Lately the patriarchy has seemed even more inescapable than ever. It’s not just the catcalls, rigid gender norms in my community, the sexualization of young girls here, there’s also the near daily unveiling of a new Harvey Weinstein, ridiculous comments from our elected officials, and the legislative attacks on LGBTQ and female rights that have dominated our newsfeeds as of late. Once you have a feminist mindset, it’s all too easy to experience PATRIARCHY OVERLOAD. So here are some suggestions from GAD for days when you just can’t take the machismo and need some feminist energy to restart.
1.) Make a room of one’s own
Follow some classic advice from Virginia Woolf and make some space for yourself. Whether its unplugging from the internet for a day or finding a quiet place to meditate, get away from it all and seek out your own inner-feminist happiness. While staying informed is important, letting yourself be will help you recenter. (Once you’re in your happy place, consider reading Woolf’s inspiring and ahead-of-its-time essay, Room of One’s Own. Nothing like a feminist masterpiece to help re-energize you. )
2.) Be kind to yourself and your body.
The patriarchy is all about control; particularly control of women’s bodies. If you find yourself judging your choices or your physical appearance harshly, just repeat this, “Diet culture and Western beauty standards are the internalized racist patriarchy teaching us to hate our bodies in order for industries to sell us more weight-loss and beauty products, that ultimately keep us spending an extra 104 minutes a week removing our body hair rather than fighting for our equal human rights” (Recommended read from the Guardian: Female body hair: if so many women have it, why are we so deeply ashamed?).
So instead of worrying if you look like a photoshopped image of Beyoncé, write down five things you love about yourself and banish the patriarchy from your mind with all your radiant self-love.
3.) Read/ Listen to/ Watch some feminist material.
Here are just a few recommendations and feel free to post more on the GAD page:
4.) If you do get back on social media, counter balance all the misogyny by following these Feminist NGOs:
(Again feel free to suggest more on the GAD page!)
Women’s Refugee Commission
Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres (FCAM)
Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia – RMCV Nicaragua
1 Million Women
5.) Last but not least, fight the patriarchy by being a feminist example in your community.
Rather than complimenting a woman or young girl on their appearance, praise them for their intellect or speed as a runner. (The Best Way to Compliment Little Girls ).
Encourage boys to use whatever color they want to draw with (especially pink) and let it be known that crying is cool. If you’re a teacher, meaningfully include both genders in all activities and do your best to shut-down any sexist/homophobic comments. If you feel comfortable engaging with someone you feel would benefit from a discussion on feminism, go for it. And feel free to reach out to us at GAD for support. All of these actions are simple, but not all are easy. Just try and remember, if we don’t act, who will?
OK, deep breaths. The patriarchy remains, but hopefully these will be some useful ways to recharge whenever it becomes too much.
Peace Corps Nicaragua ENV 68
GAD Committee Co-Chair