Last week I was browsing through my Facebook Timeline and someone had posted an April fools joke about patriarchy, basically stating a woman's role in a mans life ! So then I thought why not write a piece about this topic!
Patriarchy is real, and it is the way that the world is organized around gender – to benefit men. It is the way things are-beliefs, behaviours, practices, ideas that are embedded in institutions and social practices. It is the reality we created, the very air that we breathe. This power imbalance is what causes the symptoms like sexual harassment, rape, prostitution, femicide etc.
The etymology of the word “patriarchy” in its most literal sense means “the rule of the father” and comes from the Greek word patriarkhēs, which means father or chief of the race. In the past this term was used to refer to the autocratic role by the male who is the head of the family. But as years have gone by this has changed through the influence of feminist writings and movements since the late 1900s.
Today, when we use the term, we refer to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men. It usually draws its power from societies being patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.
The matriarchy is the opposite – i.e. a social system in which females hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and control of property. While there are some examples of matriarchal societies particularly in ancient civilisations, most modern civilisations today are largely patriarchal.
It is said that feminists today are an angry, pierced, Mohawk-wearing graphic and, among other things, describes them as blaming the patriarchy for all society’s ills, but how untrue and true is that?
Feminism is the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. In my opinion the reason why they may come across as angry is because when they do not raise their voices, they are never heard or they seem not to be putting enough strength into the cause. Men say feminists are angry individuals because they seem to be tearing men down.
Last year in South Africa our sexual violence rate against women and children was super high. Women took it into their own hands and went to the streets of Pretoria and had a silent protest for the victims we had lost. Women had to do this because in most cases men always have an excuse for their actions against women. That's why there are feminists who will say what other women are forbidden or scared to say, fight for things women never thought they could fight for and fight our battles, the same battle men keep quite on. So yes, feminists are angry that as much as they voice out what most women are afraid to say, our (women) demands still go unnoticed and unsolved!
Its really sad that we still live in a world whereby "patriarchy" is still a standard in society and whereby men feel entitled to women. In the next issue we go will talk more on this issue and speak more about toxic masculinity.