Let’s Make 2013 The Year We Tell The Patriarchy To GFI

Because, seriously, last November:

“Pressure mounted Thursday for the Irish government to draft a law spelling out when life-saving abortions can be performed – a demand that came after a pregnant woman who was denied an abortion died.

Activists protested Thursday night in Belfast a day after thousands rallied in London, Dublin, Cork and Galway in memory of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist who died a week after doctors said she was starting to miscarry her 17-week-old fetus.

Despite her rising pain, doctors refused her request for an abortion for three days because the fetus had a heartbeat. She died in the hospital from blood poisoning three days after the fetus died and was surgically removed.”

She was miscarrying. She was in horrible pain. And they let her die to make the Catholic Church happy.

And then, of course:

“Her boss found her too irresistible. He complained that if she saw his pants bulging, she was dressing inappropriately. He texted to ask how frequently she experienced orgasm. He said that, for a woman with a body like hers, not to have sex often was like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.


All of this may seem ridiculous. Indeed, it seemed sufficiently ridiculous for Nelson to take her former boss to court with the intention of suing him for sex discrimination. But the all-male panel of seven judges in the Iowa district court, which threw the case out on 21 December, saw nothing amiss. As far as Judge Mansfield was concerned, to allow a case for sex discrimination in this instance would stretch the definition of discrimination.

The judges’ rationale was that the employer was motivated by emotions, above all by his commitment to his marriage, and not by gender prejudice. “Ms Nelson was fired not because of her gender but because she was a threat to the marriage of Dr Knight,” the judgment says – thus identifying the blameless employee as the problem, rather than the wayward behaviour of Dr Knight.

The assumptions and the nature of the inferences made in the court’s judgment all reinforce patriarchy in its dominant “family values” register. It consistently identifies the victim as the problem. It alludes to allegations by Knight’s wife that Nelson flirted with her boss. Yet all the specific evidence it describes shows that Nelson put up with, rather than instigated or encouraged, flirting.


Despite acknowledging that the situation as such can occur only in a relationship between male employers and female employees, that gender does indeed occupy the key determining place, the court refused to “stretch the definition of discrimination” that far. Essentially, even if an employee is at no fault, as long as she is female this is just one of the burdens she has to bear. The responsibility is on her, not her male employer, to safeguard against eroticism – on pain of being fired.

At each step, Knight, his pastor and, to an extent, his wife – and certainly the Iowa district court – fell back on and fortified a particular knot or intersection of power (business, family and church). This knot might be called capitalist patriarchy. And its full arsenal – political, moral, legal, cultural – has just been placed behind sexist employers.”

And then this horrifying story:

Can we talk about rape culture now? Yes, we can, because it’s India. But here are the 1o factors identified as part of the rape culture there:

  1. Few female police
  2. Not enough police in general
  3. Blaming provocative clothing (whatever the f!@# that means)
  4. Acceptance of domestic violence
  5. Lack of public safety for women
  6. Stigmatization of the victims
  7. Encouraging the victims to compromise (marry your rapist!)
  8. Sluggish court system
  9. Few convictions
  10. Low status of women

How many of these would apply to our enlightened Western societies? After all, we do have a rape culture as well. It may take different forms but it is there all right… and forcefully denied as well. If you don’t believe it, go read this. The whole thing. And then, look at popular culture and media. It’s not hard to find.

And how can we not end 2012 with some Papal homophobia and misogyny?

“The pope is a social issues guy, more interested in themes like “traditional” family values, gay marriage and abortion than, say, helping the poor. And the Vatican is quick to slap down anyone – but especially any women, and particularly women who have the nerve to think of themselves as equal to men – who focuses on helping the most in need, instead of crusading against abortion and gay people. As far as the Church is concerned, advocating for the equal participation of women is “radical feminism” worthy of condemnation; pushing for legislation that kills gay people is worthy of a blessing.

Yes, that’s correct: just around the same time the pope was drafting his first tweet, he met with Ugandan parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who had earlier promised to level the death penalty for gays as a “Christmas present” to the Ugandan people (minus, one assumes, the Ugandans who will be murdered because of their sexual orientation). She received a private audience with the pope, and a blessing.


As society has progressed, the Church has responded by digging its heels in to maintain outdated, misogynist social norms. And it has long used women’s bodies as a tool through which to exercise control in the face of waning influence. Now, gay people are being subjected to the same treatment. As the Church continues to recover from the international pedophilia scandal that its priests perpetrated and the entire institution covered up, and as the world’s population increasingly flees from formal religionthe pope is saying that two men or two women falling in love threatens world peace.

A Twitter feed can’t modernize an institution so out of touch with reality, with progress and with widely-accepted human rights norms.”

So, let’s make 2013 the year we tell patriarchs in all shapes and forms to GFT, shall we?

4 thoughts on “Let’s Make 2013 The Year We Tell The Patriarchy To GFI

  1. Pingback: [FORUM] Will globalized feminism take off in 2013? « A Bit More Detail

  2. Pingback: The Global Sociology Blog - Let’s Make 2013 The Year We Tell The Patriarchy To GFI | Patriarchy & Masculinity | Scoop.it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *