Patriarchy is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.


“This is never going to work.”

Patriarchy.  What a dirty word.  I’m scared to use it in my posts because it almost guarantees a severe and mindless reaction from so many people.  I would bet my first-born child that this word is only controversial and difficult to talk about  because whenever the topic of patriarchy comes up, so many men in the room feel attacked.  Rather than creating an atmosphere of healthy, productive discussion, it creates an atmosphere of hostility and defensiveness.

One of my readers recently made this comment in passing:

For example, the very idea of a patriarchy, one of the root tenets of feminism upon which so many of their grievances are based, can not be interpreted any other way than as a directed attack against men. So to say that feminism does not promote misandry is self-defeating.

This hurdle is catastrophic.  It halts productive discourse, creates anger between men and women, and further perpetuates the problems we all want to stop.  It’s also a very, very serious misunderstanding.

Is the solution to stop using the word patriarchy?  To “admit” it doesn’t exist and “back off?”  No, I don’t think so.  That would be equally, if not more unproductive.

There is a problem with feminism in today’s cultural climate.  Many women who are angry about patriarchy are blaming men; and many men who are angry about patriarchy are blaming women.  It is impossible to hold an intelligent conversation and find plausible solutions to a problem if we can’t stop bickering about what the problem is!  And we will never be able to stop bickering until we stop placing blame and start taking responsibility.  All of us.  In a defensive stance, with guards up and swords drawn, no truce, understanding, or agreement can ever be reached.


“You’re so f*#%ing frustrating!!”

1.  Patriarchy is NOBODY’S fault.

The definition of patriarchy according to Merriam Webster is, broadly:

control by men of a disproportionately large share of power.

This definition does not inherently and immediately mean “all men have better lives than women” or “all men get to do more things than women” or “all men are believed superior to women” however much it may sometimes lead to those things later.  It simply means that a man, if he follows the masculine rules taught to him, can expect to have an advantage over a woman who has followed the feminine rules taught to her.

Such a definition, if acknowledged as being a problem, might seem to point to men as the source of the problem.  It might even appear to blame men for the problem.  For instance, you might wonder: “Why do men TAKE so much more power than they deserve, huh?  Why do they have to BE like that?  Why can’t they just CHANGE?”  But it’s not actually that simple.  Men don’t take power; it is given to them by the system.

Because of America’s patriarchal society, which highly values individualism, hard-work, and self-reliance, the idea that men have been given power without doing anything besides be born with a penis might also feel like an affront.  For that I can only offer my sincerest apologies for the difficult position of privilege you are placed in as a man (I’m not even being sarcastic here.  I recently discovered my privilege as a white person and it was difficult, I assure you.  Lots of guilt.)  As a woman who was raised in the same society and values those same things, that I have act more “manly” to be an individual, work hard and rely on myself, also feels like an affront.  I try not to take it personally, as I hope you can tell by this article.

"Hey guys, let's oppress women!"

“Hey guys, let’s oppress women!”

Let me emphasize my point: perpetuating patriarchy is [usually] NOT a decision anybody makes.  It is nobody’s fault.  As I’ve heard many men remark, “men DON’T just get together and say, ‘hey, let’s oppress women!'”  Patriarchy is an age-old institution that none of us chose and has been worked into the fabric of our society so intricately that the individual threads are barely visible.  It has been taught to us.  Day-to-day interactions are often a symptom and a virus at the same time and the average person rarely notices when it is happening.  We have all, men and women alike, been socialized into the patriarchy from younger than we can remember, just like our parents and grandparents before us, which places the responsibility on all of us to re-socialize ourselves and socialize incoming generations differently.

2.  Dismantling patriarchy is EVERYBODY’S responsibility.

To be extra clear, the lack of fault does not remove us from all responsibility for this phenomenon.  Men and women today do shoulder some responsibility for allowing patriarchy to continue.  But how can we place or take responsibility for changing something if we can’t agree on its existence?

Before we can expect responsibility from anybody, man or woman, we must assure that an understanding is reached about what patriarchy is and the role each person plays in its persistence.  As we have seen, this is where the hangup occurs.   If we cannot expect someone to understand in the face of blame and defense, and we also cannot expect someone to acknowledge responsibility without first understanding, how can we be surprised that changes have been so slow?

"That is NOT what I said."

“That is NOT what I said.”

Ever find yourself in an argument about something with somebody, spend hours or days mad about it, only to discover later that you both really agreed on the same essential points?  Maybe there was confusion over language, or somebody felt misunderstood or threatened by an implication, so you weren’t able to agree.  I believe this is the same thing that is happening between men and women about patriarchy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many men hear and read feminist arguments and believe that they are being asked to take unreasonable measures for the sake of women, while women sit back and reap the benefits.  This is not reality.  If we are to expect men to shoulder such uncomfortable self-awareness and responsibility to make change, women have to be willing to also shoulder self-awareness and responsibility to make change, not just awareness of men and responsibility to make men change.  Women have to change too.


“Domination is overrated. I love you!”

A great example of this can be found in one of my recent posts about consent, titled “Un-Memorizing the ‘Silence is Sexy’ Date Script.”  Many men commented, feeling disgruntled by the fact that the women they knew were un-enthusiastic about their attempts to get positive, active consent.  The idea that men alone have to change rape culture is preposterous.  Women also are hindered by patriarchal beliefs that men are only truly sexy when they are a little bit violent, risky, and controlling.  If consent culture is ever going to happen, men have to be able to give and receive consent and find it sexy, and women have to be able to give and receive consent and find it sexy.

Another example is gender socialization.  Mothers, aunts, counselors, teachers, and other female role models all play a huge part in how boys and girls understand what is expected of them.  It is not just men who have to think about these things.  We all have to be conscientious about what we teach the younger generations, not just when we are actively advising them, but in the examples that we set in our daily lives:

How do we talk about men and women?  What catch-phrases do we use?  What do the things that go unsaid mean to children who are paying attention?  How does our use of language have an impact?  How do the traits we value in people have an impact?  These are all things that both men and women can take responsibility to think about.

3.  Dismantling patriarchy will help EVERYBODY.

So what are all these things we’ve been too busy arguing about to realize we agree on?


“Patriarchy isn’t real. Case closed.”

I recently read an excellent article on Jezebal about this very topic.  The author made a list of several arguments often made  when men cry “Misandry!” as if it is a synonym for feminism.  She also explained quite concisely some of the things men have to gain from the abolition of patriarchy.  You can read the entire list here, but I will include a handful:

Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.

Getting the idea?  Patriarchy hurts men as well as women (albeit in very different and arguably un-equal ways), and feminism (as I lovingly refer to as “patriarchy-bashing”) wants to make life better for men as well as women.  So let’s get back on the same team!

4.  This has to be about equal socialization before equal treatment.

A common misconception is that dismantling patriarchy is about making individual men give up power to individual women, or about men as a group  (as if the world works that way)  giving more power to women as a group.  Honestly, I don’t believe that’s the case.  I believe the only way to destroy patriarchy is to re-consider the things we value and find important in our lives.

That men and women are socialized to join one of two separate and mutually exclusive clubs is what makes it hard to change how we treat each other.  If men are socialized to look and behave in ways which earn them respect and fair treatment from society, and women are socialized to look and behave in ways which earn them disdain and disregard, there is something wrong with how we are socializing men and women.

If in order to independently succeed financially and earn respect equal to that of a man, a woman must have traits that are “un-feminine,” then we’re doing and teaching femininity wrong.  If in order to be mentally and emotionally healthy (and not just independently financially successful) a man must behave in ways that are “un-masculine,” then we’re doing and teaching masculinity wrong.  Never mind the fact that the rules of each club are internally restricting and can limit personal happiness!

Romance novels and movies would have us believe that “opposites attract” and that finding your true love means finding your “other half.”  This is a whimsically appealing idea because we live in a culture which cuts us off from the “other half” within ourselves.  Provided nothing goes wrong, we are all born as full and complete human beings equipped to create the success, stability, and happiness we deserve.  It is the way we are raised and the beliefs instilled in us about ourselves and others which limit those abilities and resources, and the society we live in reinforces these beliefs with its laws and practices.

There are certainly many laws and practices we can and should change by focusing on issues of fair and equal treatment, but in addition, fair and equal socialization is key.  Think rehabilitation instead of prison or pre-emptive measures instead of consequences.  Let’s start  teaching fairness and equality before (and in addition to) expecting it.

5.  All together now… 


No really. I mean together.

Such intangible concepts like patriarchy are extremely frustrating to encounter no matter what, but they are even more frustrating when you are being blamed for them and feel tons of immediate pressure to fix them single-handedly.  Nobody likes to feel such pressure to solve seemingly unsolvable problems!  So let’s please stop placing pressure on men to do all this work alone.

As my mother used to say when I got in an argument with my sister: not “who started it?” but “who’s going to finish it?”  Let’s pick ourselves up off the ground, dust ourselves off, and decide how to move on from here.  This doesn’t have to be give or take; it can be a mutual sharing of resources, respect, and power.  As we all learned in kindergarten, the golden rule:  treat others as you would like to be treated, and my own addition, expect from others what you would expect from yourself.

Neither of those rules will work if we don’t socialize everyone, regardless of gender, to expect, seek, feel worthy of, and extend towards themselves equally superb treatment.  Changing laws and practices will only go so far if we cannot mend the inequality in our hearts and minds.

So yes, patriarchy is dirty and crude, but the word is not.  Patriarchy is dirty because it tears us apart, pits us against each other, and stops us from speaking civilly and solving problems.  The word, if we consider it rather than rolling our eyes or raising our fists, can help us transcend the problems it represents.  So let’s stop using it as a weapon and start using it as a tool for honest and respectful communication.

Because I have this cheesy idea that we should all work together (and I couldn't find a picture with racially diverse hands).

Because I have this cheesy idea that teamwork doesn’t have to mean boys against girls. *

*Sorry, I couldn’t find a picture with racially diverse hands.

60 responses to “Patriarchy is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.

  1. OK, any time women are talking with other women with no men present about clothes, they are supporting patriarchy, because it is all about competing with other women for men’s attention.
    So by this standard sounds to me like 80% of women are supporting patriarchy about 80% of the time by their own free choice of conversation.
    Thanks, kind of enjoying the blog!

    • No. It’s patriarchical to assume that women are trying to compete for men’s attention, especially through clothes. Many women don’t give a shit about men’s attention and clothing is a lot more complex and interesting than simply a ‘means of seduction.’

      • I’ll take back “it’s all about” and say “it’s somewhat about.” Your name lingerie lesbian says loud and clear that you are a woman that doesn’t give a shit about men’s attention. But might you not be projecting your attitude onto a large percentage of women? If it’s primarily about fabric and color and complex and interesting aspect of clothing, why are the designs (being bought up by women in every mall) often so obviously intended to be seductive? It would be great to have some data about this. All of us have power issues, women crave power as much as men, but it shows up in different ways.

        My problem with the notion of patriarchy is when it means, “man bad, woman good,” or more precisely, “it’s all men’s fault.” If for example women didn’t reward the sexy bad boys with sex; if women weren’t competitive with each other in the absence of men (but research shows, y’all are just as competitive); if women weren’t turned on by power… then we’d be living on a different planet!

        I remember going to a poetry reading where a feminist poet was reading all this men-are-bad stuff. Then at the very end she reads this thing about the sexy cowboy, I think she said “as a change of pace” and meant it as a joke. I wanted to barf at the hypocrisy.
        You might say, if women didn’t respond “favorably” to men with power, men wouldn’t be very interested in power (try as thought experiment, or, ask some guys). Then we’d all be very enlightened and you wouldn’t recognize the place. But to say “It’s all men’s fault, men are the ones to change” I believe actually hinders the cause.

      • So personality and additiude have no effect on personal behavior or decision making? A man in a expensive suit with a cigar in his hand in just a man in a expensive suit with a cigar in his hand; no text to be analysed, deeper layer of meaning, no implacation or room for alternate interpretation? The cigar is just that, end of story.
        Ok, if you say so…

    • In many ways you (michaelcenkner) are right, I think, not because women are always consciously competing for men’s attention, but because that is the attitude surrounding fashion. That is not to say that a woman cannot be feminist and also fashionable, but it takes a certain ingenuity to be aware and vocal about your choices and your self-expression.

      A perfect example of women’s responsibility for ending patriarchy! Thank you, michaelcenkner. Keep in mind that men can help with this too by changing how they value women’s looks and fashion choices, and how they communicate those values to women.

      • I’m reminded of the observation that when men learn to value character more than beauty, women will have a reason to change. Excellent article, great points, my thanks for your words.

          • Which seems an appropriate counter proposal to the assumption that women must always adapt for men. Neither position is right, but considered together, we can begin to approach equality.

      • Then how does physical attraction fit into a patriarchal society? Physical attraction is a normal thing, and something many people value, both men and women. Though you seem to be suggesting that men should be changing the things we value as physically attractive about women? Attraction is an inherent part of being a human. How does it fit in with patriarchy?

        • Physical attraction is psychological and chemical, however instinctive it may feel. I believe that much of gender inequality has been sexualized by our society in unhealthy ways and that it is possible to re-train ourselves to react alternatively. When something is associated so powerfully with such emotionally charged and adrenaline-rushing sensations, it is even more difficult to separate ourselves from it. So it goes, I believe, with masculinity and femininity, and the magnetic attraction between the two. John Stoltenberg has written a lot on the topic of rejecting dominant/submissive sexual attraction. I found his essay titled “How Men Have (a) Sex” particularly inspiring, if you’re interested.

          • Thanks for that, I’ll check it out. And I totally agree that much of our gender inequality has been sexualised by our society in unhealthy ways. So would I be right in saying that you’d be referring to the way media promotes things like promiscuity and a certain body image for women as attractive when attractiveness should, and is, made up of much more than that? And that this more complex and intelligent, I suppose, definition of attractiveness is something we should be striving for in a non-patriarchal society? I suppose I’m just wondering in real terms what it is you’re condemning and what you’re supporting.
            As an aside, would you happen to know of any good readings on patriarchy and how it fits into our world and society? Like books, blogs, websites? It’s something I’ve recently become quite interested in and want to read more about.

  2. Thanks for the quotes! it is good to know something positive was taken away from the discussions. I also agree that the responsibility for change has to be on the shoulders of everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, or nationality. That being said, I think you are still missing the root cause of the problem.

    The problem is not some mythological Patriarchy. (No, I still do not acknowledge it’s existence as defined.) The root cause of the problem is competition. We have been raised in a culture of competition, where it is not only accepted and encouraged, but idolized. The problem with that is that competition can only exist where the accomplishments of one are being torn down by the efforts of another.

    Competition permeates every nook and cranny of our society, and just look at the damage it causes. It pits women against men in a ‘battle of the sexes’; it pits kids against each other in schools, and the schools against each other in districts/states/countries; it moves businesses to try and drive each other out of business for the sake of profit. Essentially, it is the idea that one entity has no self-worth because another entity has self-worth. How messed up is that?

    This is the essence of what you are saying when you talk about a ‘patriarchy’. All through your article you express the concept that “Women have no power because men do”, as if the two were mutually exclusive.

    As much as of an idealist as I am, I am under no illusions that people will magically conquer their greed or envy, swallow their pride, and learn to be decent human beings simply for the simple pleasure of being a decent human beings. The rot within our society runs too deep, like a cancer that has spread to the final stages throughout body of human civilization.

    Men and women are not the competition for each other, they are the complement to each other. Not some magical other half, but rather each possessing strengths and weaknesses that the other can compensate for. I could function without my wife, but not as well, not as efficiently, and not as completely as I can with her. She can function without me, but not as well, not as efficiently, not as completely. We work together to do more than we are capable of doing alone. It is really that simple.

    Your enemy is not the patriarchy, it is the competitive core that modern civilization is founded upon that is driving us all to our mutual destruction.

    • Why are you so convinced that this competition is instead of, rather than a part of, patriarchy? Competition, I believe, is a huge part of patriarchy, with men consistently being given the tools to “win.”

      As far as your comments about men and women being complementary, this is exactly the kind of belief I am talking about. It is not always harmful. Indeed, the idea of complementing each other is lovely and harmonizing and beautiful, but it does not need to be because of gender. Everybody should be allowed to bring their own individuality to a relationship without being told how to do so. It is wonderful that you and your wife could both function without each other, but as a society, men and women are not being taught or told to do so, at least not successfully or convincingly, however much we are beginning to try. This idea of compensation does not need to be and should not be gendered. This is something that emerging LGBTQ culture and conversation is beginning to explore, but not completely or fully, because even same-sex relationships often utilize masculine/feminine dichotomy as a tool for internal completion.

      I am fascinated and encouraged by your insight and attention to detail, ravaught, but equally fascinated and confused by our inconsistent conclusions. It seems to me that we both agree on nearly everything except for the existence of a patriarchy. Where is the hangup?

      • The root of my disagreement stems from the very definition of the word ‘patriarchy’, which is, as you pointed out “control by men of a disproportionately large share of power.” Firstly, the very word itself is antagonistic towards men, which you addressed in your article. Secondly, it is still working from the broken assumption that an equal number of women are actually TRYING to fill those positions, which in many instances is simply NOT the case. Thirdly, it completely ignores the nature of ‘power’ by the naive assumption that all power is derived from the same source, is of the same quality, has the same impact, or can even be measured in any real quantifiable, meaningful way.

        On a higher level, it is a complete mischaracterization of the problem. Bucking the so-called ‘Patriarchy’ is not an idea that is based on equality, but rather on ‘sameness’. What you are railing against is that women do not have the ‘same’ power as men, not that they do not have ‘equal’ power. Equivalence is not identical to sameness.

        My problem with ‘sameness’ as a goal is that it is destructive. If you have studied any philosophy whatsoever you should be aware of concepts like yin & yang, the unity of opposites, or the balance created by two powers that, while seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum, in fact work together towards a harmonious goals.

        The night does not compete with the day, nor the seasons with each other, nor the birds bees and flowers. While they are all either apparent dichotomies or seemingly unrelated, they work together in order to create more than any of them are capable of singly.

        All people having the same power would be no better than having summer all year long, all sunshine and no rain, 24/7 daytime, or all flowers, all birds, or all bees. If any one of those things were true, life on our miraculously unique little blue rock would perish. End of story. The same is in essence true of if all men and all women were all wielding the same powers. What you should be striving for is to identify the strengths and weaknesses and then to build those in all people in such a way that it builds up instead of tears down, not how to get what someone else has.

        By the way, for all of the women out there complaining about their lack of power, did it ever occur to you how much power you actually have? Ironically in the quest to try and grab the power women thought men have(had) they have abdicated their own unique power base and given up the most powerful influence that could possibly be possessed, that of the hearts and minds of the individual family, of which society is comprised. They gave up their ability to shape the future by their fixation on the present. Men historically have had the power to shape what is; women have historically had the power to shape what will be while influencing those that were shaping what is. Now, they can help shape what is, at the expense of not being able to shape what will be. As so often happens, greed and vanity corrupt and turn an unstoppable arrangement into a massive clusterfuck.

        • Thank you so much for this comment, ravaught. You raise so many important points that I myself have struggled with, so I will address them fully in a new, separate post! 🙂

        • Damn. THANK YOU for that. I don’t our lesbian friend even bothered to read it. A lot of modern women today let the logic and wisdom of men go in one ear and out the there. That’s insulting as hell. I hear them and their feelings. I am paying attention. But at the end of the day, logic, reason and responsibility win out every time. It has to for the greater good. We can’t just make up law after law after law based on a few women and their ever-changing feelings. That will create madness and chaos.

          And I find it really insulting that feminism would attack a natural instinct of competitiveness in men. That suggests that we are all somehow defective.

          I would hate to be born as a boy in today’s culture… especially in the hands of a feminist. They are creating social constructs, simply because they missed that opportunity…. And that’s because of NATURE, not men.

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  4. I took several courses in femism and feminist theory in college, and one thing we all agreed upon was that there are several different types of feminism. While radical feminists do accept that these issues all stem from patriarchy, we found it very important to also understand and accept that feminism is more generally a form of humanism, a belief in equal rights in all aspects of life for both sexes, all genders, and all sexual orientations. It is imposible to ignore the intersectionality of all things (race, sex, gender, class, age, etc…) when looking into feminism, which you do in this article without declaration. I am a little torn over your jokingly use of referring to feminism as patriarchy hating or man-hating. While most femists do not follow the man hating extreme of a certain small section of feminists, a large portion of society still views the general concept of feminism as hating men, so those who do not know different, even with all the valid points being made in this article, may still read the joke as truth. I think this also follows closely with the refusal of many individuals (generally men, but not limited to them) to acknowledge patriarchy and how males benefit from it, which alows them to view feminists as man-haters who want to take their benefits (some might even view them as rights, but in fact they are benefits and restrictions even) which society has given them, rather than having the ability to view and understand feminism as promoting equality. These are just some thoughts I had while reading the article.

    • I am troubled by your misunderstanding of my use of the phrase “patriarchy-bashing.” It is not synonymous with “man-hating” or “man-bashing.” That is basically the essential root point of this entire article. Patriarchy is not men’s fault, so hating on patriarchy is not hating on men; it is hating on the power structure which unfairly privileges men. Does that not make sense?

      I was not joking about that. I really am patriarchy bashing. I hate patriarchy.

      But I do NOT hate men, however much men in my life may sometimes anger me.

      • I completely understand that. Perhaps I phrased things wrong, or perhaps misread something, or maybe it was your reader’s comment so early in the article that threw me and the phrasing you used to show it’s falsity. What I was trying to have come across is that while most feminists or individuals who have knowledge of gender roles, feminism, and patriarchy (at least that I know) understand the impacts of patriarchy on both men and women alike, those who do not may misinterpret some phrasing in the article. Often with articles like this I like to share them and hope to educate others a little bit on issues similar to this, but there was just something about it that held me back from sharing (perhaps also because I anticipate several headstrong individuals making seemingly pointess argument over semantics). All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the article and agree with the points made.

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  6. This video by girlwriteswhat is highly relevant to your post:

    I have seen a bunch of these types of articles by feminists now trying to explain how feminism is on the side of men and all problems stem from the patriarchy and you don`t really blame us for the patriarchy (despite having told men so for 50 years repeatedly in every imagineable way). I have yet to see a single person be persuaded to change their stance from critical of feminism to positive to feminism because of such an article. In fact all I observe everywhere I look is feminists loosing ground. Apparently the arguments are not working. You think people will suddenly think different about it in the future? I sure don`t. Feminism is in real trouble now because the type of argument you are attempting here sounds nonsensical to most people that are not already diehard feminists. Previously feminists where not met with any real oposition but now they are and you come of as unserious and manhaters when what you have purported to be facts for decades turn out to be lies when examining statistics and studies. The success you have had have been based on this lack of oposition. You won`t fare better with a real oposition in place.

    And finally the MRA is getting an almost fair treatment in the mainstream media:

    Good luck trying to survive on a sinking ship. I would seriously reconsider womens studies as a career choice. It will be the least employable degree you can have.

    • FYI, takedown of a takedown.
      Yes it’s true that men didn’t vote either for much of history, but that is a red herring. Laws have consistently favoured men under every form of human society.
      The Inuit hunter-gatherer example is dubious. Women’s contribution was just as essential to the survival of the group. In the absence of data, may I suggest the movie Atanarjuat as some kind of baseline. Interestingly, in that movie although gender roles are very obvious, and survival of the group is, power imbalance is not. Women’s work (and we do mean, work) was absolutely valued. Sewing for example, which girlwriteswhat disses in her example, was about constructing the garments absolutely essential in that environment, i.e., no parka, no hunting.
      Maybe patriarchy is just more about, we are bigger and stronger and therefore we’re going to make things more comfortable for ourselves. And we do that on every level, for example in all kinds of imperialism. Maybe it’s time to change that identification, “might makes right.” Yes, it’s not only men who do that, we all do that, but feminism at least is one way to question and bring awareness to it. I’m not even saying it’s the best way. I agree that the fact that we are not the same physically (inc. the brain) suggests trying to “make men and women the same” is misguided. I’m not saying there aren’t excesses, hypocrisy, abuses and distortions to be associated with feminism, just like for example Christianity. But to take the polemic stance that Christianity has been “completely bad” or feminism is about “hate” is just unbalanced.
      And Jake regarding MRA, developments such as the Man Kind Project are avenues for men to explore masculinity, which focus on personal responsibility and expanding one’s own personal sphere of influence through developing credibility and authenticity as a true and lasting source, maybe the only real source, of power. I would suggest that is a more fruitful endeavour than opposing feminism.

      Kind regards.

      • Michael there is no problem doing both. This for example is a very good MRA blog by someone who has been active in the makindproject:

        I know others as well and it seems to be a strong trend that men who engage in that kind of work become MRAs.

        You are ignoring the fact that men amongst the inuit died much more frequently than the inuit women did because the work the men did was very dangerous, in addition to much, much harder than the work the women did. Living with the fear of a great risk of day every day you wake up and start work and having a very high chance of dying while doing extremely challenging physical labour is no where near anything the inuit women had to put in or endure. THe same pattern repeats itself in similar societies with extreme risks for the men in terms of injury and death while the men sacrifice everything they can to make the women safe. Calling that male privilige is insane. Seeing that as a societal order that benefits men is insane. If you look closer at the division of rights and responsibilites in patriarchies it is very hard to see how men were privilegged as oposed to women:

        Men paid for their votes with their lives women got it for free for example.

        If you actively work to spread the view that domestic violence is something men do to women and not mutual while knowing full well that it is mutual, which is what feminists ahve done for decades, the you hate men and just want to brand them as evil.

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  8. The SCUM manifesto was written by feminist icon Valerie Solanas and is a about how women kill all men on earth. She said herself that she was dead serious about it and started the job by trying to kill three men, including Any Warhol. In Sweden the vast majority of mainstream feminists support forcing schoolchildren to watch the play. I repeat the vast majority of swedish mainstream feminists support forcing schoolchildren to watch the play. How is that not evidence of their hatred towards men.

    Eve Ensler is about as mainstream feminism as you can come in the west and her play the vagina monolouges is celebrated by virtually all feminists. Yet the play includes a scene where a 24 year old woman rapes a 13 year old girl and the girl sees it as a healing experience and a “good rape” as it taught her she did not need men for sexaul satisfaction. So she advocates rape, pedophilia and outright hatred of men yet feminists celebrate her. What does that say about feminism?

    Incredibly Eve Ensler is now heading the 1billionrising campaing that is fighting violence and sexual violence against women and girls. Feminists apparently think it is fine that she does that despite her view that is just fine when women rape girls to save them from male sexuality since her target is male violence and she continues to perpetuate the lie that domestic violence is a male on female problem and not symmetrical and the lie that sexual absue and rape is primarily a problem for women and not men despite the evidence contradicting that. No wonder as virtually every feminist I have ever encountered does everything she can to minimize the perception of violence against men and sexual abuse of men being a problem as they cling to their hateful men evil women innocent narrative.

    • Hi Jake,
      I take the point that there are man-haters in the feminist movement, and their position is ultimately one of not being responsible, and not helpful to overall peace and fairness in society. Is that the goal by the way?
      I would see parallels between Christianity and feminism. In both, the originators brought forth amazing insights that raised human consciousness by pointing to as-yet unimagined possibilities which in both cases inspired countless individuals to personal expansion on many levels, and continue to do so. And yes, both have been somewhat or largely co-opted by others with self-serving agendas, as they became institutions, and excesses, terrible excesses have in some cases resulted. But to say therefore that they are “completely” bad, i.e. to make blanket statements focusing only on negative aspects and ignoring positive aspects just says more about the speaker’s agenda than it does these complex human phenomena. To me, that habit of extreme polarity is the dangerous attitude of “us vs. them” from where it’s very easy to dehumanize the other. So the responsibility starts there.
      The question then is about our own goals. If the goal is to show we’re right and they’re wrong, then have at ‘er but I won’t be joining in. I’m in the “if there is to be peace on earth, let it begin with me” camp. Naive perhaps, but Gandhi demonstrated how powerful that is, more than the rhetoric of any side. I just don’t get the idea of “fighting for peace,” no matter which banner it’s under.

  9. My problem with the entire patriarchy concepts starts with the definition of “power”. Feminists say men have more power because they have the better jobs and more money at their hands.

    But what kind of power is this. The power to be allowed to spend most of your valuable life time at work. The power to have (on average) less years alive on this planet. The power to not be able to give live to another human being….

    Those are the real powers. Who cares about your car being a Mercedes or a Toyota. This is so irrelevant if you put things in perspective.

    Being a man, I simply do not understand why women want to take part in this stupid game. It would be much better if they would concentrate on changing the game and not trying be allowed to play also.

  10. I just wondered what you meant by “Provided nothing goes wrong” when referring to how people are born. I reacted negatively to the phrase, but I may be reading into it things that you did not mean…

    • Though admittedly a bit awkward and misleading, the phrase was meant to acknowledge that certainly not everybody alive is necessarily “equipped to create the success, stability, and happiness” they deserve without help. I don’t believe that gender plays any role in these abilities, but certain mental illnesses and physical disabilities, for example, can make life difficult and not as straightforward as I am making it seem in terms of gender equality. I see now that it may have been read to mean that some people are not born as full and complete human beings. I certainly did not intend to imply such a thing. As somebody with mental illness rampant in my family, I will be the first to tell you that even people whose lives are made more difficult through these malfunctions are full, complete, and wonderful people.

  11. Like so many things (everything?) this boils down to collective levels of consciousness. Lower levels emphasize individuality, hierarchy, conflict and force. Higher levels of consciousness are more about unity, cooperation, compassion and power for and with all. The degree that our culture emphasizes the former traits stems from where we are collectively in terms of spiritual growth. The good news is that we continue to grow spiritually to higher levels of consciousness which will eventually result in better balance in all areas of life!

    Want to help the process? The easiest and most effective way, IMO, is to work on yourself. Spend (more) time in meditation. Live mindfully. Stop judging everything! Practice loving kindness. As you raise your own consciousness, you support others to do the same energetically and by example!

    Love your blog and you!


    • Absolutely agree. Higher levels of consciousness and more focus on the correlating values creates more awareness.

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  18. Nature created the patriarchy. And because nature did this, humans intervened in an attempt to create gender equality. It failed; miserably. In order for women to gain more parity, men had to artificially elevate them, via affirmative action, equity pay acts, etc. Many of the rights and privileges women have are due to men.

    While we’re on the topic of a power imbalance: Where is the feminist noise machine now that women outnumber men in college? It was “discrimination” when men outnumbered women; so what’s the difference now that women outnumber men?

  19. Wow, what a lengthy and informative article. I’ve always had a problem with the term of ‘patriarchy.’ I couldn’t explain it better.

  20. Reblogged this on Writings from a woman of pleasure and commented:
    I currently suffer from a writers block, an totally lacking inspiration to write something new. But I still want to spread words based on rationality. In my opinion, the human species would be much better off if rationality and philosophy had a more prominent place in society.
    To introduce the post:
    I have a problem with this whole idea of ‘patriarchy’.
    It’s my opinion that patriarchy is a term that’s invented only few decades ago.
    I couldn’t have explained it better, so I reblogged a very articulate and intelligent post about the patriarchy ‘problem’.
    I’ll say it’s worth reading !

  21. Patriarchy is still an issue and is real, Go back less than 100 years and women were property of their husbands and they had no rights at all not even to vote or divorce or abortion or even their own bank accounts, this was patriarchy oppression based on heteronormative gender roles create by men to give men the upper hand and power.

    Homophobia is also related to patriarchy and sexism again being about gender roles and heteronormativity.

    Patriarchy has been seriously weakened over the last 50 years with the advent of women`s equal rights and now equal homosexual rights and same sex marriage but homophobia and sexism the products of patriarchy still exist even today.

    Its a fact who is responsible for almost all rapes? men are.
    Who is responsible for the majority of domestic violence cases? men.
    Who are most opposed to abortion rights? men.
    Who attempt to play down rapes and domestic abuse of women? men do.
    who are most likely to oppose same sex marriage most? men.
    who oppose same sex parenting most? men
    who commit the majority of homophobic gay bashings? men.
    who are more likely to use sexist and homophobic insults? men.
    who are mostly against equal rights for women and LBGT people? men.

    Lets not bury our heads in the sand here, and try and pretend that patriarchy is natural or is never existed, I am a straight man, I support equality between genders and for LGBT that doesn`t make me a man hater, how can I be, I just simply own up to the fact that men, my own gender has been responsible for a lot of the oppression and I`m not ashamed to be honest and admit it.

    I want patriarchy fully eradicated full stop.

  22. Rubbish.

    Patriarchy is at best a biased and subjective concept, and I, not any other male, has any responsibility to act as though it’s factual or help in “dismantling” it.

    • The idea of the patriarchy is insanely bias. It’s coming from a generation of people who have never had to survive nature. Men were the best choice to keep nature at bay, physically and emotionally. A mountain lion or bear isn’t exactly a racoon on your doorstep. By giving these men power, women were providing themselves with shelter and safety. OMG. If you look at the so-called patriarchy from a different angle, it really seems like women have all the power. That’s called gynocentricism. That’s when the life and happiness of a woman is more valued than the life and happiness of a man. Those predators men are trying to fight off are just as dangerous to him as they are to the women he’s trying to protect. BUT he’s still doing it. And like I said, these people don’t have any idea how good they have it today. They don’t have to churn their own butter, make their own bread (after plowing their own wheat), dig their own latrines, dig their own wells, build their own houses. They have computers, cell phones, refrigerators (yes, people. No ice cream). They have natural heat. They don’t have to go out and cut down a tree just to fuel a stove just so they don’t freeze to death in the winter. They have plumbing. By the way, in order to have a hot bath, you actually have to heat a bucket of water on a stove and fill a tub, bit by bit and just pray it’s still a little warm by the time you climb in. Sounds exhausting right? THAT was life for every commoner before the industrial age. So, don’t you people dare talk like you know what life was like and don’t you dare act like men were the cause of all women’s suffering

  23. Pingback: PATRIARCHY IS NOT YOUR FAULT, BUT IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. | Imagining (Beyond) the Body·

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  26. This is the first time I have ever commented on a blog post on this topic (and I’ve been bombarded with them for years). I just wanted to say thank you for the first post I have ever read that provides a “reasonable” perspective. You have gone a long way to restore my faith in humanity on this topic. Thank you again!

  27. Pingback: “I’d Like to Cum All Over Those Titties!”, or Let’s Talk About Street Harassment | I Won't Be Small·

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