Bossier Abroad: Who is the Patriarchy?

by Joosje Lupa

WHO is the patriarchy?!

This is an actual question that a male asked during a discussion on feminism I attended this week. Not what, but who. He seemed to be of the opinion that unless we could give him names of who the patriarchy is, then it just does not exist. This same, dazzling individual is also of the opinion that evolutionarily, men are simply not capable of staying home with their children. Oh, and also feminism is just a means for women to get together and “man-hate.”

Well, you terrific twit, quite often yes, I do hate men. When I’m trying to order my lunch, and the cashier smiles at me like I ought to be spread on his table with an apple in my mouth, I hate men. When I walk into a room and instantly feel every part of my body being sized up to the point that all I want to do is run and hide, I hate men. When I listen to a beer-guzzling math student suggest to my face that women are less biologically inclined to enter STEM fields, I hate men. When I read about the countless women subjected to human trafficking, every single day, I hate men. 

But the thing is, I don’t actually hate men. Some of the best and most important people in my life are male, people without whom the quality of my life would be significantly less. The best friends without whom I would be totally lost, the brother without whom I wouldn’t be myself. My exclamations of “I hate men!” after yet another male makes my skin crawl is not the major issue — I am extremely lucky that this is usually the strongest form of sexism and objectification I experience in my daily life. The accusations of man-hating and attempts at “reverse-sexism” are just excuses to evade the discussions of sexism and its more serious implications. 

Because what I do hate is the patriarchy, the thing that our precious prick denied exists. I hate a system in which women are, at best, two steps behind and at worst abused, coerced and enslaved. I hate a social environment where the evolutionary argument above was seriously put forward and used as an excuse for male dominance in 2017. I hate any human being thinking they are better than any other person, because, in fact, they aren’t. And I haven’t even yet mentioned intersectionality and the whole host of ways in which that serves to further subjugate women across the world. I haven’t yet mentioned how this wildly clever male failed to acknowledge that he goes to an elite university in one of the richest nations on Earth and that in these environments we don’t even see a lot of the severity of a system in which an entire sex doesn’t have fundamental human rights. I hate the patriarchy for the same reasons I would hate any harmful ideology — for the pain it inflicts.

This boy’s suggestion that the patriarchy is a hoax unless we can provide specific names is a blatant denial of the experiences of millions of women in the past, present, and future. The voices that have been gagged, mocked and silenced in male-dominated societies. If the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem, then the first step towards equality of the sexes is recognizing, without qualification or accusation, that the patriarchy is real and that it is simply not going to work for us any longer. 

Michele Dale