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 Рlike racism Рis 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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Women as Sexual Objects, Men as Sexual Subjects

The normalisation of the objectification of women, the treatment of women as the decorative sex, that men are considered sexual subjects while women are only sexual objects, are issues at the forefront of equality between the sexes.

Sexual objectification is not only deeply (and bizarrely) rooted in our cultural subconscious, but it’s also something that has to change if we want a truly happy, sex-healthy society.

Putting the issue of sexual objectification of women into specific relief is the clever Laci Greene, as always talking great sense about why we need to – and how can we can – stop it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_4dPB9MVS8&list=PLTXiNEUzXWKTOhoUZWMcXY2vVQs7NwCxq

Neanderthal attitudes excusing violence against women

While proud of my country for so many achievements over the decades and centuries, there are a number of dark stains on our consciences.

One of these is violence against women.

In an age when women have been into space, are in Parliament and sometimes even in Cabinet, when women CEOs start to become a decent percentage (albeit at still perversely low levels, but better than at any time before) of overall senior corporate positions, there are a very large number of men out there who think violence against women can be justified.

Recent survey work done by VicHealth, found, for instance, that 1 in 5 Australian men think if a woman is raped while intoxicated, it is not entirely the fault of the rapist.

Almost the same number of men – and you’ll need to sit down for this – think that their own drinking or drug-taking can excuse their raping a woman.

And, in one of the saddest results, more women than men now think that a woman who is drunk and raped is somehow more deserving of her rape.

It’s an overall astounding set of results that speaks to why Australia is one of the few developed countries not going anywhere fast on gender equality.

Excuses for violence against women continue to disregard the rights of the victim in favour of an inappropriate claim to possession or access to women by men,

It’s got to stop.

And that starts with men speaking up against perpetrators. If 4 in 5 men are right-thinkling on this, then those 4 need to speak up, speak out, and help stop the problem.

And the all-important role to be played by women must surely be to make sure that as far as possible, women do not fall into the trap of minimising and excusing bad behaviour by men.

Let’s get the word out to the neanderthals in our societies that:

  • There is NO excuse for rape.
  • There is NO excuse for domestic violence.
  • There is NO excuse for violence against women.

For more, I commend this Guardian Australia article by Melissa Davey: http://gu.com/p/4xjen