On Thursday, October 26th, the patriarchy will be brought to its knees and witness the power of the Feminist Curse Night at Beursschouwburg in Brussels. Within the framework of “The Future is Feminist,” the Feminist Curse Night is a collaboration between the Finnish Cultural Institute and Beursshouwburg, and it offers an opportunity to come up on stage and share a story, tell the audience something that needs to be told and heard.
“Regardless of their gender, people come to express their feelings about patriarchy,” said Maria Pettersson, Finnish journalist, activist, and an assistant to a Minister of the European Parliament. “A few come with songs or poems, but more often it’s something spontaneous. After listening to one or two stories, people in the audience realize that they share many of these experiences – the bad sides of patriarchy, which some of us face on daily basis, regularly.”
The concept of the Feminist Curse Night was developed by the Finnish think tank HATTU, which is engaged in the study and research of social and political issues. It refers to itself as a feminist think tank. In Finland, the Feminist Curse Night is very popular and it tours all around the country, with sold-out shows in the main cities. Everyone is welcome to come.
“We try to make it an intersectional feminism evening, which means we recognize that common gender biases are not structures that only oppress women. They also oppress men. There are certain things that a man must be, otherwise he is not a man. Patriarchy not only tells women, but also men how they must behave. You can’t say, ‘Patriarchy benefits men.’ That’s not accurate. It ought to be instead, ‘Because of patriarchy, men do better than women in general.’”
Within the feminist thought and terminology, there is a very specific definition of what a Safe Space is. A Safe Space is where one can be certain a background check has been carried out for every participant. Though there won’t be such checks for this evening, the Feminist Curse Night guarantees that no individual will be filmed or ridiculed.
“We will only laugh with you,” said Pettersson. “In the Feminist Curse Night, some people might be angry, others sad. Sometimes they are hilarious: they cry, they laugh, they shout, it is very emotional. What patriarchy says is that our feelings towards patriarchy are wrong, shameful. If a woman expresses her feelings, she’s automatically unfeminine. Society doesn’t deal very well with angry women.”
Besides Maria Pettersson moderating the event, stand-up comedian Jamie MacDonald will bring a tsunami of humor to the stage. MacDonald is, in his own words: transgender, gay, kinky, and worst of all, Canadian. After having lived in Finland for ten years, he’s become one of the sharpest and most interesting performers on the comedy scene in the country.
“Laughter is a strong weapon against patriarchy,” said Pettersson. “Some of the stories are very touching in a way. Talking about them, laughing about them, is a relief. Hearing other people share their stories could be a revelation about themselves. But also about each one of us.”