The patriarchy is a social system that values masculinity over femininity. This type of social system dictates that men are entitled to be in charge and dominate women. And it implies the nature state of gender relations is a dynamic of dominance and submission. According to patriarchal society, women are seen weak, submissive and an extension of men, and the highest accomplishment a woman can hope to attain is marriage (heterosexual of course!) and child birthing.
On the reverse end of the spectrum, men are expected to be physically and emotionally strong, dominating, and the breadwinner and protector of his family. Although the domination of women today might not be as bad as, say, a couple hundred years ago when women had no legal rights and were considered their husbands property. Gender is still something that is strictly enforces on people today. In patriarchal society’s, cisgender men are typically valued over cisgender women.
However the system forces people into strict boxes called ‘gender roles’, and gender roles hurt everybody. If someone who is assigned a certain gender at birth doesn’t fit into the social norms expected of that gender, they’re often ostracized by society. In the past hundred years or so we’ve seen a loosening of gender roles for women but not so much for men. Women can act or dress in a more masculine fashion with less repercussions that if a man were to act or dress in a feminine way. This stems from the valuing of masculine traits over feminine traits and the association of femininity with weakness. It’s more okay for a woman to ”act like a man”, or whatever that means, than it is for a man to ”act like a woman”. However, the patriarchy doesn’t just harm cis women and cis men. It also hurts trans identities and everyone who doesn’t identify with the gender binary. Being transgender is almost like the ultimate slap in the face to patriarchy and gender roles because you’re stepping outside of the gender you were assigned to birth and saying ” to hell with that”. A lot of trans phobia that we see is based in sexism and the fact that someone is refusing to stay in the gender box that society put them in.
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