Friday, August 7, 2015

Is Patriarchy Real?

Hi everyone, Athena Brown here, founder of 4th Wave Feminism.  I've been invited to share an article on modern day Patriarchy in the US.

But before we get started, some of you probably have a (very understandable) knee-jerk reaction when you see the word "feminist", and for good reason.  Feminism (specifically, Third Wave Feminism) has indeed departed from the Women's Right's Movement, and has become a forum for blaming all societies problems on hetero-normative cis-gender white men.  There are many ways Third Wavers set out to do this, most of which involve concocting pseudo-academic intellectually verbose "theories" that make man-blaming sound more legit.

One of these is "Patriarchy Theory" - the idea that the modern day US is secretly controlled by the central villain of the Third Wave religion: cis-gender straight white men.  Third Wavers illustrate their theory by pointing to absolutely any aspect of modern day living they find unfair, and saying that it's been made that way by the Patriarchy.  And of course, we know the patriarchy is real because of the injustice we see.  We have all this injustice because of the patriarchy.  And how do we know the patriarchy is real?  Just look at all this injustice!

Much like young earth creationism, most patriarchal claims have alternative explanations that are better supported by evidence.  For example, according to Patriarchy Theory, men whistle at women because "they've been trained by the Patriarchy to see women as objects" - although it could also be possible that men are simply attracted to women, and want to express themselves.  Patriarchy theory also says women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes because of the patriarchy too - even though absolutely positively every single study ever conducted on the wage gap has shown that it is caused by women's personal decisions about work.  And finally, as with any belief system, we'll see the either-or use of interpretation.  Hold a door open for me?  How dare you!  I'm a woman!  Fail to hold a door open for me?  Well there you go - male privilege.

But aside from the fact that positive claims for patriarchy are immediately falsifiable, are there any observations that would make it seem outright impossible?  The answer: there are hundreds.

Lets begin by using the absolute loosest definition of patriarchy so that it has the greatest possible chance of survival against rational inquiry; it's a system wherein "masculinity is favored over femininity".  If that were true:

-- Why is it totally okay to beat a man in public, but men can't even LOOK at a woman without it being labeled and denounced?

-- Why would we have laws allowing women to file charges of sexual harassment because of a swimsuit calendar in your cubicle?

-- Why would we lower the physical requirements of women joining, police departments, the military, and remove tests for fire departments altogether,  even when it's been repeatedly demonstrated that women who actually bothered training would have no such need?

-- Why would I, as a woman, be allowed to board the bus ahead of someone who was clearly standing in line before me?  Why is it when I drop something, three different men reach to pick it up?  Why am I always allowed to use the restroom when the sign clearly says "no public restroom"?  Why do I not have to pay for my own meals on dates?  Why can I use the men's room if there's someone in the lady's room, yet if a man tried that, he'd probably be arrested?

-- Why are convicted killers of women more likely to get the death penalty?  In a patriarchy.  Where masculinity is more valued than femininity.

-- Why are women almost never given the death penalty?  In a patriarchy.  Where femininity is not as valued as masculinity.

-- Why do we punish men just for the accusation of rape, but there's virtually no recourse at all towards women who falsely accuse men of rape?  If we valued men and not women, shouldn't this be... reversed somehow?

-- Why would the suicide rate for men be 3 times higher than for women?  In a society where they're more valued?

-- Why are you able to stand up in public, anywhere in the modern day US, and shout "WOMEN ARE SMARTER THAN MEN!" - and get applause, yet if you did that same exact thing and shouted men were smarter than women, you'd get beaten up?  No need for hyperlinks here - just go out and try it yourself.

-- Why is it I can walk into a club wearing lipstick and eyeliner and have men fawn over me, yet for a man to have women fawn over him, he'd have to be a billionaire?  What does money matter when men are more valued than women?

-- Why would the Justice Department have an entire branch set up just for violence against women, even though domestic violence has been shown repeatedly to happen at equal rates to both men and women?

-- Why would this happen?

-- If a building is on fire, how many people would rush in, risking their lives, to save Bob, the big fat bald-headed accountant?  How many would rush in to save Tammy, the bikini model?  Almost everyone goes for the model – but why, when Bob is more valuable because penis I mean "patriarchy"?

-- If a woman is inside her house naked, and a man walks by and looks in the window, he’s a peeping tom, and gets arrested.  Yet if it’s a man inside the house naked and a woman walks by, it’s still the man who gets arrested.

-- Why is almost 3 times as much spent on breast cancer than on prostate cancer?

-- Why are we all okay with men being called nearly ever name under the sun, but we need to "ban bossy"?

If you want to see what patriarchy looks like, just imagine a world where we flip all of these around.  Imagine living in a country where is the exact opposite of everything we have in the US now.  That might arguably be a "patriarchy".

Is there any such place on earth that exists right now?  Are there places where women are treated like trash just for being women?  Why, yes, there is, as a matter of fact, glad you asked.  And that's probably the best indicator that we DON'T have that in the US.  And that's the answer to the original question put forward; yes, patriarchy is real, but not in any developed first world nation.

The job 4th Wave Feminists have in front of us is to acknowledge legitimate women's issues and get to work on them, while debunking the myths created by the Third Wave that hurt everyone.  If you're interested in more, be sure to like and subscribe.

And thanks, James!