The neologism ‘kyriarchy’ might be an exceedingly bankrupt concept, but it does make a good litmus test. Across the board, ‘kyriarchy’ is only used by a handful of christian apologists, a few liberal feminists and a whole lot of MRAs.
To me, ‘kyriarchy’ was an obvious fraud the second I saw it, and the post I wrote criticizing it (“Why no one should use that word: Kyriarchy instead of Patriarchy“) remains one of this blog’s most popular articles a year and a half later. The term’s creator, Schüssler Fiorenza is a feminist scholar devoted more to Christian rehabilitation than feminism per se, and its early adopters were exceedingly liberal ‘empowerment!’ feminists (myecdysis, deeplyproblematic, most of tumblr) or explicitly anti-feminist (guardian, reddit, genderbitch, womanistmusings, et al).
“Kyriarchy” with its bland, non-offensive, non-descript, non-meaning is tailor-made for folks that want to distract from dangerous and uncomfortable feminist ideas like “male-supremacy” or “sex-class” or who find “woman-hating” to be too distasteful to mention in polite company. Even the liberal concept of intersectionality has been woefully distorted by ignorant wannabes and undergrads, who now use it exclusively to water down feminism until it’s about “everything and everyone”, rather than a movement to end the institutionalized oppression of women by men. Kyriarchy and intersectionality are about absolving men as a class for their oppression of women. It’s about inverting culpability to make women the real oppressors. It’s no small wonder that men love both concepts. It’s the same reason dudes love bell hooks. It’s the same reason right-wingers like “sexism”, and “equality” and “misandry” and “reverse racism”.
In a woman-hating society, jargon like ‘kyriarchy’ becomes popular because it serves woman-hating goals. And unfortunately, my criticism is in the minority. There are not a lot of critical articles regarding ‘kyriarchy’. So I was not surprised to find referrals from this discussion on reddit promoting kyriarchy.
And likewise, I wasn’t surprised that my article was removed from that discussion because this blog is transphobic. “Transphobia” is used to silence criticism of genderist transpolitics by discrediting the target, just like “man-hater” or “misandrist” or even “red” or “anti-american” have also been used in other contexts. Even though my post is “the only available criticism” [there is actually one other], this blog is so offensive to dudebros, that even old, unrelated ideas can never be discussed.
The disappearance of feminist criticism for reasons of “extremism” or “transphobia” or “misandry” (or whatever trendy jargon we get tommorow) then compounds and accelerates the adoption of even more inane anti-feminist jargon like ‘kyriarchy’ and ‘gender identity’ and ‘transmisogyny’. Because whole generations of feminist writers are so easily obliterated from the public mind, and because people only study Approved criticisms, no one studies anything actually critical. Or the sources that do slip through are so thoroughly and easily discredited far in advance, that there is a magnificent vacuum that allows the truly ignorant to accept ridiculous ideas for lack of any “non-extremist” alternatives. This is a reactionary process to its very core.
ETA: On an ironic note, I’ll add that the “interdependent stratifications” of “kyriarchy” including “gender” which “represent structural positions assigned to each of us at birth.” (my italics) looks pretty ‘transphobic’ to me.