Is Patriarchy a Mindset?
Patriarchy is not a male or female thing. It’s a mindset — and all of us have been trained into accepting it and maybe even [subconsciously] supporting it.
The underlying phenomenon of patriarchy is a misplaced idea of whose hands power “should” lie. It’s a deep-rooted construct within our society that creates obstacles for women to succeed — and the funny thing is, women sometimes create those obstacles for one another, whether it’s through the notion of how another woman is dressed inappropriately, to how she is raising her children, to why she is working when she “doesn’t need to”. This unfortunate (but very real) dominance gets manifested both within homes and in our society, managing to find its way into the thinking processes of not only men, but women — who then begin to buy-in to it.
Since the core of a patriarchal society is focused on men appropriating roles and therefore, placing women in inferior ones — it requires work on both ends — the male and the female, to revamp the status quo and further challenge.
As women, how can we do this?
It takes a lot of effort. We need to unlearn several different ideologies that we’ve been taught in our families, communities, and societies. We need to exert ourselves into deconstructing the stereotype that women are fully dependent on men (emotionally, financially, physically), and that men hold full authority — further indicating that they are superior to us. Let’s not be the gatekeepers of this phenomenon by always correcting other women to do things a certain way… (essentially, the way that we might believe to be the only true and right way.) Let’s not encourage the idea of being “more lady-like” to a woman who is carrying herself in a way that we don’t see as lady-like. There is no ideal woman and there is no one way to be a woman. By feeding into this idea, we continue to produce a society in which male power endorses that women are inferior, subordinates.
When you train yourself to deconstruct this misplacement of power — move on to the next, very important step: think about yourself and what actions you will take to avoid feeding into the status quo instead of challenging it. Think about your passion(s), your skills, and then how you can combine then with a sense of meaning, to give something substantive back to the world. What is your sphere of influence? Is it your spouse, your children, your family as a whole? Is it the fact that you are an elementary school teacher, the founder of an influential platform, the CEO of a growing fashion line? Dig deep and figure out where the sphere lies, and then work accordingly, remembering to abide by your core values and beliefs — being true to yourself and how you think the world should work — men and women working alongside one another, sharing power and control.