Plants will hold up cups above their heads to catch bees in but bury their roots beneath the soil so that half the rain runs off before it soaks in. Trees will grow up tall and huge and heavy and spread out thick green sails from their oaken masts and dare the wind the topple them: perhaps they push the continent, perhaps it is why we still sail across the Atlantic, why California continues to be nibbled by the Pacific. If a human were a tree it would grow wide and flat close to the earth where no wind could tickle it. If a human were a plant, they’d put their bright colors beneath the ground in fear for anyone finding them. Lift their roots up to the elements so they can feed freely and never learn why their seeds bear no germ.
That is my advice in response to the sudden wave of awareness about the disparagement between sexes. You will find no easy data here. No clear answer. Just when you come up close to thinking it is all of them, you will be surprised. That is the way it is with humans. These are human issues. Within the procreation and sustained development of Man,
the existence of both women and men is required.
Are we surprised at the symptoms of patriarchy?
We took it on without any scientific exploration. We just keep pushing forward forms invented solely by men. More specifically, predominantly white men. We’ve updated our colored pencil collection. But it’s still their black and white drawings we’re filling in. And it’s producing boys who treat the world like toys. To so much surprise. If these are the celebrity stories spilling out, just now, after years, imagine the backcountry congregations and small hometowns and gated neighborhoods full of nobodies exposing themselves without permission, taking liberties with children, even members of their own families. I have heard the stories. Just about every single one of the females in my life has multiple stories that ball my fist, and make me wonder how anyone let these men say and do these things and live.
That’s the typical want to be a good guy response. More violence.
On top of our problem. With violence.
I’m angry. But not surprised. I’ve been a man my entire life. I played soccer in high school, I was in a fraternity in college. Anyone who defends or seeks to lessen an impact of, or response to, any of these forms of sexual violence, is apologizing for their self, their friends, their younger years, their peers, a son who got caught, the many more who were not, ever. Out there in the world leg crossed on the couch. Kids springing throughout the house. A spouse. And when he says a drawn out well, or begins a sentence with but, he is forgiving his own actions. He is doing what he has always done. Since that night. That afternoon. That morning when no one was around, and an implication did the work of social demonstration and time. And the thought that flashed through his mind. If not now, when? Maybe never get this chance again. He didn’t even wake back up into himself until after the flowery flutter of his orgasm had passed. He goes back to the path he was on. Doing what men do best. Committed to lives of distraction. Things work out. The universe doesn’t crash down karmic revenge on his head. In fact, now that he’s committed this act, he is open to an entire social circle of other men who have done the same thing. Who apologize for one another as often as they can, in the company they keep, with the policies they change, their plans.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m very fortunate to suffer from a massive overabundance of trust issues. A highly anxietized form of bold curiosity. Too much imagination for my own good, essentially. And when these boys told me their stories of playing with all these toys, sometimes until they broke, I listened. And I kept thinking how a well placed pocket knife would have taken them out of the gene pool for good. I am angry. So I think stupid things like how women should work blades and small weapons into their boots and stockings. When I know they should never have to. But these boys will never change. You can not wait on them to become men. It will not happen. They would have to go back to that night, or whenever, whatever it was, and make it right. And they won’t do that.
Another symptom of having only half a species invent, establish and organize society
without equally consulting the other half. They forget they are only half.
Half the species. Half the experience. Half of their crime.
I say keep no living heroes for that exact reason. Heroes are only half. The other part of a story like that, is struggle, loss, war, monsters and devastation and suffering are what call heroes out of hiding. Patriarchy is hero government. Their power is defined by destruction, not by a pursuit of peace. Of ease. Of simplicity. No heroes required. The self fulfilling prophesy of one half believing it’s the savior of the other half. When there are no more clear villains, that is what the living hero will become. He won’t be able to give up his cape.
He’ll be obsessive about instances of imitated control.
He will consider his strength indicative of dominance.
He will let the people he loves come to harm so that he can don his cape and save them.
He will construct a government for all people thinking most about what his sons will do for a living.
He will apologize for criminal actions because he is internally crippled by the guilt of what he got away with.
God will look like him.
Messiahs and saviors and saints will be erected in his image.
Cities will function as monuments to fallacy.
He will do most of this subconsciously. And bringing it to awareness will assuredly bring out the villain in him. And he will fight a war against the world, before he breaks down and confronts his own memory. I have no patience or forgiveness for heroes like him.
I learned to keep no living hero. All mine died a long time ago. Their stories are known.
Told by the only honest author in existence. Time. Try not to take it personally.
We’re just a far more trustworthy species once we’re done navigating life.
What if this is an issue of equality.
We are arguing the functionality of purely male-made systems of
government and economy.
Perhaps if there had been at least one woman in the room,
she would have mentioned how unprofitable people still like to eat.
Perhaps she would have brought a scale,
and given a demonstration of the true meaning
of the word equal.