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How to live with the despair and rage?

(49 Posts)
GoatsDoRoam Sun 17-May-15 21:01:49

You know: the crushing rage and despair that comes from knowing that I live in a patriarchy that does not wish me well (understatement).

What can I do with my raging sense of injustice and powerlessness? Engaging in feminist activism is one option, but I fear it would just crush me even further to have this at the forefront of my mind all the time. OTOH, head in sand is no longer an option, since what has been seen cannot be unseen.

So, is it possible (and if so, how), to achieve equanimity, while being a conscious feminist living in a patriarchy?

TheLily1957 Sun 17-May-15 21:40:50

I've been pondering this question for a while too goats. Especially since I have just lost a job that I loved because of an incompetent mysoginist, bully of a man. However I do think that activism helps, for me at least. Otherwise it makes me feel more powerless if I don't do anything at all.

GoatsDoRoam Sun 17-May-15 21:46:57

Lily - that's interesting to hear firsthand, and I can see how engaging in activism would address some of the feeling of powerlessness.

How much of your time do you devote to it? Do you consciously put your feminist awareness on dimmer when you're not actively engaging in activism? Do you feel you've reached a balance?

Sorry to hear about your job. That is shit.

TheLily1957 Sun 17-May-15 22:16:21

Thanks goats. I try to get to a local group as often. I go to conferences. I (used to) work with young women and try to introduce them to feminism. I do as much on line stuff as I can. I don't think I can ever put my awareness on dimmer no and yes that does make life difficult at times. Balance maybe yes I am lucky to be surrounded with a wonderful dh and two ds who are are a constant reminder that there are good men. They keep me from being consumed with rage as you describe. I do understand though how it can seem overwhelming but I think it best to channel that energy in to something positive.

TheLily1957 Sun 17-May-15 22:17:42

As often... _ as I can that should say.!

TheBlackRider Mon 18-May-15 10:01:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sausageeggbacon11 Mon 18-May-15 10:45:43

I have been a SAHM for several (lots of) years. But I have been able to choose to volunteer with groups. Firstly a group working on FGM awareness in Africa which doesn't need any battles fought internally because the arguments are easy to envisage. The fair trade charity I work with though can have problems as the third world farms have plenty of female workers but nearly all the owners are male. It is a fight to ensure the better wages go to everyone and not just the men on the plantations. Management would just push things through without checking how the money will be distributed down the chain but I do love to remind them. I have a comfortable life so issues others relate to I tend not to. The areas I volunteer in are driven by people I know and I guess life experience, even second hand, can make our minds up for us.

juwukk Mon 18-May-15 11:08:38

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Egged Mon 18-May-15 11:12:53

Juwukk, your 'consolation' involves a profound ignorance of the most google-able statistics on domestic violence. And I'd be very interested to hear any hard evidence to back up your assertion that women are more leniently sentenced for equivalent crimes. If that is what you are in fact saying, rather than spewing ill-considered, unfounded nonsense.

GoatsDoRoam Mon 18-May-15 11:15:23

Ach, don't feed it.

juwukk Mon 18-May-15 11:23:34

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juwukk Mon 18-May-15 11:26:14

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juwukk Mon 18-May-15 11:27:49

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juwukk Mon 18-May-15 11:29:19

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GoatsDoRoam Mon 18-May-15 11:31:21

I've found that fighting sexism where I find it fuels the rage, and the despair, since I'm fighting against something so implacable.

I spend a lot of my time on the Relationships board speaking to women in situations of domestic abuse, for example, and I find it does colour my mood: just being constantly aware of how pervasive and relentless this shit is. And therefore feeling powerless.

I suppose scaling down my ambitions would help: I can't bring down Patriarchy single-handedly, but I can do a few finite, achievable things, that help a handful of women, but do not change the entire system.

Still, I can't get my head around accepting a system of such injustice.

Egged Mon 18-May-15 11:34:51

You're right of course, Goats.

juwukk Mon 18-May-15 11:35:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

You're right Goats. Sometimes I wish I could return to ignorance, but once you open your eyes, you realise that we all take the choice of two undesirable states: to pretend we don't see it, and cooperate with the patriarchy, or spend our days fighting it. Shit options both.

GoatsDoRoam Mon 18-May-15 11:43:52

I'm wondering if the 3d option is: see it, but don't let it stop you in your tracks. Even though you know it's unjust and unfair and totally shit, forge onwards to achieve whatever it is you wanted to achieve in the first place.

I guess I've been derailed by wanting to fight The Patriarchy itself: I was just on my merry way, and it cropped up its ugly head, and Bm! I was floored. I now I want to defeat it - which means I am no longer on my original path.

Much as we on these threads are so often goaded into conversations with the MRAs who crop up, instead of carrying on our conversation... wink

Is that the answer? Accept that there's a violent hindrance to our self-actualisation, and press grimly on anyway?

GoatsDoRoam Mon 18-May-15 11:55:28

Except, of course, that Patrirchy isn't comparable to a troll popping up: it's an entire system, and we live inside it.

DawnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-May-15 12:39:09

Sorry to butt in. Just letting you know that we've zapped a few posts by a previously banned poster.

As you were...

Yops Mon 18-May-15 13:06:16

We are it, aren't we? All of us? The Patriarchy is just another name for Society. It's the set of rules we live by. It isn't a thing set up by any one person. It is there because of the things we all do, every day. Is that what you are angry and raging at - everyone and everything?

Anger only makes you ill. Sausage has the right idea - positive action that assists someone worse off than yourself.

Jackieharris Mon 18-May-15 13:17:15

Try to find some irl feminist friends to help you through the hard times.

JassyRadlett Mon 18-May-15 13:21:30

I suppose scaling down my ambitions would help: I can't bring down Patriarchy single-handedly, but I can do a few finite, achievable things, that help a handful of women, but do not change the entire system.

I think I've done this, a little bit. I try to do the things I can and make the difference I can - particularly in my (male-dominated) workplace, where challenging assumptions and trying to effect organisational change is desperately needed, I'm in a position where I can influence things, and while I may only be able to change things a bit for a handful of people - well, those people have homes, partners, kids who they're imparting values to, and may go on to other workplaces knowing that misogynist rubbish isn't 'the norm' or 'necessary'.

I'm angry at myself, often, that I'm not doing as much active, external campaigning work as I did when I was younger.

It's rubbish, particularly because the change we need covers all the three types of campaigning goals - raising awareness, changing attitudes and changing behaviour (the toughest of all).

But I do think that the small stuff is cumulative. The more of us who are chipping away at the 'small stuff' that we 'shouldn't worry about because it's so minor' - well, we're helping to raise awareness, change an attitude, or maybe even change a behaviour in a way that is beneficial in the long run.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 18-May-15 13:25:34

OP, I think a change of mindset might help. There will be no smashing or bringing down the patriarchy. To believe that this is the only way to bring about change will bring about despair, rage and feelings of powerlessness. Because it can't be done.

However society does change. Indeed our society has changed radically wrt women in the past 150 years. Use your knowledge to spread the word, teach your children, make your friends more aware. Challenge sexism and misogyny where and when you see it. You can't bring down the patriarchy, but you can help change it, one day, one person and one campaign at a time.

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