Opinion: Why defining Dominant Culture’ made me a feminist ally
I hope I can explain what I think the ‘dominant culture’ actually is, where it came from and why it’s crucial to the feminist issue.
Here the place I’m coming from:
1. There was a fundamental change in how humans viewed the world (around 7-10k years ago-look up Gilgamesh the destroyer, his myth predates Homer). Until this split, ALL human culture was indigenous (some, were patriarchal yes, I’ll get to that in point 5)
2. Indigenous cultures (the non-patriarchal ones) that I’ve researched all have the same thing in common. They viewed the WHOLE natural world as a ‘being’ to enter into a relationship with. Everything. The earth, the water, the air, the animals, the space. Everything.
3. The ‘group’ of humans that ‘split’ from the indigenous, had a very different relationship with the world. EVERYTHING became something that ‘man’ had dominion over. It was ‘his’ for the taking. It’s at this period in time that the word ‘man’ appeared in the root languages of what would become the ‘dominant’ culture. This was the birth of the patriarchal violation imperative. This was the exact time period that ‘woman’ became subservient to man, their body and their reproductive systems were viewed as belonging to men
4. From that point 7-10k years ago, patriarchy has been growing stronger and stronger by using the exact same oppressive forces, they just change to suit the situation. Want something? Take it and by extreme force if required. And the extreme forces were always applied from the top by ‘men.’ What do these forces look like? Always the same: ecocide and genocide carried out by war, rape, religion, colonisation, empire and most recently capitalism
5. Patriarchy existed in some indigenous cultures both before and after the split, but they were not the DOMINANT culture. When patriarchal cultures collide, they war. Look at the every continents history and show me where I’m wrong in this assumption?
At present the 3 superpowers are US, Russia and China. India, Pakistan and North Korea all have nuclear capability and are patriarchal. Every country in Europe is patriarchal.
Nothing has improved in the past 7000 years for the OPPRESSED classes. But you know who things have gotten better for? Men. Yes, some women, some intersex, some black people, some dogs, some trees, some rivers have it better. Those that follow suit and act like ‘men’ or do what ‘men’ say. Tell me that you are not very concerned about that.
So why does the dominant culture matter? Because we have 7000 years that shows you can’t push back. Even if you did, there is still so much that would need to change culturally for everyone to be equal, and even if you managed to do that, you would still have to address how humans view their relationship with the world.
That’s why I now KNOW in my heart that most indigenous people across the planet had it right. Then our dominant culture came along and relieved us all from their ‘savagery.’
So if I was asked what destroying patriarchy looks like right now, I would say:
-every oppressed class needs to be able to name their attackers when attacked (patriarchy ie men).
-every oppressed class needs to be able to define what their oppression looks like and connect with those people
-every oppressed class needs to determine what defence and offence against that aggression looks like for them.
In other words each class needs to recognise each other’s right to be autonomous, assemble and associate.
Then the oppressed groups coalesce as needed with the common goal but with actions specific to each group. Defend and dismantle from the position of your class.
Defending our planet begins and ends with defending women. It may not seem realistic, but it’s the only chance this planet has.
It always was until patriarchy.
Disclaimer: I’m no academic, I’m just putting my thoughts out there. I’ve been watching a lot of Gail Dines recently and Magdalen Berns. Full credit to these amazing women