Yes, that one word. That one word that rolls of the tongues of feminists like hairs off a cat. The one word that, I’m sure, makes most MRA’s either grow red with exasperation or roll their eyes, and for good reason.
To find what feminists really mean when they use the word is no easy task—even the supposedly reliable definer of feminist concepts, finallyfeminism101.com, has a very shaky, unclear, tinfoil helmet-wearing article on the subject. So, perhaps a bit of help from Wikipedia is in order: “Patriarchy is a social system in which the male gender role as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination.”
Is this what we have in Western culture today? No, of course not. Anybody who says otherwise is either living a very sheltered life, or has an agenda (usually the latter). The fact that women initiate 70% of divorces is certainly evidence that women aren’t held in perpetual slavery by their club-toting, whip-cracking, double-breasted suit-wearing husbands who stepped out of a time machine fresh from the Fifties.
What is Patriarchy blamed for? Well, if we want to pick apart the few instances in which feminists are anything resembling specific in their use of the term, I suppose we could go with their blaming it for domestic violence. This claim, of course, falls flat in face of the fact that domestic violence is so high among lesbians. The same thing happens when feminists try to blame rape on Patriarchy.
More recently, though, a feminist I was debating blamed patriarchy, as I’m sure we’ve all heard before, on “systematic, widespread violence against women.” She, of course, completely skated over the high rates of domestic violence against men, the portrayal of anti-male violence in popular culture as not only acceptable, but humorous, and the fact that men make up 80% of murder victims.
What if she were correct? If you said “horseshit,” you’d be right, but if we examine that claim a bit longer instead of dismissing it immediately, we’ll find a few anti-feminist gems. Evaluating her claim requires a look at what is meant by Patriarchy in this context, for one. She is referring, of course, to the Man, or what is more accurately interpreted as “men in power”. So, who holds the power in our society? The answer “men,” while technically correct, is quite misleading. Since 85% of the homeless are men, obviously being a man doesn’t give you power. A tour of the American South will also debunk the notion that it’s white men who have the power. No, the people who hold the true power in our society are the rich and politicians; whether they are male or female has absolutely no bearing on the amount of power in their hands.
So, let’s assume she’s saying that it’s the powerful people who are causing the violence. Does this hold up under scrutiny? Certainly not. A vast majority of violent crimes are committed by people of low socioeconomic status. Many bigots, from white supremacists to feminists, have tried to paint violence as a result of blackness or maleness, conveniently forgetting that blacks and men represent disproportionately larger numbers of the people of lowest socioeconomic status.
But violence does affect people of every class, in some form or another. So, poverty isn’t the cause of crime, but is certainly a mitigating factor.
Perhaps it’s time to take another look at the prison demographics for the United States. In addition to men of color (excluding Asians), the most common group of males you’ll find in prisons are children of single mothers, who represent 78% of prisoners. Yes, fathers, when they are responsible, are one of the biggest crime-stoppers out there.
A rather interesting study was conducted by zoologists in Hluhluwe-Umofolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. They had been discovering disturbing numbers of rhinoceros carcasses all over the park, bearing injuries that were inconsistent with any type of weapon used by human poachers. After investigation, they discovered that the rhinos were being killed by juvenile elephants whose fathers had been killed by poachers. One of the scientists decided that they should remedy the problem by bringing in a group of six elder elephants. The adult elephants arrived, and the moment one of the juveniles tried to brutalize a rhino, his step father picked him up and slammed him onto the ground. Before too long, the rhino killings stopped altogether.
The lesson that can be gleaned from this, and which shows this feminist theory (like pretty much all others) to be a house of cards, is that Patriarchy, at least in the traditional meaning of the word, isn’t the cause of violence. It is the solution to violence. Feminist theory, when put to work on modern societies, makes them nothing short of unlivable. Who knew?
Lie G, Schilit R, Bush J, Montague M, Reyes L. Lesbians in currently aggressive relationships:How frequently do they report aggressive past relationships? Violence and Victims Vol. 6, 1991. pp. 121–135.