Friday, November 30, 2018

Day 4: Community Cafe at Chrysalis

We went over to the Chrysalis office during the lunch hour and were joined for a free-flowing conversation by about twenty team members.

While the conversation began with a sharing of close-at-hand experiences of violence, it quickly went on to a shared feeling among the women present that nothing we did was enough, or good enough. We discussed expectations placed by patriarchy on women and on men. We swapped notes on the 'festival of guilt' which surrounds all of us. Every choice appears to require negotiation--if this is easy for me, that one is difficult--whether work, responsibility, life-style or leisure. What emerged was a collective exhausted lament, punctuated by a great deal of laughter.

We then brought the conversation around to the root cause of all this--patriarchy. Patriarchy, its privilege, entitlement and impunity.

As people working in the field of education, how do we exercise our responsibility to change this? We discussed the content of books, the cases and illustrations. Participants shared how there was also push-back when they used examples like women firefighters--boys could not find anyone to relate to, they were told.

Community Cafe chats are always inconclusive although they end with a little shpiel on bystander intervention. The issues that emerge organically cannot be resolved in a little over an hour and the hope is that the conversations continue long after we leave.

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