The Magnifying Glass Technique. Gross Close-Ups on Patriarchal Misogyny

[tl/dr: „I think that maybe, I‘m going crazy…“]

Sitting down with my laptop next to a parking lot (because I forgot my paper notebook at home, stupid me), sunlight is fading and night is spreading into the city while I type in one stream of consciousness…

I regard myself to be rather reasonable, patient, fairly rational and socially capable (this might be pretentious, but people keep telling me that, so let’s not be too modest here).
In normal social life.
But as soon as it comes to romantic love or similar intense relationships, I just keep losing my mind.
These relationships can – at moments – feel terrifying.
No matter how calm and clear and self-assured I act in some moments, I surely will freak out in others and I just can‘t make it stop.
Which is especially upsetting since the intensity of my feelings that go with the tragedy I create in my mind are completely not coherent with my rational analysis of the situation.
I know there doesn‘t have to be a drama, and even if there is, what can happen? I can get my heart broken, but I have a whole fulfilling life outside my love life, so I‘m not even so much dependent on that to be working out. I am completely aware of that, but at the same time it feels like this is the worst possible thing that could ever happen and that I just cannot take it and that there will never be a positive outcome or a better perspective in the future …
I am being kind of a different person then: I feel dependent, helpless, ridiculed, powerless, left alone and fatalist.
That’s just not me, that’s not the person I am, it’s a ridiculous, narrow misconception of myself. What the fuck.
And I don‘t really know why that is.
I know, I am kind of obsessed with relationships, especially with couple-relationships or the implications of the concepts of girlfriend/boyfriend and their importance in social constellations (hello to my conservative heritage there!) and even after years of taking these ideas apart in my thoughts and in my social life, I still keep feeling pressurized into these expectations and related judgments and get stressed out over it. And of course I also have a history of unsuccessful relationships, of being let down et cetera … but really, who doesn‘t, and mine are super moderate, too.
I cannot just keep blaming the past if I want to move on and make things actually work.

But putting aside the search for biographical reasons and the consequences in maintaining actual relationships,
let’s take at look at this phenomenon for what it also is:
a method of cultural analysis,
a magnifying glass, giving insights into the purification of the patriarchal misogynist messages which women get thrown at in this society.
Because what I feel in these moments is fear, an irrational fear which is not objectively related to the situation that kicks off these state of paralyzing repetitive fantasies and anxiety.
But whose fear is it, because – thinking about it in calm moments – I don‘t feel like it is actually my own. Not like a fear I created by myself out of my specific life situation or experience or personality or whatever. This intensely felt fear and panic and feeling of being powerless are not really connected to my personal life.
So if it is not my personal fear, not my own, then: whose is it?
And this is where I see the (involuntarily used) technique of cultural analysis:
the scenes and pictures that build up in my fantasy while feeling this anxiety are drawn by the essence of patriarchal misogyny which is transmitted around and through me my whole life.
The interpretations and potential scenes my mind keeps (without requested) providing me with are fueled by these messages that I couldn‘t help but store in my head and heart, even if I‘ve consciously dismissed them years ago.
In these moments my mind works like a catalyzer to these concepts: it kept taking them in and now it puts them out there in a different format – mostly as smoky and stinky nebulous images of disturbance.
Transformed like this, taken apart from the context these messages were originally used in, producing just the abstract essence that combines all the judgment and disrespect and social regulation, limitation and devaluation of women’s social positions and lives … now they just sound so very ridiculous and plain.
Of course they do.
Patriarchy and misogyny don‘t keep working because their basic messages are so smart and wise and complex – they are unsubstantial worthless dumb bullshit, and we know that!
But we – at least me – keep forgetting that rationally knowing this doesn‘t just ‚brush away‘ all the knowledge we have about it, especially since it is hidden in so many aspects and details of our memories, of what people said to us and how we expected things to be and how people treated us and what we felt and how we interpreted our lives…
We need to disentangle that bullshit from whatever it comes up being attached to, over and over again, specifically when we enter situations we haven‘t been in yet or that we haven‘t figured out and ‚cleared‘ from patriarchal misogyny yet.
This especially and frequently comes up concerning love, whenever given the occasion (at least for me), because romantic love and couple-relationships are one of the core concepts (if not the one core concept) to patriarchy and by this to misogyny. (And this of course isn‘t bound to heterosexual relationships only, because all relationships are regulated and judged by patriarchy.)
Thank you patriarchal misogynist society, thanks.
What a gross talent you provided me with.

So, summing up:
When encountering states of paralyzing, repetitive anxiety fantasies, need to disentangle
1. throwing-up-like catharsis moments of internalized patriarchal misogyny
2. an actual problem or issue you need to communicate on with your lover/partner/person you are relating to in a lovewise fashion.

Well, good luck then …


Just a day after this I listened to bell hooks who was quoting something in a Buddhist museum:
„You don‘t know how strong you are until you know how strong love makes you.“
Drop thinking only about the fear of being hurt when you love – love gives you power, so take the magnifying glass or just look up and around to find it and embrace it. Because if you do, it will not only empower yourself or be good for your relationship, but using it can transcend you and your narrow limitations.This power can transcend into collective power that will transform what is around you and it will become a force of liberation.