Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Watch the Throne

Yesterday just before heading to work I sent the following sentence inside of a greater email:

"The other thing, is that so many blogs or newsletters written by self-employed entrepreneurial women bring out a misogeny in me that is uncomfortable to own."

Aside from what I find to be an admirable misplacement of a comma, it is a fine example of topics people foolishly raise without time to actually explore them. Allow me to elaborate. The misogeny is the anger or perhaps rage or perhaps even anxiety I feel when I come across a specific form of remale ambition.

btw, this is the first real digging I've done into this aspect of my psyche, so prepare for a mess.

There's a question I have and that is 'does the patriarchy cost us anything?' I don't have any answer for this, on the one hand you can look to Iceland as featured in Michael Moore's most recent film, where there is much greater representation of women in both government and the local CEO population. They argue much of the GFC can be attributed to the male dominated environment (the high testosterone on trade room floors) and much of Iceland's speedy recovery can be attributed to the great representation of women in Icelandic business. My friend Haley also told me that a scientific study in determining what creates smarter teams produced a 1:1 relationship with effectiveness and the number of women in the team. Attributed to women being much better at reading the emotions of their fellow team members.

So there is certainly not nothing to the notion that the exclusion of women historically (and presently) from the inner circles of power and executive decision making, could be to the detriment of us all.

On the flip there is my own rejection of the 'great man theory of history' which ostensibly seems sexist in its title but is less about gender than... I don't know. I would be surprised if at somepoint in your life leading up to reading this, you had never seen the idea of travelling back in time and killing hitler explored. The great man theory of history, is one that says if you traveled back in time and killed Thomas Edison. (Who was a pretty big arsehole, slightly less than Steve Jobs).

If you believe the great man theory, then the assassination of Thomas Edison would potentially throw history way off course, such that when you return to present day you would expect to find people taking horse and buggy down the street in order to catch a steam ship for their 6 month voyage to LA.

Or if you reject like me, you would expect a little disruption to the course of technological development but that in the absence of Edison inventing and patenting a bunch of shit, somebody else would have, quite possibly Tesla but not necessarily.

The book 'Guns, Germs and Steel' is what persuaded me that the great man theory is bunk, and would do a better job than I ever have.

Its relevance is significant somehow, I'll get there eventually. But if you don't believe that history actually needed it's Aristotles, Alexanders, Ceasers, Da Vincis, Newtons, Franklins, and Edisons and that they were more the products of their environment than the producers of our environment - it raises to me the question of whether there is a 'female leadership' society is missing out on.

I want to be clear that this is not an argument against equal opportunity, that is a matter of injustice inherently anyone born a woman suffers by it, without even pointing towards all the other things one can be born to be handicapped or outright excluded from entering the current corridor of power.

May I point out that history is littered with female leaders, much less known and less celebrated but Democracy is one of the last systems of government to allow female leaders. I have spent my entire life with a woman's likeness on one side of just about every piece of currency I handle. She may be a figurehead head-of-state, but she history is not deprived of female absolute monarchs.

I'm not a historian, or even a history buff, so I can't testify that historical female leaders ever produced a distinct form of leadership that male counterparts cannot reproduce.

That's the thing, men get the injustice generally of claiming all the glory, but the question is whether society as a whole has missed out on anything more than a greater catalogue of female role models.

So here's how I relate the above question of asking in absolute terms whether the patriarchy costs us anything, is that if it doesn't. If it is simply a matter of saying that women are equal to men in leadership ability and lead in the same variety of ways that male dominated leaders have, then I find that for some insane reason, much less threatening than if we had missed out, if female leaders could lead in a way that would be a massive cultural shift for me.

I titled this post 'watch the throne' so let me define my specific misogeny. I don't mind if men are deposed and usurped by women, if the women want to sit in the throne. What scares me, fundamentally is that they aren't interested in that throne. The throne is interesting because men need to be cast from it, but then that throne, that way of organising and all those rules of the patriarchy that I live by, would be gone. That would scare me.

I don't give a shit if my ghostbusters are men or women, so long as they want to bust ghosts and don't want to be slimed.

So it is that that stirs up the fear and anxiety in me, that all the privilege and the resources could be seized and rededicated to a game that I don't even play. Whereas to me, Hillary and her international precedents be it our own Gillard, or Merkel of Germany, Thatcher and that's all about the precedents I know enough about that they are women so compromised by the political system that they are more female politicians than women in the same way that Barack Obama is not Chuck D.

There's an alternative explanation though, and that is because much of the blog's and newsletters of succesful women I come across speak to my formative years back in Ballarat. The girls that helped reinforce my sense of being an outsider in my home culture. Blond pony-tailed Caucasian girls whose life ambition was to try and bring their beach house holiday back into their home life. The distressing obsession to me, of 16 year old girls trying to cultivate the affect of middle-aged women.

I also suspect it is why much of the mediums female artists gravitate towards are relegated to the class of 'craft' vs. the mediums male artists tend to gravitate towards and dominate are referred to simply as 'art'. This connection though I can't be bothered writing about, but I suspect its the same.

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