If you are a Radical Feminist, do you really want to dismantle the patriarchy and rebuild society?

(45 Posts)

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuperB0F Tue 02-Oct-12 16:55:11

Can I have a cup of tea and a lie-down before I think about it?

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TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 02-Oct-12 17:05:41

Really good question! I think I'm more of a change from within person so I will watch with interest.

Yes, I would want that.

But not in a 'French revolution, heads rolling' kind of way.

I think a lot of the dismantling is only going to be obvious once we've done it and we're looking back. Like with the vote for women - that was actually a fairly gradual process, but we look back and it's seen as a single fight (because the impact for all of us now is so fundamental).

I'd love to think that in 2250 or whenever, people will be teaching children '... and this is how the world was before the patriarchy fell in [time not too far from 2012!]'. Rather like the Roman empire 'falling' ... it didn't literally happen all in one swoop, but once it had happened, the impact was huge.

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getmorenappies Tue 02-Oct-12 18:15:33

Gandhi achieved big changes without violence.

I think if all women acted as one and wanted to get rid of the patriarchy it could be done.

Mmm. I dunno. I would hope there wouldn't be bloodshed (we're more civilized than we were), and what I was getting at was, lots of things happened to contribute to the 'fall' that weren't bloody at all ... just gradual change and weakening of a sytem. But I don't want to push the parallel too much.

I think all the things we are doing, which people make a huge fuss about, do contribute to changes that will eventually be big. Like the way attitudes to rape keep being pushed to change.

Women not being legally owned by men is a huge bit of social change. But the steps leading up to it are quite gradual ... getting the vote, being allowed to marry who we want or not marry, being legally responsible for children, being able to work, laws on rape, etc. etc. I think we're still in the middle of this bit of change. But I think maybe in a couple of hundred years people will look back and interpret it as all part of one big, radical change in society, rather than a series of small steps.

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I don't think it is (but I get what you're saying).

I'm saying, I think even when a system is dismantled, it does happen from within. There is no 'outside' of the patriarchy.

But this may be me misunderstanding the terms.

I'd say I want it dismantled because I don't have any affection for the structures that are patriarchial, and I don't believe that we 'needed' the patriarchy in order to develop things like trade or economics - I think they would have developed differently outside the patriarchy, sure, but I don't worry that if we got rid of patriarchy, we would get rid of all the good stuff too.

Not sure if I am making sense here, I am interested to see what other people say.

msrisotto Tue 02-Oct-12 18:34:56

I really struggle with the idea of dismantling society, it's not an ikea bookshelf! So yeah, changing from within it is.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I have the same understanding of liberal and radical feminism. But I don't think we need to have a bloody rebellion in order for there to be change.

My understanding is that, after a lot of change, we'd look back and see that the root structure of society had been taken to pieces. It seems to me that, if we agree with live in a patriarchial society, all change is change from within - but it may be change that results in a complete restructuring.

<ties self in knots>

TeiTetua Tue 02-Oct-12 19:13:40

Maybe it's not a case of the radical saying "We need to see blood running in the streets" and the liberal saying "Oh no, we could never have that" (which might mean nothing much will happen).

It could be the radical saying "All this is evil, everything must change" while the liberal says "I want to change this and this and that" and by the time s/he is done, it amounts to most things anyway. But by presenting it as a series of steps which don't change society out of all recognition, it seems achievable and not too frightening to contemplate.

I think it might be like the difference between top-down and bottom-up thinkers - you know how some people think of all the changes they'd want to make that are near to them, and eventually those changes form up into a pattern? That's liberal. Whereas radicals are focussed on the structure, so they make changes that they think will most likely bring that structure down.

Someone mentioned recently, the example of radical feminists working with right-wing law makers, which seems like an odd thing to do, but which they knew would make the big structural changes they wanted to see.

Himalaya Tue 02-Oct-12 19:36:59

That bastard Gandhi?

Never mention That Bastard Ghandi.

<shudders>

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 19:46:35

Who knows how patriarchy would be dismantled? Obviously there is not a "right" answer to this. But if you think about major changes to systems - such as the change from a Feudal to a Capitalist system. The reality is there wasnt 1 revolution that overthrew it. Because these systems have many facets it was a long process.

Individual bits may have been violent e.g. challenging individual feudal landlords, but it wasnt a bloody revolution.

Similarly with the fall of communism. It wasnt one big battle. There were lots of individual challenges to it, some bloody some very peaceful.

Getting rid of patriarchy I suspect wont be 1 big bloody revolution. It will be a series of fights across many fronts. Some legal, some personal, some campaigns, etc. And it wont suddenly happen.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 02-Oct-12 19:48:59

I like your last post LRD, I can see how that could be a workable distinction that didn't require bloodshed.

I agree with this.

I think maybe it's hard for UK-based people to think about it, because we never had a fully feudal system, the Romans withdrew peacefully, and compared to lots of countries we didn't have a hugely bloody shift to Protestantism. And of course we still have a monarchy, we never rebelled against it. But I think it is true that revolution has to be a fight on many fronts.

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EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 20:17:55

Certainly there might be individual campaigns that are not peaceful. For example a demonstration that turns violent. But overall I think it will be a process of change over a few years. Because patriarchy is such an overarching system, its not like the bloody overthrow of a Government. It needs to be tackled on so many fronts.

MiniTheMinx Tue 02-Oct-12 20:26:27

I think Eats makes a great deal of sense on this, I don't see change as happening out of nowhere with one big bloody battle either. I think the conditions social and economic must be right. In the case of the peasants revolt, it came about because of some tax?? (I think) the revolt itself didn't actually over throw the feudal lords but because the peasants were in revolt at a time when there was a shortage of labour, the elite had to pay attention. So the social conditions of their lives were grim and the economic situation was one of empowered labour. Which makes me think that if anyone single act where to eventually "smash" the patriarchy without the support of allies women would already have to be in quite an empowered position, at least in some respects. As LRD points out in years to come they might look back and see just one single event as being the catalyst.

YY, I agree, I don't think the idea of non-peaceful campaigns bothers me.

It would be very hard to be a Saudi woman and not do things that were illegal, or disturbed the peace of that society - the fact is that women are living under a legal system where basic rights are not legal rights.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 20:47:50

Agree LRD. And i agree though that we are not talking about 1 bloody revolution. That is what people sometimes imagine - that we are going to stary handing out the guns and train an army. It wont happen that way.

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