Privileged US women protect patriarchy

2017-12-17 06:12
Gayle Edmunds

Gayle Edmunds

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For most of the world, Alabama is now famous for three things: the hokey song Sweet Home Alabama; the movie named after it starring Reese Witherspoon; and, since last week, the place where two out of three white women voted for a guy who sexually assaulted teenage girls and was banned from a mall for soliciting even more potential victims.

This act of what appears to be self-defeating lunacy is a roadmap of patriarchal privilege. The only reason these women – two out of three of them – disregarded Roy Moore’s paedophilic habits was because deep down they didn’t believe it affected them and theirs.

As women on the upper end of the socioeconomic scale, they are more interested in maintaining the privilege of their kind and their kin, than in expanding social justice or ensuring that others receive opportunities and the rights due to them. And voting for Moore in a senate election is seemingly much more important than showing their children that sexual predators are unacceptable public servants. And Moore’s victims are nothing more than women who should know their place.

While American politics appears to have become a folk song written by a six-toed banjo-playing hillbilly, we can’t really enjoy the full spectacle of their rapid downward spiral as “immorality sweeps the land” to quote Moore, (though I rather think I am quoting him out of context) because we manifest the same inexplicable problem time and again.

The privilege of the 63 out of 100 white women in Alabama has the same root as the ANC Women’s League members who protested outside Jacob Zuma’s rape trial, vilifying another woman to protect the man who bestowed on them their privilege. It is the same mentality as the women who railed against the arrest of Pastor Tim Omotoso, yet another man who preys on teenage girls. It is the same as Grace Mugabe beating another woman with an extension cord instead of plugging into her own sons’ errant behaviour.

What none of these women – who seem to think they have cracked patriarchy’s code – know is that patriarchy has no space for passengers and, when push comes to shove for privilege, they will be the first ones under the bus.

For Alabama, it’s a shame that the whole populace didn’t deliver the death blow to Moore it morally should have. It’s a betrayal of the humanitarian tradition of other Alabama-born people such as Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens and Helen Keller.

Read more on:    us  |  women abuse

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