Patriarchy Killed My Little Sister

I mean that literally, metaphorically, figuratively, abstractly, and existentially. 

Christen soccer


She was 10 years old when she “pulled a muscle” in her leg playing soccer. She tried to walk it off. A couple of weeks later, her eye started to wander. So, she was taken to an eye doctor. The eye doctor looked at her and told my family to take her directly to the ER. An MRI confirmed a brain tumor in her brain stem. The type of cancer had about a 1-2% chance of survival, we were told, and she had about 2 years to live—maximum. 

She was put on medication and admitted for radiation treatment immediately. The medication made her gain weight and the radiation made her hair fall out.

The cancer, which was daily making her eye wander more, forcing her to wear an eye patch. The cancer, which had made the whole left side of her body almost entirely lame. The cancer, which would kill her in only two months from its discovery. The cancer was not her biggest problem.

You see, my sister worked out every day. She did nonstop sit-ups. Her agony wasn’t that she was dying of cancer and that her body was slowly grinding down to a halt. Her problem was that she had gained weight and that people were going to see her like that. Her problem was that if she died, she wouldn’t look good in the dress she was buried in. 

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This is a 10 year old girl.

This is a child, a human being, who by the age of ten had received the cultural message LOUD and CLEAR: if you are not attractive, your life is not worth living. Because if you are not attractive, you are worthless. Go ahead, assholes, tell me this isn’t the message. Tell me you know better than I do what it’s like to grow up as a little girl in your Male Supremist system. 

Did anyone tell her this outright? No one needed to. This is the reality of the culture we call “post-feminist” America. This was 1999, after the feminists had flooded the streets in protest and after the reforms. 

Tell me it’s better now. Right. Tell me everything is okay now. 

I was 16 at the time. I watched my baby sister struggle to stay beautiful as she died. I watched the machines, the man-made machines of the man-made medical field rattle beside her, beep, and churn. They did nothing. The radiation did nothing. I proclaim her dead on arrival. She was female. She was a female born into a male system, where her value was determined by her ability to conform to cultural standards of female-as-sex-object. Her spirit had sailed and crashed along with her body when it was shot dead by a misogynist, male-dominated culture.

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Back when men were bleeding people to cure them of disease, lobotomizing women to cure them of hysteria, and chopping off whole limbs to solve the problem of infection—where were the women? Where were the witches? Where, in this whole process, did the contribution of females to the field of medicine become more dangerous than the loss of lives because women are deemed unfit and too crazy to come up with any good alternatives? I am not saying that I know for sure that women would have come up with alternatives by now (even though it’s probably true), but I AM saying that by cutting off 50% or more of the entire population from a field that desperately needs inventive genius to save lives, and burning 9 million “witches” in Europe, might have eradicated the person who would have made a difference. And if men insist on dominating everything, then I reserve the right to blame them, as men, for their failures in the system they control. If you claim you can do it best, better than any woman, then you had better be fucking right. 

Where were the witches?

Where was the culture that didn’t believe putting hormones in food, pesticides on the Earth, and antibiotics into cattle was a good idea? Where was the culture that didn’t sell make-up products to women full of chemicals? The one that didn’t hop up so many people with medications? Medications for being depressed or ill in other ways that could seriously be a result of living in the sick culture to begin with. Where was the culture that put more money into healing its people than bombing others? Where was the culture that didn’t teach little girls that they were born to fulfill male sexual desire, a desire that is addicted to distortions of females, contorted poses, hacked breasts from plastic surgery, painted faces and nails, lipo-sucked frames, feet crammed into tinker-totter stilettos to make her legs look long and her behind look like a toy—a toy for men. Where was the culture that valued women and children, nurtured them, protected them, healed them? 

Where was this “post-feminism” culture? 

Because we’re not living in it. 

Let me remind everyone that this is personal. It’s personal for me, and it’s personal for every woman who knows another woman who has been raped, beaten, abandoned for a new upgrade, shamed and insulted for not being feminine enough, hospitalized or medicated for “personality disorders” when they are in fact suffering from Stockholm Syndrome in a Patriarchal culture. This is personal for every woman who loves a woman who has been hurt by men and this god-forsaken shithole they call their system. 

Remember that girls are murdered at birth in some places, right now, in this century, because they are so worthless. Girls and women are murdered by having ROCKS thrown at them until their body is bludgeoned to death in the name of MALE HONOR. Girls and women are sold or kidnapped and forced into prostitution all over the world by the hundreds of thousands, forced to service between 30-100 men PER DAY, sometimes while chained to a bed. Girls are mutilated and their genitals cut off so that they will never feel sexually aroused and therefore be disloyal to their future husbands. Women are raped and their breasts are cut off with machetes so that they cannot breastfeed their children. 

We got the fucking message, men.

Patriarchy is killing ALL of our sisters. I mean that literally, metaphorically, figuratively, abstractly, and existentially. 

This is personal. This is political. Hear my battle cry. Laugh all you want. Mock me. Tease me. Throw rocks at me. Hang me. Shoot me. Beat me. Kill me. 

But I will NOT stand by and watch you hurt my sisters. You will NOT carry on undisturbed, not while I am still standing. And, so help me goddess, the revolution is yet to come, and I am bringing it to your door. 

*                *                  *                  *                  *                  *

Photo of her about a month before she died. She hadn’t started to gain weight yet, but had already been diagnosed with cancer and was just beginning her treatment. 

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Below photo is me and her together. I was about 11 here. 

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Notes

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  16. radhabits reblogged this from feministninja and added:
    this….was a stretch. not a fan of hyperbole.
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  20. jigllya reblogged this from feministninja and added:
    beautiful… truly.
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