THE TRANSITION FROM A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY
I’ve spent nearly my entire life living in a society where youth is a forever conquest to preserve and where aging is perceived as an unfortunate downfall within an individual’s life. Even more poignant, it is an unfortunate downfall within a woman’s life. Where the younger your skin portrays equates to a more deserving, easier and even privileged status within the society. Having this ingrained into my knowledge of societal conformity while entering the beginning years of my now fourth decade alive I can’t help but understand how underappreciated the power of understanding, knowledge and knowing oneself lies within the ruckus of youth preservation. It’s critical that we re-evaluate ourselves in understanding that to age is to become more intelligent, more understanding of how the world works, more well read than when we were younger, stronger and have obtained more accurate opinions about matters that concern the global community and – most importantly – better understanding our bodies and our minds. We must remind ourselves that, throughout the midst of our conformed society where beauty is the open window to power, understanding our self-worth, our intellect and what we can do for the world with the knowledge we’ve gained is the most valuable trait we can hold – man or woman. And this comes more strongly the older we get. Why then does American society not instill this concept more thoroughly into young girls’ minds?
I understand that I am the one responsible for my actions and how I’ve created my personality. That throughout all of the years of my observation amongst society and my interaction with people that I am the one responsible for how I’ve responded and for whom I’ve become. But am I solely responsible? Isn’t it arguable that societal pressures and conformity have to accept some of the responsibility for a person’s outcome? For what we see and what we emulate comes from corporations and how they market to us, from governments and how the honor us and from our close inner-circle and how they teach us. Humans are gregarious creatures and in order to survive we must work together as a system – as a society. We are, at the heart, followers from what we are taught. This concept is vital to us as a species but what we must be cognizant toward is progress.
Progress does not happen from stagnation rather by change.
There are approximately 8.7 million different species of mammals on this earth where some follow a patriarchal society and others follow a matriarchal society. In America, we have survived as a patriarchal society since our start. Meaning that America became a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line. I’ve put a lot of thought into how this became and what benefits it offered society at the time of its’ development and am still a little unclear. I trust that it became this way due to the strength of a man and his capability to defend and protect his family. Of course there are other contributing factors but this one stands out first. America began strongly from agriculture, steel and motor production – all of which are physically demanding jobs. Perhaps this is why the majority of men held jobs while women ensured the health and well being of the family. Humans have to work together to be strong. Back in the 1700's, I’m guessing this worked well. But let’s fast forward to circa 1914 when a vast majority of our men served to protect us in WWI and women stepped up to ensure that our country maintained itself while more than half of it’s workforce dedicated their lives to fighting the war. The shift in women consuming the workplace kept our country together while our men fought which progressed our society beyond recognition. Neither patriarchal or matriarchal societies prove to be a threat. They are just the way a society chooses to stand together. Where I see adjustments needing to be made is that when a new strand of progress presents itself to a society – it is the responsibility of that group of people to re-evaluate how to be strong together. In order to properly progress as a species at this stage in American history we must work as an Androgynyarchal society: A social system in which both males and females hold joint power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of nobody. Yes I did make up that word but you get the point and we can call it whatever we want but this is what is happening and the quicker we can acknowledge this change the quicker we will advance as a society together.
Recently Stockholm has announced that it will no longer allow sexist and racist outdoor ads implying that they make the public feel uncomfortable.
Daniel Heldon, a deputy mayor in the Swedish capital said that in agreeing with this ban he was thinking of his daughters and how the ads make them feel when they walk down the street. London and Paris are other European cities that have agreed to take a stand against ads that encourage problematic stereotypes. These kind of societal changes progress the mindsets of the public and in time directly change the behaviors of how men treat women, how women expect to be treated and our general expectations toward our human rights.
The reason I spoke about youth and how women hold power generally with beauty in the beginning paragraphs is because I see the lasting effects of a patriarchal society desperately gripping against the idea of transitioning to a more balanced way of life. We need men and women to understand that we continually battle an antiquated way of thinking that prohibits us as a society to move forward. Patriarchy is antiquated now. It’s time to move on. If a little kid has been playing solely with his toys for three years straight and all of sudden you bring in a new baby and make him share the toys he’s going to give a fuss. But quickly he will learn that sharing and having a friend is even better – the thought of playing alone again will never be as appealing. And it’s time for us as women to find value in ourselves outside of our appearance. And just as patriarchal societies are coming to a transition so does the need to utilize beauty as a tool for power. Our strength now is within our intelligence. Together this is to be embraced.
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I became interested in observing the dynamics between men and women. How women treated men and vise versa. I loved situations when I found myself surfing with a boyfriend and his two buddies or watching movies on the couch with my guy friends. Those opportunities gave me a great insight into how young men think about life, jobs, social pressures, etc. My favorite conversations always revolved around their perceptions of women and relationships. I loved knowing what they thought and what they said to each other. What a fly on the wall I felt. In a way, I felt as though I was receiving insider information that was allowing me to obtain stronger assets for myself when it came to being in a relationship. Insider information such as:
“Cool chicks are the good chicks.” Translation: Guys prefer girls to not have much of an opinion and more specifically who won’t question the guys’ problematic/offensive behavior.
And other insider information came from conversations about how guys like when girlfriends are accepting of them watching porn and having fun at strip clubs in Vegas. I remember feeling so distraught about this in my young twenties because I felt like if I wanted to have a boyfriend – and of course I loved having one – then I would have to be OK with how men behaved in society. ::Buzzer sound:: Wrong answer. Men do need to exercise respect for women, women do need to voice their opinions, couples need to understand how each other feels about these certain topics and respect each others’ needs to go both ways. But my memories of my younger years this was never presented to me. What was presented to me was a very biased outlook on relationships which blatantly comes from the corporations that market to us, the magazines and media that consume us and the social infrastructure that melds us together. All of which are still dominantly lead from our Patriarchal beginning and the misogyny of our society that is so stagnant that I question when it will finally go away. I don’t blame my guy friends for saying these sorts of things around me ten years ago and I don’t blame myself for giving in to these poorly portrayed beliefs either. We are all just products manufactured from the society in which we live. But now it is our responsibility to finally rise against misogyny for the greater being of our nation as a whole.
When my friends tell me that I’m a feminist, I actually get offended. Reason being is that they make it sound like it’s a negative thing to want equality for women. But also because they make it sound like I only care about women. That’s entirely the opposite of what I’m saying or probably what most ‘feminists’ do say – What we want is equality. Because equality is progress for everyone. It’s just that the pendulum has been hanging so dominantly on one side for so long that we need to shake it up in order to find balance.
America has never before instilled the idea into young girls’ minds that intelligence is the key to power and success because America has always been dominated by the minds of men.
It’s a bold generalization for me to say it but I do believe that men want to utilize women as objects of attraction. They have not yet realized (or are just starting to realize) the importance of having the majority of the population highly educated, working and contributing to the success of the nation’s economy. Let us keep in check the frivolousness behind youth and beauty and let’s prevail in the power of intelligence, respect and wisdom that comes with age. Put down social media for a second and answer the questions that the movement of change is begging for us to answer.
We need to acknowledge that it is critical to live by the respect to both men and women. We need to understand that a society in which equality blankets all genders will be our strength.
Together we need to voice our opinions to corporations and marketing firms how we want to see products marketed in an unbiased, nonsexist way. We need to teach our young sons and daughters, our nieces and nephews what it is to show respect and to be respected. If there is an imbalance within our society, we need to speak up. If the change that is occurring around us appears daunting then we need to ask questions and we need to persevere. The transition from a patriarchal society is moving all around us and it is our responsibility to embrace the change and to work together. We are a species that survive and thrive working together – A society where men and women work equally is the answer…. Whatever it is we decide to call it.