“Hello! I’d like to extend a happy welcome and salutation to all readers at The Daily Brunch. When it comes to positive forms of femininity and upliftment, I’m excited to talk to all who convene here to engage in that vision.
I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a long time, but my life has kept me incredibly busy.
Right now, I’m taking a break from a really cool film festival I’m covering in my “college” town of Arlington, TX to talk to all who read The Daily Brunch about my ongoing series called “On Kyriarchy,” that is a particular passion of mine.
It’s a passion because I am a scholar who loves to study other scholars who have come up with theories and narratives that help people discover themselves and the road to freedom from oppressive modes of thought.
So what is Kyriarchy? Well. It’s difficult to explain, really, unless you’ve lived it. If you’re Christian, or have lived in a society that was once colonized by Christians, you’ve probably lived part of it.
The long and short of it, it’s about deconstructing the ways many of us were conditioned to look at White men as saviors. To be honest, every day I think about it, and how my work on it should take shape, it takes a new direction. I haven’t had enough of a chance to talk about the theory on hand yet because there has been far too much going on in my strange little film-related world in the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex, and I just keep rolling with it, because it’s a passion. It’s a passion that just won’t quit.
I’ve never quite fit in. It’s often the case that films that do extraordinarily well in this world reify concepts I don’t really like. Divisive religion. White, or male hegemony in the leadership making the film. Like violence against women. But sometimes violence against . . . anybody depicted in a film can represent a lot of things to the diverse audiences watching them. And that’s why popular media studies voices like Anita Sarkeesian’s don’t really represent me.
My opinions are probably a little more in line with the current group of Ebert cohorts, though I’m sure we agree and disagree in a lot of places. That’s what criticism is all about. But since I don’t know how to walk away, so I’m just starting to talk about the subject in a way that makes sense to me. I’m a poet, and I’m a journalist and photographer. I take pictures, and I ask people to talk about how they feel about subjects. It’s what I know how to do, and do well.
But, even in conversations I’ve had in the lobbies of historic moviehouses with those involved in the industry, writing about the subject of “kyriarchy” in the manner that I am is decidedly controversial. Some worry it detracts too much from an earlier theory for which the brilliant academic and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw deserves a lot of credit for. I can understand that. I’m glad we’re talking about her and continue to talk about her more. We really should have been talking about her all along.
It’s probably more simple to say that it’s not nice when someone with more power and money takes from those who haven’t had it because they haven’t been treated fairly, and it’s respectable to be upset when that happens.
But in the same token, it’s sad that a theory related to navigating the abusive forms of Christianity that stack upon its principles can’t be used at all because another academic either didn’t know or didn’t care to give proper credit. That happens a lot with race relations in the U.S. and has happened so many times we give it a term called cultural appropriation.
It shouldn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen once, ever.
Even though it’s problematic, I still find it a necessary theory. Not because I can’t credit Crenshaw or identify with Crenshaw, but because as a White, Christian woman living in America, I lived years of my life believing I should not have the right to my own voice or body because of the forces present, identified and discussed in this theory.
So, to try and strike a balance, I’m crediting the absolute heck out of Crenshaw in every piece I write on kyriarchy, and only giving Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza one mention, here, in this piece which I plan to link back to as I continue to write. As Fiorenza’s theory relates to Theology and its deconstruction, it’s definitely different–but it’s hard to give anyone more credit than that when they didn’t credit the original force on the idea of interlocking hierarchies of oppression, even if it may have been unknowingly because of race relations in a field at the time.
So why is discussing kyriarchy important? Well, to me, as an agnostic who maintains an uncomfortable distance between the faith I used to hold and the inability to believe I carry now,
I believe that even if we completely adhere to the tenets of any world religion, we need to be cautious about using them for the upliftment of humanity rather than a continued process of subjugating others.
That is what my next piece talking about Judith Butler and “interpellation,” as I weave my way through the concepts of kyriarchy and a poet’s yearning to see a lot more American post-colonialism, even as our academies address the rise of STEM disciplines and focus more heavily on the material turn. We can’t be anthropocentric. But we certainly can still value our humanity. I believe that when we don’t see the world we wish to see, it is our job to try and make a place for it.
I ask this readership, to, of course, point me in the direction of any rockstar feminists out of your culture who have theories about developing and asserting feminine strength. The world is full of great minds, and I hope to interact with every one of them. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The U.S. may not be ready to be entirely postcolonial, but I’m not able to take the mindset that the process of violent colonization the U.S. was built on for very much longer. It’s too painful.
I’d probably find a lot more acceptance in the traditional spheres of business, scholarship, and art if I could.
I thank you for engaging with my article, and as always, love to read and write to all who have thoughts on how we can have a more peaceful, prosperous and understanding humanity, and posthumanity.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kate Morgan describes herself as “a Critic, writer, and designer currently living in Dallas, Texas. Art is life. I breathe it. Poetry is my soul. Theory, however, is my joy.”
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- Here’s more about Kate Morgan- https://about.me/katemorgan
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