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Across The Great Divide

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A lot of younger people have been able to minimize the separation through a new culture which emerged in the sixties, when the children of the war, having grown up in the affluence of a post-war, post-scarcity economy, found out they couldn't buy their freedom. Free music, free dope, free love. All these things were designed, though not expressed in this way, to resolve the problem of getting our heads and bodies back together. I guess we figured we had to be whole before we went out to free the planet. Our sacraments helped us to see the plastic nature of our parent's 9-5 death culture. Our powerful rock-n-roll music assaulted that energy and gave it back in dancing that our parents thought was disgusting (sexual), but we could really feel our bodies. Our clothes and hair styles seemed to reject the rigid categories of Plasticman and Plasticwoman stereotypes of masculine and feminine, as the brothers seemed to reject much of the macho image (growing their hair long) and the sisters started throwing away hair curlers, make-up and bras. The sexual revolution (we thought) meant freeing our natural drives so that the oppressive double standard (which messed up sex for everyone) would dissolve and we would be free to love without the destructive separation of our heads and our bodies.

All we wanted was to be left alone and to be free. It didn't work out quite like we thought it would. As more of us turned on and started building our new flower world, it became obvious that we weren't going to be left alone. For one thing, the rulers need replacements, and if too many of us got loose, we wouldn't fit in the slots they've got for us. But their greed got the best of them, and while we were busy listening to music and getting high, they were busy figuring out how they were going to get rich off us. We started getting bought off (that's the first thing they try when a people starts moving to free itself -- if that doesn't work, then they bring out the heavy hardware). Our music was bought by the big companies our sacraments were controlled by the big dealers, and our clothes were put into stores.

They put our love in stores too, but we didn't notice it at first because women's bodies had always been used to sell everything. We knew money exploitation was bad, so we tried to get rid of it in our own communities, but the sexual exploitation in a male dominated society went virtually unnoticed, and heavily influenced our own struggling culture. Although the sexist inheritance oppressed brothers and sisters, (because our new lifestyle could only be free if it encouraged and allowed every one to be free and whole and equal) it was the women who reacted first.

We saw that even though our first expressions were pure and high, our music was still made by men, the sacraments were rolled and dealt and initially smoked by men. Free love somehow became "free women" and even though we proclaimed the death of the double standard and made love not war, we were still plagued by the sexism (which we couldn't then identify) which had influenced our new lives and made it impossible for us to really control our own destinies and our own bodies. Because our bodies were still used by Madison Avenue (and now by the hip capitalists) to sell everything we still felt uncomfortable in them Our brothers knew that rock music had a lot more to do with them than Lawrence Welk, and we knew it too, but we couldn't identify with it completely because it was still either be a groupie and fuck the big stars or else roll over once more cause everything is free.

And we still had a lot of the problems our mothers must have had sexually - we still thought it was more important to please men than for us to enjoy sex. We still had no identity outside of being somebody's old lady. And if we hadn't totally accepted our new "liberated" role, we were accused of being fucked up and uptight. Usually it was easier just to relax and pretend to enjoy it, but our minds still left our bodies while we were doing it. All those years of trying to bring our minds and bodies together over music, over dope and over each other, never quite made it because we accepted the sexual patterns we learned. We learned them so early, we didn't even think to reject them the way we righteously rejected all the other crap. They got to us early with that sexism, just like with racism, because of the people in power receiving material benefits from the exploitation of women, just as they do from the exploitation of blacks. But we don't get any benefit from it at all, the society we're trying to build depends on every person being able to reach his/her full human potential. We've got to understand that the reasons these sexist roles were laid on us have nothing to do with what's in our own interest. Anything that dehumanizes us, any of us, is not in our own interest, and their plastic, and their war.