Open Letter to Depressed Women

I imagine you crying out, convulsing with revulsion as all the things driving you to madness in your life surround you, perhaps not realizing you are not the crazy party, even if you feel crazy, lost, trapped, stuck, hopelessly overwhelmed with no way out. It is hard not to feel more than a little crazed when masters of policy and technology have it all backwards, any sensible view being ignored or ridiculed in favor of male propensities to contend for dominance. The basis of that paradigm is this drive to subordinate, so everything derived, directly or indirectly, from that is corrupted at its source. The list is unimaginable in length and horrors. For instance, might makes right, rape, battering, sexual harassment, intimidation, manipulation, bullying, winning, cruelty, hierarchy, cutthroat competition, cutting corners, plundering nature, toxic dumping, mixing up genetic structure for profit, war, conquest, colonization, occupation, arms race, superpower, doomsday weaponry, poverty, proselytizing, political, psychological, and economic models, Constitution recognizing rights only of white men, not even most of those getting to vote for decades… The rot is endless, so it is not alarming that you sense things are amiss; they are, and not because of anything deficient in you. That is a reversal scam, wool pulled over your eyes, that the problem is how you look at things, or biochemical imbalance. It is to your credit that you sense things are amiss, deeper than stock markets crashing, so your problems cannot be all your fault. Living in such a messed up world has to bring out charged up reactions, of depression, madness, going numb, or fury. It infuriates me anew beyond belief, to look at fresh examples of this madness every day, that trend showing no sign of reversing, even if Obama does get some things done by working with amenable Republicans. He seems anxious to reach out to them, despite drawing protests from dismayed supporters who expected better than another betrayal from a big talker politician, this time.

The world is effectively mad, upside down, its collective mind twisted into a pretzel by any sensible or rational standard, the worst schemes of the rich and powerful creating chaos as their bubbles of recklessness unravel. Even what men call knowledge is skewed by their basic premises, but fundamental to their learned thought patterns is this drive to subordinate, serving to prop up and escalate theories and practices like hierarchical models, hero worship, violence. One can say men compete to control everything, often with the worst of intentions or tools. Under another model one could say people can work with each other and resources provided by a generous but finite planet to make quality balanced relationships, products, services, instead of competing to control, dominate, master others, show who is boss in a society hierarchical in just about every way conceivable. Why is one group better than another? Sex? Sexuality? Ancestry? The only possible means to make such a comparison make sense is on the basis of proficiency in each ability possible to humans, in other words specific rather than general, since by differences readily apparent by appearances, those comparisons will trade off. Subordination of inferior groups is all twisted delusion maintained for benefit of men in power, a conflation of personal or cultural pride with being better or entitled. Pride does not require feeling better than others, a different kind of pride than feelings of superiority and entitlement associated with hierarchical models.

Convention allows males to look at females as sex objects, since females are different, the Other devalued to prop up male ego. Leave it to man to invent ideological violence. Other animals fight over territory, but man had to expand the territory of battle to beliefs, invent slavery and Inquisitions, turn war into a sinister art demanding ever more money and death. In some parts of the world, I might be killed for expressing my opinions, while in others people send death threats, or lean on me to tone it down. Times are bad, enough for pornography bigshots to stage a publicity stunt applying for a bailout, another maneuver to add insult to injury they must trot out. They are almost accepted as part of mainstream media, so why not? While men feel entitled to devalue women into sex objects, one group can justify devaluing another into slavery or other forms of second classhood. The default to see men as the norm, those who matter, head the household, must be taken seriously, is arbitrary, deliberately set up that way and maintained to keep the clique of the powerful, mostly men, in power, subordinate men contented with power over women. Feminism threatens to disrupt all that, so it is roundly reviled as anything but what it is, women taking power, which would ultimately bring radical change, at least in the way the culture sees and values women and power, since feminist power is not hierarchical or about vengeance or subordinating anybody. There is far more diversity in feminism than the media presents, as if it is divided between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin camps, or man-hating and pornography is so liberating camps. Radical women are visionary, going to the root of matters, not necessarily extreme, leftist, or lesbian.

The degree and forms of social madness vary, but the trend looks bad. It gets to the point the public relations people do not seem to care how unbelievable their spin is, they expect people to buy it. Why live in such a mad world, where people look down on you, want to abuse, devalue, or ignore you? Any hope of meaningful change seems a forlorn futile pipedream, not going to happen in your lifetime? Rebels try to organize, but are splintered into myriads of narrow focus groups that cannot agree on anything?

It can all seem hopeless, mocking you when hope itself is made into a campaign slogan, and Obama slogans into commercial advertising. Are there ample reasons to suspect Obama of selling out his principles to big money? His marketing program has kept these murmurs mostly off the map of mainstream media, otherwise it would be dealing with President McCain? Life can seem intolerable at times, yet is resilient enough to recover from most insults. Life cannot seem such a wonderful thing if you are having a miserable time with a job you cannot abide, or someone determined to make your life miserable, whether your boss, coworker, relationship, stalker, or your own compulsion. You do not deserve this. Blaming or taking it out on yourself is tantamount to conceding they win, you are too miserable to fight back. However implausible it may seem, a supportive friend or group could help you find a way to fight back. Usually there are ways, at least to work toward a better life, though finding one and making good use of it can seem farfetched, since the cold cruel world at large is so unsupportive.

The world will have to clean up its act more than most people can imagine if there is to be any chance of reversing course before too late to avert major ecological collapse. It could happen before humanity is forced awake by any number of possible disasters awaiting business as usual. It is hard to contemplate living under predictable scenarios, but people do have choices, and having their backs against the wall could bring out the worst in people, or the best. It is hard to see the point in living, if the future is so bleak. Yet there are better ways, and to work for any kind of change is a reason to live. To work for radical change that would deal with this predicament in a practical, realistic way is a reason to live. That may sound utopian, but it is clever but ironic artifice to call what can actually work utopian, when what is supposed to work according to conventional wisdom caused and is compounding the problems.

People will squawk, what a pipedream, yet this is to say there is no way better for visionary women to find than bailing out the scam artists? That goes for more than the financial mess. Scam artists have pulled the wool over our eyes in every way they could imagine. Nothing is left untouched, not science, medicine, psychology, religion, tradition, what one learned to believe. It all goes back to fundamental beliefs, based on fundamentally flawed presumptions on reality, twisting it to maximize hierarchy. Think about what the opposite would mean, if hierarchy had no value. This is closer to reality. There should be no hierarchy for its own sake. There is no need to overvalue necessary evils. The founding document, the Declaration of Independence, of USA says governments are instituted to secure rights,

deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

It seems government has taken it upon itself to stretch another phrase,

organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

If that last their refers to well off white men, the voters allowed under the original Constitution, there is our system, though it has revealed some heavy cracks lately, so very few powers that be are feeling so safe, smug, and happy at the moment. The Obama bubble might fix that for awhile, but look out below.

It may seem all so hopeless, so beyond any hope of repair, at least on the level of your own life. A woman needs a room of her own, and she needs support as well. When I was young women had a widespread support group movement, of small mostly disorganized groups of women throwing thoughts and feelings out for discussion, finding out how similar some of our issues with men were. Those groups were known as CR groups, for consciousness raising, before New Age and postmodern movements came along to recast consciousness into a ghost of what it meant. If that movement had been able to network as easily as is possible today, it could have turned political reality on its head, because feminist political awareness is powerful, potentially enough to endanger the powers that be. Those groups also helped women work out ways of dealing with our problems that seemed too personal, just your own problems, but other women could empathize, realizing political implications. Most problems are manufactured as consequences of wrongheaded assumptions of prevalent psychological and economic models. These assumptions only make sense if one believes in them, so men run the world, into the ground. That cannot last forever, but the sooner women realize how to turn things around, the better. It is all about networking, to communicate about gripes and figure out practical real life solutions. Eventually enough women will be emboldened to speak out, to express in all our creativity, wisdom, and power, to sweep enough of the rascals out of office to try something really new.

It could also help to try writing out your pain into a blog, or journal. A blog can be private so only friends can see it. If you make it public and allow comments, you might have to censor a few losers who feel like harassing you, but you might find someone who empathizes with you, can relate to what going through your battle is like. Another way is to join a moderated forum at an online support network. There is nothing like a supportive friend to help you ground, get your bearings, find a way out of the maze. The Free Soil Party is sponsoring a Depressed Women Network where women can rant and rave freely in forums carefully moderated to keep the atmosphere safe for that purpose. One section is visible to the public, others more private, some for venting only, others for discussion of issues. I imagine what depresses most depressed women is not unrelated to what infuriates me. This is not in our imagination. Women have reasons not to believe men know what they are doing, with women or anything else in this world of, by, and for men, throwing a few crumbs our way to placate our fury. We cannot agree on what to do about it, but that need not keep us feeling so alone and powerless. This is a political issue for Free Soil, the system built to keep women down, nothing new, but still depressing, infuriating, and under challenge. You can help fight the system by venting. Despite what you learned to believe, do not downplay what you contribute to the world. It is a political issue that depressed and angry women have so little support, our feelings ridiculed or dismissed as our fault, best pacified with drugs. Better to join a feminist revolution, or vent among friends. Repressing your feelings only hurts you, keeps the wounds festering. The drugs only make you numb, apathetic, docile. Your feelings are important. Venting them might help you and others more than you can imagine. You can fight back. You do not have to settle for blaming yourself, or drugging your life away. Most doctors are part of the system, not on your side, telling you how you need to adapt to society, get with the program. To some extent we must all make deals to survive, but Martin Luther King said in The Power of Non-Violence over fifty years ago

God grant that we will be so maladjusted that we will be able to go out and change our world and our civilization.

Think about that the next time you are told how you need to adapt or adjust to society. Society needs to adapt and adjust to women taking power. In the meantime, business goes on as usual, which is oppressive and depressing, but there are many ways to contribute to the struggle. This may seem remote, but so many women seethe inside that you might find some empathy or answers, if you venture to vent. Think on your depression as a reasonable reaction to such a messed up world. If you understand it is not your fault, you can help fight the oppression that is depressing you. To truth, healing, discovery, a way out of all the poison illusions!

10 Responses to “Open Letter to Depressed Women”

  1. Laur Says:

    Hey Aletha,

    I read this pice a few days ago when you first posted it, and it is AMAZING. I’m not able to respond to each of the excellent points you make now, but I wanted to say what you said about protecting the Earth being a reason to live (and live well!) makes a lot of sense. That said, however, I have also just learned that scientists are now saying it is inevitable we will push past a 4 degree warming this century. :-0 Isn’t that a tipping point when life on Earth may not be able to be sustained? Does this not mean there’s nothing more that can be done?

    It seems, though, people are still trying; maybe it is not certain, because I am still hearing about environmentalist’s plans to stop this warming.

    Thoughts?

    Laur

  2. Aletha Says:

    Thanks, Laur. That news about warming is not exactly news, but now it is finally getting into the mainstream. It does not mean nothing can be done, but the rapidly approaching tipping points are behind what I said about the world having to clean up its act more than most people can imagine. That means the world has to phase out carbon-based fuels, period, no gasoline, ethanol, biofuels, coal, synthetic fuels, or natural gas. That means reversing deforestation in a big way, no more making paper from wood, for instance. That means recycling virtually all waste. In a nutshell, humanity has to stop fouling our nest. No species can survive that for long.

    I doubt all life would perish, even if Earth becomes another Venus; some forms of life are extremely hardy. People are another story. We have trashed this planet thoroughly; either we will learn from our errors, or natural processes will eradicate us.

  3. Laur Says:

    I have a bad feeling about the future of humanity. Really scary to think about…

    James Lovelock is saying there will probably be less than 1 billion humans on the planet at the end of the century. This is why I worry when I see young children.

  4. Aletha Says:

    Yes, it is scary to think about, but unfortunately the powers that be are not nearly scared enough. Things are bound to get worse before they get better, unless people wise up in a big hurry. The pathetic part of it is that the means to save the planet are out there already, but the political will is not, at least not yet.

  5. Laur Says:

    I don’t know. I used to agree, that things would get worse before they’ll get better, and I suppose i still do–I just wonder if things ever WILL get better.

    I’m currently devouring Peter Ward’s Under a Green Sky, horror reading at its best. I even had a nightmare the other day about knowing the world was coming to an end and trying to protect my parents. Very, very scary stuff.

    Anyhow, in the book, Ward talks to a scientist who thinks humanity WILL make changes–but only when it’s so late that climate change will have taken on a life of its own.

    And then there are the people who refuse to believe humans are causing climate change (I have some family members for who this is the case) because if they were to face the evidence, they would need to call for government intervention. Not that I’m a big fan of the government, at least in its present form, where it is not a real tool of the people.

    I am honestly quite scared about the future and wonder what the point of anything I do in my life is sometimes, when it appears humanity is on the brink of catastrophe. But then, I think if I could make life a bit nicer for other women, even during this ardurous period, my life will have meaning.

    I suppose this post isn’t exactly related to the freesoil party, but it is by a depressed, or at least scared, woman!

  6. Aletha Says:

    I also have my moments of doubting things will ever get better, but to me, the point is that this is all a matter of political will. We do have the capacity to turn things around, but whether it will happen before it is too late to do more than slow down the inexorable march of the revenge of nature on this ever so reckless and foolhardy species, who knows. What Obama has proposed is a drop in the bucket compared to what will be necessary. Al Gore was more ambitious, but even his plan would be too little, too late. As long as the powers that be think the economy is the primary issue, there is no reason to hope they will wake up in time.

    As for your post being relevant, Robin Morgan says all issues are women’s issues, so by extension. all issues should be relevant to a political party for women.

  7. Laur Says:

    Well, I attended one day of Powershift this weekend. The conference itself was fine, though if I had been organizing, I would have suggested it be done a bit differently.

    Having a feminist conscience in some ways–okay, many ways–makes life a lot harder. How could one not notice that when a man stood up to ask a question, the audience whispered how articulate he was, and when a woman asked a question, which was, IMHO, quite good, those same audience members mocked both it and her. Some would say I am overreacting, but when you notice these same patterns over and over, it is beyond coincidence.

    Climate change is going to impact women disproportionately, as everything does, so women should be leading the climate movement, not the other way around.

  8. Aletha Says:

    Unfortunately the environmental movement is no more egalitarian than any other social movement; men get most of the attention and take most of the credit, regardless of who deserves it. There have been so many good ideas women have put forth, that once men discover them, they take over, and who originated the idea is forgotten, the herstory erased in the familiar patterns. I might believe men have any kind of handle on what it will take to reverse climate change when the mainstream environmental organizations stop touting Obama, who keeps putting clean coal and advanced biofuels on the same level as solar and wind energy, as a green President. He is just another Democratic greenwasher, talking a good game about battling corporate interests while they laugh all the way to the bank, knowing his words are just rhetoric, meant to placate the public without rocking the boat. Obama is about as green as he is feminist, appearing as such to the unwary eye, but lacking in substance.

  9. Laur Says:

    Yeah, Aletha, I wish women would somehow see this for themselves, how we are co-opted in these other movements, as happened in the late ’60s.

    Re: Obama, I’ve actually felt relieved by *some* of the things he’s done, and then totally not surprised (so not disappointed), by others. I guess I had SUCH a bad impression of him that even seeing a small change from some Bush policies is something.

  10. Aletha Says:

    I am not of the camp that claims there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, though how significant the differences are is open to question. I am working on a new post, in which I give credit for some good ideas Obama has, but the purpose of that is to contrast with my theme.

    I think women are more or less aware of being coopted by male dominated movements, and that men take more credit than they deserve, but relatively few women who want to be involved in these movements see any realistic alternative.

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