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As a currently unemployed human, I have an out-sized amount of time to consume news, from which I gather seemingly random scraps of information to fashion into tin foil-hatted grand unification theories like some kind of deranged conspiracy magpie.
In the past week’s news stream were all the ingredients necessary to craft an artisanally-sourced fetid rage-smoothie consisting men being serially horrible to women – a veritable constant parade of the toxicity inherent in the concentration power in the hands of the entitled and predatory. Unfortunately, the only break from the endless smorgasbord of dick-fueled atrocities came in the form of hastening global destruction: accelerated arctic melt! catastrophic nutrient collapse! a future of summers hotter than a pizza oven! oh my!
The dizzying stream of micro outrages and macro terror had me raising my fists to the heavens screaming “why are we so horrible to women? And how can we treat Mother Earth so badly?!”
*DEAFENING RECORD SCRATCH*
Hold.the.phone. Women are female. “Mother Earth” is female. Is it possible that their chronic abuse is connected by some common societal thread?
Think about it. All of our language about nature is completely feminized. “She” is “Mother Nature.” The “cradle” of civilization sits in the “bosom of the earth”. Undeveloped land is “virgin,” and enthusiastic sex acts find men “plowing” their special lady-friends. Methinks that a society systemically designed to not respect the bodily autonomy of women may also have boundary issues around the sanctity of a body that is almost globally conceptualized as female.
In short: if a male-dominated society can imagine something having a pussy, it won’t hesitate to grab it. Case in point, this tidbit from the BBC about a robot prototype that sustained £3,000 worth of damage:
This is why we can’t have nice sexually charged inanimate objects that obviate the need for actual contact with human females
As a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response to Hollywood’s harassment woes, Anne Victoria Clark proposed “The Rock Test”, designed to discourage abuse by having potential predators mentally substitute a powerful, intimidating image of Dwayne Johnson in place of one’s intended target. Piggybacking on this idea, if society is only capable of treating someone/thing with respect if the object is male, maybe the Earth has a shot if we replace the mental image of a nurturing, pliant mother figure with something that the (male) status quo actually gives a shit about.
I have some suggestions:
In the “Price is Right” of life, what are you hoping to find behind door #3? A dumpy mother-figure who constantly feeds, clothes, and caters to your every need, or A BRAND NEW CAR!!!!!
You know it, baby!
We are a society that knows what is really important: iPhones, fidget spinners, and, of course, fast cars! Just imagine if we could care at least as much about our one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, life-giving home as we do a top-of-the-line Italian sports car!
So let’s pretend we are all orbiting the sun in the ultimate mid-life crisis vehicle! We might just penalize crimes against nature at the same level as dad prosecutes crimes against his new ride. Any ding, dent, scratch or stain would be met with an immediate banishment into space. Instead of the Department of the Interior, we would create the “Department of the Rich Corinthian Leather Interiors” – you wouldn’t dare strip mine that buttery environmental upholstery! In fact, this conjures notion of a society lovingly stroking its luxury bounty while simultaneously issuing dire warnings against anyone seeking to defile it with upended ice cream cones and agricultural phosphorus runoff.
This is the most obvious counterpoint the “Mother Earth” trope, but possibly the most effective due to the universal and visceral man-wincing at the thought of anything heavy, sharp, or pinchy in the general groin vicinity. What man doesn’t break out into a cold sweat at the mere sight of a baseball to the groin? What if we were talking about a drill rig straight to the tenders instead? I would venture to guess that, across the board, men want the answer to “how’s it hanging” to be “low, with no sign of deep crust penetration.”
Even the Koch brothers might be squeamish about pursuing their dirty energy agenda if they were able to viscerally imagine what kind of damage fraking would wreak on their own balls. And you better believe our 80% male Congress would muster a new-found urgency to keep the “sac intact”:
If we’re being honest, having to hear about “Gaia,” and “Pachamama,” and all those other vaguely patchouli-smelling Earth names kind of makes most people want to stick it to the planet just to shut the hippies up. Like, remember when Jerry Falwell closed a panel on global warming by encouraging everyone to buy an SUV? Suck it, Evangelicals for Social Action wussies!
But really, Earth’s Christian creation story doesn’t fit the birth narrative at all. It comes off more as the “completion” of the Lord’s 6-day bender of “vigorous activity,” that produced a “primordial soup” for the sustenance of millions of precious “go getters” as they swim toward final salvation. Pure masculine virility, folks – no expendable lady stuff here! And if our resources are believed to be the ultimate expression of the Lord’s creative juices, then, like actual semen, any violation of the Earth’s nutrient-rich bounty would be hard to swallow (yes, I went there).
Bonus: the ad copy writes itself.
Yeah I know! The idea that we have to masculinize something in order for people to care about it, for people to respect it, is completely fucking insane! But here we are!
So let’s go forth into the scrotum-sphere and spread the glorious word: The Earth is a man now – rich with inherent value as a planet and virile enough to knock your block off. So everyone act accordingly non-ecologically rapey!!
Will it work? I don’t know. But if it doesn’t, here’s a new bumper sticker to slap on your Vanagon, featuring Earth’s much less benign and nurturing female nickname:
Banner photo credit: Agence France-Presse/Noel Celis
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