Cup of Culture Serves Issues of Race, Class and Religion within the Patriarchy 

The last “Cup of Culture” event of the 2024 school year in the Fermanian Conference Center on Mar. 15 at 5 p.m. Photo taken by Sydney Brammer.

2024’s Golden Globe Awards’ Cinematic and Box Office Achievement winner, “Barbie” has Point Loma Nazarene University exploring what feminism and the patriarchy look like in the lives of women today.

Professors Paula Cronovich, Bettina Pedersen, Holland Prior, Stephanie Matthews and Heather Ross discussed topics of race, economics, religion, culture and the connection it has to horses in 2023’s “Barbie” at the last “Cup of Culture” event of the school year. 

Hosted by the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) & the Office of Multicultural & International Student Services, on Mar. 13, 2024, at 5 p.m. in the Fermanian Conference Center, the event drew about 40 people, where many were left emotional.

“The support and attentiveness of the panel resonated with me in what more can I be doing to support women and how to ask for help,” said Ryan Woodall, a second-year psychology major.

The original panel, announced on Feb. 28,  included Cronovich and Ross, as well as professors Karl Martin, Linda Beail and Jennifer Guerra Aldana. Martin, Beail and Guerra. Aldana was not able to attend due to illness.

The “Cup of Culture” series’ goal is to approach topics of identity, systems, justice and reconciliation in a safe environment, according to Katie Hodson, manager of student programs for CJR. 

“We try to highlight diverse voices and perspectives for our community to listen to,” Hodson said. 

March is Women’s History Month, which inspired the event’s topic. 

“We wanted to do a topic that explored women’s experiences and feminism in the patriarchy,” Hodson said.

The panel shared their experiences within the patriarchy and how they challenged it throughout their higher education. 

“It’s important to hear other women talk about these issues from perspectives such as philosophical and theological,” Kristina Patterson, a second-year psychology major, said.

The panel discussed the limitations of race, class, and religion with different perspectives.

“Patriarchy starts in Genesis [in the Bible], recognizing that men and women are made in the image of God,” Bettina Pedersen, professor of literature, said during the event. “Patriarchy is a curse that came after that.”

Limitations of feminism that were addressed involved wealth and race in the ways that may affect society today.

“Feminism is often associated with white educated women with a certain socioeconomic status, which is one limitation you may find in feminist studies,” Stephanie Matthews, professor of Old Testament, said during the event. “It can ignore issues of race and class.”

While the “Barbie” movie wasn’t addressed during the conversation, Patterson who has seen the movie, was able to connect the points of the discussion to the ideas portrayed in the film.

“[In the movie], Barbie and Ken travel to reality and while they’re there, they stop at a school library and Ken finds a book about patriarchy and men,” Patterson said. “It [the book] had men on horses in war pictures and Ken goes, ‘In this world, men rule?’ So when he goes back to Barbie land, he turns the Barbie world into the patriarchy, ruled by the Kens.”

Patterson said she appreciated the way the “Barbie” theme drew people into attending the event and how despite a serious topic, the conversation still included humor.

“The conversation was a serious subject but done in a light-hearted way to be more applicable to everyone,” Patterson said.

With themes such as womanhood and theology, the panelists provided advice for the audience to take away when facing aspects of the patriarchy. 

“Don’t assume you understand someone else’s experience,” Holland Prior, professor of rhetoric and composition, said during the event. “To be an intentional champion for those around you is actually really hard work; but if we’re called to be people who follow Christ, who want to see imagination fully realized in our world, pay attention to those around you.”

Near the end of the event, students were able to ask the panel questions and engage with them about what the patriarchy has looked like in their own lives. 

“They [the panel] said how important it is to build each other up and how sometimes all we can do is support each other,” Woodall said.