Opinion: 2019 is the perfect time to dismantle the patriarchy
- Alyson Bear | January 17, 2019
Let’s start this new year off with dismantling patriarchy. There is a lot of talk about empowering women and especially our Indigenous women but let’s stop the talk and take action in our own lives. I want to first acknowledge that this comes from personal experience as a single mother, also pursuing an education. There are barriers set in place that makes it harder for women to thrive and succeed in this capitalistic, colonial society that is founded on a hierarchy where men have always been at the top.
There is something I have personally noticed and that is women are shamed and demonized for some reason in this society for being single moms whereas single dads are held on a pedestal and admired for spending or doing the bare minimum to be in their children’s lives. Where women are expected to be loving caregivers at all times to be considered a “responsible parent”; men are only expected to show up from time to time in order to be deemed good fathers.
I understand there are also single dads out there where the mother is absent and I praise those men who do step up for their kids or for other people’s kids and are amazing step dads. Just let the conversation be for women, by women. It has taken a long time for women to even have a voice and be taken seriously. Women were literally burned at the stake for being outspoken and intelligent and were literally considered property of either their husband or father. So why not let 2019 be about empowering our women.
There is big talk about honoring women, well let’s honor our women then. Let us hold all of our mothers up, let’s realize they need encouragement, support, love and respect the most. Because the future, which is the children, rests in their hands.
Single mothers have a hard enough time trying to raise their kids on their own without nearly every person they cross judging them. It’s hard to be in a world where single moms are constantly looked at like there is something wrong with them or slut shamed just because the person they had children with has their own issues and did not or would not take responsibility for their children. I have experienced this on a regular basis and it is brutal. People can say they do not internalize these stereotypes they have against single mothers, but if you cannot acknowledge or address something there will never be a solution or change to that problem.
Let’s get to the roots of these issues so we can respect each other. Let’s do our best to not enable men who do not contribute to their children’s lives. Let’s put people in check because if we do not, they will never see anything wrong in their actions. Society has normalized the absent father. While a mother, and specifically single mothers are being peed on, pooped on, puked on all while keeping the house in order and going to school, maintaining a job and career to provide for their children. Whatever it is, moms are sacrificing for their children and not even being held to the same standard as a man.
If we actually want to help one another, have healthy and thriving communities, we need to make sure we put ourselves in check as well. We need to let go of things do not help us grow and quit shaming and blaming one another. There is a hierarchy in society, I see it and feel everyday as a woman who is in law school and an Indigenous woman at that. I’ve been told to my face that as a single Indigenous mother that my dreams are “unrealistic”, or to get some new dreams by those who think I need to slow down or just focus on being a mom.
As if my dreams and motherhood could not co-exist. The point is we can be whoever we want to be and we are not defined by the cookie cutters society tries to makes us fit in. We are defined by our unique, resilient, soul that we are born with and carry with us every day.
So, let’s celebrate our uniqueness, lets honor and truly empower our women, our mothers, and our life givers. No one is perfect, no one’s mom is perfect but they are doing the best they can with what they know. For me, I have been through some near death accidents that have woken me up and I have had to live through some hard lessons to understand tomorrow is never promised. I would rather spend time that I have with my children today and not waste it on people who choose to the look the other way.