The Politics of Negotiating and Subverting Patriarchy
This chapter foregrounds the main thrust of this work, that is, women addressing and challenging patriarchy that has a persistent character in their lives. Taking cognizance of the fact that Catholic Syrian Christian women function within gendered boundaries which are physical as well as ideological, the art of negotiating or subverting patriarchy is seen in terms of their ability to exercise power, claim their space and function from a critical consciousness. We can identify three levels of assertions of power, which can be termed as simulative bargains, tactical bargains and agensic bargains. This chapter also brings in the stories of Syrian Christian foremothers who went beyond patriarchal ‘negotiations’ to challenge the patriarchal confines of domestication in their attempts to reclaim their space and freedom. Their stories pose a challenge to women today, to dare and push the patriarchal boundaries of the present times.