Reconsidering the term ‘Patriarchy’

The term ‘Patriarchy’ subtly grants men status, implicitly lowers women’s position, and blames men for the problems of the world. It seems to me that all of these things are working against the true movement that is feminism.

This is not how the world works..

The term patriarchy subtly suggests that the traditional man’s contributions to society are worth more than female’s, when this is not even true.

There is no ultimate reason that selling your soul to the corporate world should be seen as more status worthy than staying at home and watching your children grow. Indeed, the only reason that the culture is (or was) that way is because we all, males and females included, agree that is the case.

Women are half of society, and women grant men status just as much as men grant men status. Again, there is no ultimately best way to be a human, and being a middle manager and working at the desk is in no way ultimately better than staying at home, teaching the kids and tending the gardens. Perhaps it will be better for feminism, if, instead of trying to make up an imaginary gap in status (a gap that only exists because we agree it does), we properly recognize and value the role that women (did) play in society. Raising children and maintaining the household is no easy (or unimportant!) task.

 The term ‘patriarchy’ also subtly blames (modern) men for the problems of the world.

Modern men are not to blame for the things they inherit from society in the same way that women are not to blame for the things that they inherit from society (for good or bad). Most people agree that there are negative aspects about being a female, but there are also problems associated with being male (like, on average, men having shorter lives). We are working together to change these aspects of traditional society, assuming we actually want things to be more equal.

Our modern system (termed ‘patriarchy’ by ‘feminism’) is the result of tradition and ultimately, biology. We are animals and in every ‘split’ species that I know of, one of the two ‘sexes’ has to produce the next generation. While the specifics of how this difference has resulted in modern culture are current questions in Biology, Anthropology, and History, there is little doubt that this birthing and breastfeeding function played a role in women tending the house before technology. This very likely played a large part in creating the situation we are in (men put out of the house to ‘earn a living’, made power structures for men, earnings grew, technology grew, freeing women to work, in part).

Importantly, none of this is the fault of modern man and it is important for ‘feminism’ to recognize that men and women are working together to change the culture for future generations. Nobody is saying that the way it was, was right (what is ‘right?’), we are simply saying that it will be more productive for the adoption of feminist ideals to work with men rather than demonizing them by blaming them for the way history has played out.

Tradition, tradition is the enemy. History and Biology. Not men, and especially not modern men.

How can we fix these problems? / How changing things would help feminism.

A good start would be to begin calling something else, like ‘traditional gender norms’. This will achieve three things: stop implicitly giving males the status, stop implicitly putting women below men, and stop the idea that modern man is something to fight against. Truly, the best outcomes for all will come when males and females work together, rather than against one another.

‘Patriarchy is not men, patriarchy is a system both women and men participate.’ – Ashley Judd

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Remember to be opined, to speak up, friends, because your opinion matters. Hope you enjoy reconsidering patriarchy! 😀

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