20 things that tell us patriarchy is alive and well (or “20 reasons we all need feminism”)

Can you believe some people think the battle for gender equality is over? Are you serious?

Wake up! There a millions of things that tell us patriarchy is alive and well and, concomitantly, we still all need feminism. I have even seen some people trying to say that patriarchy does not exist.

Hmmm….try thinking a little, people, with that thing between your ears.

Some people look quizzically at me when I speak of patriarchy; as thought it is a completely alien term. Not only is patriarchy not alien, it is the way all of our societies operate. Think of it like a plane; the patriarchy bit is the framework, the superstructure, the skin, the wiring, the fuel, the food both on board and carried by passengers, the cockpit, the black flight recorder, and most of the controls. And the extra cushions.

People who don’t know about it have quite simply not asked, not observed, and/ or not been taught about it. People who believe it does not exist are quite simply ignorant. No excuses for this one; it’s not like you just weren’t in class that day. The patriarchy deniers are the ones who during the 1960s would have seen the freedom-riders in Alabama and wondered what the fuss was, or would have stood watching a lynching of a black youth and thought it was ‘normal’ even though no white boys were hanging alongside.

And yet, patriarchy – like racism – is really not that hard to understand if your mind is open to it. It is simply the predominant social system everywhere on Earth where men are the primary authority figures in the central societal roles of (a) political leadership, (b) moral authority, and (c) control of property.

In short, patriarchy is a system where men primarily hold power and influence.

These following 20 quick observations quickly demonstrate patriarchy is still alive and well, and why we still need feminism to get us anywhere near a form of equality between the sexes.

You know we still have patriarchy and need feminism when:

1) … a woman doing the same job as a man will be paid around 25% less.

2) … you don’t see an unattractive and aging female actor as lead in a movie with an attractive lover young enough to be her grandson.

3) …. women’s swimming outfits get skimpier, and men become ever-more prudish, donning the longest swim trunks possible.

4) ….Twitter trolls go after a feminist man, saying he is gay or stupid, but go after a feminist woman by threatening to rape her.

5) ….a female public figure is subject, even before opening her mouth, to comments about her hair, the way she is dressed, or her makeup.

6) ….despite being more than 50% of the world’s population, on average women only make up 20% of parliamentary seats.

7) … only 4% of CEO posts in Fortune 500 companies are held by women.

8) ….. anti-social behaviour in boys is dismissed as ‘boys will be boys, while anti-social behaviour in girls is not tolerated (ever heard of ‘girls will be girls’?).

9) …. mostly only women wear makeup. Men don’t, because under patriarchy nobody really cares how men look.

10) …. women most often take the man’s surname when marrying, almost never the other way around.

11) … the waiter most often gives the bill to the man at the table, or gives the wine to the man for tasting.

12) … 1 in 3 women are subject to serious sexual assault by men, including rape.

13) …. photo shots of Heads of State are an exercise in ‘Where’s the Woman?’

14) …. women are forbidden from combat roles in the military.

15) …. men order a lap-dance with their business lunch.

16) …. you see topless women on page three of some fool’s rag of a newspaper.

17) ….weakness is described as ‘being a pussy’, ‘being girlie’, ‘being a girl’s blouse’, or even more directly ‘being a woman’ (saw this last one on West Wing last night; shame Aaron Sorkin!)

18) ….blonde (read: meant to be ‘stupid person’) jokes are only about women.

19) …. an otherwise corporately responsible car company (or all of them, in the case of car shows) will launch a new supercar with scantily clad women rolling around on the bonnet.

20) …when parents go all ‘Jack Bauer’ to protect their daughter’s virginity but rationalise their son’s away as ‘playing the field’ or ‘sowing his oats’.

21) … when a man with many sexual partners is a stud and a woman a slut.

22) ….when a little boy ‘displays leadership qualities’ while a girl with the same behaviours is ‘bossy’.

23) …when you walk into a clothes or toy store for children and can almost feel the pink/blue line being painted on your forehead.

Yes, I know I said 20, but there are just so many!!!

Feel free to mail in some other “You know patriarchy still exists when…”

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