Professor blames Jesus, Santa for making Christmas a 'patriarchal construct'
‘Tis the season—of fighting the patriarchy, that is.
In her op-ed, titled “A Holly Jolly Feminist Minefield," Professor Latham Hunter of McMaster University in Ontario complains “it’s impossible to ‘do’ Christmas without running into one patriarchal construct after another.”
“Pity the poor mother who wants to enjoy the holiday season and pass along the delight and warmth of various yuletide traditions but who doesn’t particularly want to put the Christ back in Christmas."
“Pity the poor mother who wants to enjoy the holiday season and pass along the delight and warmth of various yuletide traditions but who doesn’t particularly want to put the Christ back in Christmas, as it were, or reinforce the notion that men are the foundation of the most important things in the world, like school vacations and presents," Hunter wrote.
According to Hunter, Christmas carols are some of the worst culprits. “O Come All Ye Faithful," she says, is “a locus of feminist unease and hypocrisy.”
Hunter said she can't support “singing the praises of a man [Jesus] who rules over everything.”
Santa Claus, too, is a patriarchal construct because he’s “a white male who, by the way, gets all the credit for labour overwhelmingly done by women.” Even the classic secular Christmas carol “Frosty the Snowman” can’t be trusted, Hunter says, because it’s about a “male character.”
Hunter said that at Christmas one can only “wonder if it’s possible for kids to grow up NOT believing that girls should be men’s emotional handmaidens.”
Apparently the patriarchy doesn’t stop there. The time-honored tradition of exchanging Christmas presents has been hijacked as well.
“Christmas toys”—not to be confused with normal toys—“are so rigidly defined by gender stereotypes that finding gender-neutral options feels not unlike an Arthurian quest,” she wrote.
Lest anyone think Christmas movies to be a safe haven for feminists, Hunter exposes them to be the patriarchal inventions of our time. Whether it’s It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, or even Elf, all are guilty of having male protagonists.
While Hunter does admit that Miracle on 34th Street features women in lead roles, she counters that it’s actually “the exception that proves the rule” because “little Susan and her mother get a house in the ‘burbs, a husband and a baby.”
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