Going back to good old Merriam-Webster, patriarchy is defined as follows:
social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
We know this well, as the modern world is built on the patriarchy. Misogyny, racism, rape culture, homophobia, transphobia, and all the other marginalization I listed for this project has deep roots in patriarchy. I’m not really going to go into all the evils of patriarchy here, but there’s a couple of things that I think we need to really think about.
A short note: Even though I’m using gendered labels in this post, the patriarchal effects are bad for everyone, whether you identify as male, female, other, or neither.
The first topic is that there are groups who think that our world would be better off with a matriarchy. As a change from patriarchy, in some ways, I suppose I could see that. But in all of the “matriarchal fantasy” type literature I read, especially by particular groups of lesbians, the idea of matriarchy is usually just patriarchy with a woman’s or goddess’ face. If the tables were to turn overnight, it might get better for awhile, maybe even a few decades, but how long would it take for the oppressed to become the oppressors?
Second, there is a tendency in some groups to have the narrow view that it’s just women (particularly cisgendered women) who suffer from the patriarchy. In reality, patriarchy is much more intersectional: everyone suffers and is damaged by patriarchal thought and action. Including male-identified people. While I won’t deny that the statistics skew heavily towards women, especially when we talk about rape culture, men are also affected and effected by the idea that they have to be in power and have to be the power in relationships. And while abuse perpetrators are heavily skewed towards men in our society, women can be just as evil and abusive towards men. Ignoring a subset of victims in the name of “feminism” is erasure and helps no one.
As we’ve mentioned earlier in this series, no one group really corners the market on ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and I don’t think there is one outright solution to our patriarchal society that will fix everything. I think our causes are better served if we think both narrowly and systemically.