Is it just me that whispers to my myself in my sleep, ‘it’s time to dismantle the patriarchy’? Whilst my right-hand twitches as if it’s holding a picket sign. Just me? Maybe I’ve watched too many feminist documentaries on Netflix, don’t get me started on that, I get so into it I get tears in my eyes!
Before I go any further, I shouldn’t assume we all know what the patriarchy is. To put it simply it is a society in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. And it has permeated through everything. EVERYHTING! Patriarchy is a word that describes the way the world is organised by gender, men in charge and women follow along. We may not realise but it has shaped our lives, our behaviours and how we think.
Patriarchy can predominantly be seen in the nuclear family where the man was deemed the head and even if the woman wasn’t too far behind him, she was still behind. This structure can be seen through out other structures of society such as the government when women weren’t allowed to vote and also the work environment.
The domination over women isn’t as bad as it was years and years ago. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist in some way, shape or form. Gender is still something that is enforced today. The patriarchy doesn’t just affect women, it impacts men as well, gender roles hurt everyone. Society forces people into strict boxes of gender and if you don’t fit this it could mean being ostracised from society. Men must be physically and emotionally strong and be the breadwinner, the protector, and women the child carers, home makers, more emotional, quiet and weak.
Even though the patriarchy affects men as well as women, it has a larger impact on women. Women face larger amounts of discrimination, judgement and sexual harassment because being female is seen as less powerful.
We have come to a point in society that the patriarchy is harder to spot, it is well disguised. From the outside it can seem like things are equal, like it no longer exists. It’s all hunky dory until a woman has to bat off comments or can’t speak up in a workplace.
It’s the 21st century I hear you cry. I know, I know. So how do we rise up and take the world and society for ourselves?
We have to challenge, challenge, challenge anything that sees to oppress anyone because of their gender, whether that’s cis gendered, non-binary, trans, you name it. Like they say in feminism, we’re not free until we’re all free…every which way a woman can be. If you feel objectified in what you’re wearing or how you look…say something. If someone uses language that feels shameful or demeaning…say something. Challenge gender roles, the patriarchy doesn’t just hurt women, it hurts men too.
We have to hold people accountable for their actions, for their words…it’s exhausting work fighting a somewhat invisible oppressor that’s ingrained deep into the way society works. But we’re women, we were made to handle whatever comes our way and you don’t have to handle it with poise, grace or be well mannered. We’re angry, fed up, emotional and that’s okay!
We have to unlearn indoctrinated thought patterns and behaviours and we can’t confuse nonparticipation with activism.
Are you ready to woman up and dismantle the patriarchy?