Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Woman Haters

Sunday Morning Sermon Feb 3 2013

The damage inflicted on women by the many diverse patriarchal systems that have been in existence on this planet, and still prevails across the globe, is beyond any decent human imagination. The subjugation of women is a history of disavowal and hegemony manifested in the denial of their legitimate human rights and in their deprivation from infinite possibilities for advancement and self assertion.  The legal and social injustices that have plagued women throughout history, and still continue to deprive them of many basic rights today, are nothing but the manifestation of a the many prevailing belief systems that have been pushed down peoples throats and has been afflicting the minds of humanity for centuries.

The real cruelty incurred by the patriarchy lies not in its potential for coercion, nor in the weight of the restriction and prohibition imposed on women.  The real crime committed against women resides in the way the male-dominated system dispossess them from the right to define themselves and be independent. The reality on the ground is not just physical coercion but an intellectual holocaust.

It must be distressing for any human being to perceive themselves through the spectacles of a hater or a foe and this does not simply apply only to men. Nevertheless, it is much more difficult for women to discover themselves through the eyes of an abusive system that considers them as living beings who have to be dependent on man, bereft of volition and always punishable whenever the stability of the prevailing patriarchy is at stake.
When one looks at humanity from the outside, it becomes very clear that this de-personalization of women has originated, basically, from religion and culture, from within all societies.  It is also surprising to witness how this injustice could still persist and prevail, even in the 21 century, today. The chauvinist narrative has certainly gained a character of universality with few discrepancies in its oppressive nature using its religion as its basis of justification across cultures.
Individuals usually acquire an array of norms, values, patterns of behavior and lifestyles that frame their mind, through the process of socialization. People develop incrementally using the ways of their societies in order to exist and grow within a complex network of relationships, learning, and even brainwashing.. This situation may, generally, give the misleading impression that it is a process of a natural transmission totally immune from any kind of manipulation or oppression.
The dowry systems, very commonly seen among oriental groups, is a gross example of the diminished value that is put on a woman head, especially when she is to be married. Ownership of property and wealth is another. Inheritance also deprives many women of their rightful shares. Physical and sexual abuse are usually directed towards women much more than men. Unfair status and pay at work is another which is even prevalent in the so called "emancipated" western world.
The concept of “honor” (prevalent in many oriental societies) has been shaped primarily by patriarchal paradigms mostly by the teachings of Religions. In these conservative societies women are burdened by a strict code of conduct that oppresses their gender. Despite the fact that religions do try to lay great emphasis on virtue for both genders, the patriarchal system stubbornly considers virtue  as a female attribute par excellence while men can slip through the net of moral accountability in total impunity.  
The clamor to restrict women’s behavior stems for the idea that women are a “constant threat” that should be harnessed in order to sustain the system’s stability and durability.
In this regard, it is worth asking why is the patriarchal system on the defensive every time the advocacy of women’s full emancipation is made. What kind of threat do women pose for this male- dominated world?
For the patriarchal system, women’s intellectual awakening is as troubling as the return of a partner who claims their share of profits after a long absence. Any system founded on treachery and injustice must show concern dubbed with hostility towards claims of accountability. Thus, women’s presence in the public domain and their growing emancipation is a threat to conservative minds and a challenge to their sense of control and patronage.
The deconstruction of chauvinistic thought is by no means an attempt to antagonize men and women for they cannot possibly be made foes despite all the injustices incurred in the long course of patriarchal history. Despite the presence of evidence of oppression against women, hatred cannot and should not be the expected outcome of this discourse.
As long as the resentment of patriarchal hegemony is not a matter of wide consensus among women themselves, the only option left for enlightened women is to negotiate their existence again with their oppressor and indispensable partner. In their turmoil, these women become transient beings like butterfly larvae that have to undergo another metamorphosis before they become recognizable to themselves, and, before they can spring their colorful wings and fly up high into the sky.

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