What Is Patriarchy?

Understanding patriarchy gives more understanding to why women must fight so hard to defeat the power of men.

Defining patriarchy explains the reasons for the treatment of women through the ages and what it means to their future and success in life. Patriarchy not only explains how our society functions but how it controls women.

Patriarchy is best defined as control by men. The opposite is matriarchy which means women are in charge and the head of families. Obviously, the culture of the United States and most other countries is patriarchal. Men have the power and control the women. If you don't believe that consider the basics of how our society functions.

Women constantly must fight for their rights and sometimes they struggle just to survive without the power and domination of men threatening them. Whether an individual woman wants to conquer patriarchy will come from her desire to be independent and defined outside the context of men.



Look to most world leaders to see how powerful patriarchy is. Women are certainly as capable as men to be President of the United States, yet they are not and probably won't be any time soon. Men have been in that role for so long that our country probably does not believe it is possible.

Consider who is typically at the head of a company or leaders in local governments. While certainly more women are fulfilling these roles, it is a constant struggle for the ones who are able to achieve that success with men having much more power just by their biological nature. Men have not had to fight for their place in society like women have. It has been an expectation that they will become leaders because that is what patriarchy is about.

Much of patriarchy also has its roots in Christianity. Religions which believe the Bible or other religious text often follow it faithfully by its every word which puts the men in charge. The Bible which most Christians live by states boldly that women should be submissive to men. With that in mind and those beliefs instilled in cultures, women don't stand a chance at gaining strength in their gender and its potential in our world.

Patriarchy is also found in family traditions like women taking the name of their husbands and children always carrying the father's last name. More women are choosing to keep their maiden names or hyphenate with their married name so they can retain their own identity. With reference of Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so, the man assumes the dominant role again and women lose.

In the majority of homes, the man is the figure who financially supports a family while the woman stays home and cares for the children. While there certainly is no harm in this arrangement for most families, it should not necessarily be a given and one women are expected to live by.

Women may never truly win over patriarchy but they must continue to stand their ground whenever possible to change the tide in our society. It takes only small steps to start with and the more women who are bold in their world and don't back down to men and their power, the better chance that women and men can be equals in life.

© High Speed Ventures 2011