What is THE Patriarchy?

Patriarchy means males are in charge. They make decisions for everyone, have the only voices in the community, and are recognized as leaders. If their goals and tactics happen to align with everyone else's, the status quo prevails. If people disagree with their goals and tactics, male leaders can force others to submit to their will, or they can be benevolent and share the governing peaceably with others, thus enforcing the status quo. 

We don't live in caves, hunt, forage for nuts and berries to survive, or migrate as a clan for safety and warmth anymore, but we still have patriarchy.

Here's my definition of THE Patriarchy:

These are the more insidious parts of our modern society that promote men over women. They're the parts that we grew up with and that people forget to question. They are ingrained in our media, families, religions, schools, and workplaces. Anyone, regardless of gender or understanding, who participates in that kind of "might makes right" society is part of The Patriarchy. 

For example:

1. Christian girls grow up hearing about a Heavenly Father and his son who was the only one capable and worthy of paying for our sins. 

They learn to be chaste and modest for this is pleasing. On top of lessons about conditional love, they begin to understand their sexual nature as inherently bad. There is no mention of a Heavenly Mother. Most Christians even learn that Eve caused the downfall of humanity because she was disobedient and wanted to eat the fruit from the tree and gain wisdom.

It takes years of de-programming, and a woman's willingness to redefine divinity to heal the wounds believing in an angry Old Testament God can cause. It's the ultimate story of ruling by fear, and the ultimate validation of "Might Makes Right" for boys and girls.

2. Here is an example of a less obvious consequence of having a male-focused society. Most of the studies that have been done about heart attack symptoms focused on men. When women have heart attacks, they are more likely to die because their symptoms are "atypical."  Since women can have different warning signs than men, they may not know they're having a heart attack until it's too late. In this case, not being a man is "atypical." 

I don't think there's a nefarious group sitting around a table somewhere plotting the death of women, purposely giving out misinformation about heart attacks. It's just that everything is naturally male-centric in a patriarchal society until someone recognizes it and works to reshape it. In this example, it would take enough people getting angry by the skewed state of affairs, to raise funds for women's heart attack research and education campaigns.

Here are links to more examples of women's unique vulnerabilities in 2017:


Lack of Affordable Education for Women Who Need it the Most

The Purity Myth

RapeKit Backlog

I normally only share my thoughts about feminism with like-minded friends, but if I never reach out to others and explain my beliefs, I'm part of the problem.

This is a follow-up to a post about healthy anger from last week. By the stats, it was one of the most widely read things I've written to date. It was also suggested that I remove the "aggressive" part at the end to make it suitable for a wider audience.

I was grateful for the reader feedback, and also did a face-palm, because oh my goodness a woman says she's going to work on not denying her anger, and it's labeled "aggressive." 

That is the Point I was trying to make. We are taught to keep quiet. Stay still. Stay ashamed. Don't question. Don't even breathe. Just take it. Round out your hard edges. Conform to the ideal of passive womanhood. Be nice. Be sweet. Don't offend. Ssshhhh.

Be youthful and pure. Don't paint your face like a whore. Don't be shallow. Don't sully yourself, but be kitten-like and attractive to men. Save it. Smile more. Pluck your eyebrows. Now give it away with no reservations. And stop, because now you're too old.

It's no wonder that women forget to listen to their bodies. We're used to everyone else telling us how to use our bodies, and judging every decision against impossible standards.

Some people are happy with the way things work and don't want the kind of changes that would promote women. I think that when a patriarch -who brags about crotch-grabbing- is the President, it's time to do something different.

THE Patriarchy, in its most oppressive form, just got a huge fist bump in the locker room.

That is the patriarchal crap I want to roast in the metaphorical flames from my last post. 

My question to people who found this aggressive: 

What are you afraid of? 

  • People around us gaining respect and being treated as equally important as the next human

  • Learning how people want to be addressed when you speak to them

  • Listening to people's stories to expand your perceptions of oppression and freedom

How do those things take away from you? Do you recognize my definition of The Patriarchy? Are you okay with it? Are you complicit?

I suspect that the answer has to do with a flawed mindset based on lack. Believing there is only enough power, love, or respect for so many people would lead a person to guard his/her power. In reality, if everyone felt empowered, whole, and supported, the world would be full of art, and overflowing with genius. 

The men in my life are unquestionably loving and compassionate. They're progressive enough to understand that they benefit from the patriarchy and call it what it is. It doesn't take anything away from them for the women in their lives to fully realize their worth and power. We are all stronger for it, in fact.

My point is that feminists aren't usually anti-man. They're anti-oppression and pro-woman. Feminism is for everybody, after all. 

Here's what I'm afraid of:

If mostly white men remain in charge, and we continue to vote them into office, no other voices will be represented. With no other views in the mix, patriarchal domination gives us policies that favor the status quo, at best. At worst, they will begin to chip away at protections for women (and anything else that can be labeled as "other") because they've lived with the benefits of identifying as males their entire lives. 

It's probably because I'm 40 now, but I care a lot less about seeming "nice" than I did 20 years ago. I stand by my original post. 


  1. Disgesting. So much to love here. Be back to comment later.

    1. Yes, always digesting. I feel like it's been written, but there's a book to be written in here somewhere.


I would love to hear what you think!