Definition of PATRIARCHY (Merriam-Webster)
1: 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.
Current tenets of Christian patriarchy (Vision Forum): http://www.visionforumministries.org/home/about/biblical_patriarchy.aspx
Much of my recent reading has somehow involved patriarchy and, more specifically, how harmful it has been and still is to society. Many cultures around the world have traditionally held to patriarchy, but certainly not all of them. Both of the Abrahamic faiths – Christianity and Islam – have been promoting patriarchy for thousands of years, all while backing their misogyny with claims of divine endorsement. Burkas, virginity tests for women, giving and receiving women as if they were property, using them to breed massive families, requiring complete submission to men, barring women from offices of spiritual leadership, etc. are some of the obvious examples of the discrimination against women. The Bible, at least in the English translations I’ve read, mentions the concept of female equality VERY rarely, while throughout the many books, women are almost always in submission to men, raped, stoned, told not to speak in church, and not allowed to teach men. The Bible never comes right out and says women are inferior to men, but that is the message being conveyed by every aspect of patriarchy. Are men and women different in many ways? Yes. Do those differences make one gender superior to the other? No.
I am so thankful that my father
never made me feel that, because I was a girl, I was lesser in any way. I tagged along with him to the public dump to unload leaves and other junk; I watched him fix the vehicles and wanted to learn what he was doing; when he was working on a project, I wanted to know all about it; he never told me to go inside the house and do “women things.” I was never told I couldn’t do something because it wasn’t girly enough. I climbed trees, I played cops and robbers with my brother and his friends, I built forts out of legos, I played our game systems, and so many other things not labelled as “girly,” and it was okay. Sure, I played with my dolls, had tea parties, liked fancy dresses, etc. The point is, my childhood was balanced. I was not pressured to only play with dolls and wear pink, and I was not chastised for my “masculine” interests either. So many things that are labelled for one gender or the other seem to be culturally imposed rather than inherent by nature. Patriarchy is a cultural, man-made way of thinking that imposes certain things as acceptable only for men and then women, respectively, rather than upholding the unique traits and talents of each individual. Little boys are groomed for positions of leadership and taught to guide women and children while women are taught to submit to men and stay home. But in reality, not all men are leadership material and not all women are followers. Conversely, some women are great leaders and some men are happier to follow. It all depends on the individual, not the gender identity.
No one-gender is superior to the other. We are equal and all have the right to pursue happiness and fulfillment as we see fit instead of being boxed in by social mores. “One size fits all” rarely fits many, and certainly not all – gender specific roles are no exception. A lot more will be said about patriarchy in the future, because it is a very destructive tenet of religions like Christianity and Islam.
Here are a few of the articles/sites I’ve read lately, please take the time to read them yourself: