I posted an apology, and a brief history of what I've dealt with as a "man" growing up in a system that I did not agree with, and what I have had to overcome to accomplish what I love. She responded by giving me a list of feminist authors to read, and to learn about power and privilege. *eye roll*. I have no power or privilege. I live in poverty and servitude. If anything, I have had less opportunity in my life because I'm a white male. I have been surrounded by individuals who are handed opportunities because they're women or minorities, because it's "man's" job to take care of them or certain groups' job to look out for their own, while this patriarchal system has conditioned most to think that I'll be fine. I'm not. I have always needed help and support, and have had to make the most of having very little, and the help and support I did get was not because I was a white male, but because I am who I am, while I suffer constant attacks for being a white male, and false accusations based on others perception. Such a privilege.
I learned the pride of providing, and have always done whatever I can to support my family, because I love them and I want to, not because it's my job as a man. The first chapter started with the statement that women just wanted to be loved by men, *cringe*, and ended with men needing to be loved and freed from the patriarchy, and there were some unexpected tears in between. For the first time in my life, how I felt about the system was completely validated. Bells' approach to patriarchy immediately pointed out that men are emotional time bombs, suffering constant emotional repression from the role that is demanded of them, which I have experienced first hand. When I started blogging in 2009, the one constant note I got was that I talked too much about how I felt, and that most of my emotional rambling was unprofessional, while female models' and photographers' blogs, riddled with emotion, were celebrated and coddled, mostly by men, who were simply playing out their patriarchal protective and dominant role. The only real readers and followers I got over my almost decade of unnoticed and demeaned emotional rambling were women, because it is socially acceptable for women to feel and support emotion. I could easily argue that the only reason I haven't "succeeded" as a creative is because I respond to the patriarchal roles with two middle fingers.
My blogging exploration into emotion and self discovery was also on the coat-tails of my second marriage unravelling by the firm gripping hand of patriarchy, and my struggling to be a part of it. I spent my teens and twenties trying desperately to play a character that contradicted my nature, and that came to a head when I became an abusive "man", fueled by gin, whiskey, and self hatred, flailing miserably to figure things out. Just shy of 30, my wife, who at this point had been driven to wander off to other men and bars, refused to come home one night, her excuse was that she was afraid I was going to kill her. That seemed so absurd to me at the time, but I immediately stopped drinking and recognized that I was the problem. A month later I accidentally killed someone, and every single thing in my life became a catalyst to change, obviously too late to save my marriage, and I honestly had a lot of work to do on myself, and still do. God fucking bless my second wife for letting me experience that first hand, not that she "let" me do it, but she could have easily called the cops at any point in the entire year leading up to that, and she didn't. I needed to see the fear and hurt I caused, in someone that I loved too much, but I didn't even understand love at 30, because the system never allowed me to. Testament to the kind of woman she is, she hunted me down three years later, saw my blog, and sent me a message saying that she forgave me, veiled beautifully behind "I don't hate you anymore," and I regularly apologize to her now, veiled cleverly behind me making fun of the stupid shit I did.