The Illusion of Powerlessness

 

I used to watch those Nature programmes, when I did watch television, I don’t have it anymore, I realised that I could actually feel brain cells dying. It is addictive and induces a kind somnolent waking lethargy.

An unexpected benefit of course is that I have no clue what most women are talking about when they have these rather strange conversations about what various soap characters are doing, or not doing.

The unexpected benefit also includes a total and utterly confused reaction of incomprehension when I say “I don’t watch television” automatic outsider status – J

Anyhoo – as I said I like those Nature programmes, I am fascinated by the diversity and complexity of life on this planet, and intrigued by the mechanisms that some species have evolved to protect themselves, to camouflage themselves and to create an illusion of danger or convenient helplessness about themselves, so that predators will leave them alone – or at least not try to eat them.

I don’t know why but I am especially fond of hedgehogs. Tiny prickly little creatures that they are, hate to see them squished on the road, there really should be hedgehog crossings.

Moving on.

Women are masters of illusion, experts at camouflaging their true natures, and have evolved quite a series of complex and subtle mechanisms for luring, for assimilating and for utilising men and their capabilities for their own benefit.

The most effective mechanism that women have historically employed to harness the utility of men is the illusion of powerlessness, of weakness, of helplessness.

They are not, nor have they ever been powerless, women have always exercised covert power, and for quite a long period of history this covert power was enough – it gave them unlimited scope for literally directing the course of cultural, social and legal progress, society evolved to benefit as a priority, the needs and desires and whims of women.

Until the industrial revolution, one’s “world” was a relatively small contained entity – one’s sphere of influence was limited to a certain extent on the technological constraints of the time.  Travel was arduous and inconvenient, there was nothing to really buy, or much to really do, if you were a middle or upper class female, and ones position was determined by who one managed to marry.

But – with technological advancement, the world started to change rapidly, there was more “stuff” society expanded, jostling for social position became a full time occupation, and occupations that one could do also expanded.

Society rapidly changed from a predominantly rural to an urban one – and men were at the forefront of this changing world.  It seemed so much more exciting and interesting than the world women occupied, with its domestic concerns, family concerns, and sameness. Women started to become bored, peevish and disgruntled, this was all so unfair. Of course, it would never have occurred to these women that most of the technological advances were meant to relieve the burdens that women claimed to be experiencing in their small domestic little worlds, and that for the vast majority of people, working was the difference between surviving or not surviving.

So, women harnessed their covert power and exerted pressure on men to make room in this exciting new world for them – after any tedious need to work for, or expend any effort of course in achieving any of the exciting new occupations that men had.

Fast forward to the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, having exercised their covert power over and over again to pressure men to continue to shape society and culture so that it benefitted women, and of course by making women’s “domestic” lives almost automated, so that there was nothing that women ever actually had to really exert any effort to achieve – women had had enough – they were bored – they were bored with the effort of doing nothing, and bored with the effort it took to exert this distinctly female covert power, they wanted overt power, but, there was a small problem.

With overt power comes actual responsibility for the consequences of exerting that overt power – this was a dilemma – taking responsibility, or being accountable was never a feature of historical female behaviour or thinking.

The real benefit of having always exerted covert power was that one could hide behind the illusion of having no power while getting exactly what you wanted, when you wanted it.

A new illusion had to be employed, acquiring overt power and exercising it while at the same time maintaining the contradictory illusion of being powerless. The solution was so simple and so obvious that it literally took no real thinking through at all.

Use the historical illusion of being helpless and powerless as the battering ram to pile enormous guilt and pressure on men, while at the same time make a grab for as much overt power as you possibly could, and even as you acquired more and more overt power, keep banging on that drum of how women were deliberately kept powerless by men for centuries.

The whole illusion depended on one thing, which was that men continued to believe that women were always powerless, that men had always somehow had all the power, and it worked, because when men looked at women they saw the carefully crafted and assiduously cultivated illusion of powerlessness that all women wore like a second skin.

It worked for a long long time, it worked like a charm, in fact to some extent it still does work like a charm – with quite a few men.

But, here’s the thing, an illusion only works if the effect you are trying to create looks and sounds like the effect you are trying to create.

If you’re a chameleon and you want to blend into the bark you happen to sitting on, you’d better actually look like just another piece of bark.

So, if you’re trying to create the illusion of a fragile, powerless damsel in distress, looking and sounding like a deranged and violent screaming harridan makes it very difficult to see the fragile damsel in distress you’re supposed to be.

Illusion shattered.

Gradually over the last 50 years or so, the illusion and the reality have become such polar opposites that only the most blind, the most easily fooled, the most dull witted actually fall for this manufactured illusion, this chimera, this false creation of the powerless woman.

Yet, still they scream, they rant, they shriek and rail at how powerless they are – as they corrupt and kill, abuse and destroy, defile and defraud – still they claim that they are powerless and men are the powerful, as those men, die, as they live lives of despair and anguish, as they find themselves punished egregiously and without justification, for being men who have “irritated” or “upset” or “annoyed” some helpless female.

The exercise of power carries great responsibility; the abuse of that power carries the potential for great destruction.  To allow anyone or any group or class of persons to hold absolute power, whether overt or covert is an error that has consequences not just for those whom it is exerted against, but for the system or culture or society within which it is exercised, because there is no balance, no countervailing force, no mechanism for controlling it, for tempering it, for channelling it – it is a destructive and corrupting force.

Power does corrupt – and absolute power corrupts absolutely – we are in the midst of the most absolutely corrupting exercise of power in all of human history.

It is not an illusion anymore; it IS the reality we all live in.

 

© Anja Eriud 2014

 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Phill Ferreira
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 08:30:01

    Reblogged this on The Story of my Twin Boys and commented:
    A good read from Anja on the illusion of “Powerless Woman”…….

    Reply

  2. alanbowker
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 20:51:57

    ” Power does corrupt – and absolute power corrupts absolutely – we are in the midst of the most absolutely corrupting exercise of power in all of human history.
    It is not an illusion anymore; it IS the reality we all live in “.

    You saved the best to the last, Anja. I agree with both yourself and Erin Pizzey who, just last week warned again that we are under siege and holds the view that “Civilization” as we know it will be destroyed if Clinton becomes the next President. The point is that both Erin and yourself presents the EXTREME danger we face.
    Sadly, neither of you are crying wolf, this isn’t hyperbole, we really are in such dire trouble.
    It is now a race to face down this evil by alerting everyone who will listen and who can help avoid these sirens who offer their songs of destruction as some type of justice chorus.
    .

    Reply

    • Anja Eriud
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:12:00

      Hi Alan,

      Alas, if only I was “crying wolf”, as a civilisation we have become innured to the destructive forces that are gathering and converging, economic, social and political – it is insane – totally insane, that a doctrine that preaches hatred, bitterness, anger and lies still finds purchase in the minds of those – to be honest – should bloody well know better.

      Will we have to reach absolute bottom before not just women but men WAKE UP, wake up to what those, who have become bloated with power, with avarice, with sneering contempt for humanity are driving us towards?

      As for Clinton? I shudder to think how fast and how far she would escalate this destruction – in entrenching this most corrosive of social engineering programmes.

      Anja

      Reply

  3. caprizchka
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 00:48:49

    “The real benefit of having always exerted covert power was that one could hide behind the illusion of having no power while getting exactly what you wanted, when you wanted it.”

    This article is so real and true to me even if I have lived my life mostly quite independently and fearlessly. Part of that I’m sure in hindsight was due to the protective and watchful nature of men around me.

    I’m currently watching the movie Reds which happens to show a few things about the supposed suppression of women. My partner and I subscribe to Netflix because we don’t watch television either. But a movie once in a while is nice even if the new ones don’t even try to hide their propaganda.

    It would seem to me that we are already living in a fascist world but the shrillness of feminism seems to be getting louder. What is next I wonder? I regret that I am not optimistic.

    Reply

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