Monday, September 15, 2008

Interesting word...

From A Womyn's Ecdysis (orginally termed by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza):

Kyriarchy - a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza and derived from the Greek words for "lord" or "master" (kyrios) and "to rule or dominate" (archein) which seeks to redefine the analytic category of patriarchy in terms of multiplicative intersecting structures of domination...Kyriarchy is best theorized as a complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of superordination and subordination, of ruling and oppression.

I've heard this word a few times but I've never seen anything solid on it like this. It seems that this word encompasses all the various forms of oppression we all face in this world. Transphobia, sexism, racism, homophobia, and all the various -isms and phobias that plague humanity. All the ills of the world rolled up into one.

Now this is word is not meant to be a get out of privilege free card. The folks at Feministe have made sure to point that out and it is a valid concern. The concept of kyriarchy seems to be that there is no one oppression that magically takes precedence over all others. It would be foolish to think that one oppression somehow outweighs all others (Oppression Olympics anyone?) or the elimination of that one type of oppression would eliminate all the others. Instead it points out that there are many types of oppression at work. And in the real big picture of things all of these oppressions are linked under one thing:hatred. Every time an -ism is carried out on someone an act of hated is being carried out. So how do we deal with kyriarchy?

Simple, people are already are.

All of you activists confronting trans issues, men's issues, racism, women's issues and so forth must continue to fight your fight in you way.

And while you fight on I must ponder this new information in my quest to find my way.