[quote quote=3112]I was okay once Jamie said that a man who risked everyone’s life would have been hung or whipped. Now we have equality. Claire should not have any consequences for putting everyone’s lives at risk, because she is a woman. That, to me is just a different flavor of sexism, and it cheapens the equality issue.
Yes, though, just for some fun, we could also look at it a slightly different way…
True. Equality is vital, essential, and a central thrust of the feminist movement. However, why would we want equal treatment within a patriarchy? Radical feminism posits that equality is one thing, but the true target is to dismantle the system, rather than find an equal place within it. Similar debates have been an undercurrent in the marriage equality movement where some queer folks have struggled between their obvious desire to advocate for full rights (rights that they are entitled to) and their desire to question the very institution of marriage-let alone gender identity in this country.
Yes, conceivably Claire should be treated equal right? Equality is what we want. However I would argue that what is MORE vital is a questioning of the cultural heritage of wifely property (Scotland is hardly the “outlander” in this ugly truth-this was allll over the world, and still exists in many places) and the use of violence as a means to dispense justice (upon both male and female bodies).
And finally, this is the reason I stayed with the books, despite some early misgivings at encountering this section. Jaime and Claire function as advocates for a total re-thinking of the marriage relationship. They DO dismantle the patriarchical norm by forging a revolutionary partnership in which they play to their strengths and completely disregard societal norms regarding marriage.
Perhaps they needed to go through this episode, (Jaime punishing her) to realize that they didnt want to bend to the insidious gendered expectations of the time. Thats the thing about Diana’s books-they take their time in giving you a full picture. Folks will see this happen on the show and struggle with it as I did and the show will have to take its time to show the progression in the relationship.
All true. But this is not a story of a woman attempting to dismantle a patriarchal culture, it is the story of a woman trying to survive with in it. It is the story of a very unusual couple living in a patriarchal culture. Different book.
Isn’t that what we all do, as women, is to try and survive the 21st version of that same culture. I have not had a day in my life where I was not dealing with it one way or another.
I certainly understand radical movements and the belief that you cannot work within a corrupt system, the system cannot be healed from within and must be dismantled or overthrown. revolution. But to pull that off, you need a majority of the population behind you. The American, French, Russian, and just about every other revolution were not accomplished with a minority of the population. And there has never really been any kind of massive societal “revolution” pulled off for a very small percentage of a population within an existing power culture. Women, people of color and the gay community have only been able to accomplish relatively small inroads into the power structure. How many women are in the senate? How many African Americans, How many open homosexuals?
We all “live lives of quiet desperation”. Not to sound bleak, but it is all people can do. Try to get on the best they can, find as much joy as possible, get as far as the system will allow them, maintain as much personal power and dignity as they can, and hopefully not get wiped out in the process.
My mother used to say, “Life is a struggle”. I was horrified at how pessimistic that was. I was 20. Now at 50, I get it.
She was a radical, a union organizer, a communist in the 50s. She use to laugh at the radicals of the 60’s and say that they had no idea what they were up against and would run home to mom and dad when the revolution REALLY hit home. She was oh, so right.
That is where I respect Claire and Jamie. They are not stupid, they don’t chase windmills, they live their own lives within their own very strong code of ethics, principals, and well thought out beliefs. They live life on their own terms and compromise for no one.