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The Dark Heart

I know I haven’t posted for a long time, but last night I was inspired because I spent the evening in the dark heart of the Patriarchy; corporate hospitality at a Premier League football match. Here’s the stream of consciousness that followed…

If you thought the world had moved on, let me disappoint you:

  • Men still talk about having “permission” for a night out
  • Women enjoying football may be more normal; but actually understanding & having an opinion? Don’t be silly!
  • An act of pure macho bravado (playing on with bloody head bandage) is considered the ultimate heroism – and sisters forgive me, I bought into it too
  • Women drink wine, men drink beer & god forgive those who break these gender conventions
  • No man really wants to get married, obviously that’s the pressure his girlfriend is exerting not his own preferences. But, hurrah, sometimes wives take the kids away for a few days & you’re free to play out every night!

So what have I learnt from tonight? Well, football can be really exciting, no denying that – I just prefer to watch it indoors with a glass of wine. Outside the world of Twitter & NMP3, the “real world” if you like, enlightenment is a long way away & out in the real world, I failed.

I failed to challenge, I failed to be an ally, I was silenced because the odds were overwhelming against me. I felt the pressure of the social norms telling me to bite my tongue, to behave myself. So I bit my tongue & now travelling home I feel a wave of sadness – not for me, I’ll survive – but for those wives and girlfriends whose partners make them the butt of their jokes. Men so secure in their position in the patriarchy that they know they won’t be challenged; they will be free to laugh & cheat & back slap the men just like them. Then they will go back to their prescribed life of wife/kids/home/car regardless of how they feel about that. Because ultimately their family, their home, is as much a symbol of their position in the patriarchy as their corporate box & 100% bonuses.

I had nothing to lose, I could have questioned that language, I could have introduced a little lite feminism into the conversation. But I did nothing to stand up for my sisters, inside & outside of that corporate box.

I’m sorry I didn’t stand up for you. I will try harder.


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