I grew up surrounded by women who hated men. Perhaps they did not all hate men, all of them, all the time, but a lot of them did. They also loved them… a lot – sometimes too much. It was an ironic dichotomy that I did not quite understand as a child. These women that I grew up with, had been part of “the movement” in the 70s and had experienced the restraint and limits of growing up in the shadow of fathers, brothers and male teachers.
They often had experienced and how they were taught to be ashamed of their sexuality, sit with their legs crossed and not send out the wrong signals. By the time they’ve reached their twenties, they were pissed off angry. So they became pissed off angry at the men and either directed their anger that way or towards the symbol of “the man” – the capitalistic system of inequality. The women had sex and relationships once in a while. Some of them became lesbians, out of shear spite of males.
In the relationships they did have with men, often the men was cheating as much as possible, drinking too much, wining too much or becoming violent, so most of the time, the women were alone. They hated their jobs as well ironically, many of them worked as some form of child-caretakers, in a daycare center or at a school – and I guess they felt pretty pissed on by life. I remember how they came home, tired, with creasy hair and long heavy breasts under their sweaty shirts, as the last sad remaining symbol of their victorious bra-burning that had marked the beginning of the end of their oppression.
Their rebellion against the system, the authorities and against men had not paid off and they were now in exactly the same position they fought to get out of: underpaid and unappreciated housewives and mothers, often without a man as support, with full time jobs being single parents, bitter and broken.
When they sat around the table at night, drinking red wine, the woman often talked about their youth, about feminism, and how women should stand up for themselves with pride in their voices. What I saw, as a little girl sitting there, with dangling feet at the edge of the chair, was people that were angry, tired and desperate and that was not the life I wanted.
It was not because the men around me, had more happy lives, but they did seem freer. They could come and go as they wanted, they laughed more often, they did not look as burdened as the women did. Often the men also moved on and created new families with younger women and had new children and they seemed to be able to simply brush off the past as were it a flick of dust and walk on as though nothing had happened. They looked invincible from that perspective, or at the very least; not as miserable as the women did.
Lately as I’ve been taking my daily walks around the neighborhood, I walk by these houses, these expensive houses with fancy cars in the driveway. I’ve looked in through the windows and seen beautiful women and men with beautiful children eating dinner and I’ve caught myself desiring to be them because in the mind’s eye, these people have the perfect life. They are happy, they don’t sweat.
One day as I walked by one of these houses, I started realizing for myself that what I was seeing was not happiness, but money. Everything that I saw, all the happiness that were “shinning through” the windows of these perfect houses, was bought and sold for money. Some had bought a rustic happiness that gave associations with childhood visits to the countryside; others had bought New Yorker chic happiness with steel and raw concrete as their portrait designed happiness. I realized that I had not the faintest idea what went on in those houses, as all I saw was an illusion of happiness, created and facilitated through glossy magazines and commercials on TV as the contrast to what I saw as a child, where the adults did not have any money and were miserable because of it.
The problems of this world are not at the fault of men or women. That is too easy. It is however a system of inequality, of abuse, ego and deception that we’ve allowed to be the directive principle that manages all our lives – from politics to economy and relationships. And as it is, to a large extend, males have been the ones in the frontline of the business of inequality. There is however no doubt that we’ve all contributed, participated and played along in this tragic masquerade, where some have power so that others have not and where some have money so that others have not.
What I saw growing up, was not an unfair and uneven relationship between men and women – or it was that as well – however the point is that all and everything is facilitated and dictated by our submission to money. Money is the remedy with which we abuse and control each other. And everyone accepts it or has no choice but to accept it, within the belief that happiness and fulfillment can only be achieved through money – that money does in fact make one happy, successful and achieved.
I had never thought that I would ever declare myself a feminist, exactly because of my upbringing of seeing these women as everything I certainly did NOT want to be anything like. The stories here has now interwoven, from where I started with sharing why I am slowly becoming a feminist, but not a feminist as in a woman that despises men, but as a human being realizing that the current capitalist and patriarchal system is only in support of more of itself in a complete irrational frenzy of greed, power and self-delusion and that to stop it – we require an entire new way of managing our lives and ourselves, a way where women are standing up – and men – to not accept or allow ourselves to continue existing this way without any regard for life whatsoever.
Therefore – I am here to re-educate myself to become a trustworthy and dignified Human Being, with whatever means and measures it takes. Then it doesn’t matter who is woman or man or what is the cause – as long as we dedicate ourselves to changing what is Here, one step at a time.
I do not wish to live the life of the women I grew up around, hating their lives and the men they blamed for their position. I do not wish my children to live the life of me as I have – therefore – to change the future for our children, there is only one way possible: to change what is Here as ourselves, in each breath of self-compromise or self-judgment – to Stop and Stand up. In each breath, where we make excuses or justify why we only care about ourselves – to Stop and Stand up. In each breath of lying to ourselves or each other about what is here or how we really experience ourselves – to Stop and Stand up.
I am participating in The Desteni I Process, specifically to re-educate myself to Care about Life – to Live Self-Honestly, to Forgive myself for what I have Accepted and Allowed myself to exist in and as – what I have Accepted and Allowed in and as this World, to step by step, breath by breath – Stand up and Live Dignified and Equalified. That is my goal in Life. What’s yours?