It seems quite difficult to read anything by feminist writers today that doesn’t come back to the idea of patriarchy. This concept has, in my opinion, actually taken away a lot from the feminist struggle. When most people think of the struggle of feminism, they think of women overcoming the dominance imposed upon them by males; however, if you are a little more clever, you will realise that this is only half of the issue. The other side is the dominance of males imposed on females by females. This realisation requires a little more introspection by women, admittedly.
When a feminist writer blames male dominance in society on patriarchy, they are not considering what women are doing wrong to deny themselves access to the dominant positions in society. Thus, the need to be introspective and work harder to attain betterment of oneself is negated. This is a major step backwards.
While playing the victim does demonstrate how a perpetrator is doing something bad, does little to encourage oneself to improve or change. So, I would say that there are other reasons than just the idea of the patriarchy for, for example, there being so few female CEOs in the world.
I believe that one issue is that many so-called ‘masculine’ activities are quite beneficial to the introspection of an individual. One example is sports. When women don’t play sports because they think that competitive activities are a guy thing, they miss out on the chance to criticize themselves. In sport, it is quite evident who is better and who is worse. In other activities that are usually non-competitive, like art or dance, this is less obvious (of course, comparing Picasso to a common person is an easy call, but comparing two people in the same range becomes extremely debatable). When you do poorly in an art class, there is no game sheet to say how few points you scored. You are not reminded constantly of your shortcomings. In sport, assuming you are playing in the right level for your skill, you are constantly reminded about what you can do better (this is why playing against poor players will generally stagnate or even degrade a player’s skill, since they don’t worry about what they are doing wrong). This forced introspection and encouragement of betterment is a strong influence on the development of a child’s mind, inside and outside of sports.
This is only one example. No doubt there are other activities deemed ‘masculine’ that help men develop into the kind of people who will work a little harder to achieve dominant positions in society. So, this is actually a kind of feminism, in my opinion; just one that goes against the grain of what many feminists seem to advocate these days. In short, parents instill the skills needed for successful girls — those parents must realise that many ‘masculine’ activities are quite beneficial to their children’s development.
- Feminist masculinity? (womenintheology.org)
- Who is really placing the blame, and where does it fall? (queerguesscode.wordpress.com)
- The Feminist Patriarchy (libertywithoutapologies.com)
- Don Jon’s Obsession with Masculinity (welcometothepatriarchy.wordpress.com)
- Patriarchy is not your fault, but it is your responsibility. (queerguesscode.wordpress.com)