Patriarchies

Dear rebel against the patriarchy,

Far be it from me to tell you what to or what not to wear. I too object to people passing judgment on the stripy jumpers I insist on donning on sunny days. I just want to point out that the two piece swimsuit you tell us you have finally decided to brave this summer in defiance of the patriarchal strictures that have constrained you until now was first created not by female fashionistas, breaking free of repressive societal norms, but by a male engineer by the name of Louis Réard. Interesting fact: Réard had to hire a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris to launch his bikini, for no fashion model would go near it. Though it is true that some people celebrated its arrival — most of them men — many early feminists opposed it, citing its objectification of the woman’s body. Ah, but times change and yesterday’s dehumanisation can be today’s liberation. Perhaps that is why some travel in the opposite direction. To each their own. At one time, removing your all-enveloping one piece jilbab was liberation enough for you. Today it is your two piece swimsuit. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps the patriarchy you have embraced is truly liberating, and perhaps the patriarchy you have left behind was truly oppressive. Perhaps one patriarchy is better than another. Perhaps patriarchy is merely in the eye of the beholder. To each their own. Their liberation and oppression. Are there different patriarchies, good and bad? If so, how do we decide which is which? If only we had been more kind.

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