‘That’s just the way it is.’
That phrase is the difference between those who believe in social equality and those who don’t. Many of those who don’t aren’t happy with their lot – no boys like me, I’m fat, but that’s just the way it is, no boys like fat girls or whatever – but think there’s nothing they can do about it, and if the oppression doesn’t directly concern them can’t be bothered to stress over it. The ones who do believe tend to say that’s how it is right now – but it’s wrong, it must change and then attempt to do something, however small, about it.
Apathy and hopelessness are a big problem. But it allows people their socially-conditioned pleasures and comfort blanket, while coming to awareness involves an ongoing, often painful unpacking of privilege and then the raw stings and arrows of whatever oppression one experiences in one’s life, felt all the more keenly because of this knowledge of what’s going on. Caring and trying to do something about social justice isn’t easy.
For me, it would probably hurt more not to because of society’s insistence that I don’t exist, and even if I had suppressed my lack of gender and my sexuality it would have, as it did for years before I found the words, surfaced and hurt me.
However, to shed that protective armour of apathy and at-least-partially deliberate ignorance is hard. It’s hard to read stories so burning with wrong that they sear themselves into one’s conscious and subconscious. It’s hard to sit, knowing that strangers with no idea of one’s life are sitting miles away making decisions that will cost oneself rather than them. It’s hard to speak up in the real world against injustice. It’s hard to force oneself to research issues that outrage, that trigger, that are a blow against oneself. It’s hard enough that it’s imperative to take time away from it, to hide under a rock and lick one’s wounds.
But it’s better than the alternative. It’s better than letting kyriarchy have its way with us. I would rather willingly face the enemy and stand against it even to my destruction than to sit passively and be destroyed by its malevolence. I would say it is preferable to fight back rather than face the slow erosion of the self that kyriarchy forces. Because if enough of us stand in opposition to kyriarchy, perhaps one day future generations will not have to make that choice.
Perhaps today, that is just the way it is – but tomorrow, it shouldn’t have to be. If we question, if we stand up and say no, this is wrong, if we deliberately modify our attitudes to anti-kyriarchal ones, if we learn to think, if we learn compassion and humanity, if we teach those around us in whatever small way we can, tomorrow can be a better world.