Sunday, March 18, 2012

Maybe We're Living In Matriarchy

I had a conversation with a feminist today over the old subject of whether Americans are living in patriarchy. I was directed to an article which supposedly proved that we are, indeed, patriarchal. This was my response:

my first issue with the article is that it relies on an instance in which we cannot see the study itself. a single one which may or may not be made up. it also mentions things such as "men don't have to wait in line to use a bathroom". this isn't always true, and to state it is would require proof. another example: "men can get away with simpler wardrobes". how can women not get away with simpler wardrobes? neither of these rely on anything but assumption. which makes me question the study in itself, which is already quite vague.

it concludes (using the single opinion of a single man as further 'evidence') that this study says "something powerful about people's lives." the study does not. it says what a (supposed) group of (un-numbered) individuals listed. that is all it actually says. i further question this article now as evidence toward patriarchy because it has already shown intense degrees of assumption. it continues to go on about more assumptions, following a ladder of one assumption concluding another assumption without ever using a single piece of objective evidence.

the only objective thing i've read so far at this point is that "patriarchy is a kind of society, and a society is more than a group of people." which nobody is arguing. but this doesn't in any way show that our society is patriarchal. only that a society can bepatriarchal.

continuing on.

it further (and inaccurately) defines patriarchy as being "male dominated, male identified, and male centered." inaccuracy aside, the above definition given by the article would suggest something our society itself does not; that media and consumerism are primarily male-oriented. these are key parts of society. they are, however, primarily female dominated, owned, and focused. 

it goes on to state patriarchy is male dominated in that positions of authority are reserved for men. however, in America, such positions are not reserved for men. in some religious communities they are, but in America as a whole (particularly with regards to separation of church and state) such positions are not reserved for men. in fact, such would be illegal. keep in mind that correlation does not equate causation. even if most of the members of congress are male, that does not mean they must be male, either legally or socially. 

it continues on with more assumptions, concluding these assumptions based on the fallacy of correlation = causation repeatedly.

the article goes on to give an occasional comment from someone here or there (presumably providing this as evidence, which is fallacious) and further describe how women (and men) can be affected or are affected by patriarchy. 

the article has yet to actually show the slightest bit of proof that current America is patriarchal. i'm on page 10. 

page 12 continues on with more assumptions, such as stating that males dominating conversations (ie., leading a conversation more often than a woman) equates to 'male focus everywhere'. correlation does not equate causation. fallacy again.

and more fallacies. more assumptions. i still haven't seen any proof or actual non-subjective, non-bias evidence. it mentions obscure things like "boys get more attention than girls in school" but doesn't mention facts such as:

three of the four students who tied for valedictorian were girls. Among the National Honor Society members, 76% were girls. And girls comprised 85% of the students on Franklin's 4.0 honor roll.

or that women tend to graduate more than men.

the author then gives a story of her own experience on something and, while perhaps her story is valid, this doesn't conclude that patriarchy exists.

it goes on to describe that men are in control (without providing how) and vaguely put expectations of men, such as they are assumed/expected to be unemotional and so forth. this does not in any way define America to be patriarchal. it just means a social stigma exists. again, correlation does not equate causation. because one thing exists which another thing requires, does not mean the thing which requires it exists as well.

continues on with various instances of stereotypes which for the most part, could arguably be considered out-dated by society. for example, i don't see how society expects women to bake bread. bread is available in the supermarket readily baked. many bakers are men. women are not demanded by society to bake bread. 

the part that really gets me, though, is the 16th page.

"what other term can one use to describe a state in which people do not have rights over their own bodies, their own sexuality, marriage, reproduction or divorce, in which they may not receive education or practice a trade or profession, or move freely about the world?"

if this is what describes patriarchy, America is, by the author's own definition, not patriarchal. 

women have rights to their own bodies. laws state such. abortion being legal is a prime example.
women have rights to their own sexuality. there are more contraceptives for women than men.
women have the right to accept, reject, or dispose of marriage and account for the majority of divorce initiators.
women have the right to relieve themselves of the financial burden of parenthood. men do not.

given the above, women have more rights than men, which, apparently, by the author's own use of term, means we are living in a matriarchal society.

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