- felicia rembrandt
Do we still need to 'Smash the Patriarchy'?
Updated: Apr 14
By felicia rembrandt
When Gender Dissent began publishing in September 2021, our mandate was to uncover the money, power and influence behind the gender identity tsunami deluging Canada. We have been doing that, and we have made some progress in identifying the network of powerful people and agencies not just influencing but creating our government and institutional policies.
But, as I have been immersing myself in this research, I have come to realize that many of the people actively pushing gender ideology in Canada are not themselves pocketing millions of dollars. And it’s not just the heads of well-funded gender organizations doing the pushing. Social media reports suggest that hundreds, if not thousands, of schoolteachers, university educators, doctors, nurses and others are happily promoting this ideology.
And too many of them are women. We see this in Canada, as well as other western countries. We have to ask why women are promoting an ideology whose goal is to eradicate the female sex class, which will prevent women from mobilizing as a group to fight for our rights and our needs.
The only answer I can come up with is that the history of women’s oppression has been erased, the history of men’s aggressive denial of women’s rights has been erased, and even contemporary male violence against women is largely hidden.
Second wave feminism began as a “Women’s Liberation Movement” but eventually settled for “equality.“ That’s all women born after that wave had subsided know: they see they can get any education they want and pursue any job or profession they want, they can easily divorce a husband they are no longer happy with, and they can choose when to have a child or even if they want to at all.
In other words, younger women have been bewitched and lulled by the appearance of equality of opportunity.
The #metoo movement that erupted after the arrest of Harvey Weinstein in the US saw thousands of women reporting sexual harassment at work in all industries. That should have warned all women, young and old, that there was rot under the surface, that many men were all too eager to let women know that although they might have good careers, their most important role was still to serve and service men.
The gender cataclysm sweeping over us now is a continuation of historical male power exerted over women and children, a power that is sometimes in full view, and sometimes subterranean. It has gone underground in western countries in the last few decades, making it easy to forget about it. Those who do remember thought the male drive to dominate women had worn itself out. We thought men had realized the advantages of walking shoulder to shoulder with women. While that is certainly true of some men, it is clearly not true of all.
Maybe we have all been hijacked by the sudden flooding of porn into the phones and laptops of men and boys, corrupting and poisoning their attitudes toward both masculinity and femininity. Maybe without watching ubiquitous images of sexual violence against women, men would have adjusted their ideas of their roles in the world, of their “masculinity.”
The young women fleeing womanhood for pseudo masculinity do not believe women and men are equal. They don’t believe women hold power over themselves and their lives. They see power as masculine and hope to achieve it by mutilating their bodies to hide their womanhood.
There seems to be an overriding shame about the particulars of womanhood when it’s in confrontation with manhood posing as humankind. Are we ashamed to speak of the protections that women need in response to male power? How can we explain the capitulation of those few organizations set up years ago to help women – rape crisis centres, The Elizabeth Frye Society, the Women’s Legal Action and Education Fund (LEAF)? If the cause is not shame, then women have been manipulated into being uncritically “nice”. Compassion without discrimination is as dangerous as justice without mercy.
Whatever the causes of women’s complicity, it seems critical that we create a renewed feminist movement. I know people are tired of that word, along with its target, “patriarchy.” They have been used and used up over the past fifty years and have the quality of a soiled tissue. But throwing out the words will not throw out what the words refer to. Feminism, or feminist political philosophy, refers to a woman-centred way of viewing the world. It is no less necessary than the male-centred way that men look at the world.
The Canadian philosopher and novelist John Ralston Saul wrote in his 2001 book, On Equilibrium, drawing on the work of Immanuel Kant, “An incapacity to imagine the other implie[s] a lack of common sense. It is a form of ideology.”
That sounds like a fair description of patriarchy to me: an ideology of the dominant class, whose (male) members cannot imagine what it is to be a woman. Ralston went on to stress the need for humility in light of this incapacity. Maybe what I perceive as profound contempt for women is simply the sequela of that failure.
We see a masculine lack of imagination every day now as so many men reveal they think “woman” is merely the totality of clothing, makeup, and a submissive role in sex. Appearance and function.
One insight of postmodernism and of second-wave feminism was that we all see the world from our own particular vantage point. Men historically claimed they saw the world from a human standpoint and could look at objective reality, but we are all trapped in our own subjectivity, and can see only what we’ve learned to see. While the “Queer Patriarchy,” a term coined by Norwegian feminist Christina Ellingsen, pretends there is no such thing as truth or reality, its members are clearly trapped within a particular, narrow masculine perspective.
Second wave feminism opened up all kinds of opportunities for women and girls, and gave us unprecedented liberty to own our own lives. But we, both men and women, have failed to recognize the validity of women’s perspectives, women’s voices and women’s authority.
Typically when people gain education, experience and expertise in some field, they gain a sense of authority in that field. And the world recognizes their authority. This has not happened as it should in the case of women. Women continue to underestimate their abilities in comparison with men. People continue to grant men authority, while undervaluing women’s. Women professors are routinely rated as less competent than their male peers, even when their students do better in term-end testing. Women employed in customer support face routine time-consuming challenges, that men do not, from the customers they try to serve. Women resisting gender ideology volunteer their time while men who join the battle earn revenue from YouTube channels with a million followers.
Fifty years ago, nobody knew how the world would change when women were represented in all the professions. Now it’s time to take stock, and to focus on what has not changed.
American feminist Margaret Sanger warned in 1920 that simply to have the vote would not be enough: “…if after attaining their freedom, women accept positions in the spheres of government, art, industry, morals and religion as they find them, they will be but taking a leaf out of men’s book. The woman is not needed to do man’s work. She is not needed to think man’s thoughts.”
Is that not what has happened?
Women have entered the public world, but the systems we live within –the parliamentary, criminal justice, education, medical and economic systems -- all created by men and reflecting masculine values -- remain substantively unchanged. When women in power speak, they do not speak women’s thoughts from a woman-centred perspective. They make no claim to speak on behalf of women. And see how easily they can be silenced when they deviate at all from men’s thoughts?
We need both a woman’s perspective and a man’s perspective if we want to create a human civilization out of this patriarchy, queer and straight. We need to give both perspectives equal value and weight. Men cannot speak on behalf of humanity, much less on behalf of women. Only men and women together can speak on behalf of humanity. So let us speak as women. Let’s assert our own authority and affirm the authority of women who speak as women.
A rejuvenated feminism for the 21st century must make the recognition of women’s authority the goal. Especially, we must insist that only women have the authority to define and describe what it is to be a woman, what it is to live as a woman, and what protections women need from those more physically powerful.
Maybe women like Dr. Linda Blade are showing us the way as they form the International Consortium on Female Sport (ICFS). Confident in their own individual authority, they are banding together to insist they be regarded as the sole authority for women and girls in their discipline. Their press release makes explicit that “’the female voice’ must be represented at the table” whenever sports organizations get together to make decisions regarding eligibility at every level.
Nothing about us without us.
And now that we occupy the public realm, who can deny that everything is about us? With authority comes responsibility. Perhaps it is time for us, adult human females, to claim our authority in order to assume responsibility for transforming the brutality of patriarchy into a truly humane civilization.
In that case, we may look back and see that we gained liberation through service.
A new “sex realist” feminist organization has been created in the US to fight all the current threats to women: gender ideology, reproductive biotech, surrogacy, IA, transhumanism, new concepts of “the child” and queer theory. Check out their launch video:
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