Aral Balkan

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Kyriarchy

Illustration by Josette Souza showing a warrior with blonde hair on a horse with a speak facing off a multi-headed green monster by the entrance of a cave. The necks of the monster have the words ‘body’, ‘race’, ‘sex’, ‘gender’, and ‘class’ written on them. The panel is titled ‘Kyriarchy’.

Kyriarchy: a many-headed monster. Illustration by Josette Souza.

I learned a new word today: Kyriarchy.

I found it in Diana’s hugely inspirational initial post on her new blog and immediately realised it was the word I was struggling for all those times that “patriarchy” just wasn’t cutting the intersectional mustard in conversation.

According to Wikipedia, Kyriarchy is:

a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. The word was coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza in 1992 to describe her theory of interconnected, interacting, and self-extending systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others. It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy beyond gender.

Everyday Feminism magazine has a comic by Josette Souza that explains it visually.

And in Diana’s words:

I am more resolved than ever that we will end the kyriarchy. No one needs to starve or freeze or die. We can all live without fear.

Here’s to that.