It seems like yesterday that I was being interviewed on ABC radio by Jon Faine about nomophobia and how it is deleterious to humanity. However, that radio interview stands out for a whole other reason.
I happened to be interviewed two days following the shocking murder of a young woman running at dusk in a park. We have recently seen a similar event that was equally galling and hideous, not just because of the rape and murder of a young woman, but because we saw the same ‘story’ being played out.
At the time Jon Faine was very ‘fired up’ calling out the ‘story’ which was “she shouldn’t be running in a park when it is dark, she is asking for trouble,” that had started as soon as the news broke. Jon was openly upset with what he called the arrogance of this ‘story’ and used his voice as a public personality to send a message.
His message was that this ‘story called patriarchy’ which has been the supremacist ‘story’ dominating society for thousands of years, had to go. The damage it caused was insurmountable, and it was time for a new story. Sadly at the time, unsurprisingly, no one listened. To clarify, none of the ‘story writers’ – who dominated the collective thinking, attitudes and beliefs listened, why would they jeopardise their utopia.
I also remember having a discussion with my cycling buddies, all wonderful people (and white male as it happens) about my 15-year-old walking home from work at 8 pm when it was dark. She worked 800 mt down the road which was lit up, and my friends were giving me strong advice about how wrong I was ‘letting her walk home.’
At first, perhaps naively, I asked why? “Well something could happen to her, its dark and you never know who is out there (they were referring to males with intents to have their way with her), I wouldn’t let my daughter do that.” I remember it took a couple of weeks at ‘coffee’, over an hour collectively of conversation – for these ‘smart’, people who I would call pillars of society, to see that this attitude and belief was screwed up.
The fact that it took an hour for them even to acknowledge that ‘placing the blame and responsibility on to the female for some male person who thought it was HIS RIGHT to do what he wanted because she was walking alone in the ‘dark’ – was wrong, was deeply disturbing.
Their attitude was at the core of who they were, being born white male (WM). WM’s wrote the story and the rules by default, which benefited WM’s. They also set the categories for everyone other than them. along with writing the rules (rules that suited them) for people in those categories. This extended from who to ‘like and hate’ (strong word but sadly true) to how those people were to be treated.
What was most ‘tense’ or ‘uncomfortable’ for my friends was that they were forced for a few minutes to think about ‘why they would NOT LET THEIR daughters do what they considered a fundamental right – interestingly their sons also had this right. One of them actually ‘came clean’ with me and said: “I know what males are enabled to think and do and that makes me scared for my daughter.”
This story called ‘patriarchy’ is wrong, it doesn’t fit and is so far past its used by date that it is rotten to the core. Think of that potato that has turned in the cupboard – the smell is putrid when you open the cupboard, you pick up a seemingly normal looking potato, and your finger pierces the skin into rotting flesh – there is nothing quite so hideous!
A graphic description – yes and that is because the ‘story running our society’ is like the rotten potato – it looks normal from the outside, and perhaps that is why it is so ‘resistant’ to being changed. However, on the inside it has disintegrated and moreover, it ‘stinks to high heaven’ – time to put this story into the compost.
One thing we must STOP is the ‘gender war’ – we have had decades and decades of that, and it is has FAILED – monumentally. Patriarchy is the name ascribed to the story and we can not focus the new story on gender. Women are just as tied into this story and their behaviour is also sustaining the story, which is another post to come.
The way to overcome this is to re-write the story. However, to rewrite the story we have to delete the old one, it’s a crappy story, and no one wins. Ironically the biggest losers currently are the WM (let’s add straight in there). This is evidenced by the growing number of extreme right-wing male groups (with very worrying agenda’s), who report ‘being disenfranchised’ – funny thing that.
Good work gentlemen, really helpful contribution to the collective. Move beyond your assumed position of superiority and now defensiveness, and be part of the new story.
P.S. There was a standout with the recent hideous event from Daniel Andrews where he said- “Stay home. Or don’t. Go out with friends at night. Or don’t. Go about your day exactly as you intend, on your terms. Because women don’t need to change their behaviour — men do.” Sadly, some weeks past the event – has the discussion continued? No.