In this course, we have talked a lot about misogyny and we have occasionally (as in the case of radical feminist thought) encounter the term patriarchy. In their introduction to the Crunk Feminist Collection, Brittney C. Cooper, Susana M. Morris, and Robin M. Boylorn write:
Patriarchy is invested in the normalization of masculinity in all of its manifestations (including rape culture and violence) and the silence and invisibility of women, especially women of color. The patriarchy tells us that women should stay in their place and not challenge authority, The patriarchy wants us to be misguided and misinformed. Our essays pm gender demonstrate resistance and refusal to comply with traditional, irrational, and patriarchal bullshit. Fuck the patriarchy! (12)
What does “the patriarchy” mean to you? In your view, is its use theoretically defensible? Why or why not?
3 thoughts on “Week 9 Day 1 Discussion Question 1”
I believe that Usman is spot on with his description of patriarchy. In my view, patriarchy is a general system that holds true to certain power dynamics which hold men as the highest order or head of the structure, thus implying that women or women-identifying persons are inherently less-than and/or less worthy and important. Patriarchal systems are institutions or phenomena that enforce the aforementioned system of patriarchy, which contributes to an unjust and unwarranted negative bias against women in the eyes of mainstream society. Patriarchy has been a system that has been around for many years, and continuously develops, however women still remain to be at the forefront of discrimination. Although not in the assigned reading, after the introduction of the Crunk feminist collective, a passage entitled “Dear Patriarchy” seems to sum up most of the identifying features of patriarchy brilliantly. The author labels the relationship with patriarchy as one that is unhealthy, dysfunctional and abusive as well as one that is determined to silence the views of the author. The author mentions how they have been tricked into believing ‘things are the way they are’ and the author is ready to stand up to the oppression and reject a fact that they know not to be true. Ultimately, this passage highlights one of the main underlying themes of patriarchy, which is that of silence the voices of women, often in a manner that is abusive and conducive to manipulation and degradation.
I view “the patriarchy” as a system implemented for and heavily sustained by (old) white men as a means to enact violence against BIPOC and women. It is marketed towards all men, but the only people it truly benefits are those in power (the white “elite”). It exists deeply in all structures: politics, healthcare, the economy, the justice system… It is the erasure of women’s pain in medicine, especially the pain of BIPOC women who are disproportionately underdiagnosed and given less care. Only recently has the male medicinal world “officially ruled” period cramps to be as painful as a heart attack. This doesn’t even begin to cover the ways in which women’s pain is brushed aside in medicine, with many women having to essential beg for doctors to test for conditions such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts/tumors. To me, so much of the patriarchy lies in the ways women are treated in medicine, with pain being ignored and excused by “bad PMS”, and the only “suggestions” being Tylenol or birth control. Unfortunately, medical education has always disregarded women’s pain and concerns over their health; I believe this is a way to subdue women and rob them of their own body autonomy. It is the oppression of women through medicine, especially in how medicine is withheld and inadequately performed.
Cooper, Morris and Boylorn write that patriarchy involves itself in the silencing of women and people of color/ wants people to be submissive to the power of men. To me, patriarchy follows the same broad strokes but there is an emphasis on the modalities of control that are employed in order to sustain the people most affected by the system. As we saw in the Mack readings and others in the disability/Native American women readings; patriarchy uses violence to shut out the voices. To me, this measure for control is a key defining trait of patriarchy that expands it from another “old boys club”. The patriarchy is an evil institution that kills, rapes and beats women for compliance. The theory of the three authors is defensible because of the evidence we see in the violence against the disabled, Indians, Black women and how their voices are oppressed.