Sunday, November 20, 2011


To piggyback on Krasi's post, lets talk about the insidiousness of patriarchy. No insidious does not mean scary or evil a la

Patriarchy is a system wherein all things masculine are preferred and promoted. Regardless of who you are (maybe an independent, successful assertive woman) you are inferior because you don't have masculine characteristics that are deemed superior or if you do have those characteristics then that is unnatural and you're weird. How is it fair if you are viewed as less than by the uncontrollable characteristic of having certain chromosomes? Saying patriarchy is insidious means it is subtle yet powerful. What do I mean when I say that? Let's look at a few examples, shall we?

  • Male sexuality is celebrated but for women can lead to labels like 'slut'
  • Common terms are masculine aka male-as-norm, e.g. God is a 'he', when referring to both genders, he is put first (he/she), 'man up'
  • Social acceptability of toughness and anger in men but not women 
  • Men become distinguished as they get older; women lose beauty and are undesirable
I could go on and on and on. My point in writing this is to elucidate that we are all part of the system, whether we like it or not therefore men are not the problem, the system is of which both women and men are a part of. Since we are all part of the system, we all take on the problem. We learn what is expected of us from the day we're born. That's what I mean when I say insidious: it's a low level hum that is almost imperceptible but has real consequences. What are those consequences:

  • Women are still paid less than men
  • Women are still objectified for their beauty and bodies
  • Ridicule men receive from other men when they act 'feminine' (i.e. show feelings)
  • Routine inclusion of violence against women in TV and film
So what do we do? First we accept that we're a part of it. Second, we become aware of our participation in it which most simply begins with our words: sexist jokes, words like bitch, crone, and witch. You may be viewed as 'oversensitive' (I know I have!) but as part of the system, we can change it.


Feminist Majority Foundation

Equality Now

What do you folks think? Patriarchy? Do you feel it's insidious?

- A

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