Total Posts:51|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Some thoughts on patriarchy and feminism

FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
I use the term "patriarchy" on a regular basis. But I've noticed lots of folks call it an "illusion" or "myth." Others say it makes no sense because the majority of men have never had access to power under this system. They contend the term is "useless." These folks are wrong. The term "patriarchy" has as much value as the term "capitalism" or "feudalism"; like these terms, it refers to a system of social relations that merits analysis. Understanding that system, critiquing it, and resisting/challenging it are important.

This is what I mean when I refer to "patriarchy": a system where people accept and enforce strict gender roles in which (a) men castrate themselves emotionally/psychologically, and women castrate themselves professionally/sexually, (b) these castrated men and women cannot survive or lead a full existence without each other, because they have lopped off key parts of themselves, and (c) these castrated partners are rewarded for leading castrated existences in the form of children. In patriarchal families, children belong to their parents.

This tells us a few things about patriarchal systems. First, the type of people who welcome a patriarchal existence is not "men." Rather, it's "some men," and "some women." Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos. Leading a full human existence is hard. Lots of people would rather give up some choices/responsibilities. So, there is and always will be a certain number of women (and men) who prefer a patriarchal role. But anyone who wants to lead a full human existence, who wants to carve out a different path in life, will resist a patriarchal existence. I want to emphasize this point: patriarchy is perpetuated by both men and women, and it harms both men and women. So critiquing the patriarchy is not exclusively a women's issue.

Second, the foundation of patriarchy is the appropriation of an individual's sexuality and life choices by their family. When a father feels dishonored by his unmarried daughter losing her virginity, that is patriarchy. When a mother believes her gay son should go through some sort of conversion therapy to become a heterosexual, that is patriarchy. When a couple's sex life becomes a matter of communal management, that is patriarchy. When a bloodied sheet is exhibited for everybody to see after a wedding night, that is patriarchy. In effect, patriarchy takes power away from the individual to lead a full existence, and it gives that power to the family, and on a larger scale, to their community. This allows families and communities to interfere with your life, to dictate whether you should work or raise children, to determine for you what sorts of relationships you may have, and how those relationships should play out.

Contemporary feminism (i.e. the way feminism is practiced by many people today) poses no threat to patriarchy. Recently, I've noticed lots of posts about SJWs, microaggressions, privilege, trigger warnings, and so on. These posts seem to intuitively understand that contemporary feminism is more harmful than it is helpful. Engaging in the practice of "trigger warnings," for example, treats readers like delicate flowers who need to be warned about a troubling discussion. Rather than challenge patriarchy, then, trigger warnings merely perpetuate a system in which people give up a full human existence in exchange for the security of being treated like a stupidified object.

In a patriarchal system, where being a "victim" is the mark of being a "woman," of fitting into your patriarchal role, it's imperative to perpetuate discourse on victimhood. That is how you assume your role. Talking about these things, and continuing to engage in them, to engage in victimhood, lets patriarchy off the hook. Unsurprisingly, then, many folks end up rejecting the label "feminist," or they invoke the label as a cover to live a completely patriarchal lifestyle. So, of course, folks go around saying that they're feminists, and feminism allows them to lead patriarchal lifestyles. That's what I see happening, more and more, and that's what contemporary feminism is supposedly all about.

This misunderstands the entire point of challenging the patriarchy - it's not about women being able to lead patriarchal existences. Any feminist that tells you it's okay to revert back 100 years, to give up their professional/sexual life in exchange for being taken care of by their husband, is not a feminist. The point of challenging the patriarchy is to lead a full human existence, to have a career and to have an emotional life, to have a sexual life and to have kids, and to do these things without having your own family or community interfere in that life. And more importantly, it's about giving your children independent individual lives to pursue their own paths. The real harm in patriarchy is the way children become beholden to their families for the rest of their life, they way they're forced into following a prescribed path in life, a path prescribed by your parents and community rather than your own desires. To the extent contemporary feminism perpetuates patriarchal existences, and it seems to be doing just that, it's perpetuating patriarchy rather than challenging it.

Tl;dr - patriarchy is a real thing, it's fvcked up, and contemporary feminism is perpetuating it.
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,072
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 12:35:32 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
This is one of the best OPs I've seen in a while. It's a very thoughtful post and you argued for the existence of patriarchy in an unoffensive way.
That having been said, I disagree with the main point that you're trying to make.

You say that in a patriarchal system, in order to play a certain role each gender "castrates" part of itself. I would argue, however, that each gender likes and does well with the "castrated" other gender. Men generally like submissive women; but if you expect your wife to be like that, shouldn't you in turn "castrate" yourself to be the kind of man who can make her happy? Of course, there are certain qualities that women generally like in men, qualities which men attain through "castrating" themselves for their wives.
The idea is that you might not enjoy your own castration but that the other person is castrated makes it worth it. It's a mutual sacrifice and "I should do what it takes to make the other person happy" attitude that, when shared by both sides, makes for a happy marriage.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,072
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 12:39:45 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
That is, "being true to one's self" can be outweighed by being happy. Men and women can be happy under a system of mutual repression; the greatest obstacle to this is a culture that encourages people to be unhappy with it.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 1:08:37 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but strongly disagree with this. Women who flourish in patriarchy are usually incredibly intelligent, merciless, and almost always use sex as a weapon. In a word: ruthless in its original meaning (the inversion of the moral ideal embodied in the biblical woman Ruth). Julia Maesa, Irene of Athens, Lu Zhi, Wu Zetian, Catherine di Medici, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Castille, Tomyris, Aisha, Isabella of France, Ageltrude, Theodora, Sorghaghtani Beki, Victoria, Roxelana, etc. They all fit that mold, and rose to the top of the patriarchal order while operating within it.

What I'm unsure of, however, is whether or not patriarchy as a social institution is an essential part of higher civilization which can only be tweaked, but never abolished.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,268
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 1:10:09 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 1:08:37 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but strongly disagree with this. Women who flourish in patriarchy are usually incredibly intelligent, merciless, and almost always use sex as a weapon. In a word: ruthless in its original meaning (the inversion of the moral ideal embodied in the biblical woman Ruth). Julia Maesa, Irene of Athens, Lu Zhi, Wu Zetian, Catherine di Medici, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Castille, Tomyris, Aisha, Isabella of France, Ageltrude, Theodora, Sorghaghtani Beki, Victoria, Roxelana, etc. They all fit that mold, and rose to the top of the patriarchal order while operating within it.

What I'm unsure of, however, is whether or not patriarchy as a social institution is an essential part of higher civilization which can only be tweaked, but never abolished.

Some of the smartest people don't want to work :p
roun12
Posts: 177
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 12:36:25 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
If the patriarchy is what the OP describes then what would a matriarchy be?
"No, I disagree. 'R' is among the most menacing of sounds. That's why they call it MURDER, not Muckduck." - Dwight

"Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." - George Carlin
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 5:51:32 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
The OP's definition of "patriarchy" seems to simply be "strict gender/family roles," which is not how it's typically defined. Of course, a patriarchic system is an instance of this insofar as members of a patriarchic family are expected to play certain roles within it, but "gender roles" as a category extends more broadly. The OP doesn't seem to be criticizing patriarchy per se, but any family dynamic in which people are coerced into certain ways of living and calls this "patriarchy". Indeed, he doesn't spend any time explaining why he believes males occupy a more dominant position in this arrangement, which is a definitive criteria of "patriarchy". Replace "patriarchy" with "matriarchy" and everything he says makes just as much sense. Given that he opens with the observation that many people doubt the existence of patriarchy, this really isn't something that can be taken for granted.

I agree that coercive family relationships have the potential to cause great harm, but I think we should be careful not to instinctively label the common patterns of family structure as coercive and undesirable. If the man in the family chooses to work while the woman chooses to stay home and take care of the children, I don't think we should jump to the conclusion that the man and woman have been forced into these roles against their will, or that they lead empty, unfulfilled lives as a result. The family structure developed because it makes evolutionary sense. Throughout most of human history people did not have the luxury of selecting their preferred way of life, and had to assume the roles dictated by what was ideal for procreation. There are two functions a family needs to fulfill: attainment of the material subsistence needed to keep the family alive and healthy, and raising children. There are two adults and two roles to fill, so it's only natural that each gender would assume responsibility for one of the roles, and over time become adapted to fulfilling it, and perhaps enjoying it as well. These roles still need to be performed by someone in order for a family to be successful, and it's not like our minds have changed that much since the creation of modern day society. There are sure to be exceptions to this rule, but I think this simple fact is enough to explain the clear patterns in the way families are structured without assuming that coercion plays a significant role in bringing them about.

All of the "real world examples" offered for patriarchy are simply instances of parents looking out (or attempting to look out) for the reproductive interests of their children. A father is ashamed of his daughter when she sleeps around before getting married because having a child out of wedlock can have very bad consequences for her future reproductive prospects, and he believes that by shaming her, he will reduce the likelihood or incidence of this happening.

As for how the OP thinks modern day feminism fits into this picture, I think his analysis is probably totally false. As I understand the argument, he's essentially claiming that as old systems of oppression are dismantled, new ones must be invented to take their place, and modern day feminism is just the latest development in the "victimization" of women, with women taking the lead role in victimizing themselves. I think a far more plausible explanation is this: as the women's liberation movement progressed and women began to break free of the systems of oppression to which they were accustomed, there was less and less to speak out against. The conditions under which women felt free to speak out against perceived injustice (or thought to do so) also produced a situation in which there was little to fix, or at least forced the oppression into much subtler forms. Thus, it's not that feminists decided to focus on examples of "oppression" that portray themselves as weak, precious flowers in order to preserve the status quo; they simply didn't know where else to turn for real world examples of their "oppression". Last time I checked, most women don't identify as "feminists," and those who do are precisely those females whose are committed to their "liberation". If modern day feminism was really just another mode of women's oppression, then it's rather strange that it's the hard-core feminists who are most loud in complaining about "micro-aggressions" and the like.
tejretics
Posts: 6,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 5:55:53 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
@Dylan

I disagree that "strict gender roles" doesn't count as patriarchy. Patriarchy is essentially overall male dominance within society, which is fundamentally enforced by "men are to lead, women are to follow" gender roles.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:03:19 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 5:55:53 PM, tejretics wrote:
@Dylan

I disagree that "strict gender roles" doesn't count as patriarchy. Patriarchy is essentially overall male dominance within society, which is fundamentally enforced by "men are to lead, women are to follow" gender roles.

I don't know what it means to say that "gender roles count as patriarchy." Patriarchy is a form of gender roles. Gender roles is not synonymous with patriarchy, because it can include things like matriarchy, while patriarchy obviously can't.
tejretics
Posts: 6,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:04:37 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:03:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Patriarchy is a form of gender roles.

That's my point. And the OP is also talking about "patriarchy" as gender roles that oppress women or recognize men as superior.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:06:48 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:04:37 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:03:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Patriarchy is a form of gender roles.

That's my point. And the OP is also talking about "patriarchy" as gender roles that oppress women or recognize men as superior.

Well, the way he talks about "patriarchy" does not reflect that. He could just as easily be talking about matriarchy.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:14:35 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:04:37 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:03:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Patriarchy is a form of gender roles.

That's my point. And the OP is also talking about "patriarchy" as gender roles that oppress women or recognize men as superior.

No.

Patriarchy is a system of social relations in which both men and women give up certain aspects of their humanity in exchange for certain benefits. The folks who are truly oppressed are the children of patriarchal families.
tejretics
Posts: 6,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:14:35 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:04:37 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:03:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Patriarchy is a form of gender roles.

That's my point. And the OP is also talking about "patriarchy" as gender roles that oppress women or recognize men as superior.

No.

Patriarchy is a system of social relations in which both men and women give up certain aspects of their humanity in exchange for certain benefits. The folks who are truly oppressed are the children of patriarchal families.

Then the word "patriarchy" is not even to be used. I agree that children of patriarchal families are the ones oppressed, but patriarchy hinges on a gender-based hierarchy -- that's the meaning of the word.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:18:12 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 1:08:37 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but strongly disagree with this. Women who flourish in patriarchy are usually incredibly intelligent, merciless, and almost always use sex as a weapon.

These women are not leading patriarchal existences. They're resisting the patriarchy from within.

In a word: ruthless in its original meaning (the inversion of the moral ideal embodied in the biblical woman Ruth). Julia Maesa, Irene of Athens, Lu Zhi, Wu Zetian, Catherine di Medici, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Castille, Tomyris, Aisha, Isabella of France, Ageltrude, Theodora, Sorghaghtani Beki, Victoria, Roxelana, etc. They all fit that mold, and rose to the top of the patriarchal order while operating within it.

I can't speak to all of these women as I don't know half of them, or the societies they operated in, but my guess is that they were also the subject of criticism for threatening the patriarchal order. Their success within a patriarchal society doesn't mean they themselves weren't posing a threat to patriarchy, or that they led patriarchal existences.

What I'm unsure of, however, is whether or not patriarchy as a social institution is an essential part of higher civilization which can only be tweaked, but never abolished.

It isn't essential. I think people can lead lives without giving up any of their humanity. Nobody need castrate their emotional life to also have a professional life, or vice versa.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:20:11 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:14:35 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:04:37 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:03:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Patriarchy is a form of gender roles.

That's my point. And the OP is also talking about "patriarchy" as gender roles that oppress women or recognize men as superior.

No.

Patriarchy is a system of social relations in which both men and women give up certain aspects of their humanity in exchange for certain benefits. The folks who are truly oppressed are the children of patriarchal families.

Then the word "patriarchy" is not even to be used. I agree that children of patriarchal families are the ones oppressed, but patriarchy hinges on a gender-based hierarchy -- that's the meaning of the word.

Patriarchy hinges on particular gender roles - the "hierarchy" part is a manifestation of those roles - it's one way of analyzing the system, though not a very helpful or useful analysis. Look more deeply at how the system functions, at how it perpetuates itself, at how it affects people's lives. That's what the OP is about.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
Then the word "patriarchy" is not even to be used. I agree that children of patriarchal families are the ones oppressed, but patriarchy hinges on a gender-based hierarchy -- that's the meaning of the word.

The problem I have with descriptions like "male dominance" and "gender-based hierarchy" is that they lack nuance, and they're fraught with indeterminacy. What do you mean when you say "male dominance"? That men are political leaders while women stay at home in the private sphere? What about the men who don't want to be political leaders but are forced to be by the system? Are they dominating anything? They're oppressed. What about the women who prefer having their man take care of them, who like to reap all the benefits of having no responsibilities? Are they dominated? Or are they the ones in control? Are the men who must work enslaved, or are the women who aren't allowed to work enslaved? Depends who you ask. So when you use words like "hierarchy" or "dominance" or "superiority," it misses a lot of the nuance that underlies what's actually going on in a patriarchal society.

The system oppresses anyone who does not comply with the system. If a woman wants to work, she's oppressed. If a man wants to be taken care of, he's oppressed. If a guy wants to be with another guy, he's oppressed. What matters is understanding the system precisely so that we can properly resist it. Reverting back to superficial analysis, defining patriarchy merely as "male dominance" or "hierarchy," isn't helpful, it's part of the problem.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:52:08 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
The system oppresses anyone who does not comply with the system. If a woman wants to work, she's oppressed. If a man wants to be taken care of, he's oppressed. If a guy wants to be with another guy, he's oppressed. What matters is understanding the system precisely so that we can properly resist it. Reverting back to superficial analysis, defining patriarchy merely as "male dominance" or "hierarchy," isn't helpful, it's part of the problem.

What do we gain by calling this "patriarchy" as opposed to "gender roles"? It doesn't seem like you've thought this out very well =/
Romaniii
Posts: 421
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 6:53:04 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Really well-written OP. I agree with most of it, especially on the fact that most feminists have no clue what they're doing. Their activism merely causes gender roles to become even more deeply entrenched. What do you think is the best approach to mitigating patriarchy?
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 7:07:19 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
The problem I have with descriptions like "male dominance" and "gender-based hierarchy" is that they lack nuance, and they're fraught with indeterminacy. What do you mean when you say "male dominance"? That men are political leaders while women stay at home in the private sphere? What about the men who don't want to be political leaders but are forced to be by the system? Are they dominating anything? They're oppressed. What about the women who prefer having their man take care of them, who like to reap all the benefits of having no responsibilities? Are they dominated? Or are they the ones in control? Are the men who must work enslaved, or are the women who aren't allowed to work enslaved? Depends who you ask. So when you use words like "hierarchy" or "dominance" or "superiority," it misses a lot of the nuance that underlies what's actually going on in a patriarchal society.


We can talk about having a "patriarchy" without assuming that we have a perfect patriarchy. Obviously, there will be deviations from any system. These deviations don't deprive patriarchy of meaning; they simply mean that patriarchy is not fully manifest in our society. Patriarchy does not mean that men have it better, or that they "enslave" their wives. It just means that the decision making in families and society are controlled by males to the exclusion of females. Essentially, that men lead while women follow.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 7:19:00 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:53:04 PM, Romaniii wrote:
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Really well-written OP. I agree with most of it, especially on the fact that most feminists have no clue what they're doing. Their activism merely causes gender roles to become even more deeply entrenched. What do you think is the best approach to mitigating patriarchy?

Be on the lookout for patriarchal ways of thinking. Don't let them devour you. Resisting patriarchy starts with yourself. Root out the patriarchy within.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 7:41:30 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 7:07:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
The problem I have with descriptions like "male dominance" and "gender-based hierarchy" is that they lack nuance, and they're fraught with indeterminacy. What do you mean when you say "male dominance"? That men are political leaders while women stay at home in the private sphere? What about the men who don't want to be political leaders but are forced to be by the system? Are they dominating anything? They're oppressed. What about the women who prefer having their man take care of them, who like to reap all the benefits of having no responsibilities? Are they dominated? Or are they the ones in control? Are the men who must work enslaved, or are the women who aren't allowed to work enslaved? Depends who you ask. So when you use words like "hierarchy" or "dominance" or "superiority," it misses a lot of the nuance that underlies what's actually going on in a patriarchal society.


We can talk about having a "patriarchy" without assuming that we have a perfect patriarchy. Obviously, there will be deviations from any system. These deviations don't deprive patriarchy of meaning; they simply mean that patriarchy is not fully manifest in our society. Patriarchy does not mean that men have it better, or that they "enslave" their wives. It just means that the decision making in families and society are controlled by males to the exclusion of females. Essentially, that men lead while women follow.

This view is too simplistic. There was a moment in the history of gender equality when the "men lead, women follow" view made sense. It helped mobilize women to take steps towards political activism. But today, that rhetoric is about as productive as the "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" myth. The world is more complex than that. Patriarchy hurts men and women because it presents us with a limited set of roles that we have to fulfill with no room for our individual preferences. This "limited set of roles" isn't exclusively about "men leading" and "women following." The limitations imposed by the patriarchy are much more complex, delving into the sorts of emotional and psychological lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of sexual lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of public images you're supposed to portray, and so on. Men don't get to decide what sorts of life they lead. That's determined by the patriarchy. Men cannot do things that women can in a patriarchal society. And I emphasize this because only an honest discussion of what the patriarchy takes away from both men and women will allow us to dismantle the system.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 8:32:11 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 7:41:30 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 7:07:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
The problem I have with descriptions like "male dominance" and "gender-based hierarchy" is that they lack nuance, and they're fraught with indeterminacy. What do you mean when you say "male dominance"? That men are political leaders while women stay at home in the private sphere? What about the men who don't want to be political leaders but are forced to be by the system? Are they dominating anything? They're oppressed. What about the women who prefer having their man take care of them, who like to reap all the benefits of having no responsibilities? Are they dominated? Or are they the ones in control? Are the men who must work enslaved, or are the women who aren't allowed to work enslaved? Depends who you ask. So when you use words like "hierarchy" or "dominance" or "superiority," it misses a lot of the nuance that underlies what's actually going on in a patriarchal society.


We can talk about having a "patriarchy" without assuming that we have a perfect patriarchy. Obviously, there will be deviations from any system. These deviations don't deprive patriarchy of meaning; they simply mean that patriarchy is not fully manifest in our society. Patriarchy does not mean that men have it better, or that they "enslave" their wives. It just means that the decision making in families and society are controlled by males to the exclusion of females. Essentially, that men lead while women follow.

This view is too simplistic. There was a moment in the history of gender equality when the "men lead, women follow" view made sense. It helped mobilize women to take steps towards political activism. But today, that rhetoric is about as productive as the "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" myth. The world is more complex than that. Patriarchy hurts men and women because it presents us with a limited set of roles that we have to fulfill with no room for our individual preferences. This "limited set of roles" isn't exclusively about "men leading" and "women following." The limitations imposed by the patriarchy are much more complex, delving into the sorts of emotional and psychological lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of sexual lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of public images you're supposed to portray, and so on. Men don't get to decide what sorts of life they lead. That's determined by the patriarchy. Men cannot do things that women can in a patriarchal society. And I emphasize this because only an honest discussion of what the patriarchy takes away from both men and women will allow us to dismantle the system.

Again, I see no reason to define patriarchy as the totality of gender role specifics. You're basically starting with the assumption that "patriarchy" is the entire explanation, and then working backwards to define patriarchy in such a way that it includes everything that goes on, and then you insist that my definition fails in this regard because it leaves stuff out. But that makes no sense. Patriarchy is only one part of the story. That men are supposed to take the lead in making decisions while women are supposed listen to their husbands is only one aspect of the roles each spouse assumes (assuming the thesis is correct of course). Also, it can easily be the case that men are harmed by their patriarchic role, so you might as well stop saying "Men are harmed by the patriarchy as well" because it's irrelevant.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,757
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/25/2016 10:21:14 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 8:32:11 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/25/2016 7:41:30 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 7:07:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
The problem I have with descriptions like "male dominance" and "gender-based hierarchy" is that they lack nuance, and they're fraught with indeterminacy. What do you mean when you say "male dominance"? That men are political leaders while women stay at home in the private sphere? What about the men who don't want to be political leaders but are forced to be by the system? Are they dominating anything? They're oppressed. What about the women who prefer having their man take care of them, who like to reap all the benefits of having no responsibilities? Are they dominated? Or are they the ones in control? Are the men who must work enslaved, or are the women who aren't allowed to work enslaved? Depends who you ask. So when you use words like "hierarchy" or "dominance" or "superiority," it misses a lot of the nuance that underlies what's actually going on in a patriarchal society.


We can talk about having a "patriarchy" without assuming that we have a perfect patriarchy. Obviously, there will be deviations from any system. These deviations don't deprive patriarchy of meaning; they simply mean that patriarchy is not fully manifest in our society. Patriarchy does not mean that men have it better, or that they "enslave" their wives. It just means that the decision making in families and society are controlled by males to the exclusion of females. Essentially, that men lead while women follow.

This view is too simplistic. There was a moment in the history of gender equality when the "men lead, women follow" view made sense. It helped mobilize women to take steps towards political activism. But today, that rhetoric is about as productive as the "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" myth. The world is more complex than that. Patriarchy hurts men and women because it presents us with a limited set of roles that we have to fulfill with no room for our individual preferences. This "limited set of roles" isn't exclusively about "men leading" and "women following." The limitations imposed by the patriarchy are much more complex, delving into the sorts of emotional and psychological lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of sexual lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of public images you're supposed to portray, and so on. Men don't get to decide what sorts of life they lead. That's determined by the patriarchy. Men cannot do things that women can in a patriarchal society. And I emphasize this because only an honest discussion of what the patriarchy takes away from both men and women will allow us to dismantle the system.

Again, I see no reason to define patriarchy as the totality of gender role specifics. You're basically starting with the assumption that "patriarchy" is the entire explanation, and then working backwards to define patriarchy in such a way that it includes everything that goes on, and then you insist that my definition fails in this regard because it leaves stuff out. But that makes no sense. Patriarchy is only one part of the story. That men are supposed to take the lead in making decisions while women are supposed listen to their husbands is only one aspect of the roles each spouse assumes (assuming the thesis is correct of course). Also, it can easily be the case that men are harmed by their patriarchic role, so you might as well stop saying "Men are harmed by the patriarchy as well" because it's irrelevant.

Dude, you're an idiot. No idea why you keep responding to my posts.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/26/2016 1:34:46 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 10:21:14 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 8:32:11 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/25/2016 7:41:30 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 7:07:19 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:31:28 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:16:20 PM, tejretics wrote:
The problem I have with descriptions like "male dominance" and "gender-based hierarchy" is that they lack nuance, and they're fraught with indeterminacy. What do you mean when you say "male dominance"? That men are political leaders while women stay at home in the private sphere? What about the men who don't want to be political leaders but are forced to be by the system? Are they dominating anything? They're oppressed. What about the women who prefer having their man take care of them, who like to reap all the benefits of having no responsibilities? Are they dominated? Or are they the ones in control? Are the men who must work enslaved, or are the women who aren't allowed to work enslaved? Depends who you ask. So when you use words like "hierarchy" or "dominance" or "superiority," it misses a lot of the nuance that underlies what's actually going on in a patriarchal society.


We can talk about having a "patriarchy" without assuming that we have a perfect patriarchy. Obviously, there will be deviations from any system. These deviations don't deprive patriarchy of meaning; they simply mean that patriarchy is not fully manifest in our society. Patriarchy does not mean that men have it better, or that they "enslave" their wives. It just means that the decision making in families and society are controlled by males to the exclusion of females. Essentially, that men lead while women follow.

This view is too simplistic. There was a moment in the history of gender equality when the "men lead, women follow" view made sense. It helped mobilize women to take steps towards political activism. But today, that rhetoric is about as productive as the "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" myth. The world is more complex than that. Patriarchy hurts men and women because it presents us with a limited set of roles that we have to fulfill with no room for our individual preferences. This "limited set of roles" isn't exclusively about "men leading" and "women following." The limitations imposed by the patriarchy are much more complex, delving into the sorts of emotional and psychological lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of sexual lives you're supposed to lead, the sorts of public images you're supposed to portray, and so on. Men don't get to decide what sorts of life they lead. That's determined by the patriarchy. Men cannot do things that women can in a patriarchal society. And I emphasize this because only an honest discussion of what the patriarchy takes away from both men and women will allow us to dismantle the system.

Again, I see no reason to define patriarchy as the totality of gender role specifics. You're basically starting with the assumption that "patriarchy" is the entire explanation, and then working backwards to define patriarchy in such a way that it includes everything that goes on, and then you insist that my definition fails in this regard because it leaves stuff out. But that makes no sense. Patriarchy is only one part of the story. That men are supposed to take the lead in making decisions while women are supposed listen to their husbands is only one aspect of the roles each spouse assumes (assuming the thesis is correct of course). Also, it can easily be the case that men are harmed by their patriarchic role, so you might as well stop saying "Men are harmed by the patriarchy as well" because it's irrelevant.

Dude, you're an idiot. No idea why you keep responding to my posts.

I'm not the one who can't even define his own terms in a way that makes sense. Your attempt to expand the definition of patriarchy to encompass everything related to gender roles is ludicrous and embarrassing. If you won't even back down on an issue as straightforward as this, discussion with you is pointless. The fact that a given society is "patriarchal" does not mean that every feature of gender roles in that society falls within the definition of "patriarchy," just as it would be absurd to say that the term "democracy" subsumes all aspects of a society which happens to be "democracy". Patriarchy is merely one way in which gender roles manifest themselves, it's not a catchall phrase for everything that has to do with gender roles. You'd think someone who was making a thread with "patriarchy" in the title would have enough sense to realize this.
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/26/2016 1:48:13 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
"Patriarchies do not consist of male archons" is a blatant contradiction.
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

~ Thett the Mighty

"fvck omg ur face"

~ Liz
Emmarie
Posts: 1,907
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/26/2016 2:22:00 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 1:10:09 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/25/2016 1:08:37 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but strongly disagree with this. Women who flourish in patriarchy are usually incredibly intelligent, merciless, and almost always use sex as a weapon. In a word: ruthless in its original meaning (the inversion of the moral ideal embodied in the biblical woman Ruth). Julia Maesa, Irene of Athens, Lu Zhi, Wu Zetian, Catherine di Medici, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Castille, Tomyris, Aisha, Isabella of France, Ageltrude, Theodora, Sorghaghtani Beki, Victoria, Roxelana, etc. They all fit that mold, and rose to the top of the patriarchal order while operating within it.

What I'm unsure of, however, is whether or not patriarchy as a social institution is an essential part of higher civilization which can only be tweaked, but never abolished.

Some of the smartest people don't want to work :p
It's not about not wanting to work; it's about not wanting to work without be given credit for production methods that are more efficient than simply working hard.

Me personally - I work a non-traditional low paying job for my gender and compete with men, in order to be given props for my efficient work style. While working in the service industry along side of other women, they hated me for never appearing to work hard yet producing more than them.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/26/2016 3:46:35 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/25/2016 6:18:12 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 1:08:37 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but strongly disagree with this. Women who flourish in patriarchy are usually incredibly intelligent, merciless, and almost always use sex as a weapon.

These women are not leading patriarchal existences. They're resisting the patriarchy from within.

Then why does just about every patriarchy in existence have examples of them in positions of power, and why are they often respected or even revered figures? Even those who were reviled by some in their own time ('Semiramis') were often revered, or even outright fetishized by later patriarchal cultures. Look at William Wetmore Story's sculptures of Semiramis, Cleopatra, the Libyan Sibyl and Medea. (https://upload.wikimedia.org... https://upload.wikimedia.org... http://orig04.deviantart.net... http://www.sandstead.com...) He was operating in an incredibly patriarchal society, yet the powerful woman is glorified in his work, along with many other artists from his period, and even earlier. Look at Boudica, Joan of Arc, or Si Suriyothai, who are all emblematic to their respective nations and cultures.

In a word: ruthless in its original meaning (the inversion of the moral ideal embodied in the biblical woman Ruth). Julia Maesa, Irene of Athens, Lu Zhi, Wu Zetian, Catherine di Medici, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Castille, Tomyris, Aisha, Isabella of France, Ageltrude, Theodora, Sorghaghtani Beki, Victoria, Roxelana, etc. They all fit that mold, and rose to the top of the patriarchal order while operating within it.

I can't speak to all of these women as I don't know half of them, or the societies they operated in, but my guess is that they were also the subject of criticism for threatening the patriarchal order. Their success within a patriarchal society doesn't mean they themselves weren't posing a threat to patriarchy, or that they led patriarchal existences.

Some of them were (Irene of Athens being the most prominent example) but that was mostly political, and more religious than anything. The most successful of them (Julia Maesa, Sorghaghtani Beki, Roxelana, & Wu Zetian) operated completely according to the rules of the patriarchy. Wu Zetian basically eliminated any other alternative to succession by being a master of the Chinese imperial harem's internal politics, Roxelana secured her children's lives and eventual rule through similar mechanisms in the Ottoman court. Sorghagtani Beki directed affairs in the Mongol Empire from behind the scenes, in the traditional role of the Mongol woman, even while being illiterate, and was regarded by some historians as having been the most powerful woman in the history of the world. She was highly esteemed by men of her time (even those from other cultures), and little criticism can be found outside of the enemies which she eliminated. Julia Maesa lived the typical noblewoman's life in the far reaches of the Roman empire (provincial Syria) while manipulating the Severan dynasty in Rome, putting two emperors on the throne and eventually having one disposed of when they failed to deliver (in that gruesome episode, she had her grandson the emperor and his mother (her daughter) butchered by the Praetorian guard, stuffed into chests, and thrown into the river Tiber.) Noblewomen wielding this sort of soft power, even in heavily patriarchal Rome, was not uncommon. Cato the Elder even commented on it ('All mankind rules its women, and we rule all mankind, but our women rule us.') She was deified after her death, and was never really reviled by Roman society at large.

What I'm unsure of, however, is whether or not patriarchy as a social institution is an essential part of higher civilization which can only be tweaked, but never abolished.

It isn't essential. I think people can lead lives without giving up any of their humanity. Nobody need castrate their emotional life to also have a professional life, or vice versa.

Yeah, they definitely can. But their societies will be outcompeted and eventually conquered by those who do. It can work in the short term, but I think that patriarchy will always be the dominant model for the same reason that 'unethical warfare' will always be the dominant model: those who forgo it lose a competitive edge. It's why non-patriarchal societies have existed, but always on the peripheries of great empires.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/26/2016 4:14:11 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/26/2016 3:46:35 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/25/2016 6:18:12 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 3/25/2016 1:08:37 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/24/2016 8:46:02 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

Patriarchy is a great system for women who aren't smart, aren't into working, don't want a career, and have dormant libidos.

I agree with a lot of what you say here, but strongly disagree with this. Women who flourish in patriarchy are usually incredibly intelligent, merciless, and almost always use sex as a weapon.

I think he was using "flourish" in another sense. You're more talking about women who were able to overcome the odds and rise to positions of power and fame within a hostile environment, while he was talking about women whose standard of "success" is simply being taken care of. For a woman who doesn't have much career prospects, a situation in which she is provided for by a husband is probably ideal. If patriarchy were abolished, many women would find themselves struggling to get by, and the level of comfort they enjoyed in the past would be no more. For these broads patriarchy is just fine, because they're not really missing out on anything. The capable women are the real losers in this arrangement.