Sex, Love and Relationships
Patriarchy is the traditional system of social organization in human society, one to which there are very few exceptions.
The dominance of male authority figures over women, children and property, and obviously implies the institutionalization of male rule. This is a system that is entirely dependent on female subordination, and regrettably, this extraordinary social arrangement has been the central form of social, legal, political and cultural societies in most of the world.
Feminism is a response to patriarchy, which it describes as an unjust system that is impressive to women.
Feminist theoreticians say that the concept of patriarchy includes every social mechanism that supports male dominance over women in any way. And there are plenty of them. Sex being primary among them.
Sexually, patriarchy is a term that rarely crops up. And yet, when you define patriarchy as the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children and the family, and incorporate the extension of male dominance over women in society in general, you begin to see how patriarchy can deny women access to power, and give men rights that they are not entitled to.
Feminism is a challenge to male dominance, and quite rightly so: it starts by analyzing the patriarchal ideas and culture that makes male dominance seem inevitable and natural in our society.
One of the ways it has done this is to identify men's violence against women, including rape, domestic violence, and other forms of harassment and violent intention, as a key method of patriarchal control.
In one form of feminism, there's an extraordinarily compelling suggestion that rape and sexual assault can only be comprehended within an analysis of patriarchal ideology.
You may have heard the proposition that rape is about power, not about sex, and that is probably true, but feminists have gone deeper in their analysis.
When women describe how they've been impacted sexually by men, it becomes rather obvious that there's actually a clear continuum between rape and non-rape, some kind of continuous scale of sexual activity by men against or on women (and perhaps against women's bodies, if you regard objectification as a real concept).
Now, what this in effect means is that rape is no longer be the preserve of a few violent men who engage in behavior that can easily be identified.
In the larger context, the cultural context, in which men naturally seek to control and sexualize women, and where the control that men exert over women is routinely sexualized, even simple analysis changes the concept of male sexual behavior towards women dramatically.
So one of the ways that you can get a handle on this is to consider how men talk about sex amongst themselves. One question men use is "Did you get it last night?", which can only be interpreted as "Did you get sexual pleasure [which is therefore something that men take from women]." That is a grand step towards the objectification of women in itself.
Men also discuss strategies to getting sex amongst themselves. The very fact that they do this implies that there is a cultural norm from men which women are objectified as sex objects.
The background of emotion and relationship that women bring to sexual connection with men is often missing from male attitudes towards women.
Now I'm not suggesting that all men are rapists or potential rapists, although feminists might disagree with the latter part of that statement.
Rape is about power and sex, about the way men are culturally conditioned to see themselves and women and the relationships between men and women.
This blog - Rape culture and the problem of patriarchy - gives a very clear explanation of how you can identify a continuum of rape and similar sexual motivations, from outright rape all the way thru' to the pornography which men use to masturbate, and in which women are represented as objectified bodies whose only function is to provide sexual pleasure for men.
This a fascinating concept because one has to consider whether or not a man is guilty of some kind of thought process, sexual attitude, or relationship to women, either externally or internally, in which he regards women as an object solely provided for his pleasure.
I think we all agree that pornography. Lee into this category, which raises some more interesting questions about the responsibility that men are able to take for releasing their sexual drive.
Pornography turns men on, and men masturbate porn when they are turned on. The object of this exercise is to relieve sexual tension, nothing more, nothing less. It provides sexual pleasure, it provides sexual release, so is this, or is this not, are part of the patriarch he, of men's dominance against women?
The truth of the matter is that if we don't talk about the patriarchy, then we give up on the idea of Justice For Women, the concept of equality, and probably also the objective of eliminating rape.
One of the problems is that few men take radical feminism seriously, but the problem of rape requires us all to get more radical.
And for those who think the rape culture doesn't exist, or that suggestions that rape culture and attitudes of objectification towards women are ingrained in society are too extreme, then a read of this - Rape culture and the problem of patriarchy - would be helpful and educational.
Another aspect of this whole situation is how women are coerced into the patriarchal culture, whether wittingly or unwittingly. See iblamethepatriarchy.com - it provides an interesting commentary on how some women can adopt an internalized view of the patriarchy, and reject feminism for all kinds of reasons - presumably including payment (for writing the piece under analysis).
As you'll see, the commentary is about a men's advice column written by a woman, where a woman puts forward views that would be surprising to almost anybody (maybe).
The basic proposition of the writer is that sex is a commodity to which men are entitled, and that women are the "sex class" - therefore if men's access to sex is interrupted, the natural order has gone awry, and somehow there needs to be a readjustment of the relationship so that sex is provided whenever the man wants it.
And this makes a woman into a receptacle for his semen. Although a woman may decide that she does not wish to have sex with a man, the writer opines that she can only do this because men let her get away with it. If there was ever a piece that embodies the objectification of women, that oozes patriarchal sentiment, then this is it.