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I am going to begin this essay with some nerd lore.
In JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, elves are an immortal race of staggering beauty, deep wisdom, rich culture and advanced magical propensity. The elves often find themselves at odds with the orcs, a hideous race who live for violence and destruction. In Tolkien's The Silmarillion, it is revealed that orcs were actually the creation of an evil lord named Melkor, later known as Morgoth, who captured a group of elves and imprisoned them. The elves were "by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes."
I always think of this when I see trends in our society that began as healthy and good impulses, but which over time became twisted and warped by egotism and manipulation. Something springs up in human consciousness out of inspiration and natural compassion, quickly gains public support because truth is attractive, and then is eventually hijacked and perverted as power finds a way to twist that energy in a way it can use and exploit. It becomes "orc-ified".
You can see examples of this orcification spring up everywhere in real time. You can watch it in yourself as your own ego tries to hijack your own healthy impulses to aggrandize and masturbate itself, and you can watch them in society at large as well. A recent and extremely blatant example would be when the enthusiastic grassroots populism of the Bernie Sanders campaign was twisted by the Democratic establishment into the #Resistance movement after the 2016 election. Now many of the progressives who I once saw sincerely pushing away from oligarchy and endless war can be seen smearing Julian Assange and cheerleading for new cold-war escalations with their support for the CIA/CNN Russia narrative.
Other examples abound. America's brilliant civil-rights activism has been largely co-opted by the good cop/bad cop game of partisan dynamics that now sees Black Americans supporting a party that does absolutely nothing to protect them from police brutality, economic hardship, a depraved legal system, etc, for no other reason than that the Republicans are even crueler to them than the Democrats are. On the other side of the aisle, healthy impulses to minimize government intrusiveness and corruption have been used by manipulators like the Koch brothers under the banner of "libertarianism" to strip corporations of their regulations without ever diminishing government size or corporatist influence upon it, effectively leaving only end-stage neoliberalism and hemorrhage-upward economics. The healthy impulse toward truth is orcified to manufacture support for internet censorship under the pretense of protecting the public from "fake news" and "Russian propaganda", the healthy impulse to protect and defend is orcified into support for "humanitarian" war, and the healthy impulse to become a better person is orcified into religions and philosophies that have been popularized by the powerful in the service of the powerful.
Anywhere you see a healthy impulse arising in society, you will see attempts to twist it into the service of power, and this is very much the case with feminism.
When I talk about being a feminist, I get a mix of three reactions:
- People who either understand what I mean by that word or put the necessary amount of effort into understanding.
- People who assume I am saying that I hate men, which is just a silly projection that people who hate women have made up in their imaginations.
- People who assume I mean the warped, orcified version of feminism that they see promulgated in mainstream culture to manipulate women into supporting a system that was designed by men and for men.
I love when guys are all "I just don't get it! How can someone so insightful support FEMINISM??" You answered your own question, bucko; I am feminist because I am insightful. Just because Dems hijacked the mainstream trends doesn't mean there's no deeper underlying wisdom there.
-- Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) January 5, 2018
And it is a simple fact that the near entirety of human civilization has been designed by men. All around the world for thousands of years, wherever a civilization sprang up, the larger, stronger gender was naturally in a position to assert dominance over the way that civilization was run. Leadership systems were invented by men, social hierarchies were invented by men, marriage was invented by men, family structural norms were designed by men, money was invented by men, war was invented by men, and men invented religions that just so happened to have patriarchal gods who all agreed that the way men had set things up was indeed right and just.
Women were essentially property throughout most of this, and thus had very little input into how any of it was set up. Generation after generation after generation of women were born into this male-engineered society, over thousands and thousands of years, into a system so deeply and extensively normalized that it's almost impossible to imagine what our society might look like had it not been dominated entirely by men throughout its history.
And then, very, very recently in the grand scheme of things, a healthy impulse emerged among women to cease being second-class citizens, and to instead stand as equals with their brothers.
In response, after much whining and foot-dragging, the men who ran things said in effect, "Right. Okay. You want equality? Fine. The jobs we invented are over there, the capitol building for the government we invented is over there, the bank for the economic system we invented is across the street, the Department of War is two blocks that way, and the Church of the Patriarchal God is around the corner. Welcome to equality!"
And some rich guys standing by watching leaned in and whispered to each other, "Sweet, double the workforce! We can halve their wages!"
New addition to the #McResistance: the women of jihadist-occupied Idlib. They might as well photograph them in pink p*ssy hijabs for f*ck's sake. Simon Tisdall is by far the most disgusting war propagandist at The Guardian, and that's saying something. https://t.co/