I grew up in a hyper-masculine culture in which I was expected to tow the line and accept the reality of patriarchal norms. Men were allowed to cheat, they were allowed to be verbally aggressive, and they were implicitly given the green light to be physically abusive. My culture (Russian) was one dominated by some of the cruelest individuals I’ve ever known, and their actions were not only the norm, but reasoned away as being an inherent, and unchangeable, aspect of our way of life and our system of being.
Due to the recent revelations by Dr. Ford, we were collectively hurled on a journey into our cultural abyss, an unconscious realm of the primitive and immoral aspects of our well-groomed society. Thus, we were presented with the significant question of our time: Can we look past an individual’s savagery and reward him with one of the highest positions in our land? With the mounting evidence against the propriety of Brett Kavanagh’s character, is it ethical for us to stand by and allow the GOP to push him through to become a Supreme Court Justice? My answer: If your goal is to perpetuate a culture where might means right, in which men are allowed to dominate because of their strength, then it’s yes.
Throughout my childhood, I’ve witnessed the consequences of a male dominated society, one which didn’t even demand a mild form of introspection. Allegations of rape or of attempted rape were non-existent and the woman’s role in satisfying, and defending, her husband was equated with loyalty and morality. In a culture where we, as children, stood by and watched the women in our lives be persistently mistreated, we learned that their needs were irrelevant, unless they reflected those of their male counterparts. I grew up believing that it was a man’s world and that women were merely there to serve. And those of us who preached equality on the surface, succumbed to misogyny in practice.
In the US, many of us find it difficult to conceive of a culture which systematically debases its women, and thus, we stuff our own demons into a closet, hoping to keep them far from daylight. Studies persistently indicate that female accusers don’t lie, and yet, we find it convenient to blame them instead of acknowledge the fact that men don’t deserve their exalted status. For, to accept their ubiquitous flaws would mean to negate their power, and that appears to be unacceptable to us, much as it was when I was a kid.
To say that we’re heading down a dangerous trajectory has become cliched, but evidently not enough so, as too many of us still don’t seem to get it. If we want a culture in which an entire population is degraded and mistreated, then we should allow Kavanaugh, and anyone else who’s behaved like him, to hold a position of power, as doing so would only further our propensity toward sexism and a real-time manifestation of our collective, suppressed abyss. Today’s GOP has no inkling of the ramifications of their collective denial, and no desire to learn of what it’s like to live in a world of extreme patriarchy. They claim to love their wives and daughters, but persist in blinding their eyes to their role in fostering our own version of the culture I grew up in.
The reason why I’m speaking up is because I know what it’s like to watch my mother be treated as a second-class citizen and be emotionally abused; I know what it’s like to hear everyone around her tell her that she’s overreacting and that she needs to be more accommodating. I’ve spent an entire childhood on the sideline as women were objectified and devalued, and made to feel as though their worth was solely based on their submissiveness. Men don’t seem to realize how difficult it is for a boy to watch the constant debasement of the woman he loves most. If we continue to grant misyogny an active place in our society, that sorrow that I, and the women in my life experienced, will spread its poison into our own culture, and that’s precisely why we should reject Kavanugh.