“Fuck the patriarchy” is a statement that has been made popular by Egyptian- American Author, journalist and feminist Mona Eltahawy.
She describes the statement as her declaration of faith and begins every speech she gives with this declaration. Many times, Mona has been called out for profanity and she takes a break from telling them to fuck off to insist that civility will not upturn the patriarchy. I agree with Mona and here’s why.
Our society was built upon patriarchy; the belief that men are the superior sex and are treated as such. Civility has been an important tool on maintaining this patriarchy and that is why as little girls, we were told to speak but never too loud. This is why a woman would stay married to a man who has never given her an orgasm in 10 years of marriage without saying a word because civility dictates that a woman cannot question a man or speak as if she enjoyed sex else she would be labelled a slut. But embracing civility is embracing your murder weapon and that’s simply not good enough for survival.
The problem with civility is that it is mostly rooted in misogyny. For example, people would be quicker to scold a woman who uses curse words than a man who does, because “she is a woman” and women shouldn’t speak that way.
The rules of civility are mostly directed at a woman and stifles her social, financial, economic and political freedom. Donald Trump is noted for saying that his celebrity status allows him to “grab women by the pussies” and he went on to become the president of the United States of America! But the moment I, a woman mentions the word “pussy” in a private conversation, I get stares as if I had a scarlet letter permanently stamped on my face. God forbid I dare run for office with such language in my mouth. We invent words like “nag” and “dramatic” for women who refuse to always bow to civility.
It’s quite simple. Patriarchy is the oppressor and you cannot be polite to your oppressor. You fight your oppressor, you stand up against, bite, scratch and curse at your oppressor. In recent months, I have gotten messages from concerned people urging me to be polite when passing across my feminist message on twitter and here is what I had to tell them.
It is not polite that women are denied opportunities in their career, it is not polite that women are victims of domestic abuse, it is not polite that female genital mutilation is still existing so NO, I will not smile at or be polite to my oppressors. I will not ask society to change at her own convenience, I will kick and scream until she has no choice, but to change. We are at war with patriarchy and no war has ever been won with pleasantries.
“Fuck the patriarchy” is more than just a statement. It is a warning to our oppressors, the patriarchs that we refuse to fit into their box of what a woman should be. We would damn all the rules of civility in the quest for the ultimate prize; gender equality.
Chisom Anastasia Nwaezuoke is a physiotherapist, writer, public speaker and yogi. She is also a sexual health and reproductive rights advocate and volunteers for HandsOff Initiative.