December 29, 2011 19 Comments
There are several things we could mean.
Is the scenario logically possible? That is, is there a logical contradiction in proposing the world without the patriarchy?
In other words, can we imagine a possible world where there is no patriarchy in a way that we fail to understand a possible world where there are square circles, or where two is equal to one, or that a particular flower is both green all over, and entirely not green?
I believe that a world without patriarchy is logically possible.
Is the scenario nomologically possible? That is, is the scenario possible given the current laws of nature?
Given that a world without patriarchy does not alter the speed of light, or violate the law of conservation of energy, or any other law of nature, I believe that a world without patriarchy is nomologically possible.
Now, is the scenario a real possibility? That is, is it possible to abolish patriarchy in the actual (that is- our) world?
If it is possible, does this imply that we should hope for this possibility, work towards this possibility, plan for this possibility, etc.?
What do they mean by this statement?
Surely they don’t mean it is logically impossible, and that there is a logical contradiction involved in imagining a world where women are not sold to men to be sexually used, and therefore cannot come to be.
Surely they don’t mean that it is nomologically impossible- that is, that ending pornstitution would contradict a law in nature and would change the gravitational constant, or super cool matter to absolute zero.
Do they mean, then, that ending prostitution is impossible in the real world, given the way it is right now?
If so, then they lack vision of what the future could become. They are presuming that because the patriarchy exists now, that it will always exist, and that because women are treated like chattel now, that they will always be so treated. In other words, these folks lack imagination.
Or, perhaps they mean to make a stronger claim- namely that there is no way the world as it is now could change in order to free women from sexual slavery.
It may be impossible to completely end prostitution right now given the existence of the patriarchy, and the concentration of power in male hands.
HOWEVER, we do not have enough information about how the world could change, just by observing the way our world happens to be now. If that is their argument, then it is weak indeed.
I believe that it is possible, sometime in the future, to abolish the patriarchy, and remove mandatory male access to women.
In stating that a world without prostitution/patriarchy is possible, I am not stating that I know how to bring this world about. I’m merely stating that I have a vision of the world without constant male access to women’s bodies. I don’t know what the long way forward looks like. But I believe it is possible. Dee Graham recommends that we use science fiction, and our imaginations to think of what such a world would be like. In reading The Holdfast Chronicles, Herland , and the Daughters of a Coral Dawn series, I’m expanding my vision to include a world outside of male dominance and power.
Men do not define what is possible, and by dreaming of the long way forward now, we find the power to fight against male power today.