The unbalanced relations and divisions of labor between the sexes dates back to long before patriarchy and had as much to do with nature, originally, as it has to do with power relations of money, at present. In the earliest societies men did not hunt and women gather due to any political dominance but to the physical realities that enabled men to run after and hunt animals for sustenance while women carried new life within them and had to stay closer to the nest gathering while developing what would become agricultural skills. It’s also likely that matriarchy existed due to the seeming powers of creating new life which were held by women, with possibly millennia passing before consciousness revealed that men had something to do with the creation of that life. But like so much else, the advance of what we call civilization has brought us both higher levels of material possibility and unfortunately lower levels of morality, both due to the commodity based relations forced on all humans, of all cultures and both sexes, by capitalist market forces in pursuit of private profit.
While living in a warfare state in which global destruction is threatened by nuclear powered adversaries, especially the USA which is both the inventor and only user of such murderous powers, much of american consciousness is occupied with this issue reduced to sometimes idiotic propaganda, while other issues become the stuff of surreality tv, fake news, and greater profits for the media, legal and psychology business community. Thus, we surround Russia and China with armadas and military bases while being told that Russia has destroyed our fictional democracy and China threatens our economic empire, and are given around the clock coverage of the renewed discovery that some men are pigs in relating to women, while some charges and countercharges of wrong doing have far more to do with the political and economic power of those making or resisting the charges.
Almost daily allegations, sometimes revelations, of things ranging from sexual indiscretions to abusive sexual practices lead to scandals causing powerful men to be reduced or quit their positions of power due to the public scorn which is both bad for men in business and good for women sometimes in the same business. The fact that women in some of these cases have waited many years before revealing such secrets is all due to what is seen as male power and rarely indentified as market power. The entertainment figures who have “come out” in the case of Weinstein all allowed his piggish behavior because they wanted-needed-aspired to the financial success his power might assure them but would possibly be denied if they had told him to buzz off or smacked his face when he dared disrespect them. It is pitiful for humans to be reduced to such groveling and submission before power, and all due to finance. It is also safe to imagine that if Weinstein looked like Brad Pitt, some might brag about attracting his attention at the time or be accused of wishful thinking if revealing it years later. The most important thing to consider is not just the male power exercised but also the economic power that serves as its foundation, obscuring any sense of self-respect on the part of victims, all at the upper end of the financial spectrum.
Tens of thousands of women suffer such disrespect, and much worse, while laboring in bars, restaurants, malls, coffee shops and other places of lesser financial reward collection, and usually do so in public silence, even if the outrages are common knowledge not only to those who suffer but often seen as the price that must be paid to get-do-succeed at the job. Playboy “Bunnies”, Hooters “Servers” and other women whose work totally depends on being subjectified as sexual merchandise, are part of the enormous and profitable sexual marketplace relatively invisible to those programmed to act in outrage at the treatment of those in service to a higher echelon at our collective sex mall. But the reduction of humanity in the pursuit of survival for the worker and profit for the owners is no different, in essence, at the bistro, the movie studio, the political palace, or the taco-pizza-burger joint. Those who need jobs are frequently reduced in humanity but have to go along in order to get or do the job, and socialized-to-be mistreated women reduced in stature by socialized-to-be mistreater men should remind us of the common state of humans reduced by market relations to perform in grudging acceptance of such disrespect in order to survive.
We should also consider the notion of justice alleged in believing an accuser simply because we agree with or have experience of what someone is being accused of. Our all but totally dependent on double standards culture makes it profitable for lynch mobs of thought or deed to form very quickly, emotionally and thoughtlessly, at the provocation of what some of us define as the Deep or Shallow State. Why is one person deemed a crook-liar-thug for doing what another person gets away with by being labeled a hero-heroine-savior? How does one president performing as a sexist slob become heroic when another who speaks like a sexist slob becomes a villain?
The social role of male and female is not a simple biological matter, and even that is being subject to all manner of stress and strain by market forces which enable some of us to buy sperm or rent wombs and become parents of new life which never knows one parent. That force of the market, dominant in all our lives but too often reduced to individual heroes and villains, needs to be considered in all these matters. If being able to afford profiting a law office is what amounts to justice, or being able to afford profiting an insurance company is what amounts to health care, then tolerating sexual abuse will remain a social reality. Far more than a person or a sex need to stand up against the systemic forces that keep us apart and at wars with each other, and worse, with nations, but if women need a model that is sex based, they should consider what happened 100 years ago when women took social action. They worked in a factory and while they may have suffered personal indignities their common cause was being overworked and underpaid. When they could no longer tolerate it they shouted, that’s enough – no more. Their walkout was one of the first actions in an experience that shook the world. It was called the Russian Revolution, and American knowledge of it is on a par with our ignorance of what market forces do to all of us, on both sides of the profit-loss ledger, with the losers growing in number and the profiteers growing wealth beyond reason. We need to become a collective people of reason who act as a democratic human race and not simply a sex or other identity group, to assure our survival as humanity before we are abused out of existence by being forced into continued action as racial, cultural and sexual commodities.