hey, let’s blame the patriarchy!

I can’t be the only person that sees this as the easy way out. Instead of setting forth and blazing your own trail, point a finger. Instead of fighting hard for what is yours, for what you deserve, sit back, blame others, and wait for them to change.

News flash. Nothing comes without work. If you want change, you need to force it. You need to make it happen. You can make it happen. You don’t need to pretend that a man is to blame. You can disregard history, and just do shit. I do it all the time. Boobs and a brain are not mutally exclusive, and I make sure that I pound this into people at every opportunity. I will not be treated like meat, or like a simpering idiot because someone wouldn’t let me vote until 100 odd years ago. (Then again, I also FIRMLY believe that ALL women should exercise their right to vote-what a way to change that evil male system, huh? Or even better, women should GASP! RUN FOR OFFICE)

I don’t like being told what to do. I don’t like being told that I can’t have a perspective on something because I’m being a woman hater, that I’m just “one of them”. I think women, in general, make a lot of stupid mistakes because they’ve allowed themselves to fall prey to what the world wants them to be. GET OFF YOUR ASS! Think for yourself! Blaming men, or a sexist society is no better than blaming your mother for never breastfeeding you. Change begins with you. Period. End of story.

When women judge, sometimes rightly so, other women, they are considered women haters by their peers? Why is that? If a bunch of men sit around and talk about their friends big stupid truck, no one mistakes their critique of his truck as man hating-they just hate his big stupid truck. They are free to critisize eachother until the cows come home. Women though, if we dare comment on someone’s dress, or hair, or choice in man, we’re haters. We can’t possibly just think that the dress Imogen Heap wore to the Grammy’s was dog ugly. We must be suckered by the patriarchy into hating her.

Is this what the women’s movement has wrought? Semantic arguments about what people are ‘really” saying when they don’t like your shoes? Us vs them situations? Women acting as they are superior to other women because they can suck on the tit of hippy dippy give peace a chance bullshit? Isn’t the entire point of feminism, and the women’s movement to foster and inclusive environment with room for all types of women? Isn’t the point to be able to critique without it becoming harmful?

I reject the notion that I am formed, shaped or contrained by “the patriarchy”. If I want a change, I lobby for change. If I am content to not want change, I shut my damn mouth, and do nothing. I do not whine and moan that the world is out to get me. I do what I can to change my world. I disregard “the patriarchy” as the patently lazy concept that it is-an excuse, a cop out.

I do not want my girls limited by some idea that a vague “group” can control and set their destiny. I do not want them to give up, and become rabid haters of all that is different. I want them to accept what is in front of them, and change it from the inside. I want them to challenge it. I want them to live their lives for them, not against someone.

I want them to believe that neither side has the right answer, and that rarely is either side right.

16 Responses to “I blame YOU!”

  1. Jen February 19, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    I hear you…to a point. Blaming the patriarchy is in many ways a cop out, and it doesn’t do a damn thing to address an underlying problem. And, honestly, blaming the patriarchy because women don’t like the way someone looks is pretty damn silly. I just think that it is important to remember women’s history going forward, and there has to be some mention of the patriarchy there. Not as a rallying cry, but as a gentle reminder that there are more important issues than how ugly Imogen Heap’s dress was.
    I do wish that women would spend less time cutting each other down and judging each other, though. I’m certainly not all love and roses and shit, but I try to hate all assholes equally, regardless of gender 😉

  2. thordora February 19, 2007 at 5:08 pm #

    I don’t know. that was one terrible dress.

    I guess maybe I’M the hippy, because I tend to look at the world as an equal playing field. I’ve never been constrained by other people, not really, and I wish more women would focus on THAT larger issue than getting caught up in whether ir not it’s ok to like/not like someone’s style or boyfriend.

    I feel like women are so caught up in stuff that’s meaningless that they can’t even identify what REAL issues are, and that makes me angry.

  3. sweetsalty kate February 19, 2007 at 5:32 pm #

    Hoo-rah! Good, chewy stuff. I’ve never felt constrained either – except when attending a “womens’ university” when I was written off as brainwashed because I dared to speak up about how motherhood was a given for my future. I wasn’t crunchy enough to qualify for the highest heights of feminism because I was not a vegan/lesbian/eco-warrior, and had what seemed to others (the angry, bitter types that whine about the patriarchy) as a lifestyle and attitude too ordinary to count …which is ironic in so many ways.. a post in itself.

    Anyway, your juicy rant sent me thinking on another slant – how the notion of a powerful woman has been hijacked by the overly sexed aspect of our culture. The women in rap videos think they’re powerful, offering up their jiggles and jaggles and blowjobs to the world like strippers and prostitutes. But it’s with that self-righteous, empowered flavour -“I’m a WOMAN, and I have the right to devalue myself in every way possible no matter WHAT anyone says!”

    I’m all for sex, don’t get me wrong. For women owning it and celebrating it in ways that are dignified and intimate and honourable, with partners who respect them and treat them as equals (or not, if that’s their consensual bag, baby). But selling it? Reducing oneself to nothing *but* it? That’s not a step forward. That’s ten jiggy steps straight back.

    To me, they’re in your stupid mistakes camp, and should be called on it – for perpetuating the myth that women can’t be smart, outspoken, fully dressed and desireable at the same time. Great post.

  4. misspudding February 19, 2007 at 6:48 pm #

    I think it must have something to do with evolution.

    You’re going to laugh at my theory:

    Something along the lines of women stayed back in the cave and raised the kid while the man roamed miles and miles to get food. As a result, men were always working with other men, as a safety measure. Women may have worked with other women, to ease the burden of raising kids. The nature of hunting, though, meant that the guys needed to rely on their man friends, no bullshit, or he or his buddies could get killed. It wasn’t the same for the ladies.

    (The cave/hunting theory also relates to why men have astoundingly good 3D visualization capabilities, while women tend to be very good with 2D spatial geometry/moving furniture.)

    Alas, I too, hate that men just seem to get along, whereas women just look for that one weak spot to cut another woman down. I admit, I’m guilty of it at work. That’s why, for the most part, I choose to hang out with guys only, or women who like guys only. It just makes it easier.

  5. Jason Dufair February 19, 2007 at 10:01 pm #

    I’m glad to teach my daughters to blame the patriarchy. There’s plenty of blame to be had. Then I’ll teach them to go on and do whatever they feel inclined to do with their lives. We just celebrated Susan B. Anthony’s birthday at church yesterday and I think she did not hesitate to point a finger at the white saxon man machine but to also look to a future where women and blacks were all equals with the white saxon men.

  6. liprap February 20, 2007 at 12:13 am #

    Feminism gave us the possibility of a future in which women’s aspirations could be the same as their fathers’ and their brothers’. What it neglected to do was to remove the still predominant idea that women were responsible for the home and the child rearing. So now we are largely stuck: it is the unusual guy who will take on all the parental and homemaking responsibilities – otherwise, it all still mostly ends up on women’s shoulders, on top of the careers we were raised to want.

    I hate that things are this way. It is why I support the mother’s movement, because legislation in this country is still largely the domain of men, and we haven’t been able to boost our influence enough for the largely male populations of the House and the Senate (forget the Executive branch) to approve of things that ought to be basic, like family leave, child care, and children’s health insurance, as well as greater educational initiatives and even, if we go back further, the Equal Rights Amendment.

    Yes, we can sit back and blame the patriarchy. But we can also stand up for ourselves and work our collective butts off for change rather than just talking about it. The talk is only a beginning; we must always remember that.

  7. notsopregnantintexas February 20, 2007 at 10:48 am #

    I agree with liprap. With no paid maternity leave, I had to be back at work five weeks after a painful c-section. The money that I lost from having my son was significant.

    I’ve seen my bosses roll their eyes when I have to tell them yet again, as they sigh, that my son is sick and that I need to leave work. My raise is usually lower than my male coworkers and my priorities are usually questioned.

    It’s not the patriarchy, per se, that I blame. I blame the cultural insensitivity to having and raising children, especially when you have to do it by yourself as a single Mom. Then, you’re stuck between not really succeeding in either your career or as a parent.

  8. thordora February 20, 2007 at 10:49 am #

    I guess how I look at it boils down to this:

    If there’s a few people at a party, and a glass gets broken, is the better way to “fix” the problem to stand around and point fingers blaming others, mentioning how the glass broke, how so and so has a history of breaking glasses, and how silly the glass was to let itself get broken? Or is the better option to either pick it up and fix it, or just get a new glass?

    It’s a bit simplistic, but I prefer to just go get a new glass, and start over. While I agree that history and perspective must be given, that’s also an opportunity to start fresh and new, and kick ass in our own ways. We’re responsible to fix or replace the things that don’t work.

  9. thordora February 20, 2007 at 10:53 am #

    Texas-you need to move to Canada. 😛

    Longer maternity leaves would be one thing I would be fighting for if I was American. We have a year up here, not that I took it either time.

    It IS a matter of culture in terms of how parenting and children are regarded-but hey, wasn’t the US second to last in terms of the state of children in that study that was released?

    Women need to stand up and make the changes that need to be made. We can’t sit back and wait for them to be made for us.

  10. peppylady February 20, 2007 at 12:09 pm #

    It’s easier to blame others. When someone takes responsibility for there own action I personal have lot of respect for them.

  11. bromac February 20, 2007 at 12:30 pm #

    But is it wrong to use the patriarchy as fuel for the fire? Can I not get pissed about the patriarchy, the years of subjugation, in order to kick my own ass into action?

    I hear ya, sitting on the sidelines and bitching just gets nothing accomplished. But isn’t it our right to be pissed about it? And then use that anger to propel ourselves into action?

  12. Jason Dufair February 20, 2007 at 12:50 pm #

    texas – I’m seeing a similar thing now that I’m a single parent and working part time. I have to stay home every time any of my kids is sick (sometimes I can get a sitter, but I’d rather be home taking care of them when they’re sick). I do find that as a part-timer with all the childcare responsibilities I’m feeling a bit second-class at work.

    On the other hand, I’m feeling grateful that I’m allowed to work part time. If I tried to find a part-time job as an IT professional from scratch right now, I’d be completely unable. My work has been supportive, so I’m not bitching. Just noticing that family and work, in terms of time and schedule, don’t mix well. No surprise to a lot of single parents and to me, but worthy of note.

  13. thordora February 20, 2007 at 2:21 pm #

    By all means, get mad as HELL! Just use that anger for change, be it by educating your daughters that they can do what they want, or lobbying their governments. Just DO something. It’s all the “backseat driving” that makes me irritable.

  14. karriew February 20, 2007 at 3:13 pm #

    Somewhere in my Britney-indcued spate of procrastination, I saw someone suggest her shaved head was in response to the patriarchy. I literally spit tea laughing.

    Blaming ‘the patricarchy’ for every random thing lessens the power when the blame is truly justified, IMO.

  15. thordora February 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm #


    I’m just going to start randomly screaming that when I don’t get a raise.

    Just sayin.

    Dammit. Now I want to sing NWA for some reason.

  16. puddlejumper February 21, 2007 at 8:53 am #

    Uk was bottom of that state of children thing.



    But I love you for posting this.

    I got booed of a well known “WomensSpace” for even suggesting we shouldn’t keep portraying ourselves as victims,

    With you all the way on this one sister.

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