Patriarchy refers to the modern society that we live, characterized by historic and current imbalanced power relations between men and women whereby women are methodically oppressed and disadvantaged. It is a socio-political system which insists that men are inherently superior, dominating compared to everyone and everything deemed weak, particularly women and entitled to rule and dominate over the weak and to sustain that dominance through multiple forms of psychological violence and terrorism. Patriarchy occurs across nearly each aspect of life; though it is especially noticeable in the under-representation of women in state institutions, in decision making positions and in employment opportunities. The violence perpetrated by men against men is another key element of patriarchy. Women from minority groups are often faced with various oppressions in the modern society, as class, sexuality and race overlap with sexism for instance.
With reference to a class society, economic class refers to a group of concepts in the political and social theory based on social stratification models in which individuals are grouped into hierarchical social groups based in their economic status. In essence, an individual economic class can be conceptualized as the social class or standing; often evaluated as a combination of occupation and income. When individual think of socio-economic inequality, they frame it with respect to socio-economic class. Individuals who have amassed excess wealth subjugate the top stratum of the society and relish most privileges and, or liberties as brought on by their social status and money. On the other end, individuals who are poor have minimal or completely no access to these liberties and are regularly marginalized with respect to social services and education.
Gender and sex, to many, are used interchangeably; though they have different meanings. During birth, individuals are assigned one particular sex and as they live the realize their gender identity. Nonetheless gender and sex are different concepts, while sex is assigned at birth, gender is not solely or inherently connected to the physical anatomy of an individual. Sex includes the physical reproductive features such as sex chromosomes, external genitalia, hormones and internal reproductive organs. On the other hand, gender is complex; it is the intricate relations between the sex of an individual (the biology), the internal sense of self as female or male, or both (gender identity) alongside the behaviors and outward presentations of the individual (gender expression) associated with the perception as well as their gender role.
The intersection of the three dimensions leads to the individuals authentic sense of gender; in how individual experience own gender alongside how other individuals perceive it. Gender, like other social constructions, is closely reinforced and monitored by the society. In reality, every aspect of the society is element of gender; behaviors, toys and colors are just instances. The accepted gender or social expectations and roles are entrenched in culture to the extent that most individual do not envisage any other way. Being a basic factor of ones identity, gender intensely influences each aspect of an individuals life.
Sexism is a form of discrimination or prejudice based on gender or sex; particularly against women. It may be based on the mere belief that one gender is inferior or less valuable as compared to another gender. Sexism imposes restrictions on what individuals could and should do based on gender. Often applied against women, sexism serves as a way of sustaining patriarchy or male dominance though material and ideological practices of people, groups and institutions which oppress women on the basis of gender. This oppression often takes the form of social domination and economic exploitation. Sexist conditions, attitudes and behaviors perpetuate social roles stereotypes on the basis of gender. A common type of socialization which based in the concepts of sexism teaches specific narrative about the conventional gender roles for females and males. Based on this view, men and women are opposite, they have complementary and widely different roles. Women are perceived to be the weaker sex; inferior to men, particularly in the realm of rational reasoning and logic. In this case, women are relegated to the domestic realm of emotions and nurturance and hence based on that reasoning, could not be good business, political leaders.
Blaming the victim
This is a phenomenon takes place when an individual blames another or a group of individuals for the things which occur even though the actual root cause lies within the society. in essence, an individual neglects his or her social environment and holds another responsible for actions that might or might not exist within their locus of control. The concept of blaming the victim is founded on the idea that the world is just and that individuals in the long run get what they warrant; that is, good things come to good people while bad things occur to bad people. The blaming the victim notion is self-protective; it emphasizes on lawful and rational behavioral patterns rather than random relationships and correlations. By adopting this attitude, individuals attempt to alter the victim rather than changing the broader societal realm. For instance, poor parent may be blamed for the poor studying of their children; they could be held responsible for failing to encourage their kids to take school seriously. However, the actual cause lies in the social factors which compel or predispose the kids to fail in school; for instance, the lack of studying material or the poor state of schools. In most scenarios, these predisposing social factors including the lack of social or economic support.
Part Two: Social construction of gender
Like other social identities, gender is socially constructed; it is not an innate or fixed fact rather it is varied across a place and time. One of the theories that is used by sociologist to understand gender is social constructionism; a social that explains how meaning is advanced though social interactions via the things that individuals say or do with each other. In essence, people learn gender norms; the socially accepted ways of acting out gender, from birth through socialization during childhood. Individuals learn what is expected of gender from their parents teachings alongside what they pick up through educational, cultural and religious teachings.
Gender experiences would evolve over the lifetime of individuals; hence, gender is constantly in flux. This in flux is experienced via generational and intergenerational vicissitudes within families as legal, technological and social changes determine social ideals on gender. Gender is the social relations structure that concentrates on the reproductive domain and the set of practices which convey the reproductive differences between bodies into social processes. Gender relates to the technique with which human bodies is dealt with by the human society, and the various effects of that deal in personal lives and the collective fate. As discussed, the socialization a society is salient and often unnoticed, hence, it is valid to argue that gender is socially-constructed through daily activities.
Socialization commences when one is born and continues on throughout the adolescence stage, and varies extensively across the two gender classes; masculinity and femininity. With the guidance for social arena and institutions such as sports, education, media and music, gender tends to be coerces since it comes with a pre-determined set of attitudes and behaviors. The society faces an issue that can be recognized through individuals who clearly do not fit the definition that in reality accounts for many individuals. That said, it can be argued that people exist in a domain that they fail to fit into; they are marginalized and due to the narrow definitions it seems correct that they ought to be. To alter such societal views, changes should be undertaken and the social constructs of gender which take place regularly should incorporate alternatives to the venerated hegemonic female and male.
According to Johnson, patriarchy is a system of oppression, power and privilege around the social constructions of gender, which promote male privilege. It is important to see patriarchy as it operates on a systematic level rather than through an individual because like all other social systems, it is a complex phenomenon and its roots run deep. Patriarchy is rooted in the principles of male dominance, masculine control, male identification and centeredness. It is advanced from the primary institutional aspect social life including family, education, religion, politics, arts and music. Obviously, patriarchy is a phenomenon that is much larger than individuals, its power is reflected on the ability to soak in the pressures of superficial alterations as a cover against intense challenges.
Like other social systems, patriarchy is also influenced by the communities, groups, organizations. Individuals tend to develop a profound connection to social systems via the social conditions which shape the sense of identity. Religious and socio-cultural attitudes and beliefs have intense effects in gender identity, and in most instances nurture stereotype convictions against women and result in gender-based discriminative viewpoints. When a society has particular norms, the people who live within the society would adapt to them and even adapt to the discriminatory norms. For example, when a society because of cultural and religious reason consider women to be inferior and weak, the members of the society would develop similar views and would act consequently. Individuals tend to conform to their group and would do so even when engaging in discriminatory behaviors since they want to fit in and get accepted, normative conformity.
Gender is a societal construct and based on it, individuals are categorized as it is done with ethnicity, social class and age. Nonetheless, such categorization is another method of manipulating individuals and to nurture inequalities. As a part of the system, gender classification emboldens individuals to consent to male privilege and perpetuate the oppression of women. Patriarchy is founded on a systems of power relations that are unequal and hierarchical, where men take control of the entire processes of production alongside sexuality and reproduction. It imposes femininity and masculinity character stereotypes that empower the iniquitous power relations between individuals.
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