couple of weeks ago, I spent some time browsing around Left Bank Books
("A worker owned collective") near Seattle's Pike Place Market, and I ended up buying a paperback entitled The Gender Knot: Unravelling Our Patriarchal Legacy
(by Allan G. Johnson - Temple University Press, 1997, 2005). If you are looking for a comprehensive, state-of-the-art "Patriarchy 101" handbook from the feminist-subjective
point of view, you'll find this to be a worthwhile read. Because, you know, it is always smart to hear your enemy explain himself in his own words
—so you can learn to "think behind" him!
So, I wolfed my way through the book like a hoagie and, sandwiched between doing other things, this took me about two days. And now the pages are well-marked with yellow highlightings and pencilled notations in the margins. We autodidacts are voracious gluttons in our quest for knowledge, let me tell ya! ;)
As for the book: it was impressive. At first. But then, you know the ancient wisdom about first impressions. Yes, although I was initially
overwhelmed by the author's command of language and argument, it didn't take long for me to see that it was just another sample of feminist literature — and we all know what that
means! The book was oozing with ambiguity and half-truth, perverse distortion and falsification of life, badly grounded assumption and flawed interpretation, cracked syllogism and chain-linked circular argument, below-the-belt emotional manipulation, inflated definition, and so on.
Defending yourself against these propaganda bombardments is like fighting off a bee swarm with an ice-pick! In the long run, the only method that will serve us is to grow a thick hide, to be cynical as hell, and to invent new weapons and unexpected strategies. So let us adjourn to our think tanks. In the meantime, I share with you the following snippet from pages 169-170:
"Prejudice against women, however, has deep and far-reaching consequences that do a lot more than make them feel bad, for it supports an entire system that privileges men at women's expense. Sexist prejudice doesn't just target individual women, for it is fundamentally about women and strikes at femaleness in every instance. Each expression of antifemale prejudice always amounts to more than what is said, for it reaffirms a cultural legacy of patriarchal privilege and oppression. When a particular woman is treated as less intelligent, less serious, and less important than the men she works with, for example, this specific view of her is easily linked to the patriarchal idea that women in general are inferior to men. . ."
So, does Allan Johnson mean to inform us that prejudice against MEN does not have "deep and far-reaching consequences"? Or that it does not support an entire system that privileges women
expense? Or that sexist prejudice against MEN does not strike against maleness in every instance? Or that antiMALE prejudice (or any prejudice for that matter) does not
"amount to more than what is said". Or that antiMALE prejudice does not
reaffirm a "legacy" of any kind, or least a present reality
of any kind? And what precisely makes a "legacy" worse than a present reality?
And if a particular woman is treated as "less intelligent, less serious, and less important than the men she works with", could it be at least theoretically possible
that she as a person objectively IS, in veritable fact, all of those unflattering things? And IF that were the case, would it then
be correct to aver that such treatment is due to "prejudice", or should we rather suppose that it issues from a considered judgment a posteriori?
And supposing the negative evaluation were indeed warrantable, hence non-prejudicial, does it therefore follow that a plain mental acknowledgment of the facts
ought to be suppressed from our awareness for fear it might somehow be "linked" (easily or otherwise) to the supposed "patriarchal idea"? Or is it rather the case, that said "linkage" would occur only
if the evaluation were prejudicial, and not otherwise?
All of these, and many similar points of analysis, are routinely glossed over by Mr. Allan Johnson in the course of his book. If I had enough time and patience, and nothing more important to do, I could eviscerate the entire goddamn thing cover to cover
— all 243 pages of it!
That's the hell of it; I don't have time for such things. Really, none of us do! And the enemy knows this, and is banking on our inexorable fatigue in the face of their soaring (and exponentially propagating) Tower of Babble! We simply haven't got enough shovels, or shovellers, to turn aside their copious river of bullshit!!
And so I am willing to "surrender", as Faith
would say, and take the line of least resistance to Allan Johnson's programme! Very simply, I mean that I will not target any individual woman with sexist prejudice.
I think that is just and reasonable, and I am quite willing to go along with such a standard. I mean it. Nothing in my comportment toward any female will target femaleness.
There shall be no antifemale prejudice emanating from ME, since I adamantly don't want my words to "amount to more than what is said". On the contrary, I want my words to mean exactly what they mean
—no more and no less! ;)
So I certainly don't believe, no, not for one second, that women in general
are inferior to men. I believe, rather, that they are inferior to men only one woman at a time!
And that is an enormous difference. So, if I decide to "strike at" a woman it is never, but NEVER ,"about women" — depend upon it!
However, if I decide to strike at a feminist,
then yes, in that case, it is indeed about feminists!