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I'm Not In Favor of Criticizing The Patriarchy


"I don't know what I think about the patriarchy. I want to discuss it with you," I said to my friend last week.


While I agree that our system is broken and outdated in some areas - no standard, paid parental leave, expensive childcare, wage inequity - I also don't want to rail against a system I live inside of because of the dissonance it creates.


In other words, what we focus on is what we experience more of, so, if I'm focused on how shit the patriarchy is, I expand it by giving it power.


That doesn't work for me yet I've happily blamed the patriarchy for the ways women have been demeaned and mistreated. I think I did so because it seemed like the right thing to do. I mean men and the system they have created need to change, right?


Can we talk about the word patriarchy for a moment. I'm so used to saying it and what does it actually mean?


The word itself sounds like it's a men's problem. Like, the world has gone to hell in a hand-basket thanks to men who are idiots kinda thinking. We're making a big assumption that the system works well for men, too. I don't think it does.


Ladies, we're over here feeling inadequate because we're not speaking up loudly and often enough, like men do, to be heard and to feel respected in a meeting, yet how often does a man feel he can be vulnerable? How often do men feel emasculated by our comments? How much paid leave does a father get?


I don't think railing against the patriarchy is the answer for any of us.


I think change applies to us all.


To be clear, I'm not victim-shaming women, or forgiving the egregious behaviors of men.


I am saying that I love a man who I married. I have a Dad who is wonderful and I have a son who I adore. I know I'm lucky and I also know there are many wonderful men in the world. They don't undervalue me, sell me short or want anything but the best for me. How, then, can I love them as I do, and say men are the problem?


In my book, I wrote, "We're fighting hard trying to be equal to men. I often wonder if what we really want is to be recognized for our strengths because we are different from men, and there is a need for us to be respected for our unique experiences and perspectives."


I don't think we're talking about gender as much as we think we are. I don't think this is about men versus women. I think we're talking more about masculine and feminine energy and the ability for everyone to express their full human range. In doing so, we direct our focus on something beautiful and human and that contributes to updating our outdated system.


I think so many of us are well-intentioned in our rage/disgust/disappointment/irritation because we desire change. I just don't think railing against the patriarchy is the best channel for that emotion.


I think it's creating the opposite of the outcome we desire most; respect.


Respect starts with how we carry ourselves.


With Love,

Sarah x