CounterForce

Adrienne Rich 1981:

”men’s ability to deny women sexuality or enforce it upon them; to command or exploit their labour to control their produce; to control or rob them of their children; to confine them physically and prevent their movement; to use them as objects in male transactions; to cramp their creativeness; or to withhold from them large areas of society’s knowledge and cultural attainments… These are some of the methods by which male power is manifested and maintained… what surely impresses itself is the fact that we are confronting not a simple maintenance of inequality and property possession, but a pervasive cluster of forces, ranging from physical brutality to control of consciousness, which suggests that an enormous counterforce is having to be restrained.”

Perhaps the strength of the patriarchal oppression in a given time or place can be taken as an indication not of how completely it has won and crushed women, but of how incredibly strong a counterforce of woman power, solidarity and consciousness among women there must have been to warrant such brutal methods of suppression, and of how afraid those men were who enforced or invented particular woman-hating systems and rules. Even if there does not exist any shred of evidence in the present of the lives and voices of the women who came before- because they have been ‘disappeared’ by patriarchal history-making; we can be sure from the vitriol and suppression we can observe in the present, that they were once there/here in our place, resisting, that they fought.

Less:

P for Patriarchy

places where patriarchy is particularly big nasty and insane = women totally crushed

More:

C for Counterforce

places and times where patriarchy is particularly big nasty and insane = places with greatest woman counterforce [or herstory of counterforce covered up by history]

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