Why Patriarchy Isn't Just a Women's Issue

Why Patriarchy Isn't Just a Women's Issue

Why the Patriarchy isn’t Just a ‘Women’s Issue’

Patriarchy is, in the simplest of terms, the widespread social/political system that promotes male

privilege and oppresses all who do not meet the normalized ‘male’ standards. Patriarchy insists that males

are inherently dominant and everyone who is not male is inherently weak and/or lesser. The system of

patriarchy as a whole attacks its members on a psychological level by making ‘feminine’ qualities (and

those who possess them) subject to a certain level of shame that those who lack these qualities are not

threatened by. On another level, patriarchy also attacks its members in the physical sense, making women

and other ‘lesser’ groups (i.e: gay men) more likely to be subject to random and unprovoked violent

attacks simply based on their lack of ‘masculine’ attributes.

Patriarchy sustains itself by employing of one of the most dangerous kinds of oppression:

powerlessness. According to “Five Faces of Oppression” by Iris Young, powerlessness is the most effective

form of oppression because it creates a ‘culture of silence’: a society in which oppressed people feel so

helpless that they do not even speak of their own oppression. As a system of oppressive powerlessness

continues to grow, it brainwashes the oppressed into thinking that they are inherently lesser than their

oppressors. It is at this point, according to Young, that “the oppressed aren’t silent because they’re

forced to be, they are silent because they choose to be.” This explains why so many women who are

disadvantaged by the patriarchy (ie: lower wages, susceptibility to sexual harassment/assault, etc.)

hesitate to speak out against it, even going so far as to deny that it exists. Women who rebel against the

patriarchy are often subject to ridicule and exclusion, being written off as ‘feminazis’ or simply having

their opinions chalked up to irrational, PMS fueled rants. This...

Similar Essays