We are very excited to present the first episode of the Dear Patriarchy Podcast Series, hosted by Broken Boxes Podcast in collaboration with Indigenous Goddess Gang. The first episode of this series features a conversation on the topic of patriarchy with artist and radical indigenous queer powerhouse Demian DinéYazhi’. We are also very grateful to announce that Demian DinéYazhi’ will be a regular contributor to the Dear Patriarchy project through Indigenous Goddess Gang, sharing imagery and/or writings each month created through R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment which is an Indigenous founded artist/activist initiative dedicated to the education, dissemination, & evolution of Indigenous art & culture+++
Follow Indigenous Goddess Gang HERE: https://www.indigenousgoddessgang.com/
Here is the conversation with Demian DinéYazhi':
More about Demian DinéYazhi':
Demian DinéYazhi's artwork is materialized through the lens of curatorial inquiry, site-specific installation(s), poetic expression, social engagement, and art production. DinéYazhi' was raised in a matrilineal household and his maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Navajo Code Talker. Therefore, the undercurrents of DinéYazhi's work include a reverence toward traditional Diné practices, storytelling, traditional ceremonies, and acknowledging the criticality and sacredness of land, while simultaneously challenging contemporary archetypes of authenticity and jurisdiction. DinéYazhi' creates artwork that challenges hierarchal structures and re-utilizes conceptual art as a tool for truthtelling, sovereignty, uprising, and reclamation of language, culture, and self.
More About Indigenous Goddess Gang:
Each month Indigenous Goddess Gang releases an online publication creating space for sharing medicine through poetry, food & seed knowledge, herbalism, music and more. This is a space for reclaiming knowledge from an indigenous femme lens. Each month we will honor a different tribe of matriarchs in our fashion shoots. Each month we will continue to grow and share the knowledge of our matriarchs and share that medicine.
***Indigenous Goddess Gang is a space intended for INDIGENOUS people. We've had our land taken from us, we've had our cultures taken from us, we've had our languages taken from us. This is a step towards reclaiming our knowledge, identity and medicine. The content produced for Indigenous Goddess Gang is not intended for exploiting or appropriating. Tread lightly and respectfully.
"As a project which centers indigenous women, we also recognize the crucial work of our queer, trans, two-spirit and non-binary communities, and we acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do; to walk together, to reclaim our knowledge together and to move forward together."
More About The Dear Patriarchy Project:
Through event programing, music, printed material, podcasting, and interactive art, Dear Patriarchy is a platform created to provide recognition and space for Resistance Art and Action led by our Indigenous women and femme identifying communities, our Matriarchs and our humble accomplices. Together we create artistic resistance and support the protection for Mother Earth.
As the first official unpacking of patriarchy with for this project series with Indigenous Goddess Gang, the text featured below is resource for acknowledging only the tip of the iceberg of patriarchy and outlines a small selection of ideas around the term. Acknowledging different ways patriarchy exists and affects us may help to deconstruct it in our communities and provide resource to move past its toxic practices in our larger social structuring. The Dear Patriarchy project aims to provide a small cross section of ideas around patriarchy, and with this writing we do not claim to be a voice on defining the subject. This text was created to build ideas and act as a springboard and resource for us all to grow from, it is not the end all, be all of what patriarchy is, was, or will be. But in putting these ideas out to share, the hope is that it will allow us further opportunity to work together and to move forward together into a world where patriarchy is no longer the normalized toxic backbone of our collective societal practices. By aligning and celebrating our intersections across gender, race, class, age etc. we can begin to find the strength to truly dismantle patriarchy through our actions and relationships.
So what exactly is patriarchy?
It is impossible to sum up in a neat and tidy answer. There are thousands of years of patriarchal systems still in place across the planet and patriarchy is valued and defined differently for every group of people in existence. We will consider patriarchy here as humans living in North America, a place where our indigenous populations have survived horrific effects of patriarchy including genocide and colonization. We will interpret patriarchy from this lens, as it is embedded in our current popular culture of 'America' as heteropatriarchy. And with these considerations, patriarchy can be viewed as a toxic system implemented to keep heteropatriarchal males in positions of perceived power and wealth. This interpretation of the term is often perpetuated by our societies adherence to the following toxic heteropatriarchal values:
- Patriarchy perpetuates all forms of oppression. Patriarchy contributes to control systems which have been put into place to keep primarily white, hetero-normative males in positions of power and wealth. Patriarchy supports toxic systems of oppression including racism, colonialism, sexism, capitalism, land and resource domination, and homophobia.
- Patriarchy perpetuates traditional colonial hetero-male qualities as central, while qualities of all other people are considered subordinate. Power, control, violence, land ownership, profit, resource extraction, domination, individualism and extreme competitiveness are only a few examples of these traditional colonial hetero-male qualities which patriarchy upholds. Emotional expressiveness, compassion, intergenerational considerations, gender fluidity, connection to community and land, whole system learning and ability to nurture are examples of subordinate qualities in patriarchal systems.
- Patriarchy perpetuates hetero-male domination. Hetero-males occupy the most coveted and visible roles in a patriarchal society (executives, politicians, public leaders, etc.). Women who do hold these positions are expected to subscribe to heteropatriarchal male norms, dismissing their femme energy, except for sexual objectification to satisfy heteronormative male dominated spaces. Queer communities are often excluded entirely from visible roles in a patriarchal society.
- Patriarchy perpetuates binary and gendered roles. Within patriarchy, men and women are prescribed their own specific gender roles (men leading, and women supporting). Queer and gender non-conforming members of society are often unrecognized as having a role at all, or are only recognized as part of the narrative if they conform explicitly to a specific gender role (male/female).
- Patriarchy asserts protection of its oppressive social structures . If a person or group challenges patriarchy in any form, then the patriarchal response is to increase control and enact domination. This is primarily acted out by increasing control over POC and queer communities.
So how can we spot patriarchy?
Patriarchy manifests in our society in an exhaustive list of toxic practices. It is not always easy to identify because it is a form of systematic oppression. But if we become aware of its identifiers, we may be able to quickly acknowledge it and move away from re-enacting its toxic practices on ourselves and each other. One of the main forms of patriarchy is perceived male power. Within our society, our institutions and our communities, males more than anyone else hold power positions or roles of leadership. Even if males do not hold the leadership roles, the male in a group is often assumed to be the decision maker, or 'leader', with women and/or queer people acknowledged only as 'B' role characters in the male leaders role or narrative. It is exhaustive for women and queer people in leadership roles to have to fight for their work and contributions to be seen, whereas males in the same community or group with no leading role, will be inherently listened to, called upon and respected as authority without question. Women and queer community members also have remarkably lower salaries, slower rates of promotion and significantly less award recognition than their male community members. Women and queer communities also suffer from continued sexual violence, which is a direct effect of patriarchy, and one of it's most tragic forms. Patriarchy gives males permission to play out masculine approaches to power which put women identifying people in character roles of victim, often resulting in mental and physical violence, sexual abuse and sexual violence acts. Patriarchy also contributes to male bystanders who do little or nothing to prevent sexual violence in their communities, because violence has become so normalized as an attribute to a males role in society. This view point is continually reinforced in our popular culture and media, which is seeped in patriarchal rhetoric. Our popular culture and media promote gender binaries, and even within queer culture, media maintains a very heteronormative relationship standard to gender roles and 'family values', transferring toxic patriarchal systems onto queer communities. Explicit coverage of sexual violence in the media often romanticizes the act of violence, turning the male perpetrator into almost a celebrity figure. This romanticized violence coupled with the media's unending objectification of transgender, femme identifying and women's bodies has fed patriarchy to us in a toxic form of normalized society values, so much so that we as femme identifying people are often unaware that we play out this violence on ourselves and the other women and femmes in our lives.
So how do we begin to deconstruct patriarchy?
The road will be long, and there is no easy way to begin or continue the work. Many of us already practice deconstructing patriarchy by our very existence as indigenous femme people. And so we can deconstruct patriarchy by continuing to hold folks accountable who directly benefit from its system. Before we move forward, let us be clear that deconstructing patriarchy is not 'man hating', but by creating positive dialogue around problematic patriarchal language and actions within our communities, we can work to not simply dismiss men, but work together to acknowledge the patriarchal system to which males are directly privileged to. We must reframe patriarchy as an issue for everyone to deconstruct, not just a woman's role, (because that is patriarchal) and patriarchy effects us all; it is a systematic toxin which we must heal from together, there is no other way. With that being said, it is crucial that men take responsibility for themselves and their privilege of patriarchy. In Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom, author and activist bell hooks calls out, “Patriarchy has no gender,”. This statement reminds us that patriarchy is simply a system of power, put into place to keep a select few people in power and gather wealth. Patriarchy is a monster, and is not human, and it does not have a gender, or care about human beings. It cares about keeping control and power. It will take us all coming together, honoring our intersections and practicing compassion of all peoples roles in the fight against this oppressive and toxic system to truly dismantle it.
Deconstructing Patriarchy writing compiled by Broken Boxes Podcast
If you have content you feel would be important to add to this dialogue around patriarchy, please email your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org