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I’m currently reading a novel called A Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. Its protagonist, Connie, is captive in an asylum; locked up due to grinding poverty and circumstance. She is defeated; hair matted; experimented on. But she has a special power. Connie can travel through time and, in a particularly bleak moment on the ward, finds herself transported to a utopian future.
In it, society is collaborative. The genders are blurred; there are no specific sex-based roles. Instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ people are referred to as ‘per’ (short for person). For example, someone would say of me, “Per is writing per’s column right now.” Decisions are made communally. Just enough food (mostly plant-based) is provided through local farming. People only work when they have to. Machines do the heavy lifting. Luxury goods and artworks are a fleeting transient joy, on loan and appreciated til they are borrowed by the next village for onward pleasure. Everyday utensils are made to last or are designed to be ‘circular’ in order to preserve the earth’s resources.
This book, written in 1976, has been described as a feminist classic. I don’t know how the story ends, but I’m hoping this alternative future becomes a reality and that if Connie gets released, it is not back to her tenament in a miserable and polluted New York, returned into the clutches of her niece’s violent pimp.
Marge’s novel does not have to be fantasy. We can have nice things. But, for some reason, a section of humanity seems hellbent on inflicting its bullish methodology on us all. You know who I’m talking about, right?
For example, we often hear the cry of “Why aren’t there more women in politics?”. Obviously I can’t speak for the female of the species, but I know that I would not want such an adversarial and toxic workplace. Where my day job is to bellow and point-score. Where I might be mocked and subjugated. If a decision is to be made, I’d like to debate it civilly, with people from all walks.
I wonder if all the things which I detest about the human race – self-serving politicians; racism, hatred of the other; lack of compassion for the disadvantaged – in fact an active desire to disadvantage others, might be due to testosterone?
I can’t imagine what it is like being of the sex where one’s perceived strength and power is directly proportionate to the size of one’s conference table. What is it about men and their dicks? Waving them around as though they are the most magnificent appendage in the known universe, rather than the scraggy-necked surplus skin hanging mostly limply atop a chap’s even scraggier scrotum.
Women don’t have this sort of metaphorical genital-measuring competition. Our bits and bobs are neatly tucked inside. In fact, apocraphylly, it is better for our sexual organs to be small and tight. Imagine that? A world where the man with the smallest cock rules the roost.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this half-baked feminist rant and, by the time you have read it, the International Women’s Day will be over. Yes. A whole day for fifty per cent of the population to celebrate how far we have (or been allowed by men to have) come.
I’m gonna float away to Connie’s world.
Photograph: EyePress News/Rex/Shutterstock