“Patriarchy damages every last one of us, that this damage influences how we act and who we are, and that we should work to correct this damage, if only to live life as honestly as possible under Patriarchy.
Another way of coping with this damage is to pretend that the damage is avoidable or to neutralize/sanitize it. In other words, to lie to ourselves and pretend that we control how Patriarchy damages us.
If Patriarchy is avoidable, then wouldn’t it all behoove us to avoid it? If there was an anti-Patriarchy Spray we could use to sanitize woman-hating imagery, why wouldn’t we?”
In an Opt-In system, a Person must voluntarily decide to participate in an activity. So, for example, some states have laws that require consumers to affirmatively Opt-In to receiving telemarketing phone calls. If you don’t Opt-In, you CANNOT receive telemarketing calls.
Opt-In only works if you have an actual choice as to whether or not to participate in an activity. And even then, it doesn’t work well (although consumer advocates prefer Opt-Ins to Opt-Outs, because the Opt-In at least has the illusion of control).
Living in Patriarchy is not an Opt-In system. You cannot Opt-In to this thing that is so insidious, that we are born into, that many of us never even consider in our lives. If there is an Opt-In, it happens when you are born – and of course, no one “chooses” to be born. You just are born, soaking in Patriarchy.
So, no. There is no Opt-In.
So what about an Opt-Out? Can you really create a Patriarchy-Free Bubble?
Patriarchy Free Bubble?
In an Opt-Out system, you, the individual, need to take an affirmative action to removeyourself from an activity. So, by way of analogy, consumers can Opt-Out of receiving telemarketing calls by registering their telephone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. That is, the DEFAULT is that you WILL participate in an activity, and only through an affirmative act on your part can you (hopefully) decline participation (although anyone who had registered on the Do Not Call Registry probably knows how poorly it works).
So, is Patriarchy an Opt-Out System?
Well, for certain the default is that you WILL participate in Patriarchy. Patriarchy is all around us.
Can you make a choice to escape from Patriarchy?
No. You can pretend that Pimp Slap means something other than violence against Women by Men, and you can pretend that your home is a Patriarchy-Free Zone, but these are defense mechanisms, wishes, hopes, dreams. The fantasy of an Opt-Out – the escape hatch – is just a trick that allows you to believe that there is an escape if only, if only, if only.
“Porn isn’t bad when it’s made by Us. BDSM is feminist when we do it. Misogynystic language is ok when I say it because reasons.”
It is understandable that Women want to control, to manage, to decide what happens to us. I get it. Try to “reclaim” slurs like Whore, Bitch, Slut. It’s “empowering.” Sure. If you are getting objectified anyway, do it “on your own terms.” Feminist porn is not like “the really bad porn.”
Except it doesn’t work. Pretending words aren’t rooted in Male Violence against Women, pretending that you can create a Patriarchy-Free Bubble, making “feminist” porn – these are an individual coping strategies. They do not represent a path to liberation of the class of Women – because in order to “work,” we’d all have to lie to ourselves and all decide to believe the delusions (kind of like Gender Identity).
You can live your life in a bubble, if you choose. You can also develop a drinking problem. But please don’t expect the rest of us to go along with your delusions or pretend that you aren’t an alcoholic.
The least you can do for Women is to be honest.
Read more: There is No Opt-In; You Cannot Opt Out by Cathy Brennon