Radio host and psychologist Kyle MacDonald opines in a paper that the reason Greta Thunberg is given a hard time is because Greta is a girl.
Bad things happen when we don’t listen to children. It wasn’t that long ago we sent them up chimneys, and worked them to death in work houses. In some parts of the world they still do.
Much of my working life I’ve sat and listened to people explore and understand the impact that various experiences in their childhood had on them. Of not being listened to, of being treated with disdain, told to get over it, to stop crying. Experiences of being beaten, abused and neglected.
[…]Authority over women and children is of course one of the corner stones of much that is wrong with traditional, right wing, conservative orthodoxy. That somehow adult men are the only ones truly allowed a voice. That children should be seen and not heard.
[…]And it’s the same thinking that denies we are killing our planet.
Turns out, people’s responses to Greta Thunberg provide a pretty clear litmus test of how much one still clings to the orthodoxy of misogyny.
Because she is both young, and a woman. She also – thankfully – refuses to be silenced.
Actually it’s because at 16 she knows nothing about history, economics or science, let alone the world’s climate and how it works.
So she stands defiant, and seems to show little disregard for the vitriolic rants that tell her to sit down and shut up. Instead, she carries on. She tells world leaders they’re not doing enough (because they’re not) and that it’s not up to her to be the beacon of hope: it’s up to them.
[…]It’s up to all of us to tolerate the guilt, the panic and anxiety and take action. As adults it’s our role to tolerate the feelings, and act to protect our rangitahi.
Not attack them, and leave them to flounder in their own distress. But so much of what unconsciously drives mysogyny, patriarchy and abuses of power over the vulnerable is an inability in the attacker to feel vulnerable. Instead that fear and inability to tolerate vulnerability it is projected out, and attacked in others: children of course being the very personification of vulnerability.
So if you feel affronted by Greta Thurnberg’s words, good. Deal with it. In her words:
“I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.”
I feel affronted. I feel affronted that a child with obvious psychological problems should be so used and exploited by others. Politics is a brutal game and climate change is deeply political. What is at stake is literally our way of life and capitalism itself.
And if you believe that Greta Thunberg writes her own speeches I have a bridge to Venezuela to sell you.