Most tools of the patriarchy involve controlling—or attempting to control—women and girls. Much of these methods of control come from shaming, and when it comes to women’s sexual choices and histories, shame is the name of the game.
While accepting a polite gesture should come easily, it is natural that polite actions created off of a basis of gender inequality may make women squirm—it certainly does make us.
“The fact is, chivalry is a standard that is based on sexist ideals—created during a time when women were referred to as damsels in distress, and when men with power were so out of control they needed a clear set of rules to tell them not to rape any woman they saw.”
Diet culture is a patriarchal tool.
Diet culture forces individuals, notably women, to center their lives around their physical appearance. It additionally promotes an unachievable physical appearance while offering a vast array of products—paradoxically advertising that one can achieve the unachievable.
But having conversations about our bodies in healthy, productive ways—not critical, accusatory ways—is the only way that we can end diet culture once and for all.
From abortion to weight loss, the patriarchal tradition of policing women’s bodies is a strong and long lasting one. Telling women what they must or must not do with their hair—whether that be the color, texture, quantity or location of it—is just another way women’s agency over their own bodies is controlled.
“Tools of the Patriarchy” is a biweekly column on the tools that establish men’s dominance in society, or, in other words, uphold the patriarchy. Whether or not these tools are used intentionally, they contribute to a world in which women are not equal to men.
The naming tool is a long-standing tradition dictating that after marriage, a woman should give up her birth name and take on her husband’s last name. Children also frequently take their father’s last name, carrying the tradition on into the next generation.