Antony Hegarty: Future Feminism

The Dazed Digital guest editor explains his views on gender politics

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Antony Hegarty has been guest-editing Dazed Digital all week ahead of Meltdown Festival, which he'll be curating later this month. Now speaking openly with Dazed, the form-flouting Mercury Prize winner leads us on a two-part excursion away from familiar territory - through gender-politics, ecology and power structures - to the final frontier of Future Feminism.

I think kids should take the hormones of the opposite sex for three months as part of their high school experience; just so they understand each other’s operating systems

Dazed Digital: It’s the title of a track on the forthcoming ‘Cut The World’ album and the concept behind Meltdown Festival, which you will be curating this month, but what does Future Feminism mean and what are its aims?
Antony Hegarty:
I’m not a scientist. I’m an artist putting forward an idea, an intuitively formulated idea, based on my perceptions of the world, my interactions with people and my experiences, especially as a transgender person and member of the transgender community. If you feel there isn’t much difference between oestrogen and testosterone, I challenge you to take testosterone for six weeks and tell me how you feel…

DD: Do you advocate hormone replacement in an educational context?
Antony Hegarty:
Well, I think kids should take the hormones of the opposite sex for three months as part of their high school experience; just so they understand each other’s operating systems.

DD: Operating systems?
Antony Hegarty:
Well, the myth is that men and women are mysteriously, unfathomably different from one other, but as a transgender person I’ve realised that it’s like two different software systems that make people behave in different ways. When you flush that chemistry through the brain, different kinds of behaviours and tendencies emerge. Women can be very reticent in acknowledging the differences between men and women, because historically, the differences have been used to subjugate women – highlighting the fact that they are more emotional, as if emotionalism and intuition are a denigrated mode of thought; which in this patriarchal system, is not considered valid by comparison to more scientific approaches.

DD: So future feminism is about harnessing emotional intelligence?
Antony Hegarty: Yes. Look at rationalism: it brought us to a world that has accumulated enough nuclear weapons to destroy ourselves 400 times over. We could have used a little bit of emotionalism and intuition – that kind of intelligence – to help us to make different decisions.

DD: As opposed to capitalism, which is testosterone-driven?
Antony Hegarty: People like to pretend that capitalism is neutral or that our religious systems are gender neutral but they’re not. They’re patriarchal systems built around testosterone-based, military values. Military values tend to be quite insular and self-reflecting; they are not perceptive and empathetic. They’re values that have their own best interests at heart, whereas feminine values have the interests of the children at heart, and by extension, the values of the community and society as well.

DD: What would you say to people who argue that, aside from the nurturing tendency, there are downsides to oestrogen-based thinking that we should not embrace? Have you experienced any of these negative emotions?
Antony Hegarty:
Yes of course, it’s not like all women are angels and men are all devils, that’s not what I was saying at all. Women have a full spectrum of potential, just like men do. It’s more about tendencies and reaching into the idea of archetypes. It’s just framing it semantically, so we can simplify the idea and begin to grapple with our options. There are plenty of women that work within male systems or support them: raising little kings, relegating their daughters to the kitchen. Women have conspired with men in this process because it served women’s interests in the past, when they needed men to defend the fortress – it was a matter of priority. But those archetypes are not serving our best interests any more.

More info on Hegarty's Meltdown Festival HERE and click HERE to read other pieces part of his stint as Dazed Digital guest editor. In part two, published tomorrow, Antony elaborates on his understanding of the relationship between gender-politics and the environment

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