How to play Patriarchy Chicken: why I refuse to move out of the way for men


"The point of Patriarchy Chicken is not just that you get where you're going marginally faster (although you do) or that you irritate a number of men (which you also do). The point is that men have been socialised, for their entire lives, to take up space. Men who would never express these thoughts out loud have nevertheless been brought up to believe that their right to occupy space takes precedent over anyone else's right to be there. They spread their legs on tubes and trains, they bellow across coffee shops and guffaw in pubs, and they never, ever give way."

This give-way situation, and its attendant use-of-public-space friend, also holds true for, as a friend mentioned, based on race - it also holds true for plus-size people. People with more socially-acceptable-sized bodies will expect you to defer to them, to give way to them. Believe me, I've seen it. They walk past you like you aren't even there, and walk at you the same way. (Mind you, my favourite ones are the ones who make faces at you when you eat in public. I may be visually impaired, but oh lawdy yes, I have seen that happen.)

I have not played Patriarchy Chicken, but I've played Cellphone Chicken. Sometimes I've actually stopped in my tracks when I see someone walking along staring down at the phone instead of looking up, and I wait, and let them walk into me. This kind of oblivion hasn't been appropriate since y'all were two and stumbling around your playpens without regard or awareness of your environment.



2019 02 27 - 09:21

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