Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

It’s not unreasonable to expect to be treated fairly, equally and without bigotry.

This is a defence I see all too often, and it’s pretty despicable. All too often in my life it comes up about the little things that make it damn clear that my self is not accepted, things like forms asking for ‘gender – m/f’ and so on. According to this particular defence of bigotry, I can’t expect services to bend to fit me; due to my so-called ‘abnormality’, I should bend to fit them. I should bend to fit with society’s narrow-minded ideals, at whatever cost to myself.

Or, another place it crops up is around terminology. Apparently we can’t expect language to change to acknowledge our humanity and our experience, and we can’t expect people to change their language so as not to cause us pain because we’re apparently not ‘normal.’

Normal is constructed as something people should aspire towards, so as not to cause trouble and disrupt the social order. It’s not. If the social order cannot serve all people, regardless of the demands of meaningless ‘normality,’ then it needs to be disrupted. It is not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate all its members, and to be honest society should want to.

No matter how much it seems to be, society is not a monolith that exists independent of the people in it. We construct society around us. Yes, the scars of history lie heavy on us and on the society that has evolved down the generations – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. It evolved through the actions of people – a lot of bigotry can be traced back to historical roots that were instigated by people – and that means that we can steer it away from the broken-down mass of kyriarchal pressures riddled with bigotry and violence that it is now.

To do that, though, we need each other. We need to look around us and realise that the kyriarchy is hurting and killing ourselves and each other. And then we need to realise that defeatism will only defeat us.

It’s not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate the people it shoves to the margins, and for a person to say this about an axis they have privilege on is harmful. The privileged’s words have more weight anyway, and the more this is said the more the immovability of society is constructed, the more privilege can shore itself up by thinking that it can’t change and shouldn’t have to try.

It’s not unreasonable to be hurt, and to demand that people stop hurting one. It’s not unreasonable to demand one’s rights.

We are all connected, and frankly we have no reason to deny others decent treatment, fair, equal and without bigotry. That is an attack, and so is defending others who hurt people in the name of kyriarchy with the feeble cry of ‘it’s unreasonable.’ There is no excuse for bigotry, and the only slight justification is genuine lack of knowledge – but that can be cleared up with a short conversation, a quick google. There is no excuse for denying people the things granted without thought to others because of who they are. There is no excuse for services meant to help us refusing to acknowledge our selves. There is no excuse for people who bear us no ill-will beyond the poison the kyriarchy has dripped into their brains from birth to refuse to stop using words that hurt us. Once the problem is brought to light, it is not unreasonable to expect that solving it should be the next step.

Slow process? Well, yes, it probably will be. But it’s not an unreasonable demand.

Strength and value

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Health, Kyriarchy
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Sometimes it feels like one has to be strong all the time. For the marginalised of this world, even existing in a world that wants to squelch us into submission can feel like a fight that we must be armoured for at every moment. It can be even worse for those of us who have made pushing back at the system our business – we feel that we must make that call-out, we must stick our heads up above the parapet.

But we have to remember that we’re people. And people are unbelievably strong, but people have needs too. People are vulnerable. People have limits. People are worthy of having those needs met, and that includes us as well. We have to take time out for self-care.

Sure a lot of us would like to be the tireless warrior, calling out every piece of kyriarchal bullshit that shows up on our radar – I know I would – but it’s just not possible. And it’s not practical or useful to push ourselves beyond our limits, into unsafe territory on trembling legs, fighting on even when we’re exhausted. We deserve to take time out for self-care, to spend time recharging the batteries – and we must not feel that we have to apologise for that.

Many of us have been socialised into thinking that our worth lies in what we can do for others. It does not. Our worth lies in our existence. What we choose to do with that existence should be up to us and us alone. To repeat the old mantra, self care is a radical act; and personal autonomy and a sense of personal worth is the very thing the kyriarchy most fears. If we are caring for ourselves, we are showing that we believe we are worthy of care – and that is anathema to the kyriarchy. It will twist and lash out, trying to force us into again driving ourselves into the dust, but we must remember that we are worthy of care, and that the fact that we place a value on our own wellbeing is a finger stuck up at the kyriarchy’s definition of us as worthless.

The biggest battlefield in this fightback against the kyriarchy is the hearts and minds of people, ourselves included. The kyriarchy is incredibly hard on our hearts and our minds, and we must not feel guilty for retreating when we are wounded even if it feels as though our absence will allow the kyriarchy one more stronghold. There is always another day, another battle, and it is better to curl up in the dark and lick our wounds out of existence before facing them than continuing to fight and burning out.

We are worthy – of care, of peace, of rest. We should not be shamed for retreating, for falling, for being wounded. It is a mighty, terrible foe we face, and we are brave and strong for facing it. We are people, and people have needs. We do not have to be a tower of strength all the time, and our very retreat to care for our marginalised, oppressed, wounded selves is resistance.

Look at virtually any protest or protest movement, and you’ll find a trigger mechanism. That’s just the way things are.

It cannot, however, be said that the trigger mechanism is the cause of it. The cause is the long-running grievances that underly everything, that often underly every facet of life. Perhaps, say, a riot was triggered by a single arrogant authority figure’s action – but it could never have happened without, say, poverty being a grinding force in the rioters’ lives. Anything that looms large in the collective consciousness can be an underlying factor for a movement, a factor that is more a cause than the trigger.

And those factors are big issues in the lives of those they affect, and to see only the trigger and argue that the movement was an overreaction is an essentially privileged point of view.

Underlying causes are often oppressive in nature. The oppressions themselves and the way they manifest – that’s something big and meaty to form a movement against. But they can still be invisible to the people who are privileged along those particular axis, and so the privileged still argue that it was an overreaction. Let me tell you, it’s hard to overreact to a kyriarchal system that breaks and kills. It’s really fucking hard. It’s hard even to react, since the system delights in turning groups against each other and themselves.

To have a movement against those oppressions is not an overreaction. There’s a great danger in generalising the response to one trigger to other areas where it’s not as relevent, and in the heat of the moment the movement itself may – often does – become poisoned; but the response is not disproportionate. It’s just that a trigger mechanism is generally needed.

There is so much wrong with our damn kyriarchy, with our world. It doesn’t help that there’s many people who have been shielded from many or all oppressions from birth, and who are too afraid to push aside the curtain and thus react to those trying to broaden their worldview with hatred and bigotry. Sure, you might only see one little action – but that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole lot more awfulness going on outside your line of sight.

When you hold the blinkers on yourself, don’t complain when you don’t get the scale of the problem.

Worthy

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Kyriarchy, World in decline
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Too many of us are told by society at large that we are not worthy.

Worthy is a huge concept. To me, it simply means ‘of worth.’ Every human being is of worth. Worth what? But we’re people. That question applies to a family heirloom or a gold ring, not to humans. We are worthy. We are worthy of the greatest the human condition can offer. We are worthy of the human rights accorded to us by virtue of our existence. Worthy.

Worth considering. Worth loving. Worth respecting. Worth listening to. Worth being. Worth everything that some groups with privilege take for granted as their right, but see fit to deny to others. If you demand you be recognised as a man, but maintain that I am not to be recognised as an agender person? You are denying my right to have my self recognised. You are denying the fact that I am worth it by virtue of my humanity.

How hard can it be, to realise that every human being has worth? We – the marginalised, the oppressed – we have had our human worth denied to our faces time and again. We have been denigrated, devalued, belitted, denied and wounded. We have been failed, we have been sinned against. And we are still being targeted by hatred, by fear, by intolerance.

That is wrong. And it is so hard, to stand firm in the face of the howling storm that wants to bring us down and to say, ‘No. I will not fall. I have worth, and you will not deny me my worth, my value, my humanity, the unique selection of traits that has made me who I am. You will not bring me down.’ It is so hard, and yet every day, so many of us do it. It can be done, although there is no shame, no weakness in turning away. There are others around us who will stand and hold the line while others must retreat.

We are worthy. We have worth, value, humanity, beauty, power, strength, life. By virtue of our lives, we have all these things, and anyone attempting to deny us that is wrong.

Fuck tolerance

There. I said it. Fuck it. Fuck tolerance. Fuck acceptance, too.

I don’t want to be tolerated in our broken world, our awful system, our terrible kyriarchy. I don’t want to be accepted into a structure that oppresses people, into a system of inbuilt oppression. Hell, I don’t even want to be welcomed with open arms there.

I want nothing less than the destruction of the kyriarchy. When the kyriarchy is destroyed, I won’t be ‘accepted’ or ‘tolerated’ – I will be human. I will be equal. We will all be equal. There will be no grudging ‘oh I guess you can live then,’ from the oppressors, because there will be no oppression.

Until then, I will fight for the destruction of the kyriarchy in each person’s individual head. That’s the only place it lives – inside our heads, feeding on our lives. The kyriarchy is a parasite. It is introduced to us from the first seconds of our lives by every human interaction we have, it crawls inside us, and it eats away at us and at every other person we know, so that it seems normal.

The kyriarchy’s in my head, right now. I’m grappling with it, but it’s there. It’s taking my potential and that of society within my influence and feeding me lies about myself and about others. It’s whispering to me that I am subhuman because I am not its privileged ideal, and it is whispering to me that other people, wonderful people, worthy people are subhuman because they are not its privileged ideals.

And I’m angry about that. I’m angry that it’s trying to tell me that my fellow human beings are less than. I’m angry that it succeeded for so long. I’m angry that it’s telling my fellow human beings that I am less than. I’m angry that it’s so hard to excise. I’m angry that my culture ushered it into my head, back when I was a tiny child with no defences or resistance or hatred. I’m angry that my culture is always ushering it into people’s heads, from the moment they’re born.

We are truly better than our kyriarchal prejudices. We all have them. We can fight them, but in this culture it’s impossible to ever be totally free of them. We can only work against them as actively as we can and hope that our minds will become poisonous for it.

Tolerance is useless as a way of working against it, mainly because it’s not working against it at all. It’s merely putting a veneer over the poison the kyriarchy is leaking into our minds. It’s better than hostility – but it’s never going to be a tool of anti-oppression, because it is passive. It doesn’t try to change anything about attitudes, only the person’s outward expression of those attitudes. And while those attitudes are there, the kyriarchy still has its claws dug deep into our mind and is still telling us all those lies, and we are still swallowing them.

If someone tells me they are tolerant of a group, warning bells start ringing. Because they’re not saying that they have stopped having negative attitudes to those people – only that they’ve stopped expressing them as hostility. That’s not right. And that’s certainly never going to end any oppressions.

Oh sure, it might seem to – but it won’t. Behind the scenes, the kyriarchy will still be spewing its lies into our heads, and those lies are going to make us treat the ‘tolerated’ ones differently. As the Other. As the Lesser. Even if we don’t notice, those lies are going to have their way.

So fuck tolerance.

We need resistance.

Verra quick post

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Internet, Personal
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Verra quick post that most people probably won’t get but never mind, I want to say it. (just to make this clear to folks I know offline, since I know you’re reading it – this has nothing to do with you.) I’m sorry, I have very little of substance to say at the moment but I’m so fucking tired and the world is a mess.

I am not ‘agender.’ I am agender. There is no quotes. There is no doubt. There is no reason to try to discredit me with quotes. I am agender, that’s all there is to it. It’s not a superpower, it’s not a curse. It’s just something I am. I didn’t make this up.

If you try to discredit me by putting who I am in quotation marks, do not expect me to engage with you. Do not fucking expect me to try to engage with your arguments when you can’t even fucking respect who I am. Don’t try to complain about silencing while trying to silence me by discrediting my identity. Just don’t fucking well do it. If you want me to engage, don’t put who I am in quotation marks. If folks can get over the impulse to discredit me, they’re welcome to email me – my email is scattered all over this site – and we can engage in a respectful discussion since as an activist, as an anti-kyriarchist, I am prepared to discuss issues people have with my views. Just don’t fucking try to engage while you’re subtly trying to discredit me by casting doubt on my self. I’ve heard that one too many times before.

‘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.

I don’t think…

Posted: September 11, 2010 in Gender, Internet
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…that I can really raise the profile of this article very much through this blog (very little traffic), but seriously – READ THIS. What Kinsey Hope is saying here needs to be said, and needs to be heard.