The patriarch has nothing to do with men!
It’s less common now that I get the joke ‘oh, you’re a feminist, you must hate men’, if you can even call it a joke. But the sentiment still shows up from time to time. This is simply a misnomer.
The ‘patriarchy’ is a system, specifically a system of thinking. All the parts create a system. Not just one side. And in this case it’s created by society as a whole. In the way it trains us to think, act and behave because of our unexamined beliefs.
The patriarchy is a system that assigns gender traits. Such as men are strong and women are emotional. Then it takes all the traits associated with the feminine and lower them in the eyes of the society as a whole.
It excludes both genders from participating in the traits associated with the other gender. It is a system in which both genders lose because to display characteristics associated with the other side means you must question everything you think you’re supposed to be.
The patriarch supposedly favors men. And in many ways it does. But in many ways men are victims of it as well. It assumes that they are not as important to their children’s development as evidenced by the likelihood of them getting custody of their children. It prevents them from being emotional and talking about their feelings as evidenced from the male suicide rate. And it teaches them that they are not inherently worthy of love but must prove they are worth loving… just watch any movie.
And obviously the patriarch is bad for women. Not just because we had to fight for the vote, we were seen as a man’s property and still have a pay gap. But also because the way it taught us that everything associated with the feminem is less then that associated with male.
A more common comment I get nowadays is ‘talking about feminism being good for men is proof we still need it’. But that sentiment is the same as the joke about me hating men. It’s assuming that what we’re fighting is the opposite gender. When what we’re really fighting is a system and a way of thinking.
We need to fight the system of patriarchy because it serves no one. And one of the ways of doing that is through feminism. A movement that aims to raise the stranding of females and all traits we associated with them within our society. So that we can take a step towards creating an egalitarian society.
Another is to acknowledge that it’s not just genders we assign because of genitalia. But also traits that we assign to genders. The things we assume are inherently male or female are just the stories we’re telling ourselves about those genders. It’s not real. What’s in your pants tells you nothing about you as a person, unless you want it to.
A man shouldn’t have to question his identity if he wants to wear dresses and make up. And girls shouldn’t have to worry that their gender will get in the way of career success should they want it.
When we can remember that what we’re fighting is a system of thinking then we can address it directly. With education and loving-kindness. When we think we’re fighting people we approach them as enemies, not friends, and we fight simply because we think we’re in opposition.
So fight ‘the system’, or as I like to call it The Capitalistic Heteronormative Patriarchy of Fetishized Stereotypes. But that’s a bit long, so ‘The System’ works.