In the second instalment of our two-part interview, Dazed Digital guest editor Antony Hegarty elaborates on the theme of his Meltdown festival, Future Feminism, and explains its impact on the environment.
Feminine value systems will be most effective in helping us at this junction in our progress as a species
Dazed Digital: You believe that many of our present problems will be remedied through oestrogen-based thinking?
Antony Hegarty: Yes. Feminine value systems will be most effective in helping us at this junction in our progress as a species.
DD: People have praised the infrastructures of Scandinavian countries…
Antony Hegarty: That’s because these countries fill more parliamentary seats with women than anywhere else.
DD:… and they exercise what many are terming ‘soft’ power, which might be seen as more feminine in its outlook.
Antony Hegarty: Iceland especially, they’re really trying to create a new prototype, especially after their collapse. The mayor of Reykjavik and his wife are dreaming the same ideas that we are talking about, they’re dreaming about a paradigm shift in operating systems. They’ve got nothing to lose because everything broke apart.
In Norway, they tried to create legislation so that 50 per cent of corporate heads should be female. I feel it should be 70 per cent women, 30 per cent men. People laugh when I say that but we’ve never done it and that’s what we need to really shift this boys’ club mentality. The Herald, The Tribune, whatever you read, they’re talking about this world burning to a crisp in the next 50 years. We can more easily imagine the collapse of the ecology than we can imagine a fundamental shift in our systems of operating. It’s not business as usual any more. We’ve all got to get off our treadmill and realise that we have to address this.
DD: Do we have to mourn the loss of the old ways before we will see any change?
Antony Hegarty: I remember when I studied AIDS at university, they talked about a similar way in which people responded to the outbreak. This was before they had any real treatment for it and I often think about that: first there was denial, then there was blame and in the final phase there was fear. You suggest that people will begin to mourn the end of capitalism – forget mourning capitalism – what about mourning life itself, mourning a sustainable climate? Mourning a climate to contain us as a species? That’s an incomprehensible task for us as a species.
DD: What can people do to change things?
Antony Hegarty: They can start talking to each other. Talk to your family, your mother, your father. Talk to your brothers and sisters, to your best friend and create a coalition. I’m just using every platform that is available to me to talk about the things that I care about and dare to feel empowered enough to do that. There’s a tendency to think, “We’re not the experts, what do we know?” and that can keep us silent.
DD: We feel that we’re not qualified to speak about something unless we’re armed with all the facts?
Antony Hegarty: Exactly. We’re addicted to the news, hooked onto it like a drip, and yet we’re also made to feel as though we’re not qualified to talk about it. If you’d asked my grandmother before she died, she’d have said: ‘The birds have forgotten to migrate this year, I’m going to have to knit them all jumpers’, and she would laugh about it. She had a fifth grade education but she knew everything she needed to know. You ask any taxi driver if the weather is changing, they’ll tell you. Everyone knows, all around the world, that the weather is changing and we are all experts because we are all a part of this place. We’re made of the same stuff, we’re made of the water that’s in the ocean, the sunlight that’s pouring onto our bodies, literally. That’s not just me being poetic. This is the climax of 2,000 years of trying to separate us from our source: patriarchal systems trying to separate us from the world for the sake of making money.
DD: And oestrogen-based thinking will bring us back to it once again?
Antony Hegarty: If it’s adopted. And by that, I don’t just mean having equal numbers of men and women in power, I mean a world that is predominantly led by women. What’s wrong with asking men to employ the humility necessary to participate in that new idea? What’s wrong with asking men to behave in the way women have behaved for so many years, whispering in the ear of their husbands and giving good advice? Knowing that it’s in their best interests, in our species’ best interests. Not even our species’ best interests… fuck our species! We’re talking about a 4.5 billion year-old eco-system that’s only going to be saved by a more feminine outlook.
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