It’s not really the shoes. It’s not really the clothes. It’s not the ribbons or the bows or the boning or the heel or the random odd sucking of whatever sticks out. It’s how we assign meaning to these objects and actions. And those meanings will vary from person to person, some folks investing them with deep symbolic resonance, others with barely a second thought.

And Witchy replies:

However the individual assigns meaning to objects or actions, or not, the patriarchy has the final say and that makes the assignations of the individual totally meaningless in the great scheme of things.

We have ourselves an interesting start to a post. Skimming though my backlog of RSS feeds lest too much information not read my mind…I found this at Anti-Princess’ joint.

And I nearly hit my monitor, a habit which I need to avoid. Especially at school, since watching a grown man take on his LCD screen complete with cussing…makes that dude look like a psychopath.

The Patriarchy has the final say.

Really? What we have here, as the conversation at AP’s identifies, is that Witchy Woo is using a philosophical black box. Outside of observable social process, Patriarchy “overrules” individual ideas. This is the Humanities version of magic.

Okay. What I believe is a much more believable depiction of “definition” happens thusly. Individuals make their meanings for themselves, informed by previous meanings made by other individuals and their own information or values…and that these agreements, compromises, including, and perhaps especially resistances comprise the substance of the social definition of an activity/sign.

Yes, even conscious resistance, one of the few ways of changing societal consensus on a definition, can contribute to the current conceptualization.

The opposite of agreement is not resistance, but confusion. The negative of one idea is the total misunderstanding and lack of apprehension of it, because they share no cultural space. The resistant definition, by function, occurs in the same space, and by it’s knowledge of the previous definition, refers to it as well as the future one. No definition ever gets to have the stage alone. That they are produced by social negotiations always calls up the other voices. The Patriarchy is affected by the sense of individual resistance of a self-defition producing woman, but that woman is never free of sensing the Patriarchy. Any observers to this transaction are a tossup, depending on how visable the confrontation is.

It’s a frightfully complicated process, by which the constructed Social Voice is made by us all. But there is much to play with, deliberate misunderstanding, subtle resistances, outright counterclaims to meaning. Complicated also means dreadfully fun. And dreadfully serious. The consequences of our play is the production of possibilities, additions to the range, and giving others a sense of conscious agency in their contributions to that imagined Social We.

My latest sidestep in the debate of choice.