So I've been following the MRA/Feminist debate online for a while now, and there is one thing that has always left me feeling dirty, The word "Patriarchy." And I wasn't exactly sure why, until now.
Around half of the occasions in which I'd heard the word, were occasions in which men were complaining about sexism or gender inequality disproportionately negatively affecting men. "That's part of the patriarchal system" feminists would say.
My initial question was "what kind of patriarchy would put mechanisms in place to allow women to hurt men? Worst patriarchy ever!"
But I was over thinking the logic here. Then I thought "Well who is this almighty Patriarchy, ruler of society, with power over all?" And I concluded that it must be the same elite class and power players that hurt every other aspect of society, such as the economy, media, family law, and politics. So I started crafting my response around Occam's Razor. The question "Isn't it enough that it might just be bad people, there is nothing inherently 'male' about any of the top down system of oppression that goes on in western society.
But then I realized I was over thinking still.
The ways in which this argument was disingenuous falls apart if you strip the argument down to its basic fallacy.
It's the childish " redirect" tactic. You take the word "Patriarchy" "Pater" means male "Archy" means rule. These people are literally saying that sexism against men, is because men.
I heard a similar saying when I was a child. "I'm rubber and you're glue, whatever you call me bounces off me and sticks to you."
Now some may say I'm oversimplifying here. But let's take my previous question into account, really.
Who is the Patriarchy?
The simple answer is Society and Government. The Social Justice Wizard will attempt to use the talking point "Well, Straight White men have run the government and media for 200 years."
But this is also a disingenuous argument. And one that is highly sexist against the people who have worked for "equality" throughout this nation's history. You are literally diminishing the influence that women have had throughout time, and making the assumption that just because someone in power was a white male, that they couldn't possibly have been an ally for women's issues.
Others blame culture. I once again respond with the notion that perhaps women contribute to the culture.
Am I arguing that men don't have immense "privilege" or influence? No. But the influence of men on society and government and the influence of women on society and government do not have to be mutually exclusive concepts. And I'd argue that the real reason so much of our society does amplify the gender differences is that men are super-sensitive to the needs of women because they view the well being of women as being in direct relation to the well being of the whole of society. In other words, the "men in power" (so to speak), give that power freely to women. And we're supposed to believe that this concept is somehow male centric and apologize for oppression against ourselves.
"You're a sexist"
"I know you are, but what am I?"
Is literally what is taking place here.
The word "Patriarchy" is thrown around with no fact checking and proof that these policies and aspects of society weren't influenced or implimented by women. Nope, it is assumed that when something feels "old fashioned" or "traditional gender roles" that it must be inherently beneficial to the historic "manly man."
Instead, I submit to you, "The Patriarchy" isn't a term meant to get you thinking about who benefits and who loses when someone is oppressed because of their gender. No, I see it as a term meant to attach a penis to negative gender issues, to avoid a real discussion about sexism.