“There’s also no neat way to separate organisational structure from hierarchies of dominance.” What do you base that on? I work for an organization that is built on operating under the partnership model and there are zero hierarchies of dominance. We have hierarchies of actualization (power to and power with rather than power over). It works quite beautifully, thank you. Again, you are superimposing the MO and rules of one type of system and trying to overlay them over the top of another. My organization, although not the norm, isn’t a complete anomoly. There’s quite a move in this direction afoot right now, as part of social reform but also as a part of economic reform, because empowering those closest to the actual work to make decisions and eliminating professional managers and bureacracy is a higher yield business model.

Patriarchy also creates the bureaucratic mind-set, the choice for a low-risk operation that demands policy and procedure in the name of consistency. This is the second cost of patriarchy; it is incapable of creating a unique response to the world. In schools it ignores the uniqueness of individual students; it ignores the unique wealth or poverty of a neighborhood; it cannot account for the unique gifts and capacities of a teacher. When patriarchy asks its own organization to be more entrepreneurial and empowered, it is asking people to break the rules that patriarchy itself created and enforces.

Block, Peter. Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest (p. 36). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Saying that something isn’t any better isn’t the same as saying that something is worse. How about a little precision here, please?

I’ve already stipulated (and linked you an article that I wrote) which agrees that men are not the issue; patriarchy as a social system is the issue and it hurts both men and women. And that being said, who is overwhelmingly at the top of the dominance hierarchy is men — White, rich, men. And up until 50 years ago there were laws and customs that enshrined that. (A woman couldn’t have a credit card, a business or a home in her own name, could be fired for being pregnant, couldn’t attend Ivy League schools, etc., etc., I won’t cite you all the rules and laws about race).

Just because the laws are now different doesn’t mean those beliefs evaporate. Individual men don’t have to be doing anything in particular that’s overtly considered wrong to be upholding this system however. Conscious intent is only a small part of the problm. Women also uphold this system in a variety of ways, most of which are unconscious (e.g., telling little boys not to cry, shaming men who are not perfectly upholding man box standards, etc.)

The term implies a rigid set of expectations, perceptions, and behaviors of what is “manly” behavior. Because it is a hierarchy, Hegemonic masculinity marginalizes men who do not perfectly fit the description of a “real man.” Because no man perfectly fits the description, all men are limited by hegemonic masculinity through policing of behaviors seen as “violations” (Edwards & Jones, 2009).

“It is not that we have created the patriarchy around us. Or the working conditions, or even the dominant culture. What we have done is colluded with it. We cannot mature inside a culture without having internalized aspects of it. Our ability to change our political environment begins with the understanding of how we have helped create it. Our consciousness is where the revolution begins. Fifty percent of the work we need to do is on ourselves. The other 50 percent is to focus outward and use ideas like stewardship to redesign the practices, policies, and structures that institutionalize what we wish to become.”

Block, Peter. Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest (p. 50). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Patriarchy is behind every single last one of our social ills — both the ones that primarily disadvantage women and the ones that also harm men. Patriarchy demands rigid rules, rigid gender roles, it’s fear and violence based, it drives isolation and depression (particularly for men). I could go on, but I’m off to spend the day with my husband and our girlfriend, and that’s a lot more fun to think about than this. 😜

Written by

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store