I was thinking about writing a bunch of basic information about patriarchy and why it’s killing the earth and everyone on it, but then realized all that information is already out there on sites like everydayfeminism, feministing, Bitch Media, Ms. Magazine and etc., not to mention numerous personal blogs. So I’ve decided instead to write about POP culture — in language I hope everybody can understand.
We live in POP culture, a culture in which People of Power (POP) have created and continue to recreate an environment that benefits them at the cost of deprivation for everyone else. We’ve lived in POP culture for pretty much 5000 years, give or take a few centuries. In this sort of culture, POP names the values which everyone has to adopt, sets rewards and punishments for everyone’s behavior, and assigns everyone a role. The number one value in POP culture is hierarchy, and everyone’s status is set somewhere in the ladder that stretches from POP down to slave. Hierarchy is important: without it, POP could not exist.
In almost every case of beginning POP culture, males have been the ones to become POP. This is why POP culture is often called patriarchy. Patriarchy comes from the word patriarch, which means father. Unfortunately too many men equate patriarchy smashing with male bashing. I’m not sure why that is, since so few men are patriarchs. On the other hand, everyone understands the problem with the one percent, as we can call the rich and powerful now that we know one percent of the world’s population controls something like 95 per cent of the earth’s resources. Think of POP as the one percent, and forget gender for a bit. It’s possible for a female to be POP.
In all cultures there is a hierarchy of values. People value certain behaviours and characteristics more than others. And there are behaviours and characteristics that people despise. In POP culture, POP has maintained a division of human characteristics. Certain personality qualities are considered “masculine” and others are called “feminine”. The ones that POP calls “masculine” are considered good and important and those it labels “feminine” are considered to be of much lesser value.It’s not hard to find the reason why: “masculine” qualities allow POP to flourish, “feminine” ones would destroy POP.
In step two of this process of culture creation, the so-called “masculine” qualities are required of males. Men and boys are both allowed and required to possess “masculine” qualities. And those qualities the culture considers feminine are downloaded onto females. Women and girls are both allowed and required to be “feminine”.
Notice that there is no direct and necessary relationship between the category “masculine” and actual males, nor between the category “feminine” and females. Nobody knows – nobody has yet been able to determine — what qualities, if any, are correlated with the biochemical soup of males, or of females. But the process of making biological males and females into “masculine” and “feminine” creatures begins at or perhaps even before birth. It stunts men and it stunts women.
But the division of all possible human attributes into two categories, with the subsequent elevation of one category and the demeaning of the other, does much more harm than that. It is the root cause of all wars, murders, rapes, the gangsterism toward which men are prone, the whoredom toward which women are prone, and it will kill the planet.