This has been around for a couple of years now, but we had to re-publish it here for anyone who missed it because it is seriously goose-bump inducing. In 2013 transgendered musician Antony Hegarty was commissioned to preform during the Givenchy Fall/Winter runway show. Right before all the high profile guests arrived, Hegarty left a handwritten note titled “Future Feminism” on each guest’s chair. It read: “We have created our society in man’s image. But now the ecology is collapsing. We have abused the bodies of women and the body of the earth in the same ways. We are reaching the end of His story. Our old methods of survival as a species are becoming the cause of our downfall. Men must find the humility to retreat. Women must step forward and start to forge a new way forward for our species and for all of nature. If these is to be a future on earth that includes us it will be feminine.” You can see the a scan of the note below.
According to the controversial artist, the very future of the human race depended on us adopting a more feminine approach to power. The manifesto also listing 13 tenets that Givenchy carved into rose quartz for the show. They included: “1. The subjugation of women and Earth is one and the same. 2. Future Feminism requires the participation of all people. 3. Enforce a global standard for the rights and ethical treatment of women. 4. Identify biological differences between the sexes and draw individuals into greater accountability on the basis of their predispositions. 5. Relieve men of their roles as protectors and predators. 6. Redefine the societal roles of women and men is response to present conditions. 7. Advocate for feminine systems in all areas of government. 8. Build political structures using a circular model. 9. Repattern societies to nurture the resurgence of biodiversity. 10. Feminize male-centric language. 11. Deconstruct the mythology of male spiritual supremacy. 12. Restore the female archetype as central to creation. 13. The future is female.” There’s no sugar-coating it, the message here is as clear as it is extreme, Matriarchy is the only step forward, and men should graciously bow out as the voices of political power. Are you hot around the collar yet?
People get understandably sensitive whenever faced with talking about any form of inequality: race, gender, sexual orientation, beauty…these subjects elicit a firestorm of emotional responses because your perception is so closely tied to your own personal experiences of inequality. They strike a nerve that’s difficult to describe to anyone who is standing on the periphery. Someone who has never experienced sexism will think it doesn’t exist, while someone who has experienced lots and lots of it will think that’s all that exists, same goes for every other “ism” in our vocabulary. And so we go back and forth with this argument that’s divided between two extremes, with those that have never been burned on one side, and those that are burned to a crisp on the other, and everyone in the middle mostly staying out of it, skewing the argument even more.
Where Hegarty’s inspiring message of future feminism falls short is this very tendency to fall into polarized thinking, where only two extreme realities are presented as possible options. It’s either male or female. Not both. Why is it that when it comes to questions of feminism, we’re prone to forgetting that a necessary byproduct of equality is sharing. It’s not that women want to or should “take over the world” and that men should step down as Hegarty explains, but when the scales begin to balance, and acceptance starts to become the norm, people will end up sharing everything from political power, to art and culture. We will know that we’ve arrived at true equality when we’re able to share cultural and political capital without feeling like anyone is taking something away from someone else. Would it really help if “men stepped down” and “women stepped forward”? Wouldn’t it just lead to a similar problem (imbalance of power) but with a slightly different flavor?
In an interview with Dazed Media, Antony Hegarty stood behind important gender differences, explaining “the myth is that men and women are mysteriously, unfathomably different from one other, but as a transgender person I’ve realised that it’s like two different software systems that make people behave in different ways. When you flush that chemistry through the brain, different kinds of behaviours and tendencies emerge. Women can be very reticent in acknowledging the differences between men and women, because historically, the differences have been used to subjugate women – highlighting the fact that they are more emotional, as if emotionalism and intuition are a denigrated mode of thought; which in this patriarchal system, is not considered valid by comparison to more scientific approaches. [Rationalism] brought us to a world that has accumulated enough nuclear weapons to destroy ourselves 400 times over. We could have used a little bit of emotionalism and intuition – that kind of intelligence – to help us to make different decisions.”
What do you think?