We’ve all experienced loneliness, isolation and alienation in our lives, in one form or another. Some of us have dealt with more extreme examples: being disowned by our families; abused by a lover; abandoned by the system (homeless, jobless, thrown in prison, refused rehabilitation, left fighting for ourselves in foster care, etc); mistreated because of our skin color or gender identity or ability; the list goes on.
But even those of us fortunate enough to have avoided the most dramatic alienation have still felt it in some way. We have been single and lonely and unsure how to meet friends or lovers. We have felt lost at our jobs like we’re just wasting our lives. We have felt a lack of control and connection with our bodies. We have felt a sorrowful longing for the earth and nature. We have been in a room full of people and felt even more alone than when we’re by ourselves.
Stick with me, because this is not just some lazy millennial being clueless and not understanding why labor is necessary. I’ll start with my own experience so you can see where I’m coming from here before I go into why our work system is so fucked.
I’m a ridiculously hard worker. My mom’s side of the family, who raised me, were poor working class folks, the descendants of turn-of-the-century Scottish immigrants and the product of a not-too-socially-acceptable 1950s divorce. My grandpa spent several years of his childhood working on a farm while his mother (the divorcee) tried to stabilize herself enough to take him back in. My mom and stepdad were count-out-pennies-to-buy-milk poor until I was in middle school, and they lost their home during the housing crisis seven or eight years later. Anyone who made it to middle class in my family felt like a goddamn hero.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, have you found yourself–long a liberal, perhaps you even called yourself “progressive”–wondering why the Democratic establishment has failed us so many times over?
Were you disappointed when Bernie Sanders promised to work with Trump? When President Obama and Secretary Clinton asked us to “give him a chance?” When they kept letting opportunities to stand up against Trump’s cabinet picks, executive orders and blatant, dangerous lies fly past them?
Because I was too. I was a longtime progressive liberal, and while I found myself regularly frustrated with the Democrats, I didn’t feel I had a better option. After all, you move at all to the right of the Democrats and you start getting real racist, real fast. And what was to the left? Jill Stein? Like, no thank you.
We all know that the powers that be want to control women. Right? That’s what feminism is all about. Call it the system, the patriarchy, “the man,” the ruling class, the state, whatever you want, we all agree that women are pretty systematically fucked over. At least everyone reasonable does. If you don’t even believe women’s oppression is real, good damn day and please DO let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
But here’s something feminists have been floundering on for decades: why? What’s the point of controlling women? Is it for sex? Is it so they only have your babies? Is it because men are by nature abusive and controlling? Is it because they’re generally physically larger and more dominant? Is it…is it lizard people?
Here’s my theory. Well, not my theory. Here’s a theory put together by a ton of people smarter than me and which I think makes the most sense.