Analyzing Shiv’s Decision on ‘Succession’ With a Feminist Text

Did you watch the finale of “Succession” on HBO this week? If so, did the ultimate shot of Tom and Shiv of their automobile make you consider “Bargaining With Patriarchy,” Deniz Kandiyoti’s 1988 article that’s a foundational textual content of Indian feminist thought?

Me too! And not simply because “Bargaining With Patriarchy” would make an especially literal three-word abstract of your complete sequence. For whereas “Succession” was not overtly about the patriarchy, it’s unquestionably about a patriarchy.

“Succession,” for these unfamiliar, follows the exploits of the Roy household: literal patriarch Logan, an growing old media baron within the mould of Rupert Murdoch, and his grownup youngsters. Most of the present’s plot was pushed by his son Kendall’s varied failed efforts to dethrone or succeed him, a few of which roped in Kendall’s sister, Shiv, and/or his brother Roman.

Which brings me to Kandiyoti, the feminist theorist whose groundbreaking work is surprisingly useful for understanding in the present day’s HBO hit.

The “bargain” of her article’s title refers back to the aspect deal that patriarchal methods supply to ladies: If they assist defend males’s pursuits by serving their husbands and sons, and conforming to the conventions of propriety that defend their household’s status, then they will additionally take pleasure in some privileges — and even train restricted energy over different, less-fortunate ladies.

The conventional cut price for a lot of Indian ladies, as an example, was that they wouldn’t personal their very own property or inherit household belongings, however can be supported by their husbands whereas younger and by sons in outdated age.

But the advantages of these bargains had been all the time contingent on ladies’s relationships to males, Kandiyoti wrote. In the wake of a related man’s divorce, dying or estrangement, the protections and energy derived from him would crumble, with no assure that one other man would take his place.

(Now for the required warning: “Succession” spoilers seem beneath.)

One strategy to view the occasions of “Succession” is because the story of Kendall’s tragic misapprehension of his place within the household underneath his father’s patriarchy. He thought that as a son — the “eldest boy,” as he yowled angrily (and incorrectly) within the last episode — he was set to inherit all the things. But really, in patriarchal phrases of energy and place although not precise gender, he was successfully as weak as a spouse or daughter trapped in Logan’s orbit.

It’s one of many oldest political tales on this planet: Someone helps an oppressive system considering that they are going to at some point be on high, solely to find they’ve performed into the mechanisms of their very own oppression.

The Roy youngsters’s mistake was that they failed to comprehend that they solely loved privilege via Logan. If the children performed by the principles of that patriarchy, he granted them cash and sinecures and even typically authority over these exterior the household.

But it was all dependent on their relationship with him, which was horribly abusive. Over the course of 4 seasons, he insulted, belittled, manipulated, gaslit and even bodily attacked his youngsters. He managed their cash, undermined their relationships and demanded absolute loyalty. He reduce off avenues of escape, promising them the world however by no means delivering it.

So not one of the youngsters had unbiased energy bases which may have come from, say, constructing their very own firms or from doing actual jobs inside their father’s empire. (Tellingly, the present not often depicted the Roy youngsters really working for the Waystar Royco empire.) The patriarchal cut price was all that they had.

Kendall, specifically, had no expertise helpful to the remainder of the world. As he accurately advised his sister when begging her to assist his bid for C.E.O. within the last episode, he was a cog that had been made to suit just one machine. Except that the machine in query was not, as he had thought, the Waystar Royco company. The machine was his relationship along with his dad. And that died with Logan.

This is the soiled secret of patriarchal methods, Kandiyoti wrote: Once ladies have been co-opted into giving up energy, they haven’t any skill to implement the discount that drew them into that scenario within the first place, particularly as soon as new males take management.

“For the generation of women caught in between,” she wrote, “this transformation may represent genuine personal tragedy, since they have paid the heavy price of an earlier patriarchal bargain, but are not able to cash in on its promised benefits.”

For Kendall, tragedy got here not solely when he misplaced out on the company energy he craved, but additionally when his siblings deserted him.

But maybe a lifetime of ambient misogyny meant that Shiv Roy, the one precise daughter of the household, was finest positioned to acknowledge that scenario for what it was. That might clarify why she in the end backed her husband as the brand new C.E.O.: At the final minute, she could have realized that her outdated patriarchal cut price was nugatory, however in contrast to her brothers, she managed to strike a new one.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button