Since discovering the term kyriarchy earlier this year, I’ve become a big fan.
I’ve always been quite uncomfortable about the inter-relationship between feminism and race, not only with the temptation to “rank the oppressions” (as one wit said on twitter – being feminist and anti-racist is all very well, but who wins when Julie Bindel meets Louis Farrakan?) but also the tolerence of racism inherent in some feminist discourses and the tolerance of sexism inherent in some anti-racist activism. As the Lesbian and Gay movement has expanded over the years to include various other “deviant” sexualities and gender identities, landing us in the alphabet soup of LGBTQIA, the relationship between gender and sexuality based oppression has become ever more confused.
Furthermore going beyond the “big three” of gender, race and sexuality, it is clear that there are a number of different oppressions and prejudices which affect people, frequently only situationally, the list of discovered oppressions has expanded beyond all reasonable dimensions to the extent that listing them seems almost to trivialise, but none the less they exist and affect people. Kyriarchy gives us new way to look at oppression which can encompass the unseen power structures without reification of their modes and manners.