|Art by Arna Baartz|
Beyonce thinks girls run the world. I like her optimism, but it’s off-base. If women ran the world – if it was really true that we run the fucking world – 3.5 million female children in Turkey wouldn’t be in contractually-arranged rape relationships (child ‘marriage’), and the pregnant girls of Boko Haram wouldn’t have been abducted, impregnated, left alone to fend for themselves, and shamed by their community. We would be fucking safe from rape, from abuse, from misogynist social policies. We wouldn’t be scared for the safety of our children. We would be able to make more and better choices for ourselves and our families. We wouldn’t be marginalized and shamed for enjoying motherhood. We wouldn’t be fucking oppressed like biblical fucking slaves.
We are in the fucking wilderness.
If you’re a woman and you decide to have a baby, good luck. It’s not easy to navigate the array of social (let’s just call it ‘bullshit’ for the moment) bullshit and expectations surrounding the experience. If you’re a single mother, the level of bullshit is increased ten-fold and navigating it all is much more intense because you are alone. That being said, It’s not always difficult being a single mother. But for a vast majority of single moms, it’s fucking hard. And it’s lonely, and isolating. Women that have the privilege of having a partner (whether that partner is male or female) have help. This means they have financial help in most instances, and that kind of help goes a long way toward relieving a lot of pressure and helping other things in their lives, such as physical and mental health for example. Having someone else around that you can trust to care for your children when you are sick or tired, is an amazing thing. You can rest. They can rest. However, many of us don’t have that privilege. We just go and go and go and go. All of us have to make difficult decisions to make things work financially. Sometimes to the detriment of our relationships with our children and ourselves. We women have to make choices. But the choices that we are ‘presented’ with by society are not fair. Not by a fucking long shot.
The truth is, we are controlled. By men. I’m not going to waste time dragging in statistics here to prove this point but if you want to google some feel free. Take a look at the ratios of men to women in positions of power all over the world and you’ll get a better idea of how controlled we are. From presidents of countries, to corporations, to town hall and city council boards, we are controlled in every which way imaginable. Because we are rarely in positions of power, men make the majority of decisions that affect our lives in both public and private ways. They rely on their own male understandings of reality when they do this – which is obviously highly problematic considering how many of them are religious fundamentalists and think that the pains of childbirth are our punishment from God for tempting Adam in the garden. This is literally what they think. They also think that we are all objects to be fucked. This is what they think. The porn industry is as successful as it is because our society has normalized its acceptance. Women need to wake the fuck up to what this is doing to us and our daughters. And our sons.
We have children on our own terms. But even when we do, the only options ‘offered’ to us are options created by men in power. We are not consulted for policy that affects our livelihoods and existence. We are forced to pay tax on necessities like tampons and fucking menstrual pads. Our social, sexual, emotional, and financial resources are continually extracted by men in power for their own benefit and it needs to stop. These extractions are violent because they are forced and they are against our will and against our intuitive intelligence. Forced extractions do not equal choice, just as forced ‘sex’ does not equal sex – it equals rape. This must stop. Our resources are valuable and we must protect them.
If we have a baby, we are forced to return to work. Frustrated with being forced to return to work, we are forced to play the capitalist game - which is essentially a misogynist game that places more value on the accumulation of capital than on the building of a strong and healthy society. Enmeshed within this system, rife with a variety of damaging liberal feminisms disguised as progressive politics that are patriarchally oppressive in nature to women, we are forced to perform male-sanctioned 'work' and neglect caring for our children. We are forced to make 'choices' that hurt. We are forced to literally go against our nature and our instincts, to leave our children in the care of strangers who we are not allowed to personally vet; we are forced to trust the state and its policies and practices in the governance of our lives and that of our children. We are forcefully placed between a rock and a hard place:
- Between slaving away in a bullshit capitalist economy that devalues our motherhood and our work at home through a variety of misogynist social mechanisms constructed to oppress and erase us - or -
- Staying home and having our maternal work devalued through a variety of misogynist social mechanisms.
WE. ARE. AT. WAR. With ourselves, internally, and with the patriarchal structures of society, externally. We are at war with ourselves internally because the external social mechanisms and forces of misogyny press down upon us, press down upon our minds and our hearts, twisting our emotions, making it hard to know what to do with the 'choices' we are forced to accept, realizing that in this system, the 'options' available to us are not really choices after all, and so we are made angry, we are deeply hurting, we are made to feel like we have given up, like we are not contributing enough if we choose to stay at home with our children, we are made to feel like we are weak, non-contributing social leeches, unable to perform like everyone around us, according to male capitalist expectations.
We are not fucking slaves. Not to capitalism, and not to patriarchy. Our children are not pawns to be used in the misogynist accumulation of capital. We are not slaves. Our children are not slaves. We owe it to ourselves and to our daughters and the future of our world to stand up to this systemic-historical violence and take our fucking power back. We will no longer allow male-dominated systems and patriarchal regimes of rationalisation to govern us through oppressive rules, policies, agendas, and misogynist practices. We will no longer allow men to dictate what options are available to us. We will no longer accept male-constructed realities of capitalist 'choice' as the only options on our table. We will no longer tolerate the extraction of our natural resources. We will create our own structures of power and governance. We are going to dismantle this system and make it work for US. We are going to make it work in the name of Goddess, in the names of all of the mothers who have gone before us and been abused, violated, devalued, marginalised, mistreated, raped, maimed, oppressed, and silenced. We are the lifeblood of this world. We have always been. They depend on us. Without us they literally wouldn't exist. They owe it to us to listen. And if they don't, we will fight back.
We will shame them. We will publicly call them out on their bullshit. We will not take 'no' for an answer anymore. We are stronger than what we may appear. We are a force more powerful than any government, policy, or religion.
We are going to change the world.
An excerpt from the upcoming Girl God anthology, Single Mothers Speak on Patriachary.
Nile Pierce is a secret academic and artist currently living and working in Glasgow, Scotland. Her first poem was published when she was 7 years old, albeit under a different name. She has been writing and doing spoken word for many years and has amassed a trove of poems that now number into the thousands. She is a proud single mother and loves her child more than anything else in the world. You can find her social commentary on feminism and single motherhood at magnadea.org