Fall in Maine evokes colorful foliage, apple orchard visits, and shorter days with crisp, cool nights. But it’s the fall of the patriarchy that is our forever favorite season.
Language matters, and terms like feminism and patriarchy can be hard for some folks to embrace. But we feel the effects of living in a patriarchal society every day. The gender roles that we assign and reinforce, the pay gaps between genders, the violence against women, trans and cis, and gender non-conforming people – these are all effects of what bell hooks called the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
Voting is one of the tools we have to create the world that we want to see, and with a big midterm election coming up, Maine Family Planning is encouraging everyone to participate in the democratic process and vote. Elections matter, and who we send to Augusta and to Washington D.C. has an impact on our daily lives, including our ability to access essential sexual and reproductive health care, family support services, and sexuality education. Can you do more than vote? There are many great organizations ready to help you deepen your civic engagement, like Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, Maine Women’s Lobby, Maine People’s Alliance, the League of Women Voters of Maine, GRR! Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights, Maine Youth Power, and more!
If public demonstrations are your love language, the Women’s March has called for a weekend of action October 7-9, with a march on Washington and satellite marches around the country on Saturday, October 8. MFP is not organizing any Women’s March events, but we have been invited to speak at an event in Waterville, and Portland Women’s March-affiliated activists have shared a call for actions we can take together throughout the fall.
Please don’t feel like the Women’s March is the only opportunity to hit the streets though! There are a lot of events happening all the time, hosted by the groups linked above and others – local events that are centered around building citizen power together, dismantling white supremacy, and caring for each other in meaningful ways on the personal and policy levels. Check out the Fall of the Patriarchy event hosted by Maine Women’s Lobby on Saturday, October 29 in Portland’s Lincoln Park! They are bringing an incredible group of reproductive justice organizations (us, Mabel Wadsworth Center, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and GRR!) together for a family-friendly day of feminist action. Signing up for e-newsletters and checking our respective social media pages is a great way to stay up to date with local actions. Activists in Maine have even created a calendar of feminist events! You can check it out at https://tinyurl.com/FeministEventsMaine
Women’s March events tend to generate a lot of attention and visibility, and we are grateful to the organizers for creating an entity that inspires people to action. If everyone that turned out for marches also knocked on doors to talk about voting, participated in mutual aid networks, and supported their local organizations doing work on the ground, we would be unstoppable. Let’s take it to the next level; let’s usher in the fall of the patriarchy and build something more beautiful, more inclusive, and more mutually beneficial for all.