Respondent 153

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

The dominant system that privileges certain ideals of gender roles and creates a power dynamic.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

One way amongst many – early in my life I dated a girl who had been sexually abused by men in her family, one of whom worked for the police force. There was no question of her trying to tell anyone about what had happened – it was inconceivable. (And now to make her story all about me.) Finding out about that, at such a formative age, left me terrified of my own sexuality, my own masculinity.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

One way amongst many – I used to date women who I thought of as “broken.” I used to feel like I could save/fix them if I loved them enough. I believed in this “White Knight” fairytale ideal. But 1) that’s a horrible attitude. 2) you don’t “fix/save” people and 3) it left me feeling like I was really owed something. Hello? I’ve turned up and I’m loving you. Now be fixed for me, please! (The worst, consistently the worst I’ve ever behaved in my life has been when I’ve felt entitled to things – that’s when I’ve been most ignorant of the feelings around me.)

How would you define masculinity?

Sometimes, when I’m cycling, and I realise I’m about to be overtaken by a woman on her bike, I start peddling that bit faster. I think much of masculinity is in there somehow – it’s orienting myself in relation to another’s gender. it’s shame. it’s physical prowess. it’s being a dick to someone else because they’re undermining my own sense of identity.

Does misandry exist?

Yes

But! We live in a complicated world. Look, it’s like a tug of war in three dimensions. And we all win if we all get to a place of freedom, dignity and harmony. And some of us are all “We must pull towards freedom.” And others of us are all “but you’re pulling us away from harmony!” and other people are trying to set the definition of “dignity” in concrete so it’s just how they like it and nobody can move it around. And that’s the world we live in, and we only see tiny, distorted corners of it. But I believe in that place of harmony, freedom and dignity, and that’s why we’ve got to keep pulling.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

What best describes you?

A feminist

A feminist. Unless! I feel like that’s staking a claim on a word women would rather keep for themselves, in which case an ally. But that’s very context sensitive.