I’ve been a feminist since I was 17.
When people asked me what it meant and why I was a feminist I told them that I believed women needed to be equal to men. I told them that we lived in a patriarchal society where who we were was defined by what we were not: namely, we were not men. I told them that I was a feminist because I believed women should be paid the same wage for the same job as men. That women needed to be represented 50/50 across the board in occupations and public office from truck drivers to politicians, from doctors to council workers.
Women needed to have their unpaid work in the home valued. They needed to be free of objectification, from sexual assault, from rape and from murder. This was why I was a feminist: because I believed in equality.
Now at 50 I realise how wrong I was. I am no longer interested in equality. Fuck that. I want world domination. It’s only fair. If we got a crack at ruling the world for the next decade then it might do something to ‘equal’ the scales when it comes to enjoying the privilege of being dominant culture. We might even repair some of the patriarchal potholes of climate change, child sexual abuse, sex slavery, environmental degradation…
Let’s face it: men have been enjoying the fruits of patriarchy for hundreds if not thousands of years. The simple feminist request for gender equality really sells us short of what we need to happen to create a level playing field. So this is how it is going to play out.
Patriarchy is going to finish. Come 1 July we’ll be rolling out the Matriarchy. You will start by taking your mother’s moniker as your surname. When heterosexuals marry HE will take his wife’s name. When you have kids HE’LL stay home and look after them. And when he’s ready he’ll go back 2–3 days a week.
I mean, he doesn’t want to be judged at Dad’s Group as a bad dad. Plus dads will be running the canteen at the local school and he’ll need to be on the roster. At school pickup time there will be a gaggle of men waiting in activewear complaining that they hoped to get after-school activities done in time so they could bring the washing in so it didn’t damp off. When he’s driving the kids to ballet he won’t even notice the billboards that show a man in skimpy underwear.
All the men have wings. These are Victor’s Secret Models. They sell jocks. When you are at the airport you can watch the instore video of fashion parades of amazing looking men parading in just undies. You’ll see women looking at it and feel annoyed because you know they’re not interested in looking at the undies – they are looking at the hot buff bodies of these men. Dirty old women objectifying men. Men with bodies that you will never have because those men don’t have kids, and washing to fold, and dinner to get and a job with no real career advancement prospects.
Those men probably have wild orgasmic sex. Not the quiet tired coupling you have as she writhes on you until she comes, and then rolls over and goes to sleep. You text through for your next botox and full back, sack and crack wax appointment. You’re toying up whether to join the new trend and get those stick on eyelashes all the other blokes have. Can you afford the downtime? The fortnightly nail infill and spray tan already take up the half day you should have been working.
You stop in at the doctors. You don’t want any more kids and your contraception needs a top up. You think how good it would be if she took responsibility. But no-one has invented anything for women. So once every few months you get an injection to stop your fertility. It works but it makes you fat and angry and sometimes a bit sadder than you would be without it.
But you don’t want any more kids. The last one wasn’t planned and came along just when you were about to go back to uni to finish your degree. Back to the uni you left after the incident with the lecturer who used to run her hands across your shoulders in tutorial. The lecturer who pulled you into her office and one time pushed your head into her crotch so you could go down on her. You were too embarrassed to make a complaint because you worried no-one would believe you so you dropped out, got a job moved in with Caroline and eventually married and had kids.
You’re waiting for the doctor, flicking through the magazines. They have pictures of happy middle-aged men holding cakes they’ve just made. Men talking in confidence about their testicular cancer journey. Another boasts an ad about a masculine hygiene wash designed especially for the pH needs of super-sensitive scrotums. Tabloids tell stories of men who are too fat or too thin. Men who’ve lost 10 kilos in just two weeks. Famous gorgeous men frolicking in the surf with their new lovers.
You wonder what if feels like to be a man like that. You wonder if their wife gets drunk and calls them ‘useless’ or ‘fat’. You wonder if their wife has pushed them against the wall and held them by the throat. You wonder if they have lain in bed weeping, not knowing where to go, how to change. If you can take the kids and leave and go some place safe or if she really will change like she says she will.
‘Mr Nolan?’ It’s a woman doctor. You never feel comfortable with a woman. It’s not them as individuals, it’s the history of how women have treated you.
Is this making you feel uncomfortable? Welcome to OUR world. This is how we live. Enjoy the Matriarchy. Let’s see how long it takes you to demand the equality that we’ve so long been denied.