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Kyriarchy vs. Patriarchy: Whaddaya Say, GT?

Picture Source: Miriam Dobson

Kyriarchy are the structures of domination working together as a network - not just one group dominating another. Its branches include but are not limited to racism, sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, ageism, and ableism. In a kyriarchy, our kyriarchy, this kyriarchy, different forms of supremacy on different axes are independent and interdependent.


Patriarchy is a strictly defined term: it's just about sexism. And that has its uses. But focusing on only sexism can undermine our understanding of how colossal and all-encompassing the functions of privilege are. Feminism is not just about sexism, because women as a group are not solely oppressed on the axis of sex. Used overbroadly, patriarchy defines social power as belonging to only men, and denies the oppressive advantages that women can hold.


Source: Deeply Problematic

I came across the term kyriarchy a couple of months ago on the Guerrilla Feminism Facebook page, but have yet to incorporate it into my feminist discourse because it is not yet widely used. In fact, I've only ever seen it used in the blog post linked above and on Guerrilla Feminism. It was coined in 2001 by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, a radical feminist theologian; thus, it's been around for awhile, but its meaning does not seem to have permeated feminist literature. However, is it possible to make feminism truly intersectional if we don't incorporate newer terms into our discussions? The term "patriarchy" grew out of second-wave feminism, which as we know was deeply problematic in terms of ignoring the needs of women of color, the LGBT community, persons with disabilities, etc.

What do you think, GTers? You ready to give this newish term a go?

Please read the whole blog post from Deeply Problematic for further explanation of the meaning and usage of kyriarchy.


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