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Sexism and Patriarchy

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ellie lindsey, Aug 2, 2008. | Replies: 406 | Views: 14084

  1. ellie lindsey

    ellie lindsey Banned

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    Sexism and Patriarchy

    Sexism and Patriarchy, part 1

    “Patriarchy (is a) system: An It, not a he, them or us.”
    -Allan Johnson, author of The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy

    It’s really not hard to find evidence that sexual equality has not been reached.

    Just a few examples.

    -Domestic abuse and rαpe are still commonplace. Both crimes are overwhelmingly male against female in nature.
    -Abduction and murder by estranged husbands and boyfriends still occurs with frightening regularity (even among those who are committed to work against it),
    -Women still are paid less for the same work (current stat is something like $0.85-$0.90 to the dollar, and the national average (not accounting for profession and experience) has women earning $0.75 to the dollar)
    -Poverty rates are higher for working women than working men (nearly 40% of working, single mothers are below the poverty line compared to the fewer than 20% poverty rate among single working fathers). And yet, in spite of that, men’s rights activists are calling for men to be able to opt out of child support...
    -We still haven't had a single woman president (and while I disagreed with some of Clinton's policies, she was still the target of a lot of misogynistic hatred)
    -Reproductive rights for women are still being challenged (George Bush is allegedly working on trying to push legislation to classify IUDs as abortions)
    -We STILL do not have any kind of Constitutional guarantee of sexual equality, let alone gender equality.

    Remember that the United States was unable to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Let’s look at this incredibly controversial amendment:

    Shock and horror. There’s no way we should pass that, America!

    I will not be happy until I see something like NOW's Constitutional Equality Amendment pass, but I know that some major social rearrangement will be required first. But it still sickens me that it’s 2008 and in America, self-proclaimed leader of the free world, sexual equality is not constitutionally protected.

    Sexism is alive and well in America.

    A person or group may be sexist, but those views are a symptoms rather than the problem. Sexism can refer to aspects individual or group behavior, but it can also apply to broader attitudes and embedded societal expectations.

    The dilemma for progressives is the balance between treating the victims of inequality and working to end the social institutions that support sexism. We must also consider that our experience varies vastly from the experience of others. Human experience, like oppression, is an intersectional affair.

    Males are privileged because we live in a patriarchal society. Patriarchal society exists between men are privileged. It’s all very cyclical.

    Recognizing privilege is a tricky thing. Progressives have made all kinds of lists as a basic starting point, but the thing is, privilege is not a universal constant.

    As I mentioned in my quote, patriarchy is a systemic issue, not a he, us, or them problem. Patriarchal societies are defined to the extent that male-centeredness, male identification, and male dominance in society affirm male privilege. And yet, some, if not most men will not feel dominant. Indeed, women may even dominate men in certain situations. But across society, men hold the majority of the power. Masculinity is valued over femininity. And so on.

    All men are the benefactors of male privilege. But that doesn't make men bad, because privilege is a product of society. The extent to which a man is the benefactor of male privilege varies in each person. Merely recognizing its existence requires a line of thought that is often painful and uncomfortable, and many men react poorly. They may feel guilt. They often feel blamed, as if they are somehow at fault for sexism.

    But no rational feminist is going to blame a man for simply being the recipient of privilege. Even though a man may be ignorantly affirming patriarchy, it's important to remember that he was socialized in a patriarchal society. However, if a man becomes socially aware of patriarchy, it's important that he not be silent. Because patriarchy is a societal norm, even a refusal to challenge sexism is an affirmation of its normality.

    And the same applies for racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc - in fact, because of the intersectionality of oppressive systems, it's impossible to accurately examine oppression without considering all the factors. For example, male privilege may be more difficult for men to accept in light of classist inequalities – because men can afford to be unconcerned by male privilege, they feel only the weight of the inequality which punishes them.

    I’m feeling kind of tired at the moment and I'll no doubt write more, but I think this should be more than enough to spark some discussion.

    Go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  2. PFSS

    PFSS IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    I agree almost 100% with you except on this point.

    Patriarchy is for the benefit of Patriarchs, not men. All patriarchs are male, not all males are patriarchs.

    For example - I can look out my window right now and see ~1000 men working 60+ hour weeks in 120+ degree heat for ~$150-$200/month (I don't live in the US, but live in a rather more entrenched patriarchy). I struggle to see what, if any, privilage they have.

    Men who are not patriarchs are essentially disposable to society, although the reason low ranking women are less disposable is because patriarchy views them sort of as property which therefore has value. which is not exactly great either.


     
  3. ellie lindsey

    ellie lindsey Banned

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    There are no patriarchs. There's no man cabal that pulls the strings behind sexism.

    Males are all recipients of male privilege because sexism is institutionalized into our society.

    However, men can be victimized by other social inequalities - ie, class, etc. And that's what you're seeing at work when you see those men toiling long hours for little pay.

    Believe it or not, men can be hurt by patriarchy as well. This usually happens when to men who reject gendered expectations, but it occurs outside that as well. But while men are in a sense every bit as much victims of patriarchy as women, it is overwhelmingly women that face the negative consequences, not men.

    As I said, the extent to which a man benefits from male privilege varies from one case to the next, but check out the following two links for basic ideas.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/
    http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2005-11-22_72

    Not every point may be true for you. Not every point will be true for others. But the idea behind posting those links is not to give you a definitive example of male privilege, but to make you think about the ways male privilege might apply to your life and the lives of those around you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  4. PFSS

    PFSS IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    I think you will find there are.

    For obvious examples see the boardrooms of any multinational company, see the members in the house of representatives, the house of commons, the house of lords, the senate.

    Patriarchy is for the benefit of men in positions of power, not men without power. If anything it is also for the detriment to men without power, as they are potential competitors with the patriarchs and so must be kept down by the current patriarchs.

    EDIT: By men in power I mean those with power/status/wealth, this does not have to be someone with political power.

    I disagree, it seems a strange sort of privilage to be disposable to society.

    I'm aware of this, and know where you are coming from, and I personally realise I hold immense privilage - I'm a well educated, well off, good looking, white male, you couldn't load me up with more privilage if you tried. I just object to the idea that *all* men benefit from male privilage. I find the idea a divisive one that serves more to seperate humans into "Them" and "Us". I also find it a hypocritical one given that many of the people I see who hold that view are well educated people in the western world who, regardless of gender, are in the top couple of % of the most privilaged people in the world.


     
  5. Sokar Rostau

    Sokar Rostau IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    Interesting. I just have one question. Why are you not in the kitchen?



     
  6. Johnny

    Johnny Banned

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    So what should we do about that? Should we force all companies to pay women more just because they are women. Would that be equality?

    When someones wage is set on an individual level then it's up to the person to demand more money. If a man wants 15 percent more money then he can walk up to the boss and say "give me a 15% pay raise or I leave" Then the boss could say yes or no or he could offer mayby 5% or 10%. It all has to do how much the individual is worth to the company and the same rules apply to women.

    It's called democracy. The person the people want for president get's to become president. If a women runs for president and does'nt win then that's because the country does'nt want her to be president. Remember that 52% of the population are women so if all women voted on a female president then she would win every single time. But apparantly some women preffer to vote on a candite based on the candidates policies rather than just judging the candidate by it's gender.

    The problem with that amendment was that it did'nt actualy do anything. It wounds cute on papper but it's about as usefull as adding an amendment that proclaims that "drugs are not cool" there are already laws that protect womens rights in the exact same way that this attempted amendment did. At the same time this amendment would remove alot laws made specificly to protect women. When the amendment was first brought up if it had been ratified then women would have been drafted and sent into combat. The modern day repercussions is that women would not have the protection against some aspects of heavy industry. The amendment can also be used against anything gender specific like male/female bathrooms, schools where boys and girls have seperate classes, sportsteams. State funded support groups and institutions for women, support for abused women. It would all have to be removed.

    Also about the part of women who are beaten and abused. It's illegal and the men who do it get punished for it. More severely even than if they had attacked another man. Amoung men and women It's socialy more frowned upon than attacking a man. What else do you want? Are we brekaing out the itty bitty guillotine's?



     
  7. BobCox2

    BobCox2 IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    OMFG! in Crowbar swings you leave out Matriarchy?
     
  8. PFSS

    PFSS IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    *erm* It seems I owe you an apology, It's been a while since I read the checklist and I forgot what it was exactly. Yes - you are right that the all men have at least some those privilages, and many of them they can't do much about.

    :embarassed:

    However I don't think that having those, or some of those, makes a man more privilaged than a woman. You could come up with a Female Privilage checklist - I've seen MRA nutjobs come up with a few every now and then. And I think we can certainlly agree that those privilages that women have don't make them more privilaged than men.


     
  9. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    Quite a few of the things on that list seems untrue. I also don't buy the whole "if I fail/succeed, it won't be because I'm a man" because this is exactly what the website is saying. It does nothing more than attempt to assert a female privilege by putting men's qualifications in questions simply because they are men.

    As for constitutional protection, gender is a suspect class. That is, anytime a law is passed that specifically affects men and women differently, there is a standard that must be met in order for the law to be constitutional. It's not as high as the standards for race, national origin, or alienage, but the required standard still must be present. The theory is that all men and all women of different races should be treated exactly the same, but that fundamental biological differences between men and women necessitate that the laws treat men and women differently. Thus you have things like:
    * Only men are required to enter the Selective Service
    * Originally, only men could be charged with rape
    * The Constitutional right to privacy extends farther for women than it does for men

    These are based on fundamental differences between men and women (men are generally physically stronger, and thus are preferred as soldiers, only men can physically penetrate a woman with their genitalia, only women can get pregnant).
     
  10. Euthyphro

    Euthyphro IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    Johnny!!! I can't believe we agree.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say that sexism isn't alive and well, because it is quite evident if you just go outside. I am with Johnny here though, what do you propose? Arrest guys who are jerks? Arrest women that want to stay home? (my Mom is actually very sexist, she says things like "Women's work" in reference to house work)

    It is a societal problem not a constitutional problem. Equalitarian legislation would just end up being abused and leave women feeling like they are owed things they have not worked for (not to say as you said that they get everything they have worked for, but who does?).

    I hope you will realize that this is not a pro-oppression stance. I just don't feel it is something the government should handle, as Johnny said, there are already laws to the effect of your Amendment.

    I would love to see women up in arms like at the Lowell Textile Strikes of 1832, or the likes of a Lucretia Mott, or Voltarine de Clyre, but they fought for the rights of people not for equalitarianism. It is a big difference.

    Peace

    Euthyphro



     
  11. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane IncGamers Site Pal

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    It's true that women face a harder time on some industries (mine especially). My female friends at work all have stories to tell about things that have happened to them that are just :rolleyes:, although it's definitely getting better. That is, none of the women my age have complained that people ask them to get coffee or make copies, which apparently was a wide-spread problem "back in the day".

    Sometimes, however, I think women are a bit too sensitive, and start seeing sexism where it doesn't exist. In my line of work, there is a lot of explaining and diagramming that has to go on to get your point across, and often times I think women feel that they are being talked down to when said explanations start, when really I just had to explain the same thing to my other co-workers who were male.

    Also, I'm sure we could create a checklist for women as well. Here, I'll start:

    1. If I raise a child, I'm sure it's mine and doesn't belong to someone my husband was cheating on me with.

    Side Note:

    This is so true. And let me tell you, from the standpoint of someone who was married and who purchased said items for his wife, it ticked me off to no end. Clothes that cost twice as much and only last through two laundry cycles made me want to tear my hair out in financial frustration. Why do they do that? My wife (now ex-wife) and I talked about it at length whenever we went shopping. My hypothesis was that women are expected to have bigger wardrobes than men, and thus are expected to wear any given outfit less.

    EDIT:

    I think they got desperate at the end of the list.
    That doesn't necessarily say anything about patriarchy. Perhaps women just naturally have different priorities than men.
    That's because it overwhelming sells to men, but not women. Where is the equality issue here? That women want such images, but can't find them? Or that women want something other than images? If the second case, I'd like to point you in the direction of soap operas . . .
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  12. ellie lindsey

    ellie lindsey Banned

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    Paternity tests aren't all that difficult.

    It does, because of the prevailing notion that women are inherently better at raising children then men are. It's a notion that reinforces and perpetuates itself by its own mere existence.

    You've got to be extraordinarily careful with essentialist arguments, because let's follow that argument to its conclusion: sexist inequalities exist because of natural inclinations for men and women - thus, oppression of women is natural for men and being oppressed is natural for women.

    And I just refuse to believe that.

    I'm a very ardent social constructionist. That means that many, if not most of the differences that we take for granted are products of socialization. Gender is most definitely socially constructed, but even sex is, to an extent as well.

    (I should give basic definitions for sex and gender. Keep in mind that these are rather oversimplified and also act under a gender and sexual binary. I think it would be too complicated if I got into their full meanings right now, though)

    Gender: Social statuses and meanings for men and women
    Sex: Biological characteristics for males and females

    I differentiate men/male and women/female very deliberately.


    A) Women are often discouraged from taking charge or being assertive. There are many perjorative terms for women who try to get what they want.
    B) The assumption is that if a women has a child, she will have to leave to care for the child (rather than the man - which goes back to the point that I made to Saro earlier in the post) and therefore, women are considered more risky investments.

    I'd like to see a woman run. If you think that Hillary Clinton was allowed to run "as a woman" you are sorely mistaken. From the get-go, she had to run under a banner as "tough as any man." She ran in male terms.

    You ripped that straight from Wikipedia didn't you?

    Why can't women be drafted and sent into combat? Benevolent sexism.

    I'd like to see more gender neutral restrooms. We had them at my college and they were godsend. Thailand has an edge over the United States in this.

    Also, I said that I don't believe that the ERA is adequate any more. I'd much rather that NOW's Constitutional Equality Amendment get passed.

    http://www.now.org/issues/economic/cea/concept.html

    Which, in section 5, states that it doesn't preclude anti-discriminatory laws.

    But if you think the ERA didn't pass because people were concerned about government funded rape crisis centers, I think you'll find yourself sorely mistaken.

    Okay, here are a few basic things men can do to help curb rape.
    1. Men need to stop telling rape jokes. Full stop. Not only is it something that is extremely painful for rape victims to hear, it is something that normalizes sexist attitudes.
    2. Reduce objectification of women's bodies both in societal and individual contexts. Many rapists see women as a collection of body parts and that kind of attitude is objectification brought to its extreme.
    3. Fathers need to ensure that their children respect women. That goes far beyond opening doors and "never hitting girls." In fact, those kinds of things serve only as an illusion of respect.


     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  13. Johnny

    Johnny Banned

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    Good now adress my post.
     
  14. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane IncGamers Site Pal

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    I'm not sure the woman would take kindly to getting that piece of mail . . .
    I don't subscribe to that notion anyway, and it wasn't really what I meant.

    I meant that perhaps women are more biologically more inclined to value their children more than their career. Thus, when someone has to stay home with the kid, the choice is obvious to some (the list itself even implies that the woman often sees it as a given. Is that because of societal pressure, or natural instincts? Hard to say.)
    You'd have to connect the two more than that before I'd buy the slippery slope. Men and women are biologically different, and evolutionarily have different objectives when it comes to reproduction. That doesn't have much to do with domestic violence, for instance.



     
  15. Euthyphro

    Euthyphro IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    I have one for Saro's list:

    2) If I have consensual sex with a woman and she becomes pregnant, in most states, I have no say over her right to abort our child. I think both people know the risk involved if they are not daft or mentally ill.

    Personally, my wife loves working, and if she made enough money I would be ecstatic to stay home to raise and home school the hypothetical children we don't have.

    I might be out of the loop to argue sexual prejudice since I work for a business owned by two women, and my wife is a very frank and in your face, take nothing from none one sort of woman. She is 1st in command at a Garden Center owned by a man, but most of the employees are women. Landscaping is one of those jobs (at least in Orlando) where women often feel taken advantage of or mistreated, but my wife works harder and longer than almost everyone there. She also gets paid better. Would it be right for here to be paid the same if she physically could not handle as much of the work involved? She has had employees both male and female and more often than not the women she hires end up quitting because they think the job is about looking at flowers and not about hard work. Societal pressure? Natural Propensities?

    I think you may be going to far ad absurdum here. I doubt you would argue that males and females are the same outside of the difference in genitalia. To take the opposite approach that the prejudice is intrinsically societal is just as absurd.

    Native Tribes in the US that were matriarchal still had male warriors and females who farmed and took care of children, even when females had a greater say in governmental proceedings and males joined the females' families instead of vice versa.

    The same can be said of patriarchal tribes like the Iroquois where women, though they did not hold office, were held in high esteem, sat in on proceedings and could at will remove any male from the council. Men were still hunters and women tended the children and farmed, took care of education, etc.

    I am not saying by any means that this should then be the "place" of women in society, but to deny that there is a natural propensity goes against common sense and reason. It is just as ludicrous not to recognize societal oppression which does still exist.

    There is a middle ground but it does not rest at the feet of governments to pass more frivolous laws; it rests in the minds of the individuals.

    Peace

    Euthyphro



     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  16. ellie lindsey

    ellie lindsey Banned

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    Rent a PO box. It's just $10 and determining paternity ought to be worth that.

    You're asking if two feminist blogs are implying gender essentialist arguments?

    Uh, no. No they aren't.

    Women often see that as a given because they are trained to see it as a given.

    Okay, I'll bite. (keep in mind that to make a gender essentialist argument, you have to conflate sex and gender)

    Males are biologically different than females.

    In society, men get jobs, women raise children. Must be because males are inclined to get jobs and females are inclined to take care of children.

    In society, men hold the majority of power and women don't. Must be because males are more inclined towards power-holding than females.

    etc.


    Gender essentialism is fundamentally flawed not only because the inherent conflation of sex and gender, but because of the differences in patriarchal societies throughout history. Because oppression has been different, the social mechanisms of sexism (which gender essentialism tries to pin to sex) are different. And if they're biologically defined, they really should remain the same.


     
  17. Euthyphro

    Euthyphro IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    I can get on board with this. Rape isn't funny. My niece is the product of rape.

    It is a bit hard to have men reduce sexual objectification alone. There is a Dave Chappell skit where he talks about women being upset about being goggled and/or called ho's when they are dressed like street walkers. The joke he makes is a comparison to a guy on a street corner in a police uniform being upset when people mistake him for a cop. Its a two way street. Where is the list for women?

    I think that would depends on the woman. My wife expects a certain level of romance and chivalry that is not at all illusionary. This is a two way street as well. I except her to be kind as well. What sort of beyond are we talking? Equalistarianism, or fair treatment and respect?



     
  18. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    So as long as I say "Man, I feel like a woman" I can say I have these problems too? How bizarre.

    I think by trying to separate sex and gender you just make the problem worse because you are using what you are saying is bad to define gender. Seems a pretty defeatist way to go about it. "I'm defining my problem to exist, therefore we must come up with a solution!"
     
  19. Johnny

    Johnny Banned

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    What's the point of appealing to society on rapists? The problem lies with the individual who commits the act and not the lingerie posters he saw on the way to the bushes he hid in or the brand of cereal he had for breakfast. It's a very comfortable stance to take that they commit rape because of society instead of because of the fact that they are disrespectfull, selfish assholes. Why? Because blaming a rapist for rape is pointless. Everyone already know that he is to blame. Venting anger at him doesn't cause drama or controversy. So lets move the scope slightly to the side and see what we have there. Oh a poster of a women. How can we blame that on the other men who never commited or endorsed rape so they can feel guilt? Hmmm oh further down there's a logo. A company. A company with men as majority stock owners. Cool lets roll with that. They are to blame for the rape.

    Does anyone remember back in the 80's when people thought men commited rape because it had happened to them when they where younger? Ofcourse that was all bull**** but we do the same thing now. 100% of the issue is the rapists themselves. Feminists that blame society instead of the actual rapists are at best avoiding the issue and at worst helping future rapists by undermining any effort to prevent it by derailing the effort from the primary target. The rapists and steering it towards the innocent society.

    Cool I'm a lesbian trapped in a mans body. Where do I sign up for my affermative action relief package?



     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  20. Halifax Donair

    Halifax Donair IncGamers Member

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    Re: Sexism and Patriarchy

    "22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex."

    this one is clearly wrong. if i am overly careless with my driving it would be attrubited to a man. men are reckless according to sterotypes.

    they should have said:

    "22.if i am overly cautious with my driving it won't be attributed to my sex".

    "25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability or my gender conformity"

    wrong as well. men have to worry in a competitive way and are judged based on their competitive output. guys are often labeled as *** based on their wardrobe.
     

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