I fought The Patriarchy and The Patriarchy won

When you want Revolution but lose your will


You guys – y’all – (I just read something in an anthology of old Bitch magazine articles that “guys” is gendered and it means “men” which means I shouldn’t be using it but up here it seems so gender neutral so I don’t know about that and I’m going to have to think about it.)

Let me start over.

Greetings, earthlings.

I have been trying so hard to fight the patriarchy, although it’s difficult. I don’t talk about it at work, because – well, I work for money and I don’t have power and I need the health insurance, even though my company plan is Blue Cross of Michigan, which is horrible and I am willing to go on record saying that. Blue Cross of Michigan, YOU STINK.

Oh yeah – and your systems that wouldn’t let me register Mr T online because his first name has too many characters? You really hadn’t updated anything since 1983? BECAUSE TEXT FIELD LENGTH ISN’T AN ISSUE ANYMORE, YOU KNOW.

Back to the patriarchy. I want to fix the big things. I want revolution.

I want to fix pay inequity.

I want sexual harassment, especially at work, to end. And I am happy to see male execs (finally) being fired for violating company policies on dating subordinates. I don’t care if it’s consensual. If you’re the exec and the person you are dating is any level lower than you are, there is a power imbalance that at some point can hurt the subordinate. I am tired of seeing the women suffer for this BS.

(And also, in a few of these cases in the link, the execs are also married, which – dudes. For real? You are married. And also “dating” someone you work with? Who is a subordinate? You thought this was a good idea? You should be fired just for being stupid.)

I want revolution. I want more bathrooms. I want FGM to end. I want forced marriage to end. I want so many things.

But there is so little I can do.

But, I think, I can start small. At least there are things I can do in my everyday life. There are small but significant protests I can make.

I can stop coloring my hair! I can say, “Not today, patriarchy! I will not bow to your looksist insistence on youth! I will not color my hair anymore! My hair will be what it will be!”

And indeed I am taking that step.

I am two inches into not coloring my hair.

Part of it – OK – most of it – is because my hairdresser retired in September (why must I suffer like this?) and I don’t trust anyone else to do my color.

So I guess I am actually just a very bad, lazy, cheap feminist.

Who – might change her mind in a few months.

Oh Lord.

And then here is where I really am a failed feminist.

I thought, But I will chose – I CHOSE – not to wear makeup anymore.

I mean, why bother? It’s not like I am going to advance professionally. It’s not like I am at work to find me a man. It’s not like anyone cares. And half the women (of the 6.8% female population of my office) I work with also don’t wear makeup.

I thought, I also will not wear makeup to work!

I wasn’t even wearing that much.

I wear a little bit of pink eyeshadow just to make it look like I wasn’t punched in the eyes. And a little bit of mascara to make it look like I have eyelashes.

I put my makeup on on my drive to work. As I leave the house, I pull the mascara from my purse and stick it in my bra to warm it up. By the time I get to the long light at Bluemound, it’s warm enough and the puffiness around my eyes has gone down enough for me to apply it. And the car is the perfect place to apply makeup – I can actually get close enough to a mirror to see what I am doing.

I was going to be done with all that.



Feminism was going to set me free from the tyranny of makeup!


Well, from the mild assertiveness of makeup. Of a tiny bit of pink eyeshadow and mascara.


And a blow against the patriarchy. A statement.

So I did it.

I left for work and the mascara stayed in the purse.

I arrived at work makeup-less.

I stayed makeup-less all day.

Every time I walked into the bathroom, I saw myself.

And thought, Oh man. I sure do look tired.

The next day, the same thing.

No makeup. And I sure did look tired.

It’s a good thing I do not know any state secrets because apparently, it would not take much for me to betray my country. I couldn’t even hold out three days.

On Day 3, I stuck the mascara in my bra.

At the stop and go light at Bluemound, I put on the eyeshadow and mascara.

My friends, I have failed you and I have failed feminism.

I am sorry.

I don’t know how we will ever defeat The Patriarchy if I can’t even go three days without mascara.




4 thoughts on “I fought The Patriarchy and The Patriarchy won

  1. Hey, Girl! You are being entirely too hard on yourself! If you were coloring your hair and putting on mascara to attract a man, then shame on you. BUT, if you do it because it makes you feel better and gives you a bit of spring in your step to feel like you look better TO YOURSELF, then go for it. Feminism is all about doing what’s best for you, according to you. Nothing wrong with it. And, thanks for the bra recommendation. Hadn’t thought of that.

    And about the hair. Good looking gray or grayish hair can be really good looking and make you feel great. just find the way you like it best and go for it! Start looking for the best coifed women around you and see what works.


  2. Agreed – you’re being too hard on yourself. Wear what you want, how you want. And if you need the name of a good hair person let me know. She’s out on North Ave.


  3. Since when does wearing makeup and coloring your hair because you like to do so, for WHATEVER reason, support the patriarchy? It’s your right to want to look a certain way and your responsibility to question why that might matter, and if you are happy with your reasons, why must you overrule them? Defeating the patriarchy, to me, means being willing and able to make and own my decisions, as well as exercising the inclination and freedom to explore my own motivations. You do both of these things very well, a fact that (I believe) will support you in your endeavors to seek improvement in the areas of equal pay, sexual harrassment, etc., etc., etc. You go, woman!

    Liked by 1 person

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