Thu, 19 October 2017
Cass Midgley and Bob Pondillo converse with Elliot, an expert in sexual misconduct in the workplace, and a second guest, Lauren Martin Day, a woman who has experienced unethical sexual and relational misconduct. Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” This episode is about sex. It is a detour from our regular format of interviewing people who have deconverted from Christianity. Both guests did deconvert from their childhood faiths, but we don't discuss that today. Instead, we're discussing what I think is a pivotal time in American culture when we, as a society and especially women are drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough with this patriarchal, misogynistic treatment of women and sexuality.
Our hope in putting out this particular episode is to increase awareness, understanding and empathy for the mistreatment of women that is so entrenched in our culture. Female objectivity and inferiority is a norm we have to change and one way we can do that is educate ourselves. For men, we would do well to be understand what it's like to be a woman in this male-dominant world. Like a fish doesn't know what water is, men don't know what patriarchy is. Like whites don't understand what the big deal is with racism. These are blind-spots afforded to those who, often by no doing on their part, are members of the empowered, hegemonic demography. I think I was in my 20's when someone pointed out the absurdity that every president of the United States were men. Ani Defranco wrote, "Patriarchy is like the elephant in the room that we don't talk about, but how could it not affect the planet radically when it's the superstructure of human society."
This touches on a subject that is a big deal to me--conflict resolution.In the world we find ourselves, often the primary task of every aspect of human relations is conflict resolution. It's parenting, it's managerial in the workplace, it's marital, it's global politics, it's in friendships. Connectivity is what every human longs for whether they know it or not. Even peace, it's what we all want. Not that peace is the absence of conflict, but if disagreement takes place in a context where mutual love and respect are in place, then that's fun and a part of learning and growing up. Conflict or competition that takes place in the context of hatred, disrespect, or resentment is not fun and in the end will be the demise of our species. The phrase "It takes to tango" is an idiom that insinuates blame on both sides--the offended and the offender. In the context of sex and gender, we blame the victim FAR too often. Even when reporting statistics of sex offenses, as Jackson Katz points out in a Tweet that went viral this week, “We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off men and onto women.” When it comes to human beings being the sovereign steward of their own space, safety, and comfort, we do not get to place judgement on their boundaries. I repeat, neither men nor women, get to judge another human being's boundaries as good or bad, too sensitive, snowflake, thin-skinned or fragile. That's just basic human rights and human dignity. That said, when we're outside the realm of abuse or inflicting harm, there are circumstances when a person can be hyper-sensitivity to the degree in which it is unhealthy for them, and is the primary contributor to the destruction of the healthy relationship. This might happen when one's sense of entitlement, or one's fears are completely unwarranted and their thin-skin is the primary cause of the conflict. Either way, both parties should always be free to exercise their right to remove themselves from any relationship they deem unhealthy, which can be created by aggression or passive aggression. Obviously the battle of the sexes has been with us a long time and will take a long time to align with reality and truth. And this episode is our little attempt to help out such progress. Ani DiMarco said, "Patriarchy is a fundamental imbalance underlying society And it's one we rarely address because it's so universal. But as I get older, I see that peace is a product of balance." The power struggle is always a dead end. True power is that which comes from love and self-confidence. Healthy power is available to all without having to diminish someone else's. It is not a zero-sum environment. If one feels they must take away someone else's power in order to feel powerful, that is counterfeit power and actually cowardice.
Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.