What Does the Term “Patriarchy” Mean to Me?
Reader Titfortat asks:
Do you have a specific definition of what you call patriarchy?
Since I use the term “patriarchy on a regular basis, I think I should explain what I mean by it. So here is my definition:
The patriarchy is a system of social relations where:
a) people accept and enforce strict gender roles in order to perpetuate the system where men castrate themselves emotionally and psychologically in order to be able to purchase women and women castrate themselves sexually and professionally in order to be able to sell themselves. Mind you, I’m not talking about buying and selling of sex, which is a completely different issue. I’m talking about men and women entering into a contract where each castrated individual pledges to offer his or her castrated partner what that partner has excised from him or herself.
b) these castrated men and women are welded to each other. As individuals, they cannot survive or lead a full existence because they have lopped off parts of themselves. Now, they need the other to exist.
c) the castrated partners get a reward for leading these castrated existences and being bound to each other not by love but by their self-invalidization. That reward is their children. In patriarchal families, children belong to their parents for as long as those parents remain alive. The children are consumed and cannibalized by the patriarchal parents in every possible way. Sometimes, the adult children are quite elderly but still don’t have a right to a life of their own because they are still in bondage to their parents.
I think that you can now easily deduce for yourselves what kind of people would welcome and defend the patriarchal form of existence. (A hint: “men” is the wrong answer. “Some men and some women” is more like it.)