Altered books and visual journaling

Scan346Those who decide to heal from trauma, inevitably embark on a long journey of exploration of internal and external realities, of dynamics and contexts, in order to eventually make new meaning of their life experience and achieve increased clarity. A lot of new knowledge is acquired on the way and new unexpected depths of understanding are reached. New associations are constantly constructed, as places and experiences are revisited and as one peels away the multiple layers of memories and defences. Old interests, passions and choices, whether pertinent to relationships, employment, study, lifestyle, family or investments are all scrutinized or evaluated from a new and different perspective. During this long walk home it becomes increasingly important to understand how tightly and inherently the personal, the familial and the societal are interwoven. The obvious metaphor that springs to mind is that this process resembles the unravelling of a tightly knitted old jumper, which has probably shrunk over the years of wear and tear and can not fit one anymore or if it still fits it feels too tight and uncomfortable, stifling one’s movement and breathing as they go about their daily life or try to move on. Survivors of childhood trauma need to eventually return to the beginning, to their origins and explore this often elusive and distant territory and understand the circumstances, political and cultural contexts and discourse and power dynamics within the family and social groups they grew up in and also the far reaching consequences into their current reality. One will additionally realize that a great amount of knowledge and wisdom has been accumulated during this long and tiring journey home. As one sifts through material and experiences one gradually becomes aware that this journey is about rediscovering one’s true self, desires, values and needs.

Below are just a few links, definitions and material related to patriarchy, feminism, gender in/ equality, etc, which I probably started exploring more seriously mostly when I began my studies with the Open University UK in 2008. I have more recently been skimming through a lot of this type of material again, as part of delving deeper into familial and broader social environmental dynamics and experiences (June 20th, 2016 by Tonya Alexandri)

1. Patriarchy briefly defined

‘Patriarchy is a social structural phenomenon in which males have the privilege of dominance over females, both visibly and subliminally. This phenomenon is manifested in the values, attitudes, customs, expectations, and institutions of the society, and it is maintained through the process of socialization. Some societies are more patriarchal than others, but virtually all are characterized by the phenomenon in one form or another. Patriarchy is a function of male physical, social, economic, and political power”.

‘As already mentioned, to varying degrees, patriarchy is nearly universally prevalent. Although, as Gerda Lerner (1986) has noted, anthropologists have found societies in which sexual differences are not associated with practices of dominance or subordination, patriarchy does exist in the majority of societies. Often, patriarchy is associated more strongly with nations characterized by religious fundamentalism. Yet male domination and female subordination are salient features of social structure in virtually all societies, regardless of the race, ethnicity, class, or religion of the members. Most patriarchal societies have adopted characteristics associated with male domination, namely, aggression and power, as well as the consequences of these characteristics, namely, war and destruction’


2.  Sylvia Walby’s book: Theorizing Patriarchy


3. Patriarchy and Women’s Subordination by Abeda Sultana


4. Bell Hooks’ writing focuses on the interconnectivity of gender, race, and class, and their ability to produce and perpetuate oppression and domination

‘Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and practice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving’

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