So I absolutely adore this scene from The Zygon Inversion episode of New Doctor Who. I first saw it the weeknit first aired and I’ve since used it as a teaching tool for my team at work. The concept that those with true power those with true courage , can forgive – can break the chains of hate that bind us to conflict.
Recently I read Clem Ford’s ‘Fight Like A Girl’. It was challenging but thoroughly worthwhile. I feel that I learned a fair amount of deffenrence to priveledge that I have previously slow to acknowledge. The thing I found consistently challenging throughout was Clem’s use of fairly aggressive language. She addresses her thoughts on why many men find the type of language she uses challenging and how defending politeness is merely a way of protecting the patriarchal system.
In some ways I do agree with her – politeness and manners are inventions of the patriarchy, specifically the gentile class of the patriarchy.
But forgiveness is not.
I acknowledge the right of feminists to be very angry at the patriarchy for suppressing them for so very long and in such horrific ways. But I haven’t yet been able to reconcile the votrioloc vocabulary with which some feminists address the world.
It strikes me as The Doctor puts it as ‘just more cruelty’ now it’s certainly ‘cruelty’ that does make me sit upright and pay attention to what is being said. But I feel for entirely the wrong reasons. I listen because language of ranger and hate displays passion and rage and I do not wish to rub afoul of such violent emotions in anyone, regardless of gender.
Language is a method of mediation as much as it is a tool of control. I think the way we choose to discuss our differences and our passions displays so much about us and how we want to be perceived.
This is by no means an attack or cry for vocal feminists to reform their use of language – or a claim that I won’t listen to them if they don’t talk in a language that makes me comfortable. It is merely the suggestion that autocratic control of language is ‘cruelty’.
It is equally cruel for a feminist to violently seize the language of a discourse and it is for a man to allow it to exist in purely patroarchally endorsed politeness.
What we need to see in the world – on both sides of the gender divide. Is forgiveness – forgiveness for the sins of priveledge that so many men did nothing to help create or perpetuate and forgiveness of feminists and activits for their just anger at not even having the ability to control the terms by which their rights are discussed.
This is a charged, primed and deadly issue I know – let’s just all calm down, and call The Doctor.