Education

Patriarchy is a System and not an anti-male notion!

One of the things I am most emphatic about in my advocacy is the fact that opposing the system of patriarchy is not the same as hating men. I always reiterate that saying that the patriarchal system should be eradicated is not an attack on men or the cancellation of men in our society. Opposing the patriarchy doesn’t mean hatred for men. What I am saying is that the system that exalts men and debases women is unfair and should be done away with.

Unfortunately, this is not what some men hear when they hear the word patriarchy. The word patriarchy makes them defensive because they think you’re trying to point accusing fingers at them. Allan Johnson said that a lot of people hear “men” whenever someone says patriarchy, so they think when you are criticizing inequality or discrimination, you are saying that all men are trash. This is why many men oppose or resist the feminist movement. It is not surprising because when we talk about women being oppressed, some men think we are just trying to make them look bad.

It is pointless to see men at the core of the patriarchal system because, in our society, men and women propagate patriarchy. I believe that it is pointless to show hatred towards men because of the belief that men perpetuate patriarchy (and so we’re fighting men), what will we say about women who are promoting patriarchy? Should we hate them too? I am a feminist and I emphasize that I do not hate men, and this is not to pander to the egos of men. I will never go down that lane of hatred. If we hate men, does it mean we hate fellow women too because some women are also “oppressors”, torchbearers, and gatekeepers of patriarchy? They enable it. They stand for it. And they are everywhere. But we are not fighting people or trying to cause problems. Some women carry patriarchy on top of their heads than some men. Should we hate the women too because they are oppressors too? I will rather care about the system that nourishes this than focus on disdain for fellow humans (both men and women). To me, feminism is more of a fight against a system, mentality & mindset & not hatred against the male race. Feminism is a means of expressing the need for us to end the discrimination against women. It is also a push for us to include women in every area and sector of life. Like bell hooks states “simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism.”

Johnson enables us to realize that being evil is not limited to a particular gender alone. Johnson asserts that “to demonstrate that gender oppression exists, we don’t have to show that men are villains, that women are good-hearted victims, that women don’t participate in their own oppression, or that men never oppose it”. Most times, when evil is committed, we are quick to point out to a gender but, in the real sense, some acts are common among human beings and not exclusive to a particular gender. Johnson further states that when evil is done, we are quick to castigate the faces and men behind those heinous acts, but we do not put things in perspective or contexts to see that the innate models in the society are responsible for some forms of action or behavior.

Feminism is not misandry. Patriarchy is more about a system than faces. Patriarchy is entrenched in our culture, and it is a collective responsibility to fight it and dismantle it. We have the key to our liberation from the shackles of this oppressive system. And because feminism is something that involves and benefits both genders, all hands must be on deck for us to win the war against inequality.

References

Hooks, Bell, Feminism Is for Everybody : Passionate Politics. Cambridge, MA :South End Press, 2000.

Johnson, Allan. Patriarchy, the System. An It, Not a He, a Them, or an Us The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy 3rd Ed. 3rd ed., Temple University Press, 2014. 25-32

Adewuyi Roseline is passionate about the girl child. Growing up, she had a lot of questions about her identity. She is on the journey to ensure that young girls rise above limitations, smash stereotypes in their communities.

7 Comments

  • Olakunle Charles Adegunoye

    Re: Patriarchy is a System and not an anti-male notion!

    One of the things I am most emphatic about in my advocacy is the fact that opposing the system of patriarchy is not the same as hating men. I always reiterate that saying that the patriarchal system should be eradicated is not an attack on men or the cancellation of men in our society. Opposing the patriarchy doesn’t mean hatred for men. What I am saying is that the system that exalts men and debases women is unfair and should be done away with.

    The above paragraph – first in a long article Rose posted on 29th July, 2021, emphasized the need to do away with traditions exalting men. While I agree with her that men enjoy more privileges than women in the society, it must also be emphasized that those privileges are mostly bestowed on them by women.

    Patriarchy as defined by Mariam Webster dictionary is an organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line. Another definition that interests me is “the control by men of a disproportionate large share of power”

    The supremacy, men in our society, display is largely due to the large share of power they wield. Biologically, men have superior physical attributes and this would have been a good factor to consider if we were in the 19th century during the agricultural and industrial revolution where strength happened to be the greatest asset. But this is the 21st century where mental capacity and intelligence are more important than the physical attributes and no research of proven integrity has shown men that have these in abundance.

    So, what do I mean when I said women bestow these privileges on men, using Africa and the 19th and 21st century as spectrums?

    Our fathers were predominantly farmers and hunters. They, alongside their male children, wake very early in the morning and do not retire home until evening seeking daily bread for the family. The women and girls stayed home, kept the home together and cooked leaving the job of sourcing for the means of livelihood to their male counterparts. And because the men were the ones “paying the pipers, they dictated the tune”. They exhibited supremacy in almost all facet, except in maybe the kitchen. And this was reasonable and quite acceptable until recently.

    With the advancement in age and the technological revolution which brought about liberation of women in many facet, the world realized that women have the mental nuos to do things most men do and in some cases better. This led to softening and easing the “wielding of power”. Women got their voting right. Women started inheriting properties. They aspired and reached for the stars. They joined the military and became directors and CEOs at multinationals. These and many more led to the patriarchical system crumbling, like the famous wall of Jericho. Today’s men, unlike their forbears go into the theatre room when their wives want to give birth. They not only advocated for more women in politics, they appointed and voted them in large numbers. Rwanda and South Africa are good examples. Liberians sensing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have the same capacity as George Weah made her their president. Top Nigerian banks now have them as Directors. Educated and even uneducated men stopped the physical assault on their women.

    Truly, the system crumbled, but the deep lessons ladies of today learned from mums of yesterday cannot be easily erased.

    The truth is that “Res Ipsa Loquitor”(the fact speak for itself). Today’s women overemphasize little act of normalcy today’s men do. A man changing diapers is seen as a big thing. A man entering the labour room with his wife is praised. A man cooking at home is made an object of discussion. A man letting the wife drive is viewed with disdain.

    Roseline herself, in an article published on June 20, 2021, admitted that women being overly grateful and gushing about every little thing their husbands do for their children is very unnecessary – an accusation she herself is not totally innocent of as she earlier gushed about Algerian men in an article she wrote that same day. That she after this discovery did not mention that “this” is the bedrock of modern day patriarchy to me is deliberate and an attempt to exonérate women of lending men a helping hand in exercising this so-called supremacy.

    There is one quote I read on Roseline’s Facebook timeline this year around June. It goes thus. “There are some platforms one outgrows. They no longer fit into the season one is anymore”. It is the same as the notion of patriarchy being systemic. It no longer fits into today’s realities.

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