Currently there have been much debate on the issue of sex/ gender divisions. The main contention is that women have assumed an inferior role compared to their male counterparts. As a concept, patriarchy reflects a society that facilitates and supports male domination over females. Current paper posits that the patriarchy category is useful for expressing women oppression.
According to Hook, patriarchy is among the most dangerous diseases facing males. However, a big percentage of men do not contemplate the concept/ classification of man. Although many men do not know the term, those who have heard about patriarchy associate it with women liberation efforts. Based on their experiences, men dismiss the agitators as irrelevant to the reality.
Hook observes that patriarchy has to do with role assignment to children as they grow up. Parents enhance societal division by nurturing the concept through the guidance they accord their children. In more simple terms, communities guide children on how to become either men or women.
According to Hook, patriarchy is a political-social arrangement that aligns with the view that males are dominant and superior to women. Consequently, men seem to enjoy the right to endowments and leadership. Hook further observes that the sex imbalance allows men to perpetuate psychological violence and related forms of terrorism against women.
Hook also argues that religious societies enhance patriarchy by openly supporting male dominance over females. For instance, at religious gathering such as in churches, the popular idea propagated is that men were created leaders over any other creature, including women. Females are portrayed as creations who should assist men to fulfill their ambitions. There is also a popular notion that God is male. All other societal institutions such as schools, sports arenas, and courthouses reinforce the teachings. Hence, members of the society found it convenient and natural to pass on the patriarchal way of thinking from one generation to the other. In essence, people grow up knowing that having males dominating women is a natural development.
The role of mentoring or nurturing is critical towards the understanding of how patriarchy is useful in oppressing women. Hook gives details about how girls are taught that their roles are to serve, avoid complicated thinking, be weak, and work as caretakers or nurture others. On the contrary, boys are taught that it is their duty to be served, to provide for the family, think strategically, be strong, plan, and reject working as caretakers. In addition, girls are trained that being violent is a bad idea besides being an unnatural behavior. However, boys are prevailed upon to demonstrate their strength by engaging in necessary fights. Boys are also taught to repress their feelings while girls should freely express them. Whenever girls complain in a raging fashion, they are implored to avoid the behavior because it is against nature. However, boys are encouraged to express rage in a different setting. From the above exposition, it is evident that patriarchy has been applied to oppress women, or facilitate their exploitation.
Besides being taught, girls had the first-hand experience of what their mothers did. Learning by seeing remains a powerful tool. Thus, it is not surprising that patriarchy has lasted many generations. As children grow, they see what their parents do, and how they behave. It is noted that children ape their parents. With early women largely accepting their insubordinate roles, children also looked forward to similar positions. The behavior of those growing up had been predestined, and no one had the room to slip away from the norm. The above example also affirms that patriarchy has been a tool to oppress women by predetermining their future roles.
As the paper develops, de Beauvoir contends that any argument needs two sides. De Beauvoir proceeds to demonstrate how men are disinterested about the patriarchy debate. However, Hook gives the example of a boy who is not ready to question a state that is in his favor. As a matter of fact, people who are favored by a system are less interested in changes that would overturn circumstances against them. Hence, the fact that men do not agitate for change does not imply the absence of controversy.
In instances where girls failed to tore the line, disciplinary action would be taken. It exemplifies how men use violence in teaching girls about gender roles. Additionally, cases of men attacking women violently are widespread although gains are being made as such issues are now largely addressed. Whenever women challenge men, especially, those in relationships, chances of violence being witnessed rise.
The indoctrination of patriarchy rules targeted boys and girls alike. Boys were not allowed to show feelings even when they were subjected to intense pain. Boys or men are human beings who will feel pain if inflicted. However, the patriarchal society denied them a chance to be human beings by expressing themselves.
Attempts to create a patriarch-free society have always faced many challenges. It is noted that a collection of families makes a village, which in turn constitutes communities and societies. Residing in such environments requires uniformity such that when one family deviates, it is labeled as a peculiar case. For instance, if a family attempted to avoid patriarchal demands by letting its children carry out any roles, certain issues arose. For instance, allowing boys to do household chores would attract mimicking and other forms of ill-treatment intended to ridicule such families. In this regard, it is arguable that society has protected patriarchy with a view to ensuring that men remain dominant over women.
Hook further concedes that the fact that even workplaces are also patriarchal, women find themselves in difficult situations. For one to be accepted, she must fit into the patriarchal society by accepting to be of a lesser significance compared to men.
Ideally, the two sexes should behave distinctively. However, the article by de Beauvoir supports the idea that feminism is in jeopardy. Perhaps the reason is based on the shifting behavior patterns depicted by the female population. In other words, women are no longer behaving the way they are expected to do. It also emerges that not every female is a woman. Historically, the society has operated as a patriarch. The arrangement allows men to dominate women in almost all spheres of life except for those considered feminine.
Biological as well as social sciences posit that there exist entities that define certain characteristics such as those of a woman, Jew, white, or black. Based on science, such characterizations are based on secondary reaction to a given situation. Thus, if feminism is no longer in existence, then it never existed in the first place. Relying on the above argument, then the word woman loses its conventional meaning. Citing the American case, de Beauvoir indicates that whenever an individual perceives herself as a woman, others dissuade her to discard the obsession. Such fears among women are based on the oppression that accompanies falling into the classification.
Considering women as subordinate to men amounted to treating them as lesser human beings. Proponents of equality hold that people are born equal regardless of sex. However, de Beauvoir concedes that women may differ from men on various counts although such variations do not provide a strong basis for insubordination. The argument lies on the idea that each human being is distinct from others. Consequently, it is erroneous to sideline an individual based on their uniqueness.
The rejection about the existence of differences raises a contentious debate. It is apparent that women exist, as do Jews or blacks. Thus, any denial of such differentials is questionable. As argued above, the right approach is to acknowledge the inherent variations among human beings. In this regard, society should steer away from tendencies that border on discrimination. Taking the example of a patriarchal society, evidence shows that communities have relied on sex differences to disadvantage women. According to Hook, the only basis for the insubordination has been sex/ gender.
Capturing the state of feminism in the United States (US), de Beauvoir contends that feminism is real. For instance, incessant fights waged by women to gain equality are a clear demonstration that women occupy a lesser position in the society. Assuming that all factors are constant, based on physical attributes, women are weaker than men. It is also evident that the human race has a clear separation between men and women. Although the merit of such differences is debatable, they still exist. The unfortunate thing is that men have used the variation to exploit women.
The concepts of Self and Other are critical in explaining the differences between men and women. Tracing the history of primitive societies, it emerges that the division of people was not based on sex. However, each group in the society often defines itself against the other. Hence, it is a logical occurrence that women define themselves against men. It is nonetheless, women who are up against men because historically they have been sidelined.
Whenever two groups are against each other, the numerical factor has played a decisive role in tilting the scales in favor of the dominant group. Based on history, the majority have either persecuted or imposed their way on the minority. However, women are not a minority based on numbers. De Beauvoir alleges that the two groups were at one time independent. Perhaps they were unaware of each other, or they accepted the separation.
Historical events subordinated the weaker group to the superior one. For instance, slavery in the USA explains how the blacks became a minority. Women are different from men physiologically. The variations are traceable as far as history. Consequently, their insubordination to men cannot be explained by historical events. In essence, the patriarchal nature of the society is to blame for the woes facing women.
Women lack the capacity to organize themselves into a formidable group to challenge the status quo. In all other cases of discrimination, groups, such as Blacks and Jews, have managed to rise against their mistreatment. The incapacity is reflected in the manner in which they have progressed over the years. The gains made have been because of concession by the male sex.
Marion has used lateral space to explore the question of patriarchy. The author is convinced that a boy uses the lateral space better than a girl does. Citing Straus, Marion indicates that the differences between the two sexes appear at a very early age such that it is incorrect to assume that they result from upbringing. In an attempt to understand the differences, Strauss believes that muscle power variations explain the scenario. Preparation is also raised as a factor. The writer concludes by indicating that differences between the two sexes are biological rather than anatomical.
Drawing on the work of Strauss, it is apparent that some variations between men and women are natural. Marion observes that situations define each human existence. Thus, the historical, economic, cultural, and social limits of the circumstances contribute to behavior differences. For Marion, explaining the condition of women by examining natural and ahistorical feminine spirit equates to unintelligibility. When denying the feminine essence, caution should be taken to avoid nominalism which obscures people from obtaining the truth about male and female differences.
The situation of women varies from one point to another. For instance, social and historical factors are dissimilar in any different locations. Despite the differences, commonalities appear in the experiences, opportunities, as well as possibilities that women encounter. However, Marion indicated that the unity in experience was reflective of a specific social formation at a given epoch.
The work of Marion concentrates on the body and movement in an attempt to justify male dominance. Given that women have to carry out tasks, such as pregnancy, they are viewed as having issues with their selves such that they doubt their abilities. Women are seen as being in disharmony with their bodies thus according men an advantage to dominate them.
Shifting attention to the account given by Beauvoir, Marion observes that basing differences on physiology is ingenious. Although men and women differ based on their anatomy and physical attributes, using such bases to advance oppression against women is questionable. Marion also questions the position held by Beauvoir alleging that physiological processes, such as pregnancy, tie women to nature. Thus, women are not free because of circumstances that are beyond nature. Using hindsight, it is thought that Marion is arguing that men are favored by nature rather than by social constructions or patriarch.
De Beauvoir blames women for demonstrating incapacity to organize themselves against men. However, the de Beauvoir is convinced that circumstances are the main contributing factor to the state of women insubordination to men. Using vivid accounts, Hook gives details about how the patriarchal structuring of the society disadvantages women while advancing the case for male dominance. For Marion, physiological and anatomical variations are the bases for difference between men and women. In essence, Marion perceives male dominance as a logical consequence given the differences.
Irrespective of the factors mentioned, the three authors seem to agree that certain factors facilitate the exploitation of women as a group. It is also demonstrated that men are less concerned by the discrimination against women, simply because they are the primary beneficiaries of patriarchy. It is concluded that societies have relied on patriarchy to sideline women historically hence a useful category for expressing women's oppression.