Living in a foreign country (especially one as wacky as this one) gives me great insights into how patriarchy works, because I feel as though I’m living a parody, like I’m literally acting in a play…
Femininity is “done” differently, for a start, so I had to unlearn everything I knew in that respect, and then re-learn how to pass as a woman by adopting a new set of appropriate mannerisms. It was either that, or be treated like a freak. So I chose the former. Less mental energy all round.
Anyway, living on this stage in this ongoing play never ceases to fascinate me. I should probably mention that I think about Mary Daly every single day at least once a day.
One of the things Daly wrote about was how patriarchy completely destroys women’s elemental selves, our essence and our being, and it then replaces us with brainwashed fembots, or with madwomen, or witches or whatever, or sometimes even with men (transwomen) pretending to be us, which is enough to drive us mad in itself. The more a woman has embraced the inanity and stupidity required of her, the further she has travelled from her authentic self, which is nothing more— or less— than the price women have to pay for the crumbs we’re thrown.
A radfem visitor to Japan would take a look around and think that the women here were completely lost, having been long ago been ripped away from their Selves— going by the high-pitched voices, the hyper-femininity, the obsession with cooking, flower-arranging, and fashion etc. But after living here for a while, you begin to realise that that’s not actually what the women are like at all. So how could I have got it so wrong…?
That’s a very interesting question, and one that Daly answers very well. Patriarchy’s constant mission is to eliminate women, sometimes literally (when they kill us), sometimes by raping etc, but that’s only half a job, so they try to finish the job by using their (Orwellian) media imagery to play back images of women to ourselves. Constantly. We see the neverending omnipresence of women all around us in the media, on billboards, in magazines, and what is more we are always always smiling.
Smiling? This is the tail-end of millenia of oppression, and yet the (STILL!) oppressed half of the human populace apparently cannot stop smiling. It’s enough to convince us that we are, indeed, deserving of our oppression if we’re so incessantly, unrelentingly cheerful, while our kind is being murdered left, right and centre…
Daly conceived of the background, the place where women’s souls reside, where our authentic selves are given a voice; and though it exists in every country on earth, men worldwide are not privy to it. So they create foreground imagery of women in order to soothe themselves. This may manifest in a number of ways. A good example is the picture of the “family” on a CEO’s desk. Or a snapshot of a girlfriend in a soldier’s pocket. The current digital age emphasizes and exaggerates the omnipresence (absence) of women in the foreground, where we emphatically do not exist, neither physically or spiritually. Porn is spectacularly good at this. Billboards and advertisements are second only to pornography in the constant stream of lies they tell about us.
This is what it boils down to. Telling lies about women to themselves and to us. Do not buy it.
And take all of this frenetic activity as a sign of their desperation.
Below you will find a collection of ‘smiley women’ images by two brilliant bloggers: “Woman Smiling Alone with Salad” by Edith Zimmerman, and “Woman Smiling with Small Pastel Weights” by Fit and Feminist.
Woman Smiling Alone with Salad
And “Woman Smiling with Small Pastel Weights” 🙂