Getting a Grip on Female Power

Article here. Excerpt:

'What, then, was it? What system of power was Brown facilitating and participating in? Why could she not name it? And what are the implications of these questions for social research, social policy, social services and Social Work—and for our men, boys, families, communities and nation?

Social Constructionism teaches that what we perceive as reality is regulated and mediated through language, idioms, memes, narratives and other linguistic and shared literary devices that contain and convey our prevailing cultural assumptions. “Patriarchy” is a good example. That single word packs a tremendous cognitive and emotional payload. By its very utterance it sets conversations on edge. Patriarchy must exist because it has a name.

American philosopher Susanne K. Langer observed that “[T]he notion of giving something a name is the vastest generative idea that ever was conceived; its influence might well transform the entire mode of living and feeling, in the whole species, within a few generations.” Langer thus suggests that naming the unnamed can be prelude to analysis, discussion and change.

We might infer that the lack of a name for something serves only the purposes of those who benefit from keeping that thing just as it is—vaguely if at all recognized, poorly understood, seldom and only elementally discussed, with every conversation about that thing having to start from a blank slate. Keeping something nameless may be the surest, easiest way to protect it from change, redress or focused attention by a collective effort to solve the problems it causes.'

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