Toxic Feminism, Toxic Patriarchy? No, It’s Toxic Division!
This week I received two blog post emails from some well-meaning but (in my view) misinformed female friends.
They both used the word “patriarchy” in their posts.
Patriarchy is a trigger word for me!
I feel instantly defensive of men.
For most self-proclaimed feminists it’s not a word that comes with warm and fuzzy feelings.
The “toxic” part is nearly always implied, even though “the patriarchy” isn’t inherently bad. (Seriously.)
That assumption makes me angry.
They say it’s the patriarchy that makes women think their menstrual-based mood swings are bad and women feel like terrible mothers.
The problem isn’t how much of that is true but that too many men and women associate patriarchy with negativity and all men.
Just like many men associate modern feminism with all women (and weak men who suck up to women for personal gain).
The reality is both sides are biased and hypocritical.
Almost every self-proclaimed feminist I know appreciates some form of chivalry, like a man picking up the check at a restaurant.
And almost every down-with-feminism man I know wants a woman who’s working or at least not financially dependent.
I replied to both my girlfriends suggesting that women are far more judgemental of themselves and each other than men are of them.
It made me realize—though I’ve already been on the path to realizing my folly for a while—that I’ve slipped off the path of “love.”
I’ve talked about feminism almost exclusively as if it were toxic. (It’s not.)
My view of the levels of feminism:
1st wave: let the ladies vote and work. (Whether or not we know better for ourselves or others, as a woman I value this right.)
2nd wave: give provisions for inequality and thwart sexual harassment. (This wave had merit, fair enough.)
3rd wave: give women special treatment, believe all women no matter what. (Hire based on sex, not qualification? Assume men are guilty before proving it? I must disagree. Fully.)
4th wave: assert women are superior to men, give provisions for inequality in favour of women over men. (#womenarethefuture?? What about your sons, ladies? I vehemently disagree. Fully. Completely.)
My God, if we want more “feminine” in the world, we need to find our way back to caring, compassion, community, and collaboration, ladies!
I admit, I’m also guilty of fuelling division.
Division seems to be a big part of pop culture these days.
And there’s a good reason for it.
Our brains release dopamine (the drive and motivation hormone) when we experience mild frustration or confirmation bias.
Enter Social Media.
When we crave a hit of dopamine, the quickest place to get it is social media.
There’s no end to content that’ll provide mild frustration: negative, fear-based clickbait is everywhere; or confirmation bias: oh-you-think-like-me-and-share-a-common-enemy (read: feminists/the patriarchy).
It gets, our eyeballs scanning, our fingers clicking, and our brains pumping out a rush of feels-so-good-to-feel-so-bad hormones.
Clicks make money.
There are some wonderful content creators who were wise (or lucky) enough to avoid the path of negativity and I applaud them.
It gives me hope there are people in the world who appreciate and pay attention to some of the less addictive but more good-for-us stuff.
Good-for-us stuff helps us feel connected, compassionate, inspired, bucket-filled-high-vibe.
We need to take the focus off feminism and the patriarchy and put it back where it belongs.
I need to get back to my original message of love.
For you and for me.
It may tank my business but I’m ok with that because…
I’m not ok with the direction I’ve been traveling.
And even though I’ve (mostly) tried to hide the vitamins (loving truth) in the ice cream (negative clickbait topics), I’m not enjoying the process.
I’d hoped to reel in and convert those who feel bitter and hopeless by speaking their language but that’s a stormy sea and it’s dragging me under.
Just like you can’t save damsels in distress, I can’t save men who don’t want to change.
The point is, just like you can only do what you can do (though there is much you can do), I can only do what I can do.
And what I need to do is find a way to (try to) mend the divide between men and women without getting sucked into the vortex of a toxic abyss.
So, just like I tell y’all about taking responsibility where you can, I’ll do the same.
Love is the answer, people!