Movies are venues to express cultural beliefs and exhibit clashes in ideas and beliefs that have been dominated/subordinated in our culture.
I recently watched one of Fellini’s movies; ‘Fellini’s Casanova’. It was directed by Federico Fellini and starring Donald Sutherland. It is a stunning movie showing how the ‘culture of patriarchy’ governs man’s life and his interactions with women.
As I watched the movie, many thoughts and ideas were running into my head. The movie reignited my thinking of ‘the culture of patriarchy’ and of its effects on men and women and their relationships with one another. I began to list the problems with the ‘culture of patriarchy’ and would like to share with you some of them. They are the following:
a) Patriarchal culture promotes ‘power over’. It doesn’t give men a space to be part of relationship but it makes him feel/think/act above the relationship.
b) Patriarchal culture exempts men from emotions; it disconnects men from who he is, as a person, in relationship; it doesn’t allow men to be vulnerable.
c) Patriarchal culture uses ‘shame’ as a controlling technique to keep men align with its principles.
The ‘culture of patriarchy’ denies and exaggerates parts of manhood/ person-hood. It injects ‘false empowerment’ to men when it supports ‘power over’ in relationship. The damaging consequence of ‘false empowerment’ is the reproduction of disconnection; disconnection that leads to isolation, lack of empathy and lack of accountability.
In patriarchal culture, men are emptied of realtionality and then filled with stuff (false empowerment, entitlement and disconnection) and sent out to be in relationship. How could one connect with another one when s/he is not relationally able to be/feel connected with others? It is a tough expectation.
Therefore, any failure brings ‘shame’ to one’s life and makes him further isolated and disconnected. The cycle of ‘disconnection’ is perpetuated in the patriarchal culture; its intention is to keep men disconnected from himself and others.
We need to begin to talk openly about its consequences on our men and women. We need to become more aware of what it has done to our relationships with one another. We need to begin a new movement to eliminate ‘the culture patriarchy’ and re-create a culture that values and promotes ‘connection’. We need to support ‘relational culture’ that equally respects participation and collaboration of men and women in relationship.
The antidote to ‘the culture of patriarchy’ is to learn and teach ourselves and our next generations new principles such as: ‘connection (think relationally), empathy (feel relationally), and accountability (act relationally)’ in relationship.
Tahereh Barati, M.A, RMFT