Blind devotion to something where no criticism is allowed is a cult or fascism — one or the other. Telling a woman what she thinks and believes as well as trying to educate her about her own area of expertise is mansplaining — particularly since you have no real understanding of the social dynamics of this country, which I won’t attempt to clarify for you beyond this:

In 1992, when Americans were asked if the “father of the family is master of the house,” 42 percent said yes. By 2004 the percentage had risen to 52 percent. In other words, while women were advancing at work and earning an ever larger share of household income, the “lord and master” sentiment was actually growing.

This anti-gender equality campaign not only orchestrated a retreat from the advancement of women, but from the basic ideals of democracy. As documented by research across cultures and time, a “traditional” male-headed authoritarian family conditions people to vote for “strong” leaders.

So in 2016 a man who claimed that only he had all the answers, called women untrustworthy and disgusting, bragged about his sexual assaults, incited scapegoating, and condoned violence at his rallies, won the U.S. Presidency.”

Patriarchy is fundamentally a dominance hierarchy. I don’t need a lecture from you about what its properties are, particularly since you don’t seem to have much of a grasp it. 100 years ago, American women could not vote. In other words, they were legally not considered full citizens. 50 years ago, women could not attend Ivy League colleges, get a loan or a credit card in their own name, could be struck from a jury simply for being female, could be fired for being pregnant, etc., etc., etc. That’s not even a full human lifespan ago. Just as pre-Civil rights era racial attitudes are still very much alive and well, attitudes about women’s proper place and capabilities did not evaporate a mere 50 years after they were a part of our laws and overt customs.

Your assertions are simplistic and specious. Uganda has more women in government than the US — by a lot! Muslim countries have had female leaders! The US is behind these “third world” countries because it is one of the most deeply patriarchal countries on earth, second only to the Arab states. We are not further along in governmental equality because of the strict gender norms and hierarchical aspects of patriarchy. Men are more “Machiavellian” because they are more deeply steeped in the aspects of patriarchy which demand constant vying for a higher place on the pyramid of power.

“What resulted was not just stratification between men and women, but a larger stratification of society in general for the very first time. You’ve got a social system that is based in coercion and control — a pyramid-shaped dominance hierarchy. Instead of “let’s all hunt and gather together and share in the results, raise the children of this tribe together without caring too much who the father is and have a generally pleasant life” you’ve got a situation where competition, might makes right, and getting ahead at other’s expense becomes an integral part of the fabric of the society. Social castes emerge for the first time, with only a few elites at the top.”

“Misogyny is the policing arm of patriarchy; it is the thing that rears its head if women step too far away from the gender norms that are expected and demanded of them. But patriarchy is not only about men having control over women; it is inherently about the stratification of society, with the strong exerting dominance over anyone weaker or less powerful. It is about turning away from actual love and caring in favor of aggrandizing the self at the expense of anyone who gets in your way. In order to do this, you must numb yourself to the pain of others. You cannot rise if you are too worried about the feelings of those that you step on along the way.”

“Although there is a substantial element in patriarchal systems of males having power and primacy over females, it is fundamentally a dominance hierarchy, one which detrimentally affects men also, particularly those who are not at the pinnacle of the hierarchy.

One of the things that make it difficult to speak about patriarchy, or any other system, to a mostly North American audience, is that the capacity to see systems as distinct from the individuals that live within and are affected by them has been systematically rooted out of most people’s awareness. Instead, everything is seen as an individual issue with only individual solutions.

In other words, although it is difficult for many people to readily grasp this, patriarchy is not about men as individuals, per se. In fact, women may play a significant role in maintaining the social system of patriarchy as well, in part by helping to enforce the rules of the so-called “man box.”

The real disservice of this “I’m never wrong” culture is that not only does it not actually make the person holding firm look smart or informed but it also doesn’t allow them to have exposure to anything new. Curiosity is a key component of intelligence. By holding fast, they not only don’t appear smart, but they kill off any chance to actually become more knowledgable.

First, individuals with higher CQ (curiosity quotient) are generally more tolerant of ambiguity. This nuanced, sophisticated, subtle thinking style defines the very essence of complexity. Second, CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investmentand knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art (note: this is of course different from IQ’s measurement of raw intellectual horsepower). Knowledge and expertise, much like experience, translate complex situations into familiar ones, so CQ is the ultimate tool to produce simple solutions for complex problems.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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