For many women, and some enlightened men, the word patriarchy means, at its best, inequality; at its worst, it means discrimination, control, dominance, danger, violence and, sometimes, death to a woman.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines patriarchy as:
noun pa·tri·ar·chy \-ˌär-kē\
: a family, group, or government controlled by a man or a group of men
: a social system in which family members are related to each other through their fathers
Full Definition of PATRIARCHY
1: social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
2: a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy***
And, Dictionary.com defines it as:
noun, plural patriarchies.
1.a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father’s clan or tribe.
2.a society, community, or country based on this social organization.
3.a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity from women:
The corporate glass ceiling is one consequence of patriarchy in education and business.
4.(often initial capital letter) the men in power in a society (usually preceded by the):
The Patriarchy is vested in maintenance of the status quo.****
Feminists know exactly what patriarchy is, what it means and what it wants. While I know almost no feminists in real life, on the social networking hell we call Facebook, I have found my tribe; most of them Witches, all of them Goddess-oriented and yes, all of them feminists. Networking with them has helped me enormously to not feel alone in my anger and bitterness against the patriarchy that we live in, not only in this country, but around the world where in some places it is worse; where it is a death sentence to be born a woman.
I find myself bewildered by women who agree with the GOP and their War on Women; yes, make no mistake, there IS a War on Women being perpetrated by the Republican party in this country. They make wish to deny this and that, no, they are not trying to take away women’s healthcare, but let’s face it, that is what they are trying to do. They use their religion as a tool to stop abortion because all life is sacred. Yes, all life is sacred unless it belongs to a person of color, an illegal immigrant or someone on death row that those in charge of Republican-controlled states cannot wait to put to the death penalty. The lives that are sacred are only the lives that THEY say are sacred. So, abortion must go and with it will go healthcare for thousand and thousands of women around the country who count on these clinics for mammograms, pap smears, HPV vaccines. Abortion must go, and with it the lives of all of those desperate women who will find other ways to end a pregnancy for reasons that belong to no one but themselves. These women will join the millions before them who found themselves in the same situation and in their desperation, died from botched abortions. But, hey, they are only women, so patriarchy does not care. Patriarchy cares about staying in control. That’s what this is all about. Women think they are equal, they want the same rights as men, they want to be paid the same, they want that ridiculous ERA — well, they can’t have it. We will start with healthcare in taking away their agency and the rest will be easy. Surprise, no it won’t. For every woman who, for whatever reason agrees with you, there is a woman who will fight you until death.
It’s not about fighting men; it’s about fighting the patriarchy, the culture/society in which we live. It’s about fighting, not the status quo anymore, but retaining what we already have that we are in danger of losing. Sure, men want to stay in control. This is what they have been taught from Day 1. They are the dominant ones, they are made in the image of a supreme, male God. Women are to serve them and be obedient and willing. Women are taught that they are not made in the image of God, that they are second best, inferior, never good enough, behave at all costs, swallow your feelings, don’t be selfish, take are of others.
Sorry, that is a load of crap. Traditional, patriarchal religion is a load of crap. People base their opinions and feelings on a book written by a bunch of men over the course of thousands of years. If a man later on in history read something he didn’t like from an earlier time, he changed it. There is no truth there. No one who actually wrote the Bible was anywhere around when any of it took place, as in Genesis. Adam and Eve? How about Adam and Lilith, the actual first woman (or so it is said), that refused to lie beneath Adam and so was banished from the Garden. From there it starts. A passage states “Thou shalt not allow a poisoner to live”, becomes “Thou shalt not allow a witch to live”, in the King James version of the Bible because the brave King James was afraid of witches. Witches are women; so women are the ones who are killed; women are the ones to be afraid of. Women are the witches, the healers, the keepers of the Old Wisdom. Here comes the Inquisition and Witch Hunts. This has never stopped; afraid of witches, afraid of women and women’s power, and it all comes around and around again and again, to now.
Women, slowly but surely, are finding that they ARE made in the image of the Divine, but that She is a Goddess. They are leaving their religions of origin in droves, finding each other, finding themselves.
Okay, so, back then to the question, of this women who don’t find themselves, who don’t seem to care that they are being pushed back down? Do they not see what is happening around them? Do they not see the rights that were so hard-fought for are disappearing? Why do so many women find the word feminist to be abhorrent? Shall we try to educate them? Believe me, there are those of who do try. It is a shame that “Back to the Future” was not real so we could take them back to the lives that we are being pushed back into. No rights, no credit, no vote, no jobs (beyond the nurse and secretary), no right to choose for our bodies, NO AGENCY WHATSOEVER.
These are just a few of the examples of why feminists and feminism are needed NOW:
-A judge blames a 16 year old rape victim of grooming her male teacher who raped her http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/15/judge-16-year-old-groomed-teacher-judges-lawyers I even had an intelligent person say to me that this could be true because, you know, the behavior of some teenage girls and the way they dress.
— A man who raped a 3 year old girl did not intend harm, according the this judge. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/07/man-who-sexually-abused-3-year-old-girl-didnt-intend-to-harm-his-victim-california-judge-rules/
— Every 9 seconds, a women is assaulted or beaten. This is just the first of the horrific statistics at the website for the National Coalition of Domestic Violence. Yes, while men are, indeed, victims of domestic violence; BY FAR, it is women, and their children, who are in danger from the opposite sex, most likely an intimate partner. If you read nothing else, go and read these statistics.
— The woman is the breadwinner in 4 out of 10 families. Women are now getting more college degree than men. Women make 79 cents for every dollar made by a man. http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination
— In 1930, deaths attributed to illegal abortions were numbered at 2,700 women; by 1965, while that number dwindled, 17% of deaths concerning pregnancy were due to illegal abortion. Is this what we want to go back to, because this is where patriarchy is once again taking us. https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/06/1/gr060108.html
— Where is our political representation? Women are now 51% of the US population; however they only hold 20% of congressional seats. The US ranks 98th in the world for women in national legislation. https://www.thenation.com/article/why-does-us-still-have-so-few-women-office/ Of course, having more women in power will only help women if they can be open-eyed enough to see how this current patriarchal system hurts and demeans women.
–This story seems to be just breaking. Women are part of the incentive to go to college to play your sport of choice. We are nothing but entertainment, used by, well, everyone. This goes beyond college, but it’s just more male privilege that they think women are there for them and their pleasure. http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13927159/former-louisville-cardinals-basketball-players-recruits-acknowledge-stripper-parties-minardi-hall
— Plus, let us not forget the young white men who decide to go on killing rampages because they cannot get a girlfriend. http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/05/29/elliot_rodger_hated_men_because_he_hated_women.html Yes, as the article states, misogyny harms men, but let’s be serious, who it really harms is women. If you really want to be sick to your stomach, search for the following, “men who kill because they cannot get a girlfriend”; you will find the most sickening articles written by men on how to get women to do what you they want you to do, and how violent they all are. Yes, this is the internet where not everything is true, but yet, we know these things are true because women live it on a daily basis. This is not just sickening, it is downright scary to be a woman.
Misogyny and patriarchy are hand-in-hand partners, make no mistake.
These are just a few of the examples of misogynistic, patriarchal culture that is the U.S. You don’t have to believe me; as I said above, do a Google search; educate yourself on what is happening and what we are in danger of losing, which for some women, has included losing their lives.
Putting all of this out there, plus so much more that I have not even listed, I cannot believe that any woman would not identify as a feminist and fight for her own gender. I hear, “feminist is a label; I don’t like labels”. I hear how feminists don’t have a sense of humor (that’s such a popular one). Well, I’m not alone in thinking that so-called jokes that belittle and demean women are not particularly funny, and only enforce the daily harassment that women deal with. Is there any woman who has not been sexually harassed, assaulted, violated, raped? If you say no, then you are either blind or lying. Do you like your life being taken away? Do you want to live the life of your grandmother? Do you want that for the girl-children to come in your family and in others?
I am not stupid enough to think that this will be read by anyone beyond my online tribe, and other feminists, but I am hopeful. If you hear a woman say that she is not a feminist and feminism is not needed, send her a link to this, and to many other, blogs and articles. Educate her and help her to wake up, open her eyes and educate herself. Then, maybe, just maybe, we can be an inspiration and turn our focus to helping women in other countries who have it even worse than we do, in some instances, where just being a woman is a death sentence.
Women have power; we are powerful – spread the word, educate others, and fight!