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Structures that define patriarchy- how can we become empowered?

I frequently noticeably cringe when reading headlines. Not FB or Insta ramblings or weird publications but worthy/educated/mainstream headlines. We are constantly bombarded with Patriarchal influences. Let’s take a moment to look at what that really means so you can get the point of my angst. I can have a hard time with the label of Patriarchal because so many of my cherished family members and friends are a part of this group (male, white, cis, Christian). I am not comfortable seeing them as part of this system.

Here is the Webster definition- Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

What I have come to terms with is that these people in my life may not perpetuate the system and may even actively speak out against it, but they are still by the nature of their birth part of it. As uncomfortable as that may be to me.

Patriarchy is associated with a set of ideas, a patriarchal ideology that acts to explain and justify this dominance and attributes it to inherent natural differences between men and women. People have gendered biases, which are perpetuated and enforced across generations by those who benefit from them…Sociologist Sylvia Walby has composed six overlapping structures that define patriarchy and that take different forms in different cultures and different times:

1. The state: women are unlikely to have formal power and representation

2. The household: women are more likely to do the housework and raise the children

3. Violence: women are more prone to being abused

4. Paid work: women are likely to be paid less

5. Sexuality: women's sexuality is more likely to be treated negatively

6. Culture: representation of women in media, and popular culture is "within a patriarchal gaze"

Culture and Sexuality lead back to my original thought- we can avoid social media, TV Movies, music, etc., but we will still be influenced by our systems. So, it becomes even more important to identify what is being said and shown to us and other women and girls and actively acknowledge the “voice” that we are being bombarded with.

Found in Todays headlines-

1st Asian American Sports Illustrated curve model on fatphobia quieting bullies- actually well written article when you read it, but why have the descriptors? Sports Illustrated model on fatphobia quieting bullies (it makes no difference what race or size this model is).

Holly Madison says worrying about her weight while living in the Playboy Mansion was not worth it- why would we care? It is absolutely none of my business what someone weighs. (hard judgment to get around when it’s pointed out all the time to us)

Beautiful Chinese Olympian captures netizens attention, Netizens praise her for her defined facial features and proportionate body shape- WHAT!!! And you decided it was good to write about this! In what world is this okay?? She has trained for 10 years and won the Asian youth championship and is in the Olympics for the 2nd time. This is the story.

Ciara’s Abs and Booty are super toned from every angle in her IG Bikini photoshoot- Why are comments on her body a headline or relevant in anyway???? Again, a super talented woman that I am sure you could highlight her intelligence, thoughts and achievements.

Britney Spears shares bold topless pictures on Insta gram- ditto on reporting this, is this supposed to make us okay with her victimization? Make her look like she is bad for posting a picture of herself (doesn’t matter what she has on or not folks!)

Tokyo Olympic Cyclist Tom Dumoulin might serve as an example for Simone Biles- (middle age white cis male as an example to a sexually abused young black woman?) No just NO, there is nothing in his experience that would be an example to her.

Important; Dua Lipa just rocked the **hottest** little string bikini- REALLY WHAT? Why isn’t this statement making “news” what she wrote on Instagram Stories. "I know my fans know where my heart lies and that I stand 100% with the LGTBQ community. We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS. This statement has power.

I encourage you to all to question what’s being presented to you and why, then reflect in your power to be you.

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