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I would like to thank a recent commenter here on DWR for the placement of a tidy swarm of bees squarely in my bonnet. The honour, of course, goes to Godless Cranium for this nugget of wisdom shared on a previous thread:
“And I’m not saying sexism doesn’t exist or doesn’t play a factor sometimes, but I don’t think it’s as pervasive as you think, and I certainly don’t think all men are oppressors like patriarchy theory demands we believe.”
Before you can say “not all men…” check that thread for my response, I have it covered – but I think such a clearly stated denouncement of the patriarchal nature of our society requires a response with a little more… hmm… vibrancy than just a text based reply.
As chance would have it, current political events in my dear home province of Alberta have served up a glorious(?) example of the sexist and patriarchal attitudes that continue to flourish in our society.
The political event that I refer to is the leadership race for the Alberta provincial Progressive Conservative party. As of November 8th, the women who were in the race have both dropped out citing extensive misogynistic threats and physical and social intimidation.
“The only two women vying for the leadership of Alberta’s PC Party have both dropped out of the race.
Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans — socially progressive voices within the party — both gave notice on Tuesday that they were withdrawing.
Jansen, the PC MLA for Calgary-Northwest, cited intimidation and harassment for her decision.”
“In all of that time, I have never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend in Red Deer.”
Hmm. What is going on in the upper political echelons of our political class?
“In the release Jansen said she has been harassed online and her social media feeds have been “filled with filth.” The final straw in Red Deer was when “insults were scrawled on my nomination forms.”
“Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”
Hey now, politics is a rough and tumble affair, one should expect to face slings and arrows – it is a part of the process. I mean male politicians get the same calibre of flak, right?
“Sandra should stay in the kitchen where she belongs.”
“What a traitorous bitch.”
“Now you have two blond bimbos in a party that is clueless.”
“Dumb broad, a good place for her to be is with the rest of the queers.”
Let’s listen to what she has to say about the harassment she, like other women, face every day.
“Jansen was highlighting an issue that is bigger than her experience, according to Nancy Peckford of Equal Voice Canada.
“The vast majority of elected women are encountering some sort of misogynistic behaviour, online bullying, or harassment on a fairly regular basis,” she said.
“I think what’s very disturbing for Equal Voice is the misogynistic and sexist undertones and explicit commentary that’s used to diminish women’s contributions to public life and also undermine the confidence and the leadership female elected officials are offering.”
The misogyny she is experiencing is systemic, it happens everywhere all the time. Watch as Ms. Jansen explains her motivations as to why she made her speech. It is a damning look at how patriarchal our society actually is.
“Other women have also spoken out about the sexism they encounter in public life, including Conservative MP Michelle Rempel.
“The everyday sexism I face involves confronting the ‘bitch’ epithet when I don’t automatically comply with someone’s request or capitulate on my position on an issue,” she wrote in a National Post opinion article in April.
“It involves my ass being occasionally grabbed as a way to shock me into submission. It involves tokenism. It involves sometimes being written off as not serious when I’ve clearly proven I am.”
“That combination of the immediacy and the anonymity means that it’s sort of exploded into a new culture of pretty vicious, vitriolic attacks,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the attacks are particularly vicious toward women, and the attacks against women aren’t just violent, they’re sexualized violence. So it’s quite disturbing to see that some people will behave in this way, and it’s a challenge for our political culture to respond effectively to it.
She hopes more and more people will come together to condemn misogyny in politics and said it’s important for party leaders to forcefully and unequivocally reject the attacks.”
Yep. Misogyny needs to be addressed and kept in the spotlight, not only as the struggle for this generation but also the next generation of women and girls to show that having political aspirations (or professional ones) doesn’t mean facing a constant stream of harassment and misogyny.
But wait! There is more! Let’s go to another profession and and listen as Danielle Campbell describes what women have to face if they want to join the Police.
“Danielle Campbell walked into the canine unit 20 years ago as the first female graduate of the Edmonton Police Service dog handler program.
She faced insults, taunts and the reek of urine on her belongings.
“When I was in the unit they drew Xs on my eyes and they drew cocks around my face, a whole bunch of them … they would urinate on my gear.
‘It was ridiculous,” she said, referring to how a picture of her and her dog was defaced. “The sergeant in charge did nothing about it. Nothing.”
Campbell, 51, is no longer a police officer with EPS. She ended her 27-year-career in August 2016 when she resigned as deputy chief of police, the highest rank achieved by a woman within the city’s police force.”
The common saying is that women have to work twice as hard to get half as far ahead in society. Danielle Campbell is the embodiment of this, as her hard work and dedication – her proficiency at the job – eventually fought her way to the level of Deputy Chief of Police.
“A high-ranking officer in the human resources division told her she had to sign a document saying she wouldn’t get pregnant.
She was also told she could never become a dog handler because of her gender due to concerns over her menstrual cycle affecting the dog.
“I burst out laughing. But he didn’t laugh with me, he was dead serious,” she said.
“I just stood up and I said ‘This conversation is over. You have absolutely no empirical data to support that. That is just ridiculous,’ and I walked out. And to be honest with you that’s when I thought I was going to be fired.”
She wasn’t fired and neither was the officer or officers who sent her a Barbie doll in the mail, noose around its neck with the note: “No split tails in the dog unit, take a hint bitch.”
So yeah, I’m thinking there might be something to it when women say there is a culture of harassment and misogyny that makes their careers and lives more difficult than it needs to be.
“I really believe that so much has improved, and there’s so much more support for diversity and inclusivity and gender equality.
“But we’re not fully there yet,” she said, adding what she sees happening in the United States and, closer to home, in Alberta politics, is concerning.”
Please note the sentence – “we’re not there yet”. This is the key right here. Liberal dudes are so very quick to say the need for feminism is over, or sexism isn’t that bad, or that prevalent. Dudes… *you* don’t get to say any of that shit. When we hear it from women, then, and only then, can we declare sexism to be ‘over’ and no need for feminism.
It’s not your call. Stop trying to make it your call, it isn’t always all about you.
Have you considered your patriarchal stereotypes today? Let’s take a peek at a few.
The game plan is the same, whether it be poverty of racism or the poverty of patriarchy. Poor whites were given just a smidgen more social and economic power that the poor blacks in the USA – enough to make the us vs. them categorization viable. The will of the oppressor is carried forth on the backs of those he oppresses, whether it be the handmaidens of patriarchy or the poor white people, historically speaking.
“The system of patriarchy can function only with the cooperation of women. This cooperation is secured by a variety of means: gender indoctrination, educational deprivation; the denial to women of knowledge of their history; the dividing of women, one from the other, by defining “respectability” and “deviance” according to women’s sexual activities; by restraints and outright coercion; by discrimination in access to economic resources and political power; and by awarding class privileges to conforming women.”
This is the same RCMP that just got its ass sued for $100 million dollars because of its misogynistic treatment of women. A quick snip from that story –
“We hurt you. For that, I am truly sorry.”
Those were the words from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to every woman who was ever harassed, belittled, demeaned or assaulted in the RCMP, as he announced a stunning $100 million compensation package at a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.
“It’s an acknowledgement of the culture that has existed since its inception,” said Catherine Galliford.”
So, one of the most iconic and venerable institutions in Canada – one that is supposed to uphold the LAWS OF THE LAND and stand on the side of justice – also happens to be rife with patriarchal misogyny (the cosmic background radiation of our society). And they just admitted it. This settlement will get its own post, of course, but it helps set the stage for the other story which is the focus of this post.
Let’s mull over this headline and article from the Calgary Sun.
Male Mounties Launched Suicide Pool for Bullied Female co-worker, Lawsuit Claims
“One of the first female members of the RCMP Musical Ride was bullied, hazed and sexually abused by her male colleagues to the point they launched a suicide pool and took bets on when she would kill herself, according to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
It was like a dream come true for Caroline O’Farrell when, at 25 years old, she was accepted to the famed Mountie Musical Ride.
But the dream quickly became a nightmare.
The alleged abuse from 1986 to 1987 included being repeatedly doused with cold water and then dragged face down by the arms and legs through stall shavings which included horse urine and manure. Others would then kick the wood chips, dirt, urine and feces onto O’Farrell’s head and body.
One of the hazings allegedly occurred just before her bachelorette party.
In one humiliating episode, her male colleagues locked her in a tack room and held a mock trial – including costumes, a judge, prosecutor and defence lawyer – and demanded she give them her underwear.
In another incident in 1987, a fellow RCMP officer stuck his finger out of the fly of his pants and stuck it near her ear as she slept while another member filmed it, the lawsuit alleged.”
Shit like this is what patriarchy is for women. It is systemic attack on their worth as human beings and it happens in nearly every facet of society. Patriarchy is ubiquitous and sadly remains fundamental to our society. Did you know what the best part is? Dudes that deny the existence of patriarchy – it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake – we certainly don’t need feminism calling out the grave injustices against women and fighting to change them. (/s …FML)
Let’s look to AuntieWanda for feminist analysis of this situation.
“Oh but women just aren’t suited for law enforcement, that’s why there aren’t that many women in the fiel-” SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH IN MALE DOMINATED CAREERS.
Even those who are charged with protecting others will savagely use their power against women in horrific ways. And this was a member of their team. Imagine what sort of abuses these assholes subjected ordinary folks to.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police started a suicide pool because of their abuses and torture of their fellow officer. It is not like they did not know the damaging effects of what they were doing, they made a fucking game out of it.
Beyond that, their conduct only lost O’Farrell her position. She was removed “for her safety”.
They [the higher ups] were aware of the problem, but instead of actually punishing those responsible, they punished the victim. They remove women from these positions for their own safety, but allow the perpetrators of violence and humiliation to keep their positions.
What does that say other than “Women don’t belong here”? What does that say other than “You will be hurt and abused by us and the only one punished for it will be you, by losing your job”?
And people wonder why there are still male-dominated fields, people blame women for not being interested, for not being strong enough, for not being able to handle positions of power. People blame women for their own abuses at the hands of the men in these fields, for them losing their jobs, for them leaving of their own volition when the situations are so much more complicated and horrific than any of that implies.
No one who knew of what was happening deserves to still be an officer. Even if they didn’t participate, if they did not fight against what was happening with every ounce of their power, if they didn’t stand up for their fellow officer and denounce the abuses she was facing, if they never spoke up or if they helped cover up it doesn’t matter, they do not deserve their position of power if that is how they will use it.
This is the most frustrating thing. “Well why don’t women just go into those fields then?” This is why. Because men will threaten, harass, and even physically assault us for having the audacity of wanting particular careers.
Why aren’t more women in construction, the military, law enforcement etc.? This is fucking why. Men make us fear for our lives.”
Well said Wanda. Any questions?