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Sometimes its hard to put your finger on what exactly this mysterious patriarchy is. Robert Jensen does a good job of offering an explanation.
“This past year I have written about rape culture and trans ideology, in both cases anchoring an analysis in the problem of patriarchy. I’m often told that the term “patriarchy” is either too radical and alienating, or outdated and irrelevant. Yet it’s difficult to imagine addressing problems if we can’t name and critique the system out of which the problems emerge.
The late feminist historian Gerda Lerner defined patriarchy as “the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over women in the society in general.” Patriarchy implies, she continued, “that men hold power in all the important institutions of society and that women are deprived of access to such power. It does not imply that women are either totally powerless or totally deprived of rights, influence and resources.”
Like any resistance movement, feminism does not speak with one voice from a single unified analysis, but it’s hard to imagine a feminism that doesn’t start with the problem of patriarchy, one of the central systems of oppression that tries to naturalize a domination/subordination dynamic. In the case of feminism, this means challenging the way that patriarchy uses the biological differences between male and female (material sex differences) to justify rigid, repressive and reactionary claims about men and women (oppressive gender norms).
How should we understand the connection between sex and gender? Given that reproduction is not a trivial matter, the biological differences between male and female humans are not trivial, and it is plausible that these non-trivial physical differences could conceivably give rise to significant intellectual, emotional and moral differences between males and females. Yet for all the recent advances in biology and neuroscience, we still know relatively little about how the biological differences influence those capacities, though in contemporary culture many people routinely assume that the effects are greater than have been established. Male and female humans are much more similar than different, and in patriarchal societies based on gendered power, this focus on the differences is used to rationalize disparities in power.
In short: In patriarchy, “gender” is a category that functions to establish and reinforce inequality. While sex categories are part of any human society — and hence some sex-role differentiation is inevitable, given reproductive realities — the pernicious effects of patriarchal gender politics can, and should, be challenged.”
The rest of the article can be found on Nation of Change.
Watch dudes flail and fail as they are caught treating women like objects instead of people.
Long video. Start at any point to see why feminism is necessary…
Long video – transcript here.
I would like to take this time to edify and hopefully illuminate those with access to my very small part of the blogging community.
Blogging community, if you care to listen please note that for future reference that if you intend to talk about a topic that you are unfamiliar with, or wish to actively criticize please recognize that looking up terminology you will be dealing with in a dictionary is not the endpoint of your commitment to honest discussion.
Defining your terms is important, but the level of detail present in most dictionaries is not sufficient to base a reasonable argument on. An example of the problem described can be found in the wordpress reader, while browsing the feminism tag. Every day I see posts that either start out with the dictionary definition of feminism in the topic sentence or maladroitly inserted into a body paragraph just before a long list of criticisms of said definition.
The problem, dear blogging community, is that arguing with dictionary definitions is about as useful licking a frozen fence post with your tongue. Feminism (and other topics) are often rife with nuance and complexity that require a more careful reading to fully appreciate what they are about.
Would you feel okay in expressing your opinion based on what the dictionary says about a possibly esoteric topic such as:
a theory of the mechanics of atoms, molecules, and other physical systems that are subject to the uncertainty principle.
Huh, fascinating stuff eh? Did you see about part about the many types of quarks? How about the double-slit experiment? Quantum tunnelling behaviours that are associated with electrons?
the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
…is somehow going to give them enough insight to intelligently comment on Feminism in a meaningful way? My new goto method for jarring people out of their sullen stolidity is linking to a poignantly concise, accessible piece by bell hooks called Understanding Patriarchy.
Of course, some choose not to look farther than the meanings of words that are easy and convenient for them and their ‘arguments’. Then other methodology must be used, including the neigh-terrible Red Pen of Justice in the most serious cases of cranial-rectal inversion.
One of the best methods for avoiding various peoples RPOJ’s is using the dictionary, coupled with other resources such as Wikipedia to further flesh out the context of complex topics that one might wish to speak on. You’ll still get your ass handed to you by those possessing specialist knowledge, but you will avoid the eye-role and exasperated sighs of those who must yet *again* give the 101 level context necessary to properly frame a discussion.