What is patriarchy? According to Bell Hooks, “Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.” We are living in a political social system that insists that males develop dominating, superior characteristics to everything they come into contact and everyone who are seen as weak, especially females. ‘Society has allowed the right for males to be in power and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence.’ Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social affliction assaulting the male body and essence in our nation.
God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness , so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26.) God created man to rule the world and all that is in it. Women had to help men complete these tasks – women had to be dutiful and to always assume an inferior role in relation to a powerful man. These teachings were reinforced everywhere because it seemed to have been the natural way to organise and live out our lives. Women’s roles seem to always be to serve, to be weak, and to be free from the burden of thinking, to take care and nurture others. Men are taught to be served; to provide; to be strong; to think, strategize and plan and refuse to care take and nurture others. Women could not be violent – Anger is not an appropriate feminine feeling. Men grew up being taught that, violence will protect their homes and nation.
Patriarchy has a clutch on people where they cannot be and act the way they want to or do what they want to do. Patriarchy leaves people out of things due to not making the cut in society. It forces one to follow gender roles that are seen as ‘appropriate’ – Men can beat women; women just have to accept it. It is seen as ‘right’. The use of violence is to reinforce our indoctrination and acceptance of patriarchy. You cannot be who you are called to be. You will feel a shame if you do. Patriarchy forces pain and denies one’s feelings. A patriarchy cultures holds all men captive, as you do not have a choice to be free.
The foundation of patriarchy is a blind obedience. It is not an equal system. If men are not seen as ‘strong’, they are seen as strange by society and are shunned. Patriarchy promotes insanity; it is at the root of the psychological ills troubling men in our nation. Patriarchy effects women’s self-worth, it has the ability to alter gender equality. ‘Children in this society are being taught male patriarchy through education. Male dominance is being enforced as a masculine view of the world is being displayed to children, this is shown through gendered subjects and the treatment showed towards male and female learners. They question that male dominance has become accepted in society so much that it leads to violence towards women being accepted in homes and on the streets. Radical feminists believe that men exploit and oppress women. They believe that the family plays a significant role in aiding this oppression, as women can be exploited by their male partners through abuse and additional work they do.’
The effects of a patriarchy society
A patriarchal society is a style of oppression. It slows societal progression and pressures men and women to behave in a certain way. I have noticed that there are four factors that affect society regarding patriarchy: the government; masculinity and femininity; circumcision and the armed forces (Army)
Let us focus on the government first, out of four hundred and thirty-five seats; women only occupy seventy-nine of them. Only 18% of the parliament. In total, there have been less than 300 women who have served in the House of Representatives. Out of one hundred seats, women hold twenty. 20% of the body. In total, there have only been forty-four women who have served in the parliament.
• Masculinity and femininity
If one sex does not act the way they should they will be looked down upon.
The social pressures cause most men to believe that they need to look like ‘men’ in order to find their place in this world. However, many cultures believe that you need to be circumcised to be allowed into manhood due to certain beliefs. However, this is not the case. It does not matter what you have or do not have. You are still considered a man.
• The armed forces
Women have always played a crucial role in war, but they have usually not been seen as soldiers out in the battlefield due to it being too dangerous. Women have played roles such as being a medic and being on the production line. Women have even prostituted themselves in times of war for morale boost. In the past men have been seen and considered the warriors that need to defend our country, not women.
The effects of a patriarchy society can be seen in many government institutions. Women are not being represented in the government – which is one of the focal points of society, if our leaders are not practising equality across the board how is society going to do the same. A patriarchal society forces people to act ‘normal’. Women need to be treated how men would be. The double standard needs to be eliminated. Patriarchy is putting a halt on societal progression.