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violet patriarchy

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The piece references Roman London, Londinium, from 1st - 5th century AD, where the most common form of same sex love occurred between master and slave. It was only the passive partner, the one who embodied effeminacy, that would be punished for his homosexual activities.


This paradigm is used preserve authority in a male environment. An early example of the patriarchy’s acceptance in practice, but rejection in theory, of male-to-male sodomitical activity and homosexual behaviour.


Warriors/invaders overcome in battle would be raped by the roman soldiers; or they would be returned to the settlements and raped by the male citizens- infamously with a long white british icicle radish, which would grow up to 10 inches long.


Across the continent, on the Greek Island of Lesbos, the greek poet Sappho began to write of idyllic pastures where girls and women frolicked surrounded by flowers and nature. Of all the flowers she mentions, the colour purple; violet and lavender, most profound, both of which remain the “pantheon of queer symbols today”.


To describe someone as having “a dash, or a streak, of lavender”, is to suggest a kind of queerness to them and their persona.


In the 19th Century - records of Oscar Wilde frequently reminiscing about his “purple hours” spent with rent-boys.


So the piece details the early footholds of the rationalisation for oppression, but also an early transcultural signifier, of liberation and of pride - embodied by the colours of lavender and of purple.