A continuation of Beyond “The Patience Stone” Part I
Patriarchy is not only prevalent in Muslim societies. It is a worldwide epidemic. Women in China are still very submissive to men. They may not have to endure foot binding, to be considered a suitable wife, any longer. But, the female sex is still looked at as a lesser being.
Female infanticide had seen a resurgence in China in recent years. It’s partially believed this was due to the one-child policy they had in place until recently. A son was often viewed as a better option than a daughter. One reason is because they can carry on the family name. Additionally, sons are valuable for performing agricultural work and manual labor. So, for many Chinese couples, if they had a daughter as their first and only allowed child, they would have abandoned their newborn baby girl wherever possible. Even in places like garbage dumps.
With ultrasound technology, China had seen an epidemic of sex-selection abortions. A couple would choose to have an abortion if it was found to be a girl. This practice caused an imbalance in the Chinese population. It is estimated there are 30–40 million more men than women in China today.
The same thing happens in India. In a documentary “The Three Deadliest Words in the World: It’s a girl,” an Indian woman confesses to having killed eight infant daughters.
Believe it or not, patriarchy is even in the good ole USA.
As I’ve already pointed out, fundamentalist Christians share some of the same mindsets of Muslim people. If you doubt this, just research the Duggar family or their close friends, the Bates family. These families adhere to a fringe strain of fundamentalist Christianity dubbed the “Christian patriarchy” or sometimes the “Quiverfull” movement. Their belief system is that God has ordained a specific family order, and that this family order must be followed. The husband leads, the wife submits, and the children obey.
Patriarchy is often described as a social system in which power is primarily held by adult men. But, according to Carol P. Christ, “This definition does not illuminate, but rather obscures, the complex set of factors that function together in the patriarchal system.”
She offers a more complex definition, which I happen to agree with.
Patriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.
So, let’s break it down a bit. Today’s existing “sex-roles” are the product of a patriarchal society. Males are socialized into patriarchal masculinity to become men, and females are socialized into patriarchal femininity to become women.
In a patriarchy society, “sex-roles” supports male power and helps make the system’s domination/subordination dynamic seem natural and normal. Each sex is assigned different moral, intellectual, and emotional traits. This creates what we typically call gender roles. These roles typically make people believe things like men go to work and provide for the family, while women stay at home and tend to the house chores and the children. This conditioning starts at a very young age. Boys don’t cry. They have to be tough. They are stronger and smarter than girls. Girls cry easily. They get their feelings hurt often. They are supposed to be well mannered and delicate. This patriarchal system of control is designed to justify and perpetuate male dominance.
The gender roles in patriarchy are rigid, repressive, and reactionary. These roles constrain the healthy flourishing of both males and females, but females experience the most significant psychological and physical injuries from the system. In patriarchy, gender is a category that functions to establish and reinforce inequality.
So, what does this mean?
In my opinion, it means men have big egos. Mind you, not all men are like this, just the ones who play the game. And things are changing more and more each day. However, there are men, who were taught to be tough and not show weakness. These men seek power. It’s almost as if they want to be like the mightiest peacock, with their feathers fanned for all the world to see.
Their ultimate goal is to build an empire that they can pass along to their male offspring. Just take a look at some of the political families in the USA.
The Kennedy family is one family that seemed to have reared their children to be prominent in American politics, government, and business.
We also have the Bush family. Jeb Bush is a candidate for the presidency in the 2016 election. He wants to follow along in the footsteps of his brother and father. But the Bush family has been at the heart of American business and politics for more than a century. It all started with George Herbert Walker Bush’s grandfather, Samuel Prescott Bush. Samuel Bush reared his son Prescott Sheldon Bush, to follow in his footsteps and Prescott became an investment Banker and a U.S. Senator. It seems as if though this is a sort of training.
Men dominating women through the control of female sexuality?
Carol P. Christ believes the institutions of patriarchal marriage is not incidental to patriarchy, but rather is central.
The customs that surround patriarchal marriage including the requirement that brides are untouched sexually or “virgin,” the “protection” of a girl’s virginity by her father and brothers, the seclusion of girls and women, the requirement that wives must be sexually faithful to their husbands, and the enforcement of these customs through shaming, violence, and the threat of violence, all have one purpose: to ensure that a “man’s” children are his. While it is relatively easy to know who a child’s biological mother is, it is not so easy to be certain about the biological father. If a woman has more than one lover, then without DNA testing, which has only recently become discovered, it is nearly impossible to be absolutely certain who a child’s father is. One solution to this dilemma is to define fatherhood in other ways. The second is to control women’s sexuality absolutely.
This mindset has distorted the way these men think. It gives them the perception that they are the superior sex and they can do whatever they want to females. It’s almost as if they think they own women. I believe this is why the sort of things that happened to Judy Dykstra-Brown in her post Devil # 3, and other women all around the world, occur.
The effects of this mindset run deeper than just the abuse of women. This mindset has caused men in power to edit religious documents, such as the bible, to better fit their needs. This mindset has been behind every war we have ever been in. Men in power believe in one thing only, power through consumption and conquering.
While writing this I was reminded of a song that captures what it feels like for a girl in this world.