GLOSS Issue 21 APRIL 2015 - Page 25

the voiceless. Politicians and the media also thrive on divisive tactics, polarising issues and fostering a culture of fear (think the ‘War on Terror’ and the way people divide over issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control, capital punishment, stem cell research.) Binary, adversarial thinking is a marvellous tool for whipping up emotions, obscuring reason, generating simplistic 30-second grabs, and yes, you guessed it, boosting ratings and advertising revenue. How can we prevent differences over specific issues from becoming a barrier to collaboration around other issues? What else divides women, that adds to the problem rather than the solution? How united are feminists? Is there any serious division around notions of privilege, colour, ideology? If so, how can the goal of solidarity rise above all else? Is there distracting division or tension between those women who have kids and those who don’t? Between those who choose to stay at home and those who pursue a career? If so, how can unity become first priority? Perhaps the most insidious of these divisive factors are today’s ugly addictions to ‘busyness’ and constant stimulation. What’s so alarming about such addictions is that they threaten to divide us from ourselves… from our time, from our energy and from our sense of who we really are. They drive yet another wedge between our genuine desire for meaning, community and inner peace, and our artificial desire to meet the absurd, fabricated expectations of society. Which leads me to ask this question: is this the final frontier for the ‘divide and conquer’ method? Is its ultimate victory to split each of us into two: for much of the time a workaholic robot that wears their exhaustion as a badge of honour, and for the rest of the time a hyper-connected texter, tweeter and tumblr? I may sound flippant, but I’m very serious. And worried. Because I never want to hear words like these: “Yes, of course I’d like to save the world, but I’m too busy helping my boss trash Africa.” How can all these artificial, divisive wedges be exposed for the damaging fictions that t hey are? How can we fast-track the installation of our Unity App? (By the way, why I’m emphasising women so much is that it’s predominantly men who are the authors of these fictions, as well as the lead characters.) Right now, how close is the women’s movement to a position where all girls and women across the globe can hear and live the message, ‘You are not alone. We will all support each other.’? And how close is the movement to a place where all who oppose them can expect the universal response, ‘Touch one. Touch all.’? Two popular feminist hashtags are #smashpatriarchy and #destroythejoint. For all of us who wish to heal both planet and people, it’s essential that we focus firstly on smashing the barriers to solidarity, and destroying the obstacles to unity. How best to do that? If ‘divide and conquer’ can be used against all of us men and women who live below the rarefied air of the old boys’ club, can we also use it against them, to peck away at their shiny fortress of greed? Yes we can. And it’s happening. And it’s going to happen a lot more. One key strategy is to drive a big spiky wedge between companies who operate ethically and those who don’t; spending, investing and working with the former while ignoring the latter. Another painfully rough wedge can be inserted between those organisations that actively support the rights of women and those who don’t. (Memo to said companies: if you try to interfere with women’s reproductive rights via your insurance plan, or sell computer games where objectified women can be freely tortured and murdered, then you will be punished. You will be hurt at the check-out, you will be named and shamed, your entire brand will be boycotted. And these actions may flow through to your sponsors, partners, Board members and senior executive team. Because, yes, it is that important and, yes, it really does matter.) In my view, the healthy future of our world depends on the rapid erosion of the most damaging aspects of patriarchy. Any serious, widespread erosion of patriarchy depends on the rapid rise of women as an unstoppable force for balance, care and nurture, as opposed to greed, arrogance and hate … which in turn depends on the rapid unification of women worldwide … which in turn depends on the rapid removal of barriers to solidarity. These barriers are the first dominos that must fall, and, as they fall, they will remove the lid of suppression from Earth’s greatest source of renewable energy: the untapped potential of a billion daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers. It’s time to install the Unity App.