From an interview that The Nation did with professor Imani Perry, the author of Vexy Thing.
I wanted to produce a work of feminist theory, or as I call it, liberation feminism, that would speak to the particular conditions of neoliberal capitalism and the hypermedia age—this eruption of digital media, where things that look like democratic spaces are at the same time corporate platforms.
I saw so many uses of the term “patriarchy” that didn’t actually apprehend the structure of domination. Patriarchy is a project that coincided with the transatlantic slave trade and the age of conquest. It’s not just attitudes. It’s legal relations between human beings, which lead to very different encounters with violence and suffering. The book begins with where patriarchy comes from, and then morphs into the current landscape, in which conditions are different but where that foundational structure is still present. Feminism is ultimately a way of reading the world with an eye towards reducing or eliminating unjust forms of domination, violence, and exploitation.
Highlights from Imani Perry’s response in a forum entitled “The Logic of Misogyny.” Perry is currently the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Her comments were originally posted on the Boston Review website on July 11, 2016:
…dismantling patriarchy seems a virtually impossible task. Its current form is rooted in the Age of Exploration and the Enlightenment and supported the conquests, geopolitics, and philosophies of those eras. It was formative to the Western legal concepts of both personhood and property, as well as to the rise of the sovereign European state, the Atlantic slave trade, the practice of settler-colonialism, the mass murder of black and brown peoples, and the exploitation of those denied legal and political recognition. The patriarch—the conceptual ideal man and citizen—was and is defined and protected by his power over intimate associations, and that power remains supported by politics, law, capital, militarism, and police power… Continue reading