What do the feminists really mean by the term "patriarchy"? When this word rolls off a feminist tongue, what does it specifically refer to? Is it possible to discover what they are talking about in terms of the utmost clarity, simplicity, and above all usability, and reduce it to a formula that will smack the nail bang on the head every time?
that we wish to unpack the occulted lexical thread of signification
which the word patriarchy carries throughout ALL examples of feminist
rhetoric. When THEY talk about patriarchy, THEY assuredly mean something particular,
something consistent, something examinable, something that would
manifest their devices if it were brought to light. From the highest
towers of the academy to the lowest reaches of the pop-feminist gutter,
they all talk about "patriarchy", and in their varied accents they are
all referring to the same thing. It is to this thing specifically that
we direct our enquiry, in order that we may know it and name it and
decode feminist speech by the light of it.
Here is the secret: When feminists speak of patriarchy, all they are really talking about is male power.
It's just that simple. All of their circumlocutions dance endlessly and
evasively around this—that patriarchy is exactly synonymous with male power, neither more nor less than male power, and that in all cases the terms patriarchy and male power may be interchanged with a negligible adulteration of meaning.
Try the experiment yourself. Find a piece of feminist writing where the word patriarchy occurs; replace this word with male power;
see if it makes any fundamental difference. Also, see if it throws an
unexpectedly revealing light upon the matter, yielding a sense and
consistency superior to the original version.
If you wish,
replace the word patriarchy with the simple word "men", and it will
yield similar results. I know that many feminists have denied that
patriarchy equals "men", but think for a minute: is not bare existence
in itself a form of power? Tell me who has more male power: a man who exists, or a man who doesn't?
No feminist understanding of "patriarchy" makes any ultimate sense if
you divorce this word from the idea of male power. If you aren't
talking about male power in some way then you are wasting your time
talking about patriarchy in any way whatsoever. Let that thought be your
femspeak decoder template.
Feminist answer experts, seeking
to confuse the issue, might reply that patriarchy is male power plus
something else. Maybe so. But if you subtracted the male power part, the
"something else" part wouldn't stand up any better than an empty
gunny-sack, whereas the "male power" part—even by itself—would remain fully serviceable within the calculus of meaning.
Every feminist analysis that I'm aware of does no better than make "something else" to be a form of male will-to-power
emanating from the allegedly "constructed" nature of maleness in the
first place. But this is a completely circular explanation that will
never boost the discussion beyond square one, so we might as well scrap
it. Besides, the whole mess boils down to male power anyway, so that in the end all you are really saying is that patriarchy is male power plus male power.
in the end, you can't go far wrong if you simply set "patriarchy" equal
to "male power". You'll go further wrong if you select any other
It follows that any feminist who talks about "ending"
patriarchy or reducing it in some way, is also talking about ending or
reducing male power in some way.
So what does male power mean? It means: any power of any kind which any male citizen might happen to possess.
And exactly what is this thing called...power? That is a very good and very important question.
In the realm of human affairs, as near as we can make it, power is
a substance compounded of two ingredients: IDENTITY, and AGENCY.
means the sum of all factors, both mental and physical, which identify
you as a discrete center of conscious awareness in contradistinction to
other such discrete centers.
Agency means your capacity to either effect or prevent change through the exercise of your volition.
Let that sink in. Take a break for a few minutes, if you want to. Get
away from the computer. Go outside , look at the clouds, listen to the
birds, enjoy the fresh air.
Very well, you are back. Let's recapitulate.
Patriarchy is a feminist code word for male power. Male power means
any power of any kind which any male citizen might happen to posess, and
power specifically means identity plus agency. So in practice, the
feminist keyword patriarchy maps to the identity and agency of any male citizen.
Gentle reader, you as a person posess identity and agency. In other
words, you posess power. You mightn't think you have enough of it, but
you do have some. And so long as you have some, you have freedom. Again,
possibly not enough for your liking...but some. And some is always
enough to get you started—enough to leaven the dough, you might say. Be glad of it, and work intelligently with it.
Let's see how feminism enters the picture. Feminism is an anti-male
hate movement, and it is perfectly natural that when you hate something
you will seek to deprive it of power—the more the better. We have equated power with identity and agency, and so have the feminist ideologues—although
not necessarily in the same terms. Still, they have copped the base
mechanics that we've outlined here. They know it instinctively.
In order to undermine male power, the women's movement over the years
has set afoot a variety of actions, both large and small, tending to
vitiate the identity and agency of men. Indeed, nearly everything which
feminism has accomplished has made some contribution to this overall
This "campaign" has cut a gradual, descending swath from the macrocosm to the microcosm, from the political to the personal—striving always toward a finer granularity of control, a greater concision of shades and subtleties in the realm of daily life.
Dry alterations to the fabric of law and the outward form of institutions didn't satisfy them for long—they
thirsted for the essential juice of life, and in particular, the life
juice of anything male which crossed their path. The last thing they
wanted was a workplace or a world filled with insouciant, free-spirited,
self-esteeming men and boys. Something had to be done to correct male joie de vivre and male autonomy.
Men were to be subjugated, but if they didn't know this, and if they
didn't act like they knew it, then the whole thing would be pointless.
It was necessary, then, for the reach of matriarchy to become omni-locational and all-pervading—like the ideological presence of a totalitarian social order.
it was and continues to be important to the feminist effort that every
possible shred of male identity or agency be appended to the shadow of
ideology in some manner. ANY speck of uncolonized male space or male
autonomy constitutes a bit of turf still in the grip of patriarchal
power. Or at any rate, that's how they see it.
point: what is a "sensitive male"? For starters, it is a sexist
expression in exactly the same way that "good negro" is a racist
expression. This is a VERY exact paralell. If somebody employs the term
"sensitive male", or worse, calls you one, then you ought to feel seriously offended.
that, a sensitive male is simply an emotional puppet whose strings are
available for any woman to pull, whenever and wherever. In short, a man
curiously lacking in power; a man of abbreviated identity and agency.
they will rate you on whether you "know how to cry". Reason being, that
if you know how to cry then it follows that you can be made to
cry. That's what they are really looking for in the long run. And here's
an extra thought that occurred to me: how would you like to be told
that "it's okay to cry" by the very same person who made you want to cry in the first place? You'd be damned if you'd give them the satisfaction, wouldn't you?
examples are given because in my opinion they implode the circumference
of male power about as far as it can be pushed, at least in the daily
realm of social interplay. Even to a point where the drive for control
reaches straight into a man's inner world, breaching a barrier which
civil propriety forbids should be violated.
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall." Know
therefore that your coolness, aloofness, guardedness, your
methodological skepticism, or even your native lack of response to
certain stimuli which others might find compelling, are all vital
elements of your identity. Your agency. Your autonomy. Your. . . . manhood. In other words, your male power.
Oh, very well then, call it patriarchy!
And you thought that "patriarchy" was just a one-size-fits-all
guilt-o-matic gizmo designed to put men eternally on the defensive while
giving women a carte blanche moral advantage in any given situation!
Well it is that indeed. But as you can see now, it goes deeper. . . .