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I Don’t Remember Being Born To Please You

Do you ever feel that you have to keep your thoughts to yourself in order not to destroy a pleasant ambience? So you just sit there listening to someone say something that disturbs you, trying to pretend you are not disturbed, because you don’t wanna disturb anyone. This is especially common among women, because cis men have been more influential historically, which raises the stakes of an impasse. The woman’s reaction to what’s disturbing is often deemed as the problem, and not what was disturbing to begin with. As a result, we learn to shut up. We become conditioned to put other people’s needs ahead of our own.

Originally published by Gods and Radicals. Written by Mirna Wabi-SabiMirna Wabi-Sabi is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality, feminism, and anti-capitalism.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Politeness isn’t our shield, our unity is. Unity not only between women, but between all of us who are dedicated to destroying White Capitalist Patriarchy.

There is no way to destroy the Patriarchy by being “gezellig”.

Tradução Português BR aqui.

Gezellig

  1. Having company with a pleasant, friendly ambience
  2. (of an atmosphere) Cozy
  3. Having an upbeat feeling about the surroundings

(Wikitionary)

Do you ever feel that you have to keep your thoughts to yourself in order not to destroy a pleasant ambience? So you just sit there listening to someone say something that disturbs you, trying to pretend you are not disturbed, because you don’t wanna disturb anyone. This is especially common among women, because cis men have been more influential historically, which raises the stakes of an impasse. The woman’s reaction to what’s disturbing is often deemed as the problem, and not what was disturbing to begin with. As a result, we learn to shut up. We become conditioned to put other people’s needs ahead of our own.

Women must never make a man feel stupid. It can cost us our jobs, our reputation, our safety, and even our lives. Mansplaining, on the other hand, is as prolific as HPV, except that instead of cancer they get a promotion. We sometimes even endure painful or plain sex just to avoid making the sexual encounter uncomfortable for him. If we do this in our most intimate moments with people we trust enough to bring into our beds, imagine how this happens in the interactions with every other dude we encounter daily, who we don’t even trust near our table.

You can certainly continue to do that, if that’s what you want. But I’m here to say that it’s a revolutionary act to speak your mind, and that you don’t always need to be liked by people you don’t like, or please people who don’t please you. Politeness isn’t our shield, our unity is. Unity not only between women, but between all of us who are dedicated to destroying White Capitalist Patriarchy.

There is no way to destroy the Patriarchy by being gezellig. When I lived in the Netherlands I heard this word constantly, and I learned I am not it. Maintaining a pleasant ambience is nowhere close to a priority to me, but it’s aggressively expected. If someone is uncomfortable, why is that not being addressed? How is “gezelligheid” more important than someone’s well-being? One would imagine that if a person is not well, that this means the ambience is not as gezellig as it seems, but in practice, the ambience has a life of its own, independent of individuals involved.

You don’t create the ambience, the ambience is created for you, by some type of paternal figure that knows what’s best for you. Not to sound like a working-class intellectual, but we could easily call that the cultural hegemony or an ideological state apparatus. Its main purpose being: indoctrinating us to do the work of maintaining the status quo, and benefiting only an elite, which certainly doesn’t include whoever is expected to put a pillow over their feelings.

If we want the world to change, and a revolution to bury this rotten system, we need to be able to revolutionize our daily personal interactions. Otherwise, it’s the revolution we are suffocating to death, allowing for reactionary behaviors to thrive. If we don’t expect respect from our lover, our neighbor, our friends, how do we expect to get it from a Government or our society as a whole?

The idea that we need to learn to tolerate toxic behaviors from men in order not to rock the boat is the same principle that leads us to tolerate fascist behavior from the State. Fear of repercussions is silencing, and so it remains. Almost all supposedly horizontal organizations I’ve participated in had a dude that eventually revealed a subliminal leadership role. Of course, in order to maintain the pleasant ambience in the group, you’re expected to accept that. And there is an array of excuses: he’s been at the organization longer, he was a founder, he knows a lot, and so on. Basically, he is the most influential. Without the leader, the organization collapses. Without the “nagging bitch”, they’re left with months worth of gossip material. And so we reproduce the idea that women are disposable, replaceable, and contribute only silently by ensuring superficial diversity.

“You can’t teach new tricks to an old dog”, someone once told me, trying to convince me to adapt to someone else’s toxic behavior. I “need to be patient, and understand that people are like this, this is how it is”. The problem is that it’s usually men telling women what they need to do, how they need to adapt, how they are doing something wrong for not tolerating other people’s wrongdoing. My motto is to not put my head down any longer. They are the ones who need to adapt to me, to understand that this is how I am. This is what I call “learning to deal with it”. Because accepting the way things are in order to protect the well-being of a hegemony is very reactionary, and embarrassing to hear from people who claim to be militant.

There is no doubt that misogyny comes from inside the house, but this isn’t an excuse to toss feminism out the window. In other words, women reproducing sexist behaviors doesn’t mean the Patriarchy doesn’t exist. If we are worried about each other’s well-being, the best way to ensure it for your comrades is to back them up, not to silence them. We can build communities where we listen to each other, where it’s OK to make mistakes and apologize, by distinguishing between hegemonic power and empowerment, and strictly nurturing the latter. The Serpent’s Egg must go from being the lurking threat of fascism to being our tailsman of magickal focus. Only then can we begin to plan the important things, and to stop enabling violence in general.

Look at that picture. Look at all those people. They are incapable of a revolution. They are far too humiliated, too afraid, too downtrodden. But in ten years… By then… the 10-year-olds will be 20, the 15-year-olds will be 25. To the hatred inherited from their parents, they will add their own idealism and impatience. Someone will step forward and put their unspoken feelings into words. Someone will promise a future. Someone will make demands. Someone will talk of greatness and sacrifice. The young and inexperienced will give their courage and their faith to the tired and the uncertain. And then there will be a revolution, and our world will go down in blood and fire. (Transcript from the Serpent’s Egg)

Talitha Andrade’s work

“LUTO”

means: the verb to fight in present first person

and: the noun to mourn.


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