By: Staff Writer Jake Riggs
Due to the actions of a few brave fighters of the patriarchy, the world is now aware of another sexist conspiracy happening within offices and work environments all over the country. Often, these offices are four degrees colder than is ideally comfortable for the average womyn! With recent revelations of how companies openly use air conditioning to ‘temperature rape’ their womyn employees, it is very tempting to reject air conditioning altogether. With brave, feminist womyn already being systematically oppressed through video games, catcalling, and the word ‘bossy’, it becomes hard to imagine that the patriarchy has somehow managed to heap another terrible injustice on womyn. If this mild discomfort does not represent overt and systematic oppression, then I don’t know what does. However, there still remain some very feminist reasons why air conditioning is not the true threat, and is even quite necessary for fulfilling feminist goals.
In these desperate times, it is important to remember why technology like air conditioning is important. First of all, we must remember that womyn are more affected by climate change than men are. The 2003 heat wave in France killed many more elderly womyn than elderly men. Air conditioning can help womyn survive intense heatwaves, thereby slightly alleviating the oppressive effects of climate change. In addition, don’t forget that air conditioning only has an effect indoors, which is where the patriarchy mandates that womyn spend much of their time. We must not grow to fear a technology that can make the lives of womyn easier. Especially when it so heavily benefits womyn over men. In our misogynistic world, womyn need all the help that they can get, and air conditioning represents one way that we can significantly improve their lives. Between having to deal with more consequences of climate change, and being forced to spend much of their time at home, womyn stand to benefit significantly from air conditioning, even if it makes them a little chilly.
Another obvious problem with this scenario is the workplace itself. Or, rather, the capitalist system under which it functions. With capitalism historically giving men such an advantage, it is easy to see that our misogynistic economic system is at least partially to blame. Capitalism works hand-in-hand with patriarchy to ensure that men are in positions of authority within the workplace. This gives them the power to make the office as inhospitable to womyn as possible. If we want workplaces to become egalitarian spaces, we will inevitably have to overthrow the corrupt, capitalist institution that currently acts as an oppressive arm of the patriarchy. If we manage to fully realize the ideals of Marxism in our society, then we might finally have a chance of creating a truly feminist workplace.
Unfortunately, these arguments still leave the problem of what to do about the frigid atmosphere in offices right now. Surprisingly, the best answer is “nothing”. We simply should not do anything, because nothing actually needs to be done. In fact, trying to address the ‘problem’ will further misogynistic oppression and will result in the perpetuation of the patriarchy. This is because of the obvious fact that the only reason these womyn feel cold, in the first place, is because our patriarchal society has conditioned us to believe that womyn are frail, weak, and cannot handle the same temperatures that men can. Suggesting that we make the temperature more comfortable for women, or reject air conditioning, is really an attempt to reinforce the misogynistic belief that women cannot handle the same temperatures as men. The belief that women have a different resting metabolic rate than men do is a completely unfounded principle that owes its existence to the misogynistic and male-centered field of biology. Biology is, of course, a subject within the STEM fields, and a discipline with such a low ratio of women to men obvious cannot be trusted because of its overt sexism. Sexual dimorphism is a result of patriarchal conditioning, NOT nature or biology. Anyone attempting to promote the myth of sexual dimorphism is simply feeding into the corrupt and immoral system that has created this inexcusably oppressive scenario. Before getting rid of air conditioning, we must remember that sex is a social construct and that, what really causes womyn to be cold, is patriarchal brainwashing.
Sexist air conditioning is most definitely a problem, but it is only a symptom of a much larger disease. Attempting to address this problem directly will not cure it. It will merely mask the symptoms. Not only has the patriarchy made us believe that womyn easily feel cold, but male-dominated businesses then add insult to injury by making workplaces even colder. Misogyny, not the cold, clearly represents the real enemy in this situation. Air conditioning has shown itself to have the potential to be a good, feminist technology, which the patriarchy has managed to turn against womyn. The real trouble with the frigid workspaces is how the patriarchy has conditioned womyn to think that they have a different metabolism than men. The true solution is liberation from the patriarchy, not raising temperatures. The best thing that we can do is to dismantle capitalist society and to dispel the myths of sexual dimorphism. Once we accomplish these goals, chilly offices will no longer be a problem. Don’t treat the symptoms; treat the disease.