Disaster patriarchy: how the pandemic has unleashed a war on women

This is an article by V (formerly Eve Ensler) that just appeared in The Guardian. I think it’s really important so I’m sharing here.

Illustration: Hanna Barczyk/Purple Rain/The Guardian

Disaster patriarchy: how the pandemic has unleashed a war on women

As Covid-19 has swept the world there has been an explosion of violence against women, and a full-blown assault on their rights. It’s time to fight back against a system that allows women to be sacrificed, erased and violated

V (formerly Eve Ensler)

Covid has unleashed the most severe setback to women’s liberation in my lifetime. While watching this happen, I have started to think we are witnessing an outbreak of disaster patriarchy.

Naomi Klein was the first to identify “disaster capitalism”, when capitalists use a disaster to impose measures they couldn’t possibly get away with in normal times, generating more profit for themselves. Disaster patriarchy is a parallel and complementary process, where men exploit a crisis to reassert control and dominance, and rapidly erase hard-earned women’s rights. All over the world, patriarchy has taken full advantage of the virus to reclaim power – on the one hand, escalating the danger and violence to women, and on the other, stepping in as their supposed controller and protector.

I have spent months interviewing activists and grassroots leaders around the world, from Kenya to France to India, to find out how this process is affecting them, and how they are fighting back. In very different contexts, five key factors come up again and again. In disaster patriarchy, women lose their safety, their economic power, their autonomy, their education, and they are pushed on to the frontlines, unprotected, to be sacrificed.

Part of me hesitates to use the word “patriarchy”, because some people feel confused by it, and others feel it’s archaic. I have tried to imagine a newer, more contemporary phrase for it, but I have watched how we keep changing language, updating and modernising our descriptions in an attempt to meet the horror of the moment. I think, for example, of all the names we have given to the act of women being beaten by their partner. First, it was battery, then domestic violence, then intimate partner violence, and most recently intimate terrorism. We are forever doing the painstaking work of refining and illuminating, rather than insisting the patriarchs work harder to deepen their understanding of a system that is eviscerating the planet. So, I’m sticking with the word.

Continue reading: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jun/01/disaster-patriarchy-how-the-pandemic-has-unleashed-a-war-on-women

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15 Comments
  1. This is terrible Jane, in my country there are a lot of these, as I have aged I have become bolder, before I did not intervene but now if I detect situations in people who work with me I intervene a good advice always helps or at least comforts.

  2. It is friday, almost the hour of FDF rally by zoom and I already miss it, I understand that you are going to back to work hard in Grace and Frankie, but I’ll miss all the band.

  3. hello jane,

    Violence against women must also be treated as a pandemic. Here, the numbers soared during the pandemic. According to a survey, most women who suffer domestic violence are between 35 and 39 years old and declare themselves brown, and most men who commit this type of violence are also between 35 and 39 years old and white.
    I’ll miss FDF, but I’m glad to hear you’re back working on Grace & Frankie. Here, last month, we lost a great actor and comedian, Paulo Gustavo, who died from Covid at 42, along with nearly 500,000 Brazilians. I was very sad about your departure. He said: – LAUGHING IS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE. Glad you came back to make us laugh. Art has this power to transform lives, to bring hope, that’s why it is being so mistreated by our government GENOCIDA (we can’t speak that word around here).
    This number of deaths as a result of the destruction of the environment is absurd. Yes, we need to treat this like a pandemic too. Here we are marching for impeachment. We want the Environment Minister to leave. There has never been so much destruction of nature. There are so many things that would not fit here.
    I work in a spiritist center and every month we distribute food baskets to needy families, but we have never seen so many people in need. The number of baskets increased by 1,000%. Today, 60% of Brazilian families are hungry. Government emergency assistance costs, believe me, $30 $50 or $70 a month, depending on the case.
    Good to see you well and without a mask. I loved the Mother’s Day photos and the wonderful lunch. Here I am positively vibrating for the success of #StopLine3.
    With love

  4. Hi Jane,
    Good article! Terrible reality! I believe that the most important thing is to change the model of masculinity, abandon their toxic roles including violence, many men also feel uncomfortable within this system and they don’t find their place in it, it would be necessary creating that new world through of education, if we look back some lights are beginning to be seen, but more commitment is needed in institutions, family and men.

    I want to thank you for all your effort at Fire Drill Fridays, I took a little time to joined it because I thought it would be difficult for me because of the language, finally a few months ago I dared to follow it and I began to attend every Friday and it has been a great experience, It has helped me in the awareness and learning process that I’m in, many guests have been extraordinary. I’ve seen some of the programs later with English subtitles and it has been a great help, thank you very much for everything!. I trust that one day the show will be more frequently, I miss it already.

    On the other hand, it’s a joy your return to the filming of Grace and Frankie, it will be fantastic to be able to see the new episodes, in the meantime to cheer us up, I post here the Camotero’s song link, who’ s the person who grows and sells sweet potatoes and the song evokes the sound of their street sale, I think it transmits joy and fiesta….. especially dedicated to Frankie ha ha, you both and all the cast are brilliant, enjoy yourself filming with your friends!

    https://youtu.be/ZH3Jp4tEdSw

  5. Great piece in the Atlantic. Had read. Enjoyed your take. We’ll done on CNN re climate and pipeline. Russian doll analogy most fitting.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing the Treaty People Gathering on your blog. It was a monumental experience that has me feeling more motivated and hopeful that ever before. It was wonderful to finally meet you and I hope our paths cross once again someday!

    I wanted to share a little story about Winona. I was talking to her about her farm and her book and eventually the topic landed on her horses -I think it is wonderful that she used her horses to plant her crops, and her plows are beautifully painted and decorated. I haven’t been on a horse in about 7 years because I had a pretty nasty experience with one when I was 10. (Bucked off with a broken rib. Didn’t tell my mom because I was afraid she wouldn’t let me ride anymore!) I told Winona about this and she sent me over to her farm after I left the protest to help me get back to riding. Still a long way to go before I’m comfortable again, but it’s a start! I unfortunately did not see her again to thank her.

    Another powerful story that I heard and think you will appreciate is this:

    We all know that whenever sexual abuse happens and is reported, often the victim is the one to be ostracized. I neighbored at camp with an indigenous woman from South Dakota and we bonded and became buddies pretty quickly. We both shared our experiences about past trauma (which were shockingly similar) and she told me a story about how one time when she was at a protest, a man tried to abuse a young woman. When this woman spoke out about it, instead of doubting her or not really taking any action, the entire camp walked the man off the grounds and made sure that he told him he was no longer welcome. I know a lot of women go through the complete opposite, struggling with doubt and isolation. I imagine it must have been incredibly powerful to have so many people protecting you. KymBerlie (my aforementioned camping neighbor) said as much.

    Once again, thank you. I would not have been able to experience this had it not been for your post. Truly a life changing moment for myself and many others.

    Best,
    Kennedy Davis

  7. Jane, I want to tell you that all over the world, many people love you very much and we support you in everything you do. 💕💕

  8. There are solutions. We must focus on them and never give up on establishing equitable opportunities for all. I would love to discuss them with you, Jane.

  9. In the film & arts, a cable channel that is in many countries, on June 24, in Mexico at 9 PM, you can consult according to the time zone that you live a French documentary about Jane, so that those who have the opportunity watch it!!!

  10. Divine goddess, I hope you well are well.

    I’m the plucky mama who could. (I hope). A climate change calamity incinerated my home. I don’t have much, but what I got has been poured into this:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq00ANZ2LOA&list=PLXPBX2i7GEt2EctB6vPfUNLOJ2dhQVviv&index=1

    Proceeds go the organizations, to help future victims of natural disasters, and to reduce emissions.

    If I have one tenth what you had in Barbarella, Fun with Dick and Jane, or Cat Ballou, I shouldn’t have a worry to fret

  11. Divine Goddess, I hope you are well.
    It’s that plucky mama again.
    Would you please consider writing about this in your next blog?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq00ANZ2LOA&list=PLXPBX2i7GEt2EctB6vPfUNLOJ2dhQVviv&index=1&t=1s
    It’s inspiring, directly related to climate change, entertaining, and it would show you care about your fans who are struggling to make ends meet.

  12. Jane, I’m already missing you, I know what I’m going to feel in the next few months that you’re going to work a lot, I’m getting used to your company, I’m going to miss you a lot😢😢

    • I’m missing you and my Fire Drill Fridays family too.

      • Thank you Jane for your generosity with me, you have greatly influenced my life to improve and I thank you very much💕💕

  13. Jane, I just saw the French documentary about Ava Gardner and I thanked God, for you, for your courage to work on yourself, you are really admirable for getting out of everything that was hurting you and giving your life meaning. Love you!!!

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