Click! It’s Not You, It’s Patriarchy

“It’s not you. You’re not an isolated case. It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy,” said the radical 60-something woman at the front of the room with the “War is not good for children and other living creatures” medallion swinging from her neck. She wore a turtleneck encased in a neat blazer and put one leg up on the seat of the chair for leverage as she lectured with more gusto, authority and confidence than anyone I had ever encountered.

After wandering around fairly aimlessly for over a year, running away and living in Maui for a period of that time, I had landed in Sociology 22: Sociology of Women in the fall of 1994 at Los Angeles Valley College. I didn’t know what Sociology was or what it might have to say about women, but it sparked my curiosity. “I’m a woman,” I thought and, “this should be more interesting than meeting my general requirements for a major I’m not too committed to.”

I was raised in a supportive home, both my grandmothers and my mother were not conventional women by any stretch, and my grandfather and father loved these strong women and encouraged me to develop myself fully. I was encouraged to paint, surf, build forts and play with dolls. Some might conclude that I had an advantage in a family that did not enforce suffocating gender roles.

And, to an extent, I did. But the love and support in my home wasn’t forceful enough to keep sexism and patriarchy at bay. Like a specter, patriarchy and it’s supporting ideology, sexism, crept into my life, my experience and my being.

By the time I entered Sociology 22, I had battled an ongoing eating disorder, been in a mentally and physically abusive relationship on and off for more than six years, been raped, dealt with an unplanned pregnancy and felt that I wasn’t smart enough to go to college despite a solid education. I was depressed, felt like a failure, felt without direction and, generally speaking, couldn’t imagine my self-esteem could dip any lower .

It’s not you. You’re not an isolated case. It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy.

Learning about patriarchy, sexism, internalized oppression and the intersectionality of gender, race and class shook me to the core–and shook me out of my stupor. It allowed me to slough off the feeling of individual blame and guilt I carried. I felt as if someone had ripped away the “veil of illusion” that prohibited me from connecting my life to the lives of other women, and to the larger system of patriarchy.

Things that I had suspected all along but didn’t have language for were revealed, and the puzzle pieces of my life snapped into place. Click! I was awake. I was pissed and I was galvanized into action with a ferocity and intensity that trumped anything I had ever known. That smart, sassy and seriously fierce lady professor–Pat Allen, who became a life-long mentor–brought feminism to me, and both she and feminism gave me new life and a grander purpose.

Photo of marble head of veiled woman by Flickr user clairity, under license from Creative Commons 2.0.

This post is a part of a week-long blog carnival in honor of Feminist Coming Out Day.

Comments

  1. Pauline T says:

    Patriarchy is seen in almost every society, even if gender roles are not implemented or enforced within one’s family. I enjoyed reading this article because it taught us that it is not our fault that we are raised in a society where specific gender roles are enforced; we live in a patriarchal society where men and women have to uphold their stereotypical behaviors. Even though one might live in a home where gender roles are not enforced, they will still encounter oppression because we live in a patriarchal society. Learning about feminism allows people to go beyond the gender roles, and allows them to fulfill any desire they have, regardless if it fits under the gender roles.

  2. Sarah Vincent says:

    I love this article because it always seems like it is our families faults for maintaining the gender roles or just knowing what our gender roles are in life. But that has absolutely nothing to do with it. We were all born into a patriarchal society where we have to keep up with the “norm”. I know that learning about this is wonderful and that everyone really needs to take a class on it because it is extremely important for us to do something different in our world. I have learned so much and realized that when things are a problem I blame it on patriarchy.

  3. Mary Marrone says:

    I can relate to this article in many ways. I don’t only experience patriarchy in society, but also within my family (male dominated). I grew up with three older brothers and have discovered that I get treated differently. This difference in treatment I soon learned is due to the system of patriarchy. My brothers were given privileges that I never received.
    Women’s Studies 10 has made me shed my “veil of illusion”. This course has given me the confidence to speak the truth, to create awareness of oppression, and to create a change. This class has taught me to not be afraid to say what’s on my mind. This class allowed me to ask questions, allowing me to gain knowledge and think critically.

  4. Talia Y says:

    “It’s not you, it’s Patriarchy.” I completely agree with this statement. We live in a patriarchy, an organized, structural system which men’s interests are central. I do not think you are at fault for thinking you were not “smart enough to go to college despite a solid education,” nor do I think you are at fault for being depressed, feeling like a failure, and feeling as if you have no direction. I am sure many other women feel this way but they are not to be blamed, our society is. We are socialized into this patriarchy, we don’t know any better. Our society uses gender to control us. Women are portrayed as care-takers, wives, and mothers whereas men are portrayed as successful hard-workers who bring home the money. The ideal woman is thought to be a good wife and mother, one who takes care of the household chores, raises the children, and supports her husband mentally and satisfies his sexual desires. Thanks to the media, a woman’s appearance is extremely “important”; a beautiful woman is skinny. So how can an individual be blamed for bad eating habits that lead to an eating disorder? This issue reminds me of PINK’s music video to her song “Stupid Girls,” which calls attention to the matter. From the moment we are born, we are being socialized into a predominately male society. Even commercials for young children play a strong role. Games for young males encourage them to use their knowledge, build, etc. whereas young females are encouraged to cook (eg. Easy Bake) and dress dolls up etc. I too live in a supportive home. Both my parents, especially my mother, encourage me to develop myself fully, educate myself, and obtain a career. They encourage me to be able to stand on my own two feet, and acquire a career instead of being dependent on a man to support me financially after I am married.
    I agree the media exploits women, and furthermore portrays them as “competitive, back-stabbing, smack-talking “mean girls.”’ For example shows like The Bachelor, Real World, Bad Girls Club, and Flavor of Love show girls living under one roof continuously fighting with each other, disrespecting each other and cussing each other out. Both shows, The Bachelor and Flavor of Love, show a group of girls fighting for a man’s love. Crazy fights break out on the shows revealing the bitchy and competitive side of girls. In these shows girls also “smack-talk” or talk shit about one another in order to make the other look bad and make themselves look better. I believe that shows like these are truly sad and pathetic. Unlike the writer of this article, I am not guilty of being in the “boys club.” Although I understand that sometimes it is easier to be close friends with boys since girls let jealousy get the best of them, I still believe that sisterhood exists. I personally do not trust most girls, but I am able to say that I have at least one close female friend who does not resemble the characters in these shows.

  5. Marissa P says:

    I can relate to this article on many levels.

    My mother is a single mom raising 2 teenage girls (not easy), and I have two educated and supportative aunts that guide me and explained to me at a young age the importance of knowledge, education, and setting goals for yourself. I am lucky enough to have supportive and educated women in my life to support my goals and help me achieve them as a young woman. But once in high school I felt ripped of my youth and innocence. I was sexually assulted by a close friend and I crawled into my shell and gave up everything: wanting to socalize, going to school, going out, even being seen in public. I was embarrased and a reck. Luckly, I have very close female friends that gave me back to courage and strength to show my face and explain that I could get through it. And I did for I was lucky enough to have a tight bond of friendship and sisterhood to pull me through.

    But it is obvious that sexism is a huge part of society today. I dont know how many times guys have made a comment about my body (body parts) and said sexual and degrading things as I walk by. The music we listen to, the TV shows, commercials, we watch are all filled with women as sexual objects or a “pretty face”. We can all name shows and songs that degrade or reduce women to less, usually as “bitches” fighting over men, but can we name some songs or shows that promote sisterhood, friendship, powerful and educated women? Sex sells, but women arent all about sex. There is much more to a woman than her body. Women go through stuggles, accomplishments,joys, and pains. We are human beings as well and it seems at times the media forgets that.

  6. Amanda A. says:

    I can relate to why you took sociology of women. I as well out of curiosity is taking a women studies class for the same reason. I felt that it would be interesting and possibly something I could easily relate to since I am a women myself. I am still very young and believe that I have alot to learn and gain experience. I also did have a loving household and positive people that encourage and pushed me to be all I can be and very grateful. But I haven’t really gain enough knowledge of feminism in my life. I haven’t really been around areas where it has been voiced.

  7. I agreed with your statement and liked the title Click! Its Not You, Its Patriarchy. I remember the day of 17 years old. I was way more smater than my older brother however my father didnt expect of me because I am a girl. What he said before I graduated high school was I dont need to go to university and my brother must go to university even if he doesnt like to study. My brother was always in trouble at school and outside but my father still expected him more than me. I felt no matter how much I study hard and being good girl I cannot win the battle. My brother was loved by him just being himself but I felt I am not. I thought I need effort to be loved. I am very grateful to meet this article and womens study. After i knew the system of patriarchy I felt it is time to forgive my dad because its not his fault its the system of society.

  8. Jemal H says:

    I was raised by a single mother, and grow up with a lot of women around me. By me being raised by women, it thought me how to treat women with equality and respect they deserve. Most people do not have what i had, so they really do not know get a birds eye view of what women do for us and how strong they are, and there experience and yet get treated like they are nothing in world by men, sadly by other women too. I believe if we have more classes like Women’s studies and Sociology in the earlier years of our education, the idea of patriarchy with time and patience can be changed.

  9. Although I can relate to this article in many ways, there is a lot that I can not, yet it was very inspiring to read about different women who go through so many struggles throughout their life (many of which are brought on upon by patriarchy and our society as a whole), and yet be SO strong, independent, and endearing. There is so much to learn through feminism and the history or women; it is easy to apply what one can learn to every day life, which is ultimately my goal with take my women’s studies class, as well as all my classes.

  10. youram F says:

    I really like this article because it shows us that it is the society that has the most influence on how we are. for example, the society is in a form of patriarchy and even if a family does not follow it it is still in them because the society wants it to be like that which requires people to start movements to resist it.

  11. Christopher T says:

    This is really true, we shape our identity on the bases of what our society are. Since we live in a sytem where men are dominant we can’t help but to put them on a pedastal. Since i was raised by my mother and her sisters and my grandmother i have not been influenced by the patriarchy we live in today. I am more aware of the struggles and problems women face today.

  12. Ashley-Marie M. says:

    I really like this article because i took a womens history class this summer and it has opened my eyes to what women go through everyday. society has such a strong influence on us that we conform subconsciously.even though we live in a patriarchal society we can still try and teach our kids how to treat others equally. even though society doesnt solidify it but it all starts with us.

  13. Chulhyun A says:

    Gender socialization is the most strongest influence comes from our society, which control you to do what our society’s standard wants. That sounds actually not bad, only if the standard is right.
    Sadly, our societies are based on patriarchy. Men still dominant all the mains such as politics, religions, and financials. They form our society to what they want, which means women’s right, ideas, opinions are not included.

    women are being controlled as men’s needs, and unfortunately those men’s needs are not that possible in a real worlds. Many women are being self-haters because they think they cannot make themselves as what they want, they cannot archived the goal.
    That’s Not Ture. They even didn’t set their goal but for patriarchy, and being self-hater because they didn’t meet the men’s needs!

    It’s not all your false. It’s patriarchy.

  14. Richard L says:

    I’m proud to say that my family also consisted of strong women who did things that they were interested in, and not what society says women should do. My parents also encouraged me to pursue things that i was interested in even though classmates always made fun of me for wanting to color pictures than to play kickball during recess. Before taking this class and reading this article, i never realized that many of these unwritten rules that are set for what men/women should do effect not only me, but many, many people around me as well.

  15. Jason A says:

    I found this article very interesting and motivating. I never had a single idea of patriarchy to be the main reason of many bad situations women are put in. A woman many find herself pregnant, and finds her self not having enough time to make a plan for the future, or even sometimes be afraid and blame the whole situation because of the patriarchal society we currently live in today. Many times we find men to blame the female for not being careful and gentile enough. Also another situation is also men go to the extreme of blaming the women for being “unfaithful” This is very bad because we live in a world that views men as a dominant gender.

  16. Brandon Monette says:

    I never knew what patriarchy was until I took a womens study course. I never knew what feminism was. Growing up in a household where I was surrounded by mostly women, I was still expected to follow the gender roles perpetuated by patriarchy and it was likewise for my sisters. Its something that I never questioned and to this day don’t. I accept the privileges afforded to me by my maleness without a second thought because its something that i never saw as odd. After learning about patriarchy and the feminist movement, I view a lot of things differently: I watch for strong female leads in movies, I listen to the lyrics in a song closely for words that are demeaning to women, etc. I think if more people were educated about patriarchy, our culture would be more open to feminism and fighting for gender equality.

  17. Rashidah I says:

    The effect that patriarchy has on society is huge and should be protested against more often.Gender socialization is one of the main roles in child development. Many people do not realize or think about the effect that saying the words “Man Up” or “Don’t be a wimp” to their son(s) will have on them and others. Men are socialized to be very tough and unkind thus going around putting fear in many peoples hearts. Gender equality also comes from gender socialization as men are deemed dominant and most powerful. Gender socialization needs to be re-thought and taught differently and that will change the make up of patriarchy.

  18. Women are devalued in society and patriarchy is what takes over. Women are seen as less and gender always becomes invisible. Women are not valued, and usually always dominated due to patriarchy. It is not fair that women are not celebrated or valued at all in patriarchy. I had no idea what “patriarchy” was until I took a women s studies class. I thought it was amazing how unaware women live in this country without knowing the true meaning behind patriarchy. Male dominance is celebrated and women are devalued and always put down.

  19. Derynn W. says:

    I took my first Women’s Studies class this semester and I just can’t express how liberated I feel. I now know that it really isn’t just me. Amongst my peers, I had always been the different one-especially in church. I wondered things like “What if God was a woman?” and “Why does my dad get the final say in everything, not my mom?” I just supposed that it was just how things were and my dad told me it was all a part of God’s plan and that a patriarchal household was completely natural. Christianity solely as a religion definitely plays a large role in social control, which I find quite unfortunate. It is keeping out women down and if they wonder why they are in that position, they are deemed strange and outcasts. People o not even have to be active in this religion, but the mere fact that it is practically the foundation of our country lets us know that it is very much so ingrained in our minds and spirits. This is just a component to the institution of patriarchy.

  20. Alexander A says:

    This article was a very interesting article to read. There are so many things going on. I can not say that I can relate to these woman being talked about in this article but I do feel for them. It very inspiring and heartwarming to see woman out there that are who are facing these challenges of patriarchy and are not stepping down. This article tells woman that they are not alone and there are others who are facing the same problem. We live in patriarchal world that allows men to treat woman in they way that they want to.

  21. I completely agree with the statement, “It’s not you. You’re not an isolated case. It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy.” A child develops a self-image when they are very young based on their environment. Even despite of the writer being raised in a home free of gender suffocating roles, patriarchy still crawled its way into the writer’s life. This unfortunately is a very sad and common occurrence which must be stopped. As mentioned before, patriarchy is a system and with every system, has a foundation. The foundation for patriarchy is the barrage of gender roles that are thrown at children from the moment they are born. Blue for boy, pink for girl, GI Joe for him and Barbie for her are just a few examples of how gender roles influence and support patriarchy. The only way to stop this systematic oppression is through stopping these gender roles at the home. If everyone can only stop insisting on these unnecessary roles, then there will be more equality. My sisters unfortunately were brought up with gender roles from my traditional family but after hard work and dedication are now self-sufficient, independent women who contribute to society. My only hope is that all both men and women can be equal together, despite the current patriarchal system.

  22. Michelle G. says:

    I too have been surrounded strong women my entire life and I can confidently say that I would not be the person I am today if it had not been for such an upbringing. My mother is a twice divorced single mother. She was physically abused by her first husband and emotionally by her second. She had the strength to leave my father and get a second divorce, even though she was an immigrant and did not know the language at all. She went back to school and got an education in a whole new language. She and my sister worked hard and went to school, ensuring we had a place to live. I am proud to have such strong women in my life and because of that I can fully relate and agree with what is said in this article!

  23. No matter how loving and supportive of a family a woman has, the evils of patriarchy and sexism shown through society are still very capable of ruining her life. Many women who suffer due to the consequences of living in a patriarchy think that they are alone and that they are stuck. However, just learning about and getting a better understanding of feminism and the dangers of patriarchy can help victims realize that they are not the problem, and hopefully allow them to overcome their struggles.

  24. “It’s not you.” Throughout my lifetime I have heard this quote numerous times. At this post in my life I question, “Is anything my fault?” Even though I do not have an exact answer for this particular question, I know that not everything is my fault. We are shaped by our surroundings in our society, culture, family, etc. Our societies are influenced by media and popular culture. As individuals we learn through socialization, the process of learning the values of norms of different cultures. We live in a system in which men and men’s interests are central, a patriarchy. To be a woman in today’s society is still just as difficult as before. Before women did not have rights, and now that things are improving… there is still a lot of room for improvement left. Women are held to standards that were created by men. One can be brought up in the “perfect home”, but step into the real world and be eaten up by society. Our homes cannot shelter us from the sexism and patriarchy in society. If it is not just me who feels this way, why do I feel isolated? I am not sure why I feel isolated. I have not been in an abusive relationship or been raped, but the feeling of being held on a pedestal of standards, is a feeling I can relate to. It is a common feeling for many women, but yet we feel like an isolated case. By coming together and learning about female history, we can break these barriers. Slowly but surely we can start breaking stereotypes. It is about coming together and becoming educated. My mother once told me, “A lack of knowledge gets you nowhere.” Now I understand what she meant.

  25. I grew up under a single physician mother with quite the ego and abusive pakistani/indian value structure. Over the years I developed various opinions about my life, my own being, the value of my existence, and whether living in a seemingly unbearable environment was worth it. I found salvation and structure within the world of competitive debate in high school. I discovered the power of constructive argumentation and finding liberation within my words and ultimately, speaking so that I could be heard by someone; anyone for that matter. The most valuable experience I received during my exchange with the high school forensics community during my 3 years of it was being introduced to critical feminist theory by my assistant debate coach my senior year. The same acceptance of systematic patriarchal oppression(in my case a different sense of oppression but nonetheless very similar)brought me to the same relief Professor Klein received from her professor, I began to believe in myself. I think the most powerful argument presented by Professor Klein is growing and rebuilding from a broken troubled form.

  26. My first response to the article is that family does play a major role in influencing the ideas and a point of view. The narrators point of view created by socialization was what blinded her and what kept her from seeing what she had never known. This reinforces that socialization plays an important role in determining whether or not we become internally oppressed. And that through education and knowing more about anything can help us shape your own point of view instead of allowing external subjects to create it. The narrators experience also reinforces the two part effect of knowing ones history which is to feel a sense of liberation and elevating the shame and guilt. To me this also signifies that men or women are not to blame for contemporary issues but rather the system of patriarchy that brings about inequalities to women.

  27. When I first took this class I also didn’t know what patriarchy was and I never questioned why I was objectified for being a woman and just brushed it off. Know I’m also starting to connect to all of these things and realize how pissed off I am for my brothers needs coming before mine because he’s a male, and how after puberty I became more of a sexual object than a person. I never thought that this is because this world is set up for white males. I never realized why I was so jealous of my brother and thought it was cause he was better looking than me or a better person not realizing that it was patriarchy and sexism. Woman and minority groups should not have to feel as though there is something wrong with them. The system needs to change and everyone should be equal.

  28. I was not really aware of the terms patriarchy, and feminism till I took a women studies course. This article reminded me a lot of my friend and her culture. When my friend was growing up she never asked any questions about the way things should be. Her family had religious views and tradition. There was always certain standards men and women should behave according to their gender. She was expected to follow these rules under patriarchy. Even though there are many people who may live in a household where rule are not enforced they will still come across oppression because at the end of the day we live in a patriarchal society. However, if we educate ourselves about feminism and patriarchy, we will go beyond the gender roles and we will accomplish any needs they have, even if it is under the gender roles.

  29. I found this article disappointing. Although it was well constructed and made a meaningful point that is no doubt relatable to many women, it was unsatisifying in its broad generalities. The auther come off as a mouthpiece for an empowering ideology that it is not clear she fully understands. A more persona, detailed, and revealing critisism of patriacrchy would have made this a more powerful article.

  30. I found this article inspiring. I am able to relate to many the events that the author too dealt with. To read about her “veil of illusion” being shed resonates a comforting feeling. Understanding the reasons or lack of that unfavorable events happen to yourself help to overcome some of the pain and allow one to move on with their life. Finding an unknown world of explanation and connection to your views helps to complete and missing aspect of your life. Both the author and Pat Allen sounds like inspiring women who are passionate and intelligent about the cause.

  31. This article reveals the alarming yet depressing truth that every child born male or female, a flip of a coin chance is predetermined to be socialized in to there expected gender roles. The even worse reality is regardless of the family they are born in and support them especially women and are told and raised as an equal of a male they still grow up in a patriarchy society and play with barbies and hair brushes, instead of toys that boys get to play with that aid to child development. I feel authors like this are doing the world a favor by letting the general public know the corrupt society we live in, what are you doing about it is the question.

  32. This was an interesting article. It was captivating to hear that even coming from a safe, supportive home, one can still succumb to the challenges of patriarchy in society. I can relate to where she is coming from. I have an extremely supportive household. I have two brothers and a sister, and loving parents. When I was growing up, I played sports, danced, did karate, and played with dolls. I was exposed to separate gender-specific activities, which allowed me to stay away from the cookie cutter gender roles. However, I too have experienced patriarchy in my personal relationships and at work, to list a few examples.

    I wish this article continued to tell it’s readers how she changed her life around, or at least how feminism has helped her today. The end of the article seemed like the beginning of the next, and I would have loved to read on. It was a nice article to read over all!

  33. I too didn’t know much about feminism or even what patriarchy was until I took a Women’s Studies class. I grew up in a household where both parents work outside the home. My parents encouraged me from my earliest recollection to get as much education as I can. They always told me I could do whatever I wanted in life. I can remember getting books about famous women and videos about successful women in different careers. Even so patriarchy was and is still unavoidable. Eventually as I got older I realized that many, if not most, people in the world still patriarchal views of a woman’s role in society. More and more I think I may want to study this subject at the collegiate level.

  34. Pat Allen gave you your awakening, as you have give me mine.

    After finishing, Communion: The Female Search for Love by Bell Hooks, I came to really understand how patriarchy creates, perpetuates, and encourages social habits that cause wide range depression, self-hate, isolation, and self-blame in girls and women, and to some extent men too. But gaining a more objective understanding of patriarchy, leads you to understand why you feel the way you feel. It leads you to understand that you aren’t to be blamed because it’s, “it’s not you.” It leads you to realize that, “you’re not an isolated case,” and that there are communities of women out there waiting for you to share your similar experiences. It leads you to understand that, “It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy”. A system that is destructive, and pretentious because it doesn’t believe in the power of love or equality. It believes in domination, subordination, and taught gender roles that causes one gender to be at war with another gender, and yet somehow they’re supposed to mate and live happily ever after. I think I just figured out that the saying “opposites attract” is complete crap. Probably a saying that was backlash to a gay rights movement.

    It’s eye opening to see that being raised in a home that is open to and encourages female strength (your household), versus, being raised in a patriarchal home that is narrow-minded and encourages blind sexism (my household) can ultimately make no difference in your level of exposure to patriarchy because wether you are sheltered from it or not, sexism and patriarchy will most likely still leak into your brains and your self esteem. Simply because whether it’s a direct influence in our homes or not, it’s all around us.

  35. Pat Allen gave you your awakening, as you have give me mine.

    After finishing, Communion: The Female Search for Love by Bell Hooks, I came to really understand how patriarchy creates, perpetuates, and encourages social habits that cause wide range depression, self-hate, isolation, and self-blame in girls and women, and to some extent men too. But gaining a more objective understanding of patriarchy, leads you to understand why you feel the way you feel. It leads you to understand that you aren’t to be blamed because it’s, “it’s not you.” It leads you to realize that, “you’re not an isolated case,” and that there are communities of women out there waiting for you to share your similar experiences. It leads you to understand that, “It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy”. A system that is destructive, and pretentious because it doesn’t believe in the power of love or equality. It believes in domination, subordination, and taught gender roles that causes one gender to be at war with another gender, and yet somehow they’re supposed to mate and live happily ever after. I think I just figured out that the saying “opposites attract” is complete crap. Probably a saying that was backlash to a gay rights movement.

    It’s eye opening to see that being raised in a home that is open to and encourages female strength (your household), versus, being raised in a patriarchal home that is narrow-minded and encourages blind sexism (my household) can ultimately make no difference in your level of exposure to patriarchy because wether you are sheltered from it or not, sexism and patriarchy will most likely still leak into your brains and your self esteem. Simply because whether it’s a direct influence in our homes or not, it’s all around us.

  36. I have really learned a lot from my women studies class, things I wouldn’t normally learn in other classes. Because I learned empowerment, I learned that we live in a patriarchal society and like the title says, “It’s not you, It’s Patriarchy”. This class really made me see things through a different lens, to think critically outside the box. It’s so harsh to see what patriarchy does, and to be a victim from it. I knew of sexism but I never really knew how much it affected me. It affects all women (men too), and it’s true sometimes I get overwhelmed with school, work, personal issues and always come to the conclusion that it’s my fault. And most of the things are not. I’ve have had a really horrible boss before, I even had an emotional breakdown from, but for the longest time I blamed myself for it, for a lot of things. But now I realize that most of us are blindfolded and normalized to this patriarchal system, and in order to change how things work, and manifest feminism, I must first start with myself, and not let these ads, music, shows dictate my life, it’s a challenge. But in Barneys voice in “How I Met Your Mother’ “Challenge Accepted” :)

  37. Shahriar Mangoli says:

    It is true that many families enforce gender roles and are therefore held responsible often times for our patriarchal society. But what about those 50″ square shaped things that almost every American family has sitting in their homes. The way our parents raise us is very effective on the way we think, but with or without our parents the effects of the media will always be there. Families should first teach us to stop listening so much to the media, THAN teach us the right way. Until then, some of us will be fed different kinds of information and only grow to be confused.

  38. I can relate to the speaker of this article because just like her I also felt an awakening and awareness of the patriarchy society I have and continue to live in. When I decide to take my Women Studies class I expected to learn about the great women from the past who achieve great things like fighting for women’s equal rights and opportunities as men. I was expecting to learn about the problems women face back then unaware that women still face the same and new problems in society now. I wasn’t aware that women today were still being oppressed by society to tell the truth I didn’t even know words like misogyny even existed. My family just like the speaker’s family encourage my to achieve great and told me I could do whatever I set my mind to. I realized that after all those great accomplishments marriage was always one of them.
    Before taking this class and reading this article I believed that at some point I had to get married and have a family because that’s what women do. The idea of tying the knot with a man seem normal to me because I saw it everywhere on the television, on the streets, and in my family. For a long time, my mom was a housewife and my dad was the provider of the house which to me seem perfectly normal because that’s “how thing are suppose to be like” but then my mom start to work and not because of economical problems. At that time I didn’t understand why she want to work instead of staying home and she didn’t give a deep explanation of why she decided to work except that she was bored of staying home. Until I entered the women studies class I understood that my mom felt like the women form the 19th century trapped in her own home and wanted to be valued more then just a housewife. That’s what this patriarchy society does to women it makes women see marriage and the idea of creating a family seem normal and something that every women should towards. Today this portrait is still being painted by society for the young girls and women of the 21th century because although today might “be equal and have the same rights” as men we are still the weak link of society the ones who need a man by their sides to protect and provide for them.

  39. It wasn’t until i learned in this class what patriarchy was that i fully understood the effects that happen in every day life. In my family as well as many many other Persian Jewish households, gender roles are enforced. Typical house wife and dominant man. Men come home form work and women must have food ready and house cleaned to serve man. I talked about it with my mom and back in her days as a young child in her hometown women weren’t allowed to work, her mother would wait till everyone in her family was asleep and would light a candle so that she could educate herself and until she came to America, she was a housewife. Although in the Persian culture those roles are still stressed, a lot has changed. Women are independent and can provide for themselves even once they get married. Patriarchy was the cause of all this oppression. My mom teaches me and my younger siblings all the time of the value of an education and how important it is it educate yourself so that you can be equal to a man.

  40. Because this post is so public and so out there, I should be ashamed and embarrased to say this, but lately I’ve been very good with emotions only because I’ve found people out there like me dealing with the same situations. Right when I read this article I can relate to it in such an emotional way only because while reading the article I felt like “hey, that’s like me”. My mother is not one of those conventional women, she is strong and independent just like the authors. But what struck me the most was she was saying “I had battled an ongoing eating disorder…and felt that I wasn’t smart enough to go to college despite a solid education.” “I was depressed, felt like a failure, felt without direction and generally speaking, couldn’t image my self-esteem could dip any lower.” I’ve suffered an eating disorder when I was young, and always being compared to my smarter, prettier, older sister really brought me down. I’ve always tried hard that way my mom could see that I was smart and that I could achieve something too, but then again my achievements were nothing compared to my sister, so that always brought me down. It was a vicious roller coaster. I’ve dealt with depression because I’ve always had that feeling of not belonging or being loved in my family. Even though I’ve made an effort and tried at school, a “C” wasn’t enough because it’s not an “A” might as well gotten an “F”. Even today I still feel like a failure compared to my sister who graduated from UCLA, went on to Harvard (pre-med) and now at Medical school. While I am barely passing my classes (even though I try), stuck with this fear and embarrasment that I’m not going to get into a good University, and stuck with a minimum- wage job. You can see how I’m like a failure compared to my sister, but what people don’t see is my efforts, and how hard I try.

  41. There is no doubt that many different cultures, ethnicites, religions, etc. believe in gender roles and that in most of those households, the woman is expected to provide more for the home while the man provides more financially. Personally I do not believe in gender roles because I see myself being just as successful as my partner is and providing an equal amount of support financially and at home. I believe in being an independent woman that does not have to rely on any man to fulfill her dreams, as well as not having to be looked down on or expected more of than he himself.

  42. As @SaminaM stated I have also grown up in a Persian Jewish household where everyone in my family was born and raised in a different country and the emphasis on gender roles was definitely emphasized. Education was not offered to women and men were the dominant people in the household. Also, women were expected to be housewives and only clean and cook for the family.Yet, as my mother came here in her early 20′s she quickly learned the importance of education and has emphasized how important it is to be educated and independent in the society that we live in for my sister and I. She continued her education in America and continued going to school after my sister and I were born. My mom is the definition of a supermom, one who works full time, comes home makes dinner cleans the house and “looks good doing it” as they say. I believe that it is important to be independent and happy with what she does and to not depend on a man for her dreams and aspirations.

  43. It is very clear that the system of patriarchy that we live in has so much effects and influences on our lives and the gender roles that we are accustomed to. Patriarchy does not only put women and their aspirations to a halt, but men as well. Both men and women are entitled to certain gender roles and many feel that they are unwanted or do not belong or fit in well in society because what they strive for as a male or female does not go along with the accepted gender roles in society. We live in a society in which people assume the firefighter down the block is a male and the nurse at the hospital is a female. It is a shame that this system of patriarchy hurts so many men and women. The more depressing aspect is that it is something really difficult to fix due to the fact that it has been around for the beginning of civilization. There is a need to fix the system, and it may be difficult to even stay positive and hopeful about changing the system, but a collaborative effort will always bring changes, so there needs to be a large group effort to fix it.

  44. I am sure many other women feel the same way you do but do not speak out about it because they feel their opinions don’t matter. We live in a male-dominated society and we are socialized into this patriarchy as we live our daily lives. Women are made to think that they are less important than men – we are supposed to stay home, take care of the family, and let the men go out and do the real work. Why do we need an education if it’ll never be put to use, right? Wrong.
    Society and media has made it so that women have an important appearance to keep up and if they are not “sexy” enough and do not live to please men, they are not accepted. It’s no wonder girls turn to drugs and obtain eating disorders and are discouraged, victimized, and made to feel like failures.
    But sexism is a huge part of today’s society. It’s so accepted that even when it’s there, it’s unnoticeable and no one says or does anything because it’s what we are used to. No one realizes the song playing in the background, while driving in the car, demeaning girls and rappers talking about all the girls they want “in their pants, in their beds” etc. Because what else are girls good for, right? As long as they’re pleasing men in the bedroom, they’re fulfilling their jobs as humans on this planet.
    In high school, I remember how the girls who had the biggest breasts or nicest ass were the coolest. So I witnessed the degrading of girls first hand. But even besides that, the music and television we listen to and watch are all examples of ways women are portrayed as sexual objects. In movies, they are all made out to be bitches and men-pleasers. The Bechtel Test can be used to prove that Hollywood favors men and the movies in which women are central are all known as “chick flicks” or simply “competitive, backstabbing, mean girls.”

  45. This article clearly illustrates the effects of patriarchy on all types of people. Patriarchy causes for a disillusionment of people and specifically the disillusionment of women. As we saw from this article, this woman was torturing herself because of the illusions of the patriarchal system. We see how this one individual had an eating disorder, was physically abused, raped, and thought she was not smart enough for college. Basically this individual blamed herself for all her “problems” but she didn’t realize that it was patriarchies fault. But we clearly see the importance of getting educated by taking a Women Studies class because through this class she became so much more educated. This class opened her eyes from the “veil of illusion” and ultimately gave her the realization to not feel guilty about this issue. Instead she became angry when she understood the truth of patriarchy. She understood that the truth of the matter is that it is not an individual feeling of guilt that women have, it is a collective feeling that is caused by our patriarchal system.

  46. Alireza D says:

    It’s sad to know that no one can escape patriarchy. It’s something that affects us all, whether we know it or not, and the the only way to change it is through changing the dominant mindset. No matter how sheltered or nurtured ones upbringing may be, it will still have be affected by this system. My parents raised me to respect other people’s opinions and views even if I don’t agree with them, But even I realize how much the media has influenced my views on certain issues. Patriarchy is an idea that is apart of all of our lives, the way we choose to pass it on is what will make a difference to future generations.

  47. This article points out that notion of blaming the victim. which is a feeling of shame and embarrassment that the victim encounters after being raped, abused or exposed to any kind of violence. In such a case, a rape victim can be held responsible and be blamed for dressing too scandalously but also would feel alienated from her family. It’s only when the victim accepts what happened to her and realizes that it wasn’t her fault that her self esteem would start eroding and she would start gaining confidence again. This article is perfectly illustrating what i have previously discussed.

  48. It wasn’t until I took my first sociology class last Summer that I had ever learned the meaning of patriarchy in connection to society. I learned that patriarchy is a system of beliefs and ideas in which males and their ideas are central. Patriarchy is based on one’s sexual orientation, gender, class and race. It is pretty sad that once you reach the age of adolescence there are set roles and images of what you are supposed to do within society. Growing up my parents didnt believe I had to act a certain way because I am a girl living in a male dominated society. They have both supported me in whatever it was I wanted to and continue to do in my hopes of education and my other future roles. It wasn’t until I began college that I truly began to think of patriarchy and this male dominated world. I always wanted to be my own boss, have my own company to run; it has become a reality check that we live in a country where more than 90 percent of the CEO’s of top companies are men, as women are supposed to let go of their dreams and turn into a housewife. I dont want that for myself, and I am not planning on it either. I am so thankful to have a supportive family, with a father who told me I am not allowed to get only up to my Masters degree, rather I have to have my PHD. I wish for a future where all women will decide to make their own conscious choices, as that is the belief in which feminist hold to define them.

  49. There is no doubt that patriarchy plays a prominent role in our society. It affects everyone, even though we put forth bold efforts to block them from affecting our choices and views. The idea of patriarchy sets a solid standard within our culture where specific genders are expected to meet pre-determined expectations. If anyone is to fall out of this norm, they are shunned and looked on as a complete outsider. This is an absolute dishonor to each individual that wants to do what he or she want, not just what our culture expects us to do.

    Due to the relentless cultivation that our society possesses, the goals of perfection in the eyes of women are nearly impossible to achieve. I vividly remember my times in high school, and in middle school, that the girls with the “sexier” parts were always the girls that guys gawked over. Those girls that are smart and succeed greatly were viewed as too masculine and unattractive. Even though families make efforts in order to prevent this from happening, the exposure to these expectations will always be present unless a powerful stand is taken.

    I feel that understanding this ongoing issue to its full meaning is key in order to fix it. Even though it may not be completely obvious, but this ideal is diminishing our society as a whole by not allowing individuals to reach their full potential.

  50. Patriarchy is in fact, well around today throughout all society’s in the world. It is a system of beliefs and ideas in which males and their ideas are central. Patriarchy is based on one’s sexual orientation, gender, class and race. It not only negatively effects women, but men as well. On the other hand, my mom is also a very powerful women. She was in the army and was constantly sexually harrassed. She is now taking on the role of a supermom, working two full time jobs. One as a teacher, working from 8am-5pm everyday and her other job as homemaker, working from when she gets home at 6pm until she sleeps, cooking dinner, doing laundry, washing the dishes etc. Women deserve much more than patriarchy, they deserve the best. Patriarchy is strong enough to penetrate through a strong family’s household and will find its way in effecting everyone. Patriarchy is not anything beneficial to anyone and it presents itself as a blockade for women to reach complete equality to men.

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