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Stay on your feet for the world is changing and so are you.

Today is Jeppes birthday.
We spent the whole morning sitting (in the armchairs) debating feminism, oppression and such. We do that, you know out here in the wilderness and I think it´s because we kind of saved our selves, running out here. We have more energy for the world now.

I want to share with you something important he said. A key of sorts.
This is the story:

Last night there was some hefty trolling going on facebook (primarily me trolling myself).
Someone said “There is a hierarchy of oppression and women in this part of the world are generally not really that oppressed”

This affects me because my personal experience as a female in this culture is diminished.
Here it comes into significance who the sender of the above statement is.
If the sender is a rich, privileged male for instance it adds insult to injury; the sender speaks from a position of privilege so when he says “There are generally no problems and this reality is objectively good” he exercises a power, a power of privilege, to describe the state of the world.
So I say “You and your friends might be feeling all fine and dandy but recognize, at least, that you have some advantages and these might shape your perception of the state of the world”
“No” the rich white male says.

(Really it is a question about class and if the rich, white male then goes on to say that the working class is less aware/intelligent than him and his friends… it kind of grinds my gears)
Back on track:
Do not devalue my experience! Do not have the audacity to tell me that my feelings are not important! Or that I am stupid!
I cried this morning as I told him how it affects your confidence to be told over and over again, ever since you were a little girl, that your experience and intelligence is of lesser worth. That your perception of the world is wrong. I cried as I told him about things that have happened to the body.

The rich white male is right though and this was what we were talking about this morning: There IS a hierarchy of oppression. The oppression I experience as a female in this culture (no matter how condescending I am being talked to or how my body is being mishandled) is not on the same level as the oppression women in other parts of the world experience.
I am privileged. Yes.
So why does it affect me so much to witness the injustice here, why does it make me so angry- when I should be much more angry about other issues?
(Let me clear here: I consider this capitalistic culture to be oppressing to ALL of us, not only the women)

First problem: “Never be angry, you are merely spoiled” is, I think, a social control mechanism more damaging than even the surveillance. We are told our experience doesn´t matter. So we shut up. We are privileged. Someone else suffer much more than us. Yes.

And here is the key, here is what he said: “If the privileged accepts injustice, even the smallest, they validate it”
If we, here, us, the 1% in a global perspective accepts the injustice, if we shut up and stop fighting for things we can actually change (in our vicinity and while we can)… we betray the others.

It´s not only about gender. It is also about class. If the working class in my country accepts to be treated as of lesser worth (lower wages, more profit for the bosses, or you lose your job) we validate the system with even greater consequences for those less privileged than us.

This is why it matters. This is why my experience of oppression is not something you can just wave off…. with your discourse of power (let me just cough one name: Foucault)

He continued: “If there is a line …. and in one end of the line we have female trafficking and in the other end of the line we have injustices in the book industry (namely female authors being read and reviewed less than their male colleagues, thus being denied VOICE) then obviously trafficking is more oppressing and a bigger problem. But if you fight for justice in one end of the line you inevitably fight for justice in the other end too” and I said “Yes, because all things are interconnected” and then I smiled.
Like a woman.

 

I think he is right and I think this is why I become so annoyed and so fierce because the power structures even on “irrelevant”, “small” or “insignificant” facebook threads SPEAK directly in my face. It speaks to you too. And you could speak up.

The big issue here though is to not forget that your own personal battles are much more than your own personal battles. You´re not fighting for yourself. You are fighting the power that keeps us all oppressed.

We have been told we are egotistical and narcissistic, maybe we shouldn´t comply to these stories of the self. Maybe we should insist, always, that to accept one little wrongdoing is to accept a whole system of wrongdoing.
Just a thought.
Or a key.

Anyways: today is his birthday and he continues to give me the biggest gifts.

Today we´re going to sit around the fire with friends. The sun is shining. The wilderness is buzzing with life. This is privilege. Yes.

(ps. sure, I´m going to post some more recipes or pretty pictures, tomorrow maybe, smiley, smiley, rolling-pin)

 

DSCF2017

8 comments on “The key

  1. Arild Jensen says:

    Andrea after having read your blogs for over a year I am still wondering why you chose to leave Denmark and go live in the woods. I was born in Copenhagen ( Norrebrogade) but now live in Canada in a region where almost 25% of the residents live off-grid mostly of necessity. Your latest blog about tools leaves me flabbergasted. Even as a teenager I owned several axes not to mention many of the other tools required for living off grid. As a child growing up near Gentofte I played indian and slept in tents. Everybody knew how the indians lived in America.
    In talking (skype) to my danish friends living in today’s Denmark I really wonder what attracted you to the swedish woods and repelled you against danish society.
    Arild

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      1. Arild Jensen says:

        That doesn’t help me since I am unable to obtain a copy here in the northern woods of western Canada. It seems to me you want to discard all the benefits of civilization that has taken so long to develop. painstakingly over the centuries. You should try living elsewhere like here. Even the axe you say is so essential is the end result of centuries of technical development; and chainsaws, don’t make me laugh.
        I have been earning my living designing electrical power systems for off-grid living so the concept is not exactly strange to me. When my wife was 20 she moved away from her family into a dirt floored log hut together with her hunting cat. She lived pretty much like you do now. We lived together in an RV for 5 years so it is not like I don’t understand the lifestyle. But there comes a time when we need society. I would be dead now if it was not for the benefits of that kind of society and culture you are so disparaging about. It is possible to achieve the goals you say you strive for without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. ( ie moving deep into the woods). As I mentioned in a previous message, many people around here live off-grid because they have to, not because they think it would be fun or better. Yes it is true that materialism can distract from the important things in life, but that is not always necessary. The librarian in town has lived off-grid for the past 30 years because they like the location despite there not being any utility services. Several members of our church congregation also live off grid. They do not define themselves in terms of what material possessions they have. We are surrounded by first nation people and have learned to appreciate their ancient culture. Sadly some of them have allowed white mans culture to erode their traditional values. And they are lost, morally, spiritually and sometimes physically. This is something Denmark has not experienced. The accomedation of an ancient culture among a different race. The clash with migrant guest workers that you now see in Denmark is quite another thing..
        Arild

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  2. Hi Arild,
    This is quite an extensive conversation to have because there are so many facets and nuances that come into play. I am not AGAINST community. I am not AGAINST technological development. I am not AGAINST whatever measures we can take to better the lives of the people. I am against the current model of society and I don´t think it works at all. I think a lot of people are miserable and I definitely think we can do better as a human race. I don´t want to go back in time, I do not romantize the past, we live like this out of bare necessity. We cant survive in society as it is structured right now. I think we need to develop, as a human COMMUNITY, I think we need new solutions (and I solutions, in plural, all of the people cant live in the forest as all of the people can´t live in the city) and I think I do my fair share by exploring these alternatives and telling the tales of our experiences.
    Kindest regards,
    A

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    1. Arild Jensen says:

      Compared to here in the Americas life and society in Scandinavia is pretty good. In fact the general concensus is, Scandinavia and Denmark is far better. My friends in Denmark are appalled at how bad it is here for the average person especially if they are not rich. I am not crying the blues and complaining about how bad life is. Please don’t misunderstand me.. Looking back on my life there are few things I would do different. I wish I had finished growing up in Denmark because I think I would be better off. Over here there are an appaling number crippled and disabled people injured thru work. The state does nothing for them unless they can afford expensive insurance. I had to wait a whole year to get a wheelchair. By now its too late for any therapy for me so I am stuck flat on my back in a bed. It has been estimated that as many as 20% of our population lives below the limit the government has said is the poverty line. I do not think it is quite as bad as that in Denmark. People starve or freeze to death here. How many die that way in Denmark? If people get really depressed by their misfortune and say they feel like ending it all, the police throw them in jail because it is against the law but nobody will help them because they are not rich or of the right race. It is even worse down in the states.

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  3. I understand your position and it hurts me to think of the fact that people are dying allthough medicine is available, it´s a disgrace to the human race, profit over people, that paradigm must die.

    We are privileged in the scandinavian countries but why aren´t people happy then? When we have all these privileges?
    Maybe it´s because the privileges are fake. That´s what I think. I DONT think we are lucky or privileged, I think we have internalised the power and are actually a very supressed population. Might look shiny from the outside…

    I wrote a little bit about it here: https://andthepioneerlife.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/the-situation-is-this/

    Sorry to hear about your sickness. As you know I´m going through hard times myself with the body. So many thoughts of warmth and strenght from you to me 🙂

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    1. Arild Jensen says:

      Thank you for the well wishes. And thank you for the insights. Now I better understand what has happened in Denmark since I left. I also realize that I would never fit into the contemporary Danish society. I tend to go my own way and do things my own way. I also realize that my parents taught me some things about fighting for freedom. Every time we visited in Copenhagen my mother would take me to see some monument or other commemorating the WW2 freedom fighters in the underground,. I am not sure what part they played but whenever their friends visited, the activity of the resistance movement was a topic of conversation.as if they had been a part of it. Hardly something to discuss with a child. My father was killed in a car accident when I was ten so I never had a chance to ask him..
      Canada is comparative free and it is much more amenable to people doing their own thing.
      Home schooling is an essential part of life outside big urban centers here in BC simply because of the isolation and great distances involved . It is a two day drive from here to Vancouver. It took me three days of driving to reach the border of Ontario from where I lived at the time.
      Many people live off-grid of necessity because there are no other alternatives.available to them. Many ranchers and farmers own airplanes because it is the only realistic way to cover the distances involved.
      thank you for the insights and keep blogging away.
      Arild

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  4. Gunilla Funder says:

    What a nice discussion. Made me happy to read. Questioning each other – listening to each other…
    Gunilla

    Like

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