False Consciousness or the Funeral of I
This post was inspired by Twisty’s eloquent explanation of the rape culture, which I posted in her comment thread and preserved here in all of its agony.
For the thousand ways I resist the patriarchy every day, there are another ten thousand ways in which I give in, lie back, and let the flow of oppression take me away. I have never consented. Not once. Every single sexual encounter I have ever had with a man exists on the same spectrum of rape from the most obvious to the most insidious. Every time I do so much as shave my legs, simply because I have been conditioned to hate their natural state, my body is not my own. It is always a tool of the patriarchy, valued for its ability to titillate. I stand in front of the mirror plucking my eyebrows weekly, pleased with their socially acceptable shape, but horrified by the realization that I have no idea what I would like my eyebrows to look like if I was a truly free of this horrid cycle of self-hatred and mental illness. I love myself for looking pretty, I hate myself for looking pretty. I love myself for resisting looking pretty, I hate myself for resisting looking pretty. This horror is specifically constructed to take away our consent in almost every detail of our lives.
Every single one of us is sick. The society which has given us our life has taken away our identity and agency. Who am I outside of the short brunette with purposely tousled sexy hair? I have no idea. Simply the mental energy required to resist the smallest details of the patriarchy is beyond my grasp. I can float on top of this vast ocean of madness, but I am still a part of it and my toes will never be dry.
And I hate myself, almost as much as I hate the men who would use me and discard me as a temporary sheath for their penis. When I take the time to really think about who I am, and how I know who I am, its very clear that everything about me is manufactured for the profit or pleasure of someone other than myself. This sickness is like a cancer, a parasite, that encompasses my entire existence and being. Like Twisty said, it is Stockholm Syndrome. I am happy for being oppressed. I “consent” to oppression to be happy. All I can do is condemn the patriarchy while hypocritically adhering to it in ways unknown and known to me.
This violence will not cease in so long as we remain complacent that our choices are good and just because they must be our own. The entire structure of society is based on a convenient lie of consent. I did not manufacture this atrocity, I did not set the gears in motion. Sometimes I oil them, and sometimes I throw small pebbles into the clockwork out of futile spite. In my lifetime I will never be free of the patriarchy, no matter how far I run, and neither will anyone else.
My only consolation is that I am self-aware enough to admit my madness, to morn for a world that is terminally sick, and that my purpose is this vast mechanism is to be oppressed rather than to enforce and perpetuate the oppression. Why I live is not that because of the knowledge that my choices are my own, because that delusion is not available to a critical mind. No, I live with the assurance that in so long as I live, I will never consent to bring another into this existence of internalized agony, nor will I ever pretend that this is what I would want, if I was ever, even for a moment, given the free choice.