I'd like to bring Lisa Factora-Borchers's post
"Truthout About Kyriarchy: An Open Letter to “Feminist” Writers, Bloggers, and Journalists" into the discussion. Lisa describes how she brought "kyriarchy" into internet discourse and discusses one instance of co-optation.
I thought of that post because the co-optation she describes makes me think. Kyriarchy is probably easier to misuse in this way: that since it describes "all of it," people feel comfortable using it for stuff that is really a perversion of liberation. It's a word that it's easy to feel one has access too, so that a privileged person may basically use it to describe their experiences and nothing else. But then "patriarchy" also has a problem: that people are expected to accept that the term describes "all of it" even though it's specifically about sexist oppression. That's easier to do for women who experience sexism as their primary axis of oppression, like Princess Backpack described.
Looking at Alderson Warm-Fork's "Why I Dislike the Term Patriarchy"...here's a line that seems sort of bizarre:
Nothing would be easier than to adopt a replacement term of some sort, a label to distance myself from Marx and Kropotkin and Malatesta and so forth. But who’s done more to promote freedom and equality – me, or them? Dropping the words that they struggled for feels like siding with the reactionary forces who have done so much to malign the words and forge those negative associations.
Oh jeez. So, what, we should only be allowed to come up with new terms if we've "done more" than the people who use current terms? Frankly I find the injunction that we should all be grateful for what feminists have done for us to be kind of gross. Some people who call themselves feminists did a hell of a lot against liberation, and they did it in the name of feminism. (Mary Daly? Amanda Marcotte?)
It's not as though trying to come up with new words for, or augmentations to, "patriarchy" is very new. bell hooks consistently uses the phrase "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" (and she IDs as a feminist.) I suppose SHE has done less for liberation than everyone who prefers the term patriarchy? Some women have found the word insufficient
for their needs for a long time.
As for the second article, "Why no one should use that word kyriarchy instead of patriarchy", I think the author and I come from...uh...different schools of feminism. For example, she takes for granted that a) religion is inherently oppressive, and b) someone writing a Christian text must not be aware of power structures in religion. I got that from this passage:
Fourth, kyriarchy seems to be missing a few important aspects of these other umbrella concepts like intersectionality. Class and religion being two huge apparent omissions. Does kyriarchy include the domination by the Boss, the Priest, the Imam, and the Family Court Judge as well as the husband, boyfriend, the girlfriend and the minority? If these are missing, and it seems likely since it appeared in a book about bible study, then it seems kyriarchy is not such an “umbrella” term after all. It’s simply an expansion of patriarchy to include some larger concepts of domination, but not all of them.
I hardly think the fact that someone writes about religion makes it "likely" they don't consider repressive structures within religion. As for the class omission, I have no idea where she's getting that:In Lisa's post
introducing "kyriarchy" to the internets, she explicitly talks about class as something the word "kyriarchy" considers, so in my opinion, class considerations are present in the origins of the term as we use it.
Um, so, I guess I see a lot of problems with both of these articles. And as for the term itself, like I said, I don't think there's anything wrong with, or new about, trying to come up with new terms. I really like what Princess Backpack said about it being okay to think new ideas. Kyriarchy works for me specifically...but I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone. (Non-english speakers for example!)
One reason I like kyriarchy is that any attempt to actually list everything out is doomed to failure or nigh-unusability.