Sunday, 19 February 2017

Does Patriarchy Exist? (further reflections)

So, I had a look at Kristi Winter's analysis of patriarchy, and know that there are some problems with my relatively uncritical acceptance of her conclusions. Primarily, her analysis concentrates on a single body, and it relies heavily on raw, simple statistics. The choice of the USA congress is a tough call, too: why select that particular body rather than another? If she took, for example, statistics on parenting, would that reveal an egalitarian answer? 

In my laziness - I mean, I am just stealing someone else's research - I'm not that worried whether patriarchy is the partially hidden power behind all western civilisation. My brain can't cope with that level of metaphysics. All I needed was a method that could open a conversation about the existence of any patriarchy at all. Since Winters defines her terms clearly, she creates a foundation for this conversation. It's possible to critique her definition, or point out that governmental bodies aren't that important. But she has facilitated a conversation by articulating her position, hypothesis and methodology. 

And yeah, I know she assumes that 'opportunity of outcome' is more important. That's another argument for another day.

The truth is, I am just testing the water on this - if there is any interest, I might start applying her methodology on theatre, to see whether it is patriarchal. It's a simple place to start, and might get debunked further down the line (my rough calculations suggest that, taking a sample from the major theatre companies, and using Winters' statistical analysis, there will be a patriarchal bias). I know that more qualitative research will lead to all sorts of hanging assumptions (like, what would patriarchal theatre look like, and how far is that mirrored in the actual theatre itself?) and arguments about what is actually 'patriarchal' and so on.

But I may or may not follow this. I may or may not accept Winters' methodology in the future. Like her, I am shaping the foundations of a possible future debate... one that will probably happen in my head.

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