Systemic analysis and its relation to individual actions…

Michael Laxer posted an entry on Feminist Current addressing the difference between, and the connection between, violent actions and social violence, especially regarding misogyny and racism. This is a basic point but it bears repeating, because it seems so hard for non-radicals to understand this because they are totally stuck in the individualistic mindset.

Likewise, the violence of specific men against women is tied directly to a much less obvious daily culture of violence against women which is manifested also in economic and social ways and tied as well to broad male institutions of oppression like pornography and prostitution and the daily and countless examples of verbal and physically not violent forms of male abuse and entitlement like misogynist language, street harassment, unwanted sexual advances and many others.

The broader “culture” of misogyny and the broader actions of all men in this way contribute to and enable the “worst cases.”

When social links like this and their implications are raised, one of the myriad of responses from those seeking to derail a real examination of how our society perpetuates its own institutions is that stating this, in the case of systemic misogyny for example, will somehow alienate or anger men and that this is “counter-productive.”

Of course attempts by feminists to redress our collective history of patriarchal oppression will anger many men. I think this is a very safe assumption. But it is also ludicrous to ask a liberation movement to frame itself in ways that will please or appease the beneficiaries of oppression. All men do and have benefited from patriarchy and the systemic oppression of women, whether they wanted to or not. Being unwilling to accept this is a serious obstacle to social change.

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