Are Feminists Keeping The Patriarchy Alive?

business woman creating a line graph

I read and largely enjoyed Hanna Rosin’s book, “The End of Men” last year. I didn’t quite agree with her conclusions that women were going to entirely surpass men in all manner of achievement, but I felt that she gave a reasonably fair and balanced assessment of our current gender situation. Things have changed. Women are equal, equally educated, equally ambitious, and that leaves many people – especially in the world of dating – a little off balance.

This is the subject of many of my most popular blog posts on women, education, and money.

It’s not that sexists are dead. But sexism as an institution is embarrassing, on the wane, and illegal in the workplace.

It’s an interesting debate, to be sure, but I think the safest conclusion we can all draw is that it’s a messy new world where gender roles are being blurred and redefined, and that the most successful relationships will result when a man and a woman can get on the same page. Traditional marriage with the breadwinner man and the stay-at-home wife is not better or worse, per se. It’s just a matter of finding a partner who is the right fit for you.

I find that stance to be relatively non controversial, which is why I was surprised to hear about the vitriol from Rosin’s latest Slate piece about “The End of Men”. In it, she asserts that “the patriarchy” – the nameless, faceless, male conspiracy designed to keep women down – is all but dead. And that really rankles some feminists whose entire livelihood depends on fighting against the patriarchy.

Says Rosin, “Soon after the 2012 election, the New York Times published as its lead op-ed a study by two academics showing that women would not truly reach parity or be in a position to pass women-friendly policies until they controlled half of all congressional seats. This seems true enough, if a little obvious. But it entirely missed the revolutionary shift the moment marked. There was a group marginalized in the election: white men. They voted en masse for Mitt Romney, and lost. This bean counting and monitoring–an outdated compulsion to keep your guard up, because sexism lurks everywhere–has found new life online, where feminist websites (including our own) and the Twitter police are always on the lookout for the next slight.”

This echoes my own perception as well. It’s not that sexists are dead. But sexism as an institution is embarrassing, on the wane, and illegal in the workplace. Same with racism. It may linger in subconscious attitudes and latent behavior, but full-out racism will pretty much disqualify you from holding down any job. Concurs Rosin:

“I understand that the big picture is not always reflected in women’s daily experience of life. Maybe a woman has an overbearing husband or a retrograde boss or just a lingering problem that has no name. But as a collective, it sometimes feels that women look too closely at the spot right in front of us. This is a moment, unprecedented in history–and also pretty confusing–when young women who work how they want and have sex how they want may also quilt and can fruits. When working-class women who quietly leave the only steady paycheck on the kitchen table every week may still believe that a man is the God-ordained head of the household. So I want to tell these women who are seeing only oppression: Look around.”

The full article can be seen here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts below.

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  1. 1

    I do believe many third-wave feminists would prefer that the patriarchy remain alive. However, since it’s no longer alive, they’ve been forced to either focus on perceived slights against women where it is highly debatable as to whether said slights even exist, or focus on issues that-if they were to achieve their desired outcome-would put men at a distinct disadvantage.

  2. 2

    I don’t know why The Feminists wouldn’t be keeping “The Patriarchy” alive. They invented the thing in the first place. There is no such thing as “The Patriarchy.” Which is not to say there is no such thing as sexism. But “The Patriarchy” is now and always has been feminist bunk.

    1. 2.1

      I think by “Patrichary” is meant the system where a woman’s fate was tied to that of her father, her husband and eventually her sons. Her lot in life is entirely dependent on the status of her father (as were her brothers) – the decision on who to marry was made entirely by her father or males in her extended family. Essentially women from high ranking and policitally powerful families were protected but restricted in what they could do and in exercising choice. So the “Patricharcy” is system whereby certain groups of people were protected and privileged – both men and women – in return for obedience and observation of obligations. Today we don’t have “Patriarchy” in the traditional sense but “Patrichary” run by government which ensures that certain classses of people are protected and privileged, but demanding nothing in return – hence the current blow-out in debt and slow, but sure social disintegration.

  3. 3

    I predict Frimmel will be lambasted in..

    Ok, it won’t be by me, because I agree. “The Patriarchy” is a nice simplification intended to create a single, tangible enemy, and to tar men as a group with a single brush. “You all have benefitted from this Evil Patriarchy, so you’re all guilty”. It makes for good headlines, and easy baiting.

      1. 3.1.1

        That’s flat-out terrifying star, that some do-gooders are so confused and oblivious to the nature of humanity as to think this idea makes any sense.

        Question for the idiots proposing this: will the law apply to lesbians too? Homosexual men staring at “straight” men?

        Makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          This looks like a BULL SHIT article from a rabid conservative website that wants to tar every liberal as a looney and blame liberals for ALL of our social ills. I couldn’t finish reading the article due to HUGE pop up ads that continuously blocked the entire page and slowed down my computer, but after reading about half the article I didn’t see anything about pending or proposed legislation to outlaw men looking at women. Just a bunch of cobbled together conclusions drawn from some “blog outrage” and some studies on the effects of men looking at women together. The main point of the article is that LIBERALS ARE EVIL. Perhaps the headline should have read “Conservatives want to give all liberals the death penalty”

          I wouldn’t worry about this at all. This sounds like a fake article from a fake website.

      2. 3.1.2

        “Illegal”? Please tell me where there is any actual “legislation” involved here. The author is questioning an academic study that he doesn’t like (because he enjoys looking at “tits”) and extrapolating it to mean that “liberals always want to spoil our (read men’s) fun”. Read about the real study – it’s actually pretty interesting:

        I’m with Sparkling Emerald here.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Don’t these silly people know that the evil liberals are too busy right now fighting the “War on Christmas”? We MUST wait until January 2nd before we make staring at boobies illegal. And we’re going to shut down Hooters and The Tilted Kilt as well.

          Now, please excuse me while I go poke baby Jesus in the eye.

      3. 3.1.3

        Ummmm…yeah.   It’s from the DailyCaller which is a waste of conservative nut job space worse than The Drudge Report.   Wouldn’t take anything from that garbage pit any more seriously than I would from the National Enquirer.

  4. 4

    That’s the dichotomy of any such group, isn’t it? The thing they hate and rail against has to continue to be alive and well for them to be relevant.

  5. 5

    It’s interesting though that in the end the large majority of women will not be willing to settle with a man who is perceived to not be successful and most women would resent supporting men which is where we are headed. I’d say the “settling for less” issue is the biggest controversy in online dating but that is what has to logically happen once women are doing better than the men.

  6. 6

    Gee, I had no idea that as a single male working my job, paying my bills, and keeping a roof over my own head was part of the patriarchal conspiracy to keep women down. Oh, the shame of it…

  7. 7
    Peter 51

    I”m over 60. I am the oldest surviving male amongst my relatives and I still haven’t been invited to a meeting of the Patriarchy. How do I join? Is it like the Freemasons? You are invited? Do I need to grow a beard? Should it be white?

  8. 8
    Peter 51

    The study on Objectifying, whatever that means, said that women scan other women in the same way as men do. Yeah right. And if you are male, women check out your height and clothing. Some people lose the contest and feel uncomfortable or don’t want that particular prize. This is going to change?

  9. 9

    Peter 51 – 8 yes, women scan other women the way that men do.   It’s called competition.   Will it change? Yes, to the extent that I would not wish to have for a partner someone who looked and assessed me as if I were a prize heifer and would leave HIM alone.   Everyone has to make their own value systems and if that means being single rather than having all the physical virtues that someone wants us to have, so be it.

    1. 9.1

      being scanned by other women. been there its been done to me.the woman in question could have been in her early 20’s. And me,I am a grandmother. for that young woman to view me as competition, must be insecure with herself.  thanks evan, your posts and newsletters are so insightful, realistic and positive.    

  10. 10

    I agree with Sparkling Emerald.   Just look at all the bull about the “War on Christmas” and “Santa and Jesus Are White”, courtesy of Faux Noix.     “Dr.” Laura blames feminists for all of society’s ills, though arguably she benefitted from women’s   advances. Now she wants to go back to the 1950s, or even 1800s.
    And these women railing against the Patriarchy all sound like caricatures.   I am  not one of these women, nor do I personally know anyone like this.   Actually, I see far too many women who are Stepford Wives, but that is another topic.

  11. 11
    Hopeful Woman

    I hope we get to the point where people just treat each other with respect, in general. I believe in equality, in as much as that is even possible – nothing will ever be equal unless we start making test tube babies and raise them all in the same institutionalized setting… but we can do our best to even the playing field as much as possible. That includes not blaming men for everything, which it feels like the loudest voices seem to want to do.

    Feminism came about because it was necessary. It’s still necessary, to a degree, but not at the level I see it here on the west coast. People are bullied (men and women) for disagreeing with certain extremely leftist, extremely feminist views. In my city, I’ve personally seen men be blacklisted over a rumor that turned out to have been started by someone’s roommate, it wasn’t even true… and any women who still worked with this man were also blacklisted and publicly shamed on social media. The #metoo movement can be a good thing, but if it turns into a witch hunt to ruin anyone who looked at someone in a way they didn’t like, it’s going to create a war of the sexes.

    I also heard about another person on the west coast (this is second-hand information) who was offered a consensual sexual favor (she didn’t want intercourse but she offered something else. He accepted). Both their stories are exact the same, that she said no to intercourse, but then offered an alternative and she accepted. I guess she didn’t really want to do it and was hoping the man could read her mind and would decline her generous offer. Since he didn’t, even though it was her idea and she did it willingly, this man has now lost his job and his home. Because he didn’t know that her yes was really a no. Remember that both parties tell the story in the same way – she offered, he accepted. Yet, from the woman’s point of view this was somehow sexual assault. And now the man has been ruined for, what he thought, (because she willingly offered) was consensual.

    I want to live in a world where women and girls are valued for their loving hearts, for their intelligence, for their ability to problem-solve, for their willingness to work hard, and for all the things that boys are valued for. I want to live in a world where both men and women learn to communicate effectively, can feel reasonably safe setting limits, and as such, they’re able to take personal responsibility when situations like the above happen.

    I hope to see a world where everyone on the planet has adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, education and medical care. I don’t think it’s going to happen in this lifetime, but I’m hopeful.

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