Your silences will not protect you.
What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.
Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. …And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
― Audre Lorde
Welcome to Season 2
Breaking Down Patriarchy
During Season One of this podcast, we laid the groundwork for understanding Patriarchal systems and how they’ve functioned in Western Civilization, mostly focused on Europe and the United States. And we read Gerda Lerner’s observations that for millennia, small groups of men were recording what they called “History,” but this record was really only the stories of men, by men, about men, for men. Small, exclusive groups of men also devised all of humanity’s laws and religions, politics, sciences, arts, and they kept for themselves all roles of leadership over every field of human endeavor, including presiding over the home. In the meantime, Lerner says,
“Women’s creations sank soundlessly into the sea, leaving barely a ripple, and succeeding generations of women were left to cover the same ground others had already covered before them.” (The Creation of Feminist Consciousness)
For all of recorded history Patriarchal systems continued nearly uncontested, passing along their ideology from generation to generation. It has only been within the very recent past that people have begun to speak up and change things.
And so much has changed in recent years. But much is left to be done – in many realms of society patriarchal systems remain the default, and as Audre Lorde points out, it’s hard to speak against the status quo. It is devastating to be yelled at by a family member, to be frozen out of a social group, to be interrupted and put down and dismissed by strangers and by family and friends. But this is the way the world changes. This is the only way the world has ever changed. It takes individual people being brave enough to tell their stories, to speak their truth, to say “this system that we’re all perpetuating and defending – it harmed me. It harms others. We need to do better.” Whether it’s sexism or racism or homophobia or classism or ableism or ageism… the more people speak the truth, the faster things will change for the better. And conversely, if we remain silent, as Audre Lorde says, “The tyrannies [we] swallow day by day …[will cause us to] sicken and die of them, still in silence.” These silences are poison to us, and they also allow injustice to continue, and thus we participate in passing them onto the next generation.
So Season Two is about speaking. It’s about stories. In contrast to Season One, which mostly followed a chronological timeline and was anchored in academic texts and legislation, Season Two will feature a wide variety of topics, all of them demonstrating aspects of Patriarchy that the speakers have witnessed in their own lives. We’ll hear stories of women on construction sites, in engineering fields, in war zones, in chess tournaments, and marching in the streets. We’ll learn about the divine feminine and sacred rage, fashion and feminism in Saudi Arabia, the fight for equality in Iceland, 5th-century Irish saints, and we’ll even go behind the scenes in Hollywood boardrooms. We’ll listen to coming-of-age struggles and feminist awakenings, to poetry and to science, to deeply personal confessions and astonishing research and dozens upon dozens of unique voices – men, women, and nonbinary voices – some well-known, some not well-known, some anonymous, all of whom have spoken their truth bravely, and have come together to help us create this incredible new season.
Listen to the Introduction
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