A while back now, I spent a year exclusively listening to, reading, playing and watching pop culture about women. I called it The Ladyist Experiment (though it was quickly shortened to the Ladyist for the sake of economy). Years have passed, but I can still feel the ways that the Ladyist changed my brain for the better. Lately, though, I've relapsed, and I feel like it's time to start the process all over again.
This time, though, things will be a little different. During the first incarnation of the Ladyist, I came to recognise how focusing exclusively on women made it easy to overlook others types of oppression. Firstly, I want to put more emphasis on the intersecting oppressions that affect women of colour, trans women, sex workers, women with disabilities, and other women who find themselves on the wrong side of the patriarchy. Much of the Ladyist focused on cishet white women, and I want to expand my scope this time.
The Low Patriarchy Diet will also include men of colour, queer men, trans men, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, and other people who lose out on the privilege equation. I grappled with this at first, because it initially felt like I was undermining the core premise of the Ladyist. But I feel that the gender essentialism of the Ladyist no longer reflects the way I think about gender (due in part to the reflection that came from the project), and I now see that artificial binary as a product of the Patriarchy. Even calling gender a spectrum undersells the incredible scope for diversity of expression and identity, so the distinction feels less and less relevant to me. Gender is just one axis of oppression, and though it will factor into the Low Patriarchy Diet, my criteria will be much more nuanced.
That being the case, I also struggled with the idea of defining this project in the negative; that is, by setting its boundaries by marking out what is outside of them. Ultimately, though, the Patriarchy is so pervasive as to be invisible, so I feel like it's only right to put it on notice. This whole project is about working around the power structures the Patriarchy has established over generations, prioritising itself and people like it (cishet, able-bodied white men) over all others. I'm going to flip the tables on a personal level, and I think the Patriarchy is big enough to take the hit.
Next time, I'll go over the rules, and spell out how the Low Patriarchy Diet will work. Any advice and feedback that you might have would be most welcome, so long as you promise to keep me accountable! The LPD already has a longer lead time than the Ladyist, and I'm already trying to talk myself into making it easier on myself, so I need you, friend, to keep me honest.