Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Posts tagged ‘patriarchy’

The Damage of the Patriarchy

Prompt: pick a social issue you’re passionate about

Where do I begin?  I know that as I’m sitting here trying to think of a social issue I’m passionate about, nothing comes to mind, so hopefully, you’ll bear with me as I sift through my thoughts.

No, it’s not that I don’t have a social issue that I’m passionate about, but it’s just like that scenario when people ask you what is your favourite book or movie and every book or movie you’ve ever read or watched just vanishes from your mind.

I don’t want to be stereotypical, but I feel like feminism, in particular, the patriarchy, is something that I feel myself explaining over and over again.  Maybe feminism is no longer the right term for it because of the negative connotation it’s garnered in years, but at the moment there is no term that has been suggested, to my knowledge, that can replace it.

I can’t count how many times it comes up in discussions that feminism is only for females, that the patriarchy is only damaging to females.  But that’s not the case.  The main thing I want to focus on (because if I don’t focus on one thing we’ll be here all day), is the construct of the feminine and the masculine.  The idea of a woman being a nurturer, of being gentle and graceful and all that, I want to say is BS.  A woman can be all those things if she wants, but she doesn’t have to be.  I strongly believe that women can be anything they want to be.  Men too, but we’ll get to them in a minute.  The idea that a woman must be one thing or another is absurd.  As the quote goes, “everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  Same thing applies here, some are fish, some monkeys, some are snakes.  Just like an animal isn’t wrong for being born as a fish, monkey or snake and doing what’s natural to them, a female isn’t wrong for doing what is natural to her.  And natural is doing what feels right to her, not what society dictates or feels is the right way for her to act.

What society thinks is the right way to act, of course, isn’t limited to restricting females into a certain framework, it does the same to males.  Males are not supposed to cry, to show emotion or weakness, to always protect a woman, provide for his family.  We expect this from males.  We expect them to be dependable and be a rock for his family, but what if that’s not natural for him either?  What if he likes to watch rom-coms?  What if he cries while watching them?  So what?  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t make him any less of a person.

Why do we judge people based on their gender/sex (yes, I know those are two different things, but I’m not getting into that right now)?  Why do we immediately form opinions about how one gender/sex ought to act?  Why can’t we just get to know somebody before we form opinions because what really matters is the content of their hearts, the development of their souls, not what they look like.

This is clearly a shorter version of my usual spiel, but I suddenly forgot how to words, so forgive me.

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To the prettiest girl

It is not your eyes
But what they hide
It is not your lips
But what they say
It’s not your words
But what they mean

To look beyond the surface
To realize
That there’s more to you
Than meets the eye
Is to grow
And to break free
From patriarchy’s constrictive mould

And it took loving you
For me to see

Double Standards

This morning I was reading an article in an older copy of the Calgary Sun. I’m not sure which day it was for, but it got me thinking. Just because I’ve graduated from university doesn’t mean I can turn off my critical thinking abilities. Now I make that sound like I was any good at literary analysis and I wasn’t. Compared to some of my peers, I didn’t even come close to their level in critical analysis. The article was talking about how a lot of women had one night stands like men. As the author of the article pointed out, it is problematic that women are being compared to men. It’s men who can have one night stands. Men who are sexually experienced are viewed positively, when women who are sexually experienced are called a variety of detrimental terms. This article cites a study that shows that women enjoy these kinds of relationships because they don’t have to worry about their obligations and since they’re only seeing these guys once or while on vacation, they don’t run the risk of “ruining” their reputation.

Not too long ago in a short story I wrote, I asked myself why I couldn’t live the way I wrote. At that time, I myself could not answer that. In an early moment of genius, I can now say that the person I am, the one I put on display for the world to see, is in fact a meticulous social construction, embodying the patriarchal values and ideals that I’ve been taught to question. But why? Why would I embody and perpetuate the injustices to my gender, my sex if I knew? Why do victims bond to their captors? For survival. In order to survive in a patriarchal society, I have to “blend in.” Again, you may ask why and though I don’t know for sure, I can take a stab at it. As much as I’m against injustice (for I do intend on becoming a lawyer and eventually a judge), I’m not one who likes to stir up shit. For much of my childhood, it was just the acceptance of what I was told to do because I was being told by someone in a position of authority. That is still very much my mentality. On the front, I appear to be very compliant, but it is in my writing that I rebel against what I am told. This is when my voice is strongest.

However, as I’ve matured, I have started to care less about what people think of me and I’ve begun to do the things I believe in. I hope that one day I will find my voice beyond the page.

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