Why the Patriarchy Ought to be Dismantled (Essay Sample)
The patriarchy is a hierarchical system in which men hold a large amount of power. This system is widely prevalent from the courtroom to the workplace to familial relationships; men continue to dominate, excluding women from many important discussions, opportunities, and ideas. While considered effective in the past, it is an outdated apparatus as it dehumanizes women while elevating men. Women across the globe face these brutal effects of patriarchy. Yet, many detractors still value this ideology that men deserve more power. Although many believe the patriarchy is an effective hierarchical system, the patriarchy ought to be dismantled as it contributes to many issues such as male chauvinism, internalized misogyny, and sexism.
A negative effect of the patriarchy is male chauvinism: a type of male prejudice against women. Through the enforcement of the patriarchy, male chauvinism is further strengthened as men receive a greater amount of control than women. Men are coaxed, rather, encouraged to view themselves as superior in terms of intellect, ability, and power. Many men chose to manifest such ideologies in the form of physical violence. An example of such physical violence is domestic abuse. Amnesty International reports, “globally, on average 30% of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence committed against them by their partner” (2021 Amnesty International). This is due to a system that was deemed impactful hundreds of years ago, yet continues to dominate systems of power across the globe. As men continue to receive positive approbation, many receive sadistic pleasure in inflicting severe physical pain on their female counterparts. The Guardian states, “Men don’t abuse women because society tells them it’s OK. Men abuse women because society tells them they are entitled to be in control” (Hill, 2020). Another prevalent form of violence women face is rape. In the documentary War Against Women, one woman states, “...and after all the abuse, nothing can be compared to that first rape” (War against Women). Women are once again subordinate to men due to the patriarchal system that values men in power at the expense of womens’ well-being and human rights. This, in turn, has contributed to rape culture, heavily prevalent today. In her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood deftly elucidates this issue, as the main character Offred states, “You can think clearly only with your clothes on” (Atwood, 143). In this dystopian novel, Atwood manages to highlight the timelessness of this so-called “rape culture.” This is ultimately perpetuated by male chauvinism. Due to their supposed “superiority,” men are permitted to commit such heinous crimes against women while women must be silent.
As male chauvinism subsists, it perpetuates internalized misogyny: the heavy contempt of women by women themselves. When only men continue to transcend into power, women doubt themselves and their abilities. When told they are beneath a man, they are bound to disdain themselves. This creates an endless cycle of self-loathing. A common effect of this is a ruined self-image. The very concept of gender creates an intense feeling of shamefulness. In The Handmaid’s Tale, main character Offred states, “I avoid looking down at my body, not so much because it’s shameful or immodest but because I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to look at something that determines me so completely” (Atwood, 63). Such a response is natural to the constant inculcation of the patriarchy. Offred determines her identity based on her gender rather than her intellect, her occult personality, or her lurid past. When women face prejudice as an effect of the patriarchy, their self-identity is once again ruined. In the Netflix documentary, War Against Women, a victim of sexual violence states, “They managed to destroy what could be destroyed in women. Her dignity” (War Against Women). Women then begin to formulate negative beliefs against their own gender and start to truly worship these beliefs. Additionally, this perpetuated internalized misogyny leads to poor mental health. Once self-image is ruined, it is only a matter of time until mental health is affected. Past experiences from the patriarchy such as abuse and rape lead to depression. In War against Women, a sexual abuse victim states, “I still don't feel relieved. Sometimes I think I ought to die” (War Against Women). Women face depression and anxiety to the extent they believe they can no longer continue to live. These are the dangerous effects of internalized misogyny.
Consequently, as male chauvinism and internalized misogyny, both effects of the patriarchy, continue to prevail, sexism persists as well. Sexism is prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination based on, especially against women. Sexism takes many forms and manifests itself in many different settings. A clear example of sexism is the lack of access to quality education for women today. This ideal, that men deserve better access to education than women, creates a multitude of issues. As men are seen as superior, they receive better opportunities in career and educational advancement. The Guardian states, “Today, we still live in a society that entrenches women’s subordination at every level – from the home, to the boardroom, to our parliament” (Hill, 2020). Despite such large technological advancements, sexism within the classrooms continues to subsist. As male chauvinism promotes rape and abuse, more women in countries across the globe are forced to raise children, rather than complete an education. CNN proclaims, “While access to education – and particularly quality education – is a global challenge for everyone, young women and girls suffer the most, as they’re more likely than boys to be excluded. According to the World Bank, 16 million girls ages 6 to 11 will never start school, compared with 8 million boys” (Hare, 2016). Sexism is directly influenced by the patriarchy- and the system that continues to promote power to men.
Thus, the patriarchy is no longer a successful system as it perpetuates many harmful effects including male chauvinism, internalized misogyny, and sexism. Male chauvinism leads to harmful manifestations such as rape and abuse. Internalized misogyny harms a woman's self-esteem and mental health. Additionally, sexism creates stereotypes further preventing women from advancing such as pursuing quality education. Although it may seem far-fetched, the patriarchy can be easily dismantled by advocating and speaking for what is right; this will help to empower generations of future women and leaders.