The designer who originally created ‘Peg The Patriarchy’ has spoken out about its true meaning. And no, it isn’t about anal sex.
The phrase sparked debate after Cara Delevingne wore an all-white outfit to the Met Gala, designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri. Her top, designed to look like a bullet-proof vest, was emblazoned with the three word slogan.
When the actor and model was asked about the meaning, she wasn’t exactly forthcoming: “If anyone doesn’t know what this word is, you’re going to have to look it up because I’m not going to explain it,” she told reporters, pointing to the word ‘peg’.
The term “pegging” describes the sexual act when a woman performs anal sex on a man with a sex toy. Delevingne added: “You know, it’s a bit like, ‘stick it to the man’, if anyone wants to look up the word.”
People on Twitter were not convinced. Some claimed Delevingne’s answer painted penetration as inherently demeaning. Others also asked why you’d want to offer the patriarchy sexual pleasure.
But Toronto-based sex educator Luna Matatas, who coined and trademarked the phrase in 2015, says this is not what it represents.
Writing on Instagram, Matatas says she was “giddy” to see ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ make it to the Met Gala, but less happy that Delevingne and her team tried to “pull it off as their own,” without her getting any credit.
Many on social media have also pointed the finger at Dior. “This happens to small artists all the time. So much so that I have an assistant whose job includes finding and tracing people printing and selling Peg the Patriarchy,” said Matatas.
“Remember that as a fat, queer, POC I am working twice as hard just to do what I’m already amazing at. From censorship to patriarchy to racism, all biz barriers specific to my social location. Enter sex shop co-owner at Met Gala with a custom designed vest with Peg the Patriarchy on it. What’s grossest for me is the media interviews – with Cara blatantly owning it as if it wasn’t already owned. Sound familiar? *Coughs in colonialism*”
Matatas then went on to explain the actual meaning behind her slogan.
“Peg the Patriarchy is about subversion, not about an anal sex act and not about men,” she said. “It’s a metaphor for subverting the system that requires subservience within a gender binary. I have met so many cool people through this art over the past five years. It has brought me joy, livelihood, giggles, hate and connection. A pretty good mixed bag.”
Matatas, who also sells merch with the slogan, went on to thank those who’ve called out the co-opting of her phrase and asked people to mention her wherever they see #pegthepatriarchy online.
“Thank you for making it easier to protect my peace by feeling like I belong in community with you,” she said. “I am thriving.”
HuffPost UK has contacted Cara Delevingne’s representatives and Dior and are waiting on a response.
Matatas says she has also contacted Delevingne but has yet to hear back.
“As a small business, I don’t have a lot of resources to defend this, despite owning the trademark. So, I hope Delevingne sees the value in supporting creators, because it takes nothing away from her outfit to do so,” she said.