Thanks for your really thoughtful response. I agree that the greatest component about patriarchy is, in fact, the dominance hierarchy element, which harms everyone. A lot of mainstream feminism (but not all) recognizes this.

But, as I quoted in The History of Patriarchy, “Why patriarchy and not some other word? Because, at least in the European historical lineage, which later affected many other cultures through colonial contact, the shift to separation and control coincided with making paternity central.” Even though men suffer under this system as well, there are still the elements of men holding most of the economic and political power and “The core cultural ideas about what is good, desirable, preferable or normal are associated with how we think about men and masculinity.” It’s still a highly androcentric social system, even if men suffer under it too. I’m open to suggestions for another term, though.

I’m going to have to completely disagree with you on the sex work thing, however. Sex work is work — not particularly different from any other kind of service job except for all of the baggage that has been ascribed to it by a patriarchal society. I know a lot of sex workers; I’m in a love relationship with one of them. She enjoys what she does and has found a lot of healing and empowerment through having this kind of autonomy over her own body and life. For Tamara, it was an antidote to the control and limitation she experienced in her marriage. Sex workers provide a valuable service that is way more than just the transaction of sex for money. Clients quite often hire sex workers to have a place to be lovingly touched, listened to, seen as worthy of affection, etc. One escort I know is seriously contemplating writing a book about this aspect.

Some of the nicest, sanest, most real and authentic people I know are sex workers. They truly enjoy the vast majority of their clients (it’s not perfect, but then no job is!)

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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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