Thursday, 31 December 2015

Patriarchy is Love

Author: Blaise Wilson

What is Patriarchy?

Patriarchy is the idea that men hold the majority of influence and resources, while women tend to be excluded from it [7].

Patriarchy has several competing theories. These centre on two root causes:
  1. social
  2. biological
Most Third Wave Feminists believe that Patriarchy is 100% a social construct, based on the assumption that gender is 100% a social construct [1]. However, as demonstrated in our Outcome of Outcome Series [2], this assumption has been proven false, indicating that gender is, at least partially, influenced by biology.

The biological advocates often cite Bateman's Principle, which is the idea that females are the biological limiting factors within the human species, and as such are allowed to be much more choosey about their sexual partners.

Wikipedia [3] has this to say on the subject of Patriarchy (as of 31/12/2015):

"Most sociologists reject predominantly biological explanations of patriarchy and contend that social and cultural conditioning are primarily responsible for establishing male and female gender roles… Some opponents of feminism have argued that patriarchy has its origin in biological factors...  The male testosterone hormone is, for instance, known to greatly enhance risk taking behaviour; which can generate increased status in groups if successful (balanced with an equal increase in number of failures, with potential losses of status or death as result)."

Curiosity this implies that that most sociologists agree with Feminist theory (or vice versa) of a social construct and 'opponents of feminism' believe in a biological root cause. However, there are very few advocates that seem take the grey approach, implying it is black or white, either social or biological.

However, the definition of Feminism does not strictly definition patriarchy as a social construct, allowing alternative theories to be explored within the Feminist community.

After reviewing the evidence for both social and biological theories EgaFem has come up with their own concept of patriarchy.

EgaFem Patriarchy Hypothesis: Patriarchy is Love.

This is a HYPOTHESIS, as such no evidence will be provided at this stage. This is put forth as a thought for debate and further evidence will be investigated later to test this concept.

'Patriarchy is Love' is embodied by the phase 'Women and children first.'

This hypothesis arises from patriarchy primarily stemming from a biological root cause, but has a social layer. This is the social construct that female lives are more precious than males. This concepts accepts that there will always be a patriarchy to some degree due to the biological factors, but humans can mould their society to mitigates the biological impacts on perceived modern gender roles, and it can do this by treating male and female suffering with equal value.

Under this theory women's lives are held in higher value than men's due to the biological limitations of childbearing and parental investment. This allows women to be choosy in their sexual partners.

In order to compete for women and spread their genetics, men must take the majority of the risks, and successes or failures as a result. This means more men than women are killed in combat, in violent crimes, are homeless and so forth. However, men are also more likely to be heroes, have ideas outside the box, invent wonders, win prizes, and push human knowledge forward. All this takes risks of time, effort and resources, as they are not guaranteed to succeed.

Successful men are rewarded for taking risks in the form of social influence and resources. Men who are successful have more influence and resources making them more attractive to women as sexual partners. Women gain access to the power and influence through men, without having to take the risk themselves.

And this is Patriarchy. Women do not have direct access to the influence and resources, because they did not earn them. Society discourages women from earning them because women must be protected from risk.

Patriarchy in History

Consider the eras of human development:
  • Hunter Gatherer 
  • Agriculture 
  • Industrial 
  • Modern/Tertiary
Considering this theory throughout these eras. As hunter gatherers, men traditionally did the hunting. This is a high risk endeavour in which many men would not return home. While women kept closer to the community, raising the children in relative safety compared to the risks taken by the males. A heavily pregnant, recently given birth, or nursing Mother cannot hunt. And if a pregnant women hunts, you risk two lives. In order to improve the survival of the species it makes logical sense for women's lives to be protected, and for men to take the risks.

Humans have been hunter/gatherers for about 90% of our history [5], with agriculture only appearing about 11,500 years ago [4]. We are genetically almost identical to when we were hunter gatherers.

The agriculture and industrial ages suffer with similar issues to the hunter/gatherer era, women are safer at home. Although this didn't mean women never took risks, but it was rarely by choice but rather as an imperative to earn enough food or starve. Middle-class and families that could afford for women to stay at home, often did so. Women being able to be protected became a privilege provided by class/money.

It is only in developed, modern society of the last 100 years when safe jobs became commonly available. Even today, when you consider the jobs many Third Wave Feminists are demanding women are given better access too, they are the higher paid, safe, low risk jobs within offices, not high risk roles.

Risk Taking and Women

The biological need to protect women has sprung up in social etiquettes. Women are discouraged from taking risks. The social protection of women is a symptom of biological influence. Men take the risks and gain the rewards, while women are kept safe. This appears as patriarchy.

Patriarchy is the system in which women gain power and influence through their men. In order to break patriarchy women must gain this power and influence directly by taking their own risks and not transferring these risks, and thus the rewards, to men.

Under this theory, patriarchy evolved as a social construct based on biological influences. It was not designed. Men did not get together one day and decide to come up with a system to systematically oppress women. Both men and women continue to perpetuate patriarchy by allowing and encouraging the protection of female lives over that of males.

To break patriarchy, women must be allowed to fail. Women must be allowed to die at the same rate as men. Women must be equally disposable as men.

Either the value of male life must be raised to the same as women's, or women's reduce to the same as men's (or a bit of both). Any inequality of the value of life between men and women will result in either patriarchy or matriarchy through the rewards of risk taking.

Many Outcome/ Third Wave Feminists are, in fact, promoting patriarchy through their demands and actions, particularly the concept that men are eternal oppressors and women are perpetual victims. Ignoring the plight of men, and only focusing on women promotes patriarchy and is damaging to the ability of women to earn their own influence and resources.

Patriarchy is the love of men trying to stop harm from coming to women, in the same way parents control and limit their children from dangerous and risky behaviours and situations in order to protect them.

Addressing the Patriarchy Problem

Patriarchy is beautiful. The sacrifices men have made for women should be celebrated. Without the risks men take, the human race would likely be extinct. But instead we have thrived. We have thrived so much, and developed to a point that women are now able to take the risks men have always taken on their behalf.

But, reducing the social norms that perpetuate patriarchy will be a challenge. In the same way parents must allow their child into the world to make their own lives, men must let women go. And women need to leave the safety of men, and go out into the world to take those risks.

Under the Patriarchy is Love hypothesis,
this is patriarchy in action.
Women are biologically adverse to taking risks. As a result many women will not be comfortable leaving the safety of men and will want to choose to remain in a patriarchal society in which men continue to take risks on their behalf, and women continuing to gain access to these rewards through their men.

This is fine. However, women who choose to continue to live in a patriarchal household do not get to demand direct access to the rewards and privileges without earning them.

If a women wants direct access to influence and resources she must take the risks, she must earn them herself. She must break out from the patriarchy and take responsibility for her own safety, and take risks.

Women must take full responsibility for the risks, if they are to take full responsibility for the rewards. Affirmative action, quotas, men giving women stuff, and other solutions that mitigate women's risks while offering them rewards is patriarchy.


Our definition of Feminism is the empowerment of women to take risks. Risk implies both success and failure. Women must be allowed to fail, and be forced to accept personal responsibility for the consequences of that failure in order for them also be personally responsible for the results of success.

Thus, the Patriarchy is Love hypothesis is the protection of women over men, and can be summed up by the phrase 'women and children first.'

1 comment:

  1. These concepts seem to make a good deal of sense, and to be worthy of further investigation and elaboration. Thanks for the thoughtful post.