I’ve been considering how I feel about the word, idea and undeniable reality of Patriarchy for a while now, and I sway within mixed feelings.
When studying Sociology the word was a useful tool to describe the societal structure that we live within. But on a personal level I have on occasion found that it can be used to minimise responsibility of individual action.
To blame the Patriarchy for certain behaviour, can perhaps divert responsibility. But…. it exists. It is an abstract theorisation of the societies structure. But it exists.
At times it feels more appropriate to call it the misogynist and power hungry elements within our societies around the world. But it is more than that.
When I hear other feminists blaming Men for all the violence against women for example in the sex trade, I understand that this comes from statistics and evidence that shows the main perpetrators are men. But there are also female perpetrators of violence and male victims of violence, across the globe. I don’t want my son growing up believing he is bad and violent because he is male. I don’t want my daughter to be fearful of all men and feel herself as a vulnerable victim. What I want is for them to understand the structures that exist. And to try and find their own paths through this.
Violence happens both for individual and circumstance related reasons …. but they also happen because of the societal structures, social norms and behaviours that are persistent. They also happen because of the legal systems that allow or sanction such behaviour. While we have laws and legal language (or lack of them), alongside media and education that perpetuates views and behaviours that place men and women in differenct social and economic positions then the Patriarchy persists.
When I hear day in day out that my son behaves a certain way because he is a boy, or that my daughter behaves a certain way because she is a girl I get infuriated. I hear it from parents and teachers. I know there are biological differences between men and women – moat of which develop after childhood by the way. But that doesn’t affect what we are interested in, what type of job we may want to have, how we want to (or feel we should) establish relationships or how we want to parent …. those elements comes from socialisation, both macro and micro.
The reason I wanted to consider this now is that as an Artist working within the realm of feminism I need to explore my own views. I need to unpick where I have issues with the language used and how I can move forward with these. IF I truly want to consider feminism and contemporary views within my art practice then I must acknowledge my own views, bias, limits and challenges as well as passions.