The Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN), hosted another exciting Brown Bag series on the 16th of March 2016 which was titled, ‘Flipping the Script: Reversing Societal Norms to shock Patriarchy? The topic has a question mark so as to pose the question – Can societal norms be really reversed to shock patriarchy? The conversation was very exciting and interactive as Hope Chigudu led the process. Hope Chigudu one of the founder members of ZWRCN made sure she did what she knows best as she made the one hour so productive but also filled with lots of fun. She personified ‘patriarchy’ as ‘Patrick’, a man and posed several questions to start the dialogue. The first question was- Who is he? Very interesting responses came out with others describing patriarchy as systems male domination; entitlement and privilege and egocentric. Some participants described “Patrick” as social blindness to 51% of the population whilst others stated that it is oppressive, patronising and causes severe torture on its victims. It was interesting to hear all sorts of descriptions coming out from both men and women who attended the session.
In the end, it was agreed that the script can truly be flipped but there is serious need for very strong feminist ideologies for it to happen. Participants also reiterated that patriarchy is not constant and one person can never move this huge mountain called patriarchy. Therefore there is a need for concerted efforts in raising consciousness through building a critical mass within the women’s movement. Hope Chigudu mentioned that it was not going to be easy unless all people who want to fight patriarchy are passionate about their work in the women’s movement. She emphasised on the power of numbers. There have been serious misconceptions in dealing with this subject as often people always address power but never patriarchy. In conclusion, it was agreed that there is need to dissect power, that is, power within, power over, power with and power to. Since in the beginning of the conversation patriarchy (Patrick) was likened to males, it was suggested that men should join the struggle and contribute to the fight against patriarchy in order to be able to flip the script.