Hey everybody! Let's talk about how to smash the capitalist patriarchy! The capitalist patriarchy, as many well know, is an oppressive force that each of us is living under and being oppressed by each and every day. And it sucks. So, let's liberate ourselves, shall we?
(Disclaimer: I am in no way a certified economist or sociologist or anything-ist, these are just my ideas based on my life experiences and observations as well as books I've read, classes I've taken, and other sources. My explanations are somewhat simplistic, so I encourage you to look for more information on the topics discussed below if you so choose).
First, a little context: capitalism and our consumer culture here in the Western world are constantly trying to persuade us to buy, buy, buy. Advertising is specifically targeted to our insecurities, convincing us that although we're not that great now, we can be if we buy this jacket/that motorcycle/ that stand mixer, etc… and our life will be so much better and we will be so much happier, yay! Sounds familiar, right? It's bullshit. First of all, having stuff doesn't make you happy. In fact, it's been proven that buying more stuff actually makes you miserable. Second, the fact that advertising constantly feeds off our insecurities and tells us we're not good enough is not only scary and cruel, but a voice we must block out in order to liberate ourselves. Western culture convinces each of us that we are not good enough for a very specific reason. To turn a profit. Because capitalism, especially the way it's applied now, dictates that money, and gain, are more important than people, than human wellbeing! And that is crap! We must realize that every industry is whispering in every ear, realize that our insecurity is their profit.
So, that's how capitalism screws with your self-esteem, but what about the patriarchy? What could possibly be harmful about hetero-normativity and rules and gender roles? Well, today I'm really only touching on the tip of the iceberg, but basically, the patriarchy dictates certain roles and characteristics that belong to each gender, which means this system oppresses women, men, and non-binary people and other individuals. This system demands conformity and punishes any exceptions to the rule. This systemic oppression and devaluation negatively affects pretty much everybody, though the negative effects are more heavily concentrated on some groups than others (i.e. white heterosexual males vs. black homosexual females). While we're talking about the patriarchy, we could bring in all those factors of race, class, and gender to really stir things up, but let's just keep it simple and say this: the patriarchy sucks. It's keeping you down and forcibly lowering your self-esteem by devaluing your individual identity.
Ultimately we come to see that our own individual insecurities, at least in part, all stem from the same source. The Capitalist Patriarchy. Which is why it's time to smash it.
"But how?!!?", I hear you cry. By loving yourself! Loving yourself is not only a good idea that feels nice, it is an act of subversion! One of my favorite quotes reads thus:
“The greatest radical move that any person can make in this present world is to be themselves and not assimilate.”
- Cathy Cooper
I didn't truly understand the wisdom behind that quote until I realized that our culture is trying so hard to make each of us hate ourselves, both for economic gain and cultural conformity. The most powerful way to take action against these systems of oppression is to love yourself, fully, deeply, and completely. That means that you express yourself fully, despite the opinions of others. That means you ignore advertising and form your own ideas of what a good life, good wealth, and good health look like, and you pursue those ideas, because you deserve them. That means you also accept and embrace your appearance, your personality, and your behaviors as being awesome and perfect, as long as you think so, and no matter what the media/other people/outside pressures might say.
While you are doing this, an even greater way to increase your radicalness is through promotion the wellbeing of others as well. Encourage others to love themselves, encourage others to resist the capitalist patriarchy and see their own beauty. If we can all do this, we will not only have a society more devoid of systemic oppression, but also more full of happy people! We will also be less consumptive, since people will be able to resist their urge to buy things to fill the internal emptiness thanks to their newfound self-esteem!
So, my friends, this is just one of a myriad of great reasons to love, love, love, LOVE yourself!! If you'd like some tips on how to do so, look at my articles, and make use of a nice google search! Always remember: Self-love is a subversive act! Fuck the system, fight the power, and rock on!
photos: 1, 2