Course:ANTH213/2024/topic/Patriarchy (Alice, Madi, Nayu, Jade, Ria)

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The patriarchy is a multidimensional framework where men hold primary power and dominate roles such as leadership, authority, privilege and property. Through beliefs and behaviours such as hegemonic masculinity, emphasized femininity, and gender performance, the patriarchy is reinforced within society's institutional and social structures. Influences of the patriarchy can be seen in healthcare, workplace, and athletics. On a social level, the patriarchy affects human relationships and marriage through the socialization of patriarchal ideals. The patriarchy works to opportunities and freedoms for people identifying outside of the dominant male power group such as intersex, non-binary, female, and LGBTQIA+ individuals. Through critical analyses of the patriarchy on institutional and social levels, society can begin to dismantle the patriarchal beliefs and power structures that are driving an inequitable environment.

Patriarchal Frameworks

Hegemonic Masculinity

Hegemonic masculinity, is a highly valued set of beliefs that puts men on the very top of the social and hierarchical ladder. Hegemonic masculinity and its associated societal expectations for men include; anger or aggression, extreme dominance, the suppression of certain emotions. Additionally, being the main breadwinner of the family is also highly valued. Hegemonic masculinity has massive everyday effects on all of us, and it extends into every aspect of our lives. This includes our dress, our mannerisms, and even how we interact with each other [1].

Hegemonic masculinity can be traced all the way back to the start of colonization and industrialization, with forms of patriarchy existing in many eras of human history. We can see that the idea that a straight white man is the top of the social order is not a new theory, and it is quite problematic. Hegemonic masculinity also intersects with almost all other forms of oppression such as race, sexuality, and social class [1]. The impacts of hegemonic masculinity are felt by everyone all over the world, daily, the system of our society as we know it, is propped up upon patriarchal values.

There are still small gender inequalities in almost all aspects of life, including work and education. In Canada specifically, the gender pay gap for both full time and part time employees is 0.89, meaning that women only make 89¢ for every dollar a man makes [2]. But not only does hegemonic masculinity affect women negatively, it also affects the men. By forcing men to fit into one mold of how they should act and feel, many men face depression and loneliness often, and are unable to properly ask for help because of the patriarchal system that is in place. However, hegemonic masculinity and the patriarchy is upheld by another form of gender.

Emphasized Femininity

Emphasized femininity refers to a set of behaviours, and beliefs that are more in line with, and associated with what the patriarchy views as feminine. Unlike other forms of femininity, and feminism itself emphasized femininity puts a larger focus on the fertility, submissiveness and subservience of women to men [1].

Additionally emphasized femininity includes aspects such as physical appearance. Further, it includes the importance of women taking up a caregiving and nurturing role within society and the home [1]. It forces women to adhere to a very old set of social values regarding women's rights. Emphasized femininity also requires complete compliance with the societal expectations of what it means to be a woman, and to be feminine. This form of femininity puts women at an automatic disadvantage in life, and robs them of the right of choice. Both hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity go hand and hand, as they both align with more traditional gender norms and rules and are strict about adhering to them [1].

We can see a comparison of the two, when we look into how the patriarchy is upheld in modern day hookup culture. Hookup culture also upholds older ideas regarding sex and gender. Women must stay pure until marriage, however men are free to do as they please. Women who have equal to, or the same amount of sex as men are name called and put down, while men are praised and rewarded socially [1].

The enforcement of these strict gender rules don't only affect women negatively, but everyone, as those who do not conform with what society views as male or female are often alienated. Because they do not fit into the patriarchal mold of man or woman, gender non conforming people threaten the whole system.

How Ideas of Gender are Preformed and Perpetuated

Gender and gender expression can be shown in a multitude of different ways, it could be the way you dress, how you do your makeup, how you talk, how you walk. Everything is related to how we show others who we are, and how others receive us.

There are also less colonial ways of viewing gender, by looking at certain indigenous groups in Canada, we can see that there have been other cultures across time that have not had such rigid standards for what makes up men and women. As an example we can look to the Two Spirit people of certain indigenous groups in Canada. Those who are Two Spirit embody both the male and female spirits, making them something in between. Historically those who were Two Spirit were often healers, caretakers and mediators, they also were able to give different perspectives and contributions to discussions that male and female members could not [3].

Patriarchy is reinforced and perpetuated daily, by both our societal norms on gender, and our expectations of gender. It is ingrained into all systems and structures including laws, religions, and any system or institution where men predominately hold the power. To continue to uphold male power, even the distribution and access of important resources and institutions such as schools, are limited to women worldwide. Additionally, because of the predominantly male dominated law sector, laws that limit women not only their daily activities, but also their own freewill are able to be passed.

Patriarchy is also reinforced in the media we consume. Seemingly innocent things such as movies, or beloved online personalities often share thoughts that men are simultaneously the best and superior to women and gender non conforming people in all regards. Continuing with the perpetuation on social media, both the patriarchy and hegemonic masculinity are popular with many younger men, who then spew nasty things about women online. Finally, the most important and invasive way that the system of patriarchy is perpetuated is through the education of our youth [4]. Children are taught the intricacies of gender norms and roles very young. It starts with small things like colours, pink for girls and blue for boys [4].

Institutional Patriarchy Pt.1

Patriarchy and Medicine

Patriarchy and the medical industry have always had an intertwined past. Starting with the experimentation on enslaved black women by the “Father of Gynecology”, Marion J. Sims, with his brutal exploration of enslaved infants and women, that has, unfortunately, given us much of our modern gynecological knowledge. medicine has long been used as a patriarchal tool for control, stigmatization, and the furthering of institutional powers.

For starters, the medical industry has a propensity for under-valuing women's pain and issues by attributing it to female hysteria or simply as a result of menstruation. Women in medical situations are often seen as reproductive beings first, with genuine care being a later effort, if addressed at all[2]. Because of this, many women do not even attempt to get in contact with medical professionals due to fear of being ignored, called hysterical, or gaslit. This means that “male justifications of female inferiority have been developed and nurtured through professional discourses and socialization processes inherent within medical education and practice” [1]. Additionally, female research participants are under-represented and excluded reflecting the lack of inherent knowledge about women and medicine [3]. Women's reflections and experiences with their pain are also consistently undervalued and under-credicted. In hospitals in the United States, women are 13-25% less likely to receive opioid pain medication for self-scored abdominal pain, even when they graded their pain the same as their male counterparts[4]. Women's pain is often attributed to Hysteria, an idea from the Kahun Papyrus, an Egyptian text from 1900 BC. [5]. Hysteria is also mentioned by Hippocrates in ancient Greece. He ascribes female issues as being due to an abnormally moving uterus that migrates around the female body. He also states that when a woman is not sexually satisfied by her marriage, her uterus produces toxic fumes to make her hysterical. Throughout our history from Rome, to the Renaissance, and even the modern age with theorists like Freud, female actions are chalked up to nothing more than mere femaleness and hysteria. While the medical field has a better understanding now- women are still faced with laughable explanations for their ailments. Today, many medical professionals, patients and companies have called for the betterment of the medical field's understanding of women. Starting with listening to women.

Intersexed people and Medical Patriarchy

Furthering the medical division of gender-intersexed infants, infants born with genitals that are un-definable as male or female offer an interesting insight into the treatment of sex and gender in the medical industry. Intersexed children are rare, with 1.7[6]  percent of the world's population expressing intersex traits. Yet, the handling, treatment, and perception of intersexed infants is nuanced concerning patriarchy. When intersexed babies are born, a conversation occurs between doctors and parents as to how to raise the children, and if surgery is the proper answer. However, the treatment of ambiguous genitals is starting to be analyzed. For example, feminist scholars have begun to question why intersexed infants born with female genitals but no ovaries are considered less female only because they cannot serve a reproductive purpose[7]. This diminishes a woman's role to mainly a reproducer and as merely serving that single purpose.

Additionally, the decision by doctors to assign and therefore surgically and hormonally create an intersexed baby as ‘male’ or ‘female’ is based on socially defined definitions of gender centred on genital size and shape. When a doctor decides to assign a baby as a male they are basing that on the genital size and if that baby could have a functioning, average-sized penis in the future [8]. This expects heterosexuality and furthers the role of sex as reproductive. Medical professionals also assume women need a vaginal canal, functioning clitoris, and vulva to be not only able to reproduce but to appeal visually and be functional for heterosexual, penetrative sex for her future supposed partner. Intersexed infants are often forced to abide by the binary functions of sex, and that definition is based heavily on personal ideals by the consulting medical team. These ideals are shaped by patriarchal, heteronormative expectations of gender roles.

Patriarchy and Sports

Women in sports have been a long-contested topic touching on ability, need and want. But with organizations like the PWHL or Pacific Women's Hockey League, women in sports have reached a discussional fever pitch.

Caster Semenya

Discussions around the existence of women in sports have already been argued extensively. In 2011, the IAAF or the International Association of Athletics Federations changed the way it does sex testing after Caster Semenya was questioned extensively about her existence as a woman[9]. Her spectacular performance in the 2009 Berlin World Championships was questioned as a result of hidden maleness or doping. The media, her competitors and the athletic world called her scores and her “breathtakingly butch” appearance into question[10]. Semenya had been tested and approved to compete, but her stellar run had convinced people of her lack of femininity. As a woman, she was not accepted, let alone believed to be able to perform as she did. Her case illustrated the expectations of less from women in sports. In the end, Semenya had an intersex condition that made her produce more testosterone.

Less pay is also expected for women's sports. In basketball, the average professional male athlete is paid 10.7 million while female athletes make 113 thousand[11]. In 2022, the top-paid female athlete, Naomi Osaka made 41.1 million, while the top-paid male athlete, Lionel Messi, made 130 million[12]. These discrepancies reflect the lack of attention and respect given to female-led sports.

Moving forward, institutions like FIFA pledge to do better concerning women's sports, and women-based organizations like the PWHL are making immense headway in garnering respect from sports fans new and old.

Patriarchy and Children

Pink Triangle

Children have long been affected by the gendering of everything. Children's clothes, blankets, cribs, foods, diapers- everything marketed towards and necessary for babies and parents have gendered choices. Yet, this is not always how it has been. Pink has not always been for girls and blue has not always been for boys. Up until the 1930s, it was the opposite[13]. In the 1930s however, pink started to be associated with femininity. In 1930s Holocaust Germany, Nazis would put pink triangles on gay prisoners to mark them as such. This marking of ‘gay’ meant feminine, weak, and all things unmasculine and undesirable for men. This started to lead to the association of pink as feminine[14]. This association of women and weakness is engrained in children starting from birth and this patriarchal division of children follows them into their school years. While pink and blue clothes may seem like a non or small issue, the implications of gender divisions are clear, especially when explained through the societal aversion to anything, or anyone showing feminine traits. As children grow, the institutions they enter further gender divisions, and it starts with marketing.

Patriarchy is engrained in many of the systems we operate in everyday, and it affects everyone. It is the frameworks through which institutions focus resources, power, and attention.

Institutional Patriarchy Pt.2

Unraveling Institutionalized Male Dominance

Patriarchy, in its purest form, refers to an institutional framework in which men wield the most power and influence in society. This system is a reflection of many facets of society, including the organization of families, workplaces, and the administration of justice. This implies that decisions, rules, and opportunities are controlled by men, while women have less influence and fewer chances to shape their own lives. Therefore, it’s critical to comprehend the uneven distribution of power and how it manifests itself in many societal contexts, including households, businesses, governments, and schools, while discussing patriarchy in institutions. It is not just about individuals; it is about how entire institutions are configured to give one group the advantage. It is critical to understand that the system itself is designed to make it more difficult for women to succeed, not because of their shortcomings or lack of credentials. As such, an analysis of male domination in marriage, the workplace, and the criminal justice system will be conducted in order to comprehend institutional patriarchy. By examining the intersections of marriage, employment, and patriarchal frameworks within criminal justice systems, one can uncover the multifaceted ways in which institutional patriarchy operates.

The Struggle for Women’s Fulfillment within Familial Constraints

Within the institution of marriage, patriarchal norms and structures often dictate roles and expectations of the union. For example, traditional notions of marriage have often placed husbands in positions of authority, with wives expected to be submissive and nurturing to the children’s needs. This dynamic can manifest in various aspects of married life, from decision-making to division of labor within the household. Research by Glass and Fujimoto (1994) found that women still shoulder the majority of household responsibilities, spending significantly more time on household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare compared to men.[15] This unequal distribution of unpaid labor reflects and reinforces traditional gender roles within marriage, where women are expected to prioritize domestic duties while men are often absolved of such responsibilities. This imbalance can have significant consequences for women’s well-being and economic autonomy, as they may have less time and energy to pursue higher education, career advancement, or leisure activities outside of the home. Therefore, patriarchal structures within marriage not only perpetuate gender inequalities, but also restrict women’s agency and opportunities for personal fulfillment.

The Bridal Chains of Patriarchal Marriage

Additionally, the historical view of marriage as a “sexual contract” reinforced patriarchal ideals, where women are seen as objects to be possessed and controlled by their husbands. As Currier (2013) argues, this contract allows women to maintain social status as “good girls,” and men are able to protect their social status as “real men.” [16] Therefore, the concept of marriage as a contractual agreement focuses on the sexual exchange and transfer of ownership of women from fathers to husbands. Throughout history, marriage has often been characterized in this unequal power dynamic, where women were expected to fulfill specific roles and duties dictated by their husbands and society at large. This perspective not only diminishes women’s autonomy, but also perpetuates unequal power dynamics within the marital relationship. Dua (2007) discusses how this perspective contributes to the exclusion and marginalization of women, particularly those from Asian backgrounds, within the context of Canada’s history as a white settler nation.[17] In this article, Dua (2007) argues that the construction of Canada as a white settler nation was inherently exclusionary, creating practices that reinforced racial and gender hierarchies.[17] By relating this to the framework of marriage, one can analyze how this exclusionary ideology is manifested in the perception of women as objects to be controlled by their husbands, representing broader societal attitudes towards women’s autonomy and agency. Therefore, as Dua (2007) illustrates, the historical construction of Canada as a white settler nation was predicated on the exploitation of Indigenous populations and the exclusion of non-white immigrants, particularly women, from participating in the development of the nation.[17] As a result, as one seeks to understand the historical practices behind the legacy of intimate relations, it can be understood how patriarchal structures that limit women’s rights perpetuate unequal power dynamics within marital relationships.

The Gendered Struggle for Workplace Autonomy

Patriarchal systems frequently control the dynamics of the workplace in the context of employment, which adds to structural injustices and obstacles facing women. Despite advancements in gender equality, men still predominantly occupy authoritative positions in various industries, holding greater decision-making power and access to career advancement opportunities. In her study on post-retirement and older women, Meadows (1997) emphasizes the topic by highlighting the gendered disparities in work sectors and their effects on women.[18] She found that women are disproportionately represented in low-wage and part-time positions, often lacking access to full-time employment with benefits and opportunities for professional growth. This gendered division of labor reinforces traditional gender roles, with women being relegated to occupations that are undervalued and underpaid compared to male-dominated fields. Further restricting women’s professional prospects and financial independence is Meadows (1997), who notes that caregiving duties, such as raising children or looking after elderly relatives, regularly interrupt women’s employment trajectories.[18] These results highlight how patriarchy permeates institutions and shapes employment relations, maintaining disparities that penalize women in the workforce. As a result, women are more likely to experience economic dependence on men, making them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse within both the workplace and the household. Women, in particular, face discrimination and bias when entering male-dominated fields, which can limit their career options and opportunities for advancement.

Women, and often marginalized individuals such as transgender and non-binary individuals, disproportionately make up the majority of sex workers, while clients, who are typically male, hold the power and financial resources. As was already established, there are a number of ways in which patriarchal ideologies interact with criminal justice systems to affect the definition, prosecution, and sentencing of crimes. Individuals may therefore be treated differently depending on their gender as a result of biases in the legal and law enforcement sectors. Patriarchal attitudes contribute to the stigmatization of sex work and the objectification of those involved, particularly women, reinforcing the idea that women’s bodies are commodities to be bought and sold. Farley (2003) explores the invisibility of harm in prostitution and offers valuable insights into how systemic biases and gender stereotypes impact the treatment of individuals involved in sex work.[19] As laws and regulations surrounding sex work prioritize criminalization and punishment, rather than addressing the systemic inequalities that lead individuals into the industry such as poverty, lack of economic opportunities, and exploitation, this perpetuates a cycle of marginalization and vulnerability for women. Research by Hoppe (2014) highlights the detrimental impact of criminalizing marginalized populations, demonstrating how punitive measures often fail to address underlying issues.[20] Vulnerable groups are further marginalized by the criminal justice system’s lack of gender sensitivity and grasp of power relations. As a result, the disproportionate criminalization of marginalized groups, such as women in sex work, reflects broader patterns of inequality perpetuated by institutional patriarchy.

Social Patriarchy Pt.1

The forces of patriarchy exert a strong influence on how society perceives and navigates gender, sexuality and relationships. Rooted in power and control, patriarchal norms impose constraints on individuals’ understanding of gender roles, power dynamics, and acceptable behaviours. The patriarchal system not only shapes societal perceptions of gender and sexuality, but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and inequalities that marginalise individuals who do not conform to traditional norms. Society is guided by a patriarchal control that often dictates individuals’ sexuality and relationships, shaping social interactions and identities. The patriarchy is deeply embedded in social life, affecting aspects of human connections such as relationships, gender, sexuality, and domestic treatment.


The power and control wielded by the patriarchy significantly influence the way young girls perceive sexuality and relationships. Tying into society’s established power dynamics, patriarchal culture imposes constraints on sexuality and relationships through assumptions of economic dependence, gendered power relations, fear of harassment, sexism, adherence to caring norms, and appropriate behaviours for women[21]. These cultural expectations, stemming from a patriarchal framework, instil insecurities within women. Studies have shown that participation in gendered relationships gives women a sense of life meaning and importance[21]. Patriarchal culture dictates acceptable social behaviours and rewards conformity, pressuring women to adhere to their assigned roles within a relationship. Consequently, women who conform to these expectations often exhibit traits associated with emphasised femininity[16]. Emphasised femininity characterises a pattern of femininity that garners cultural and ideological endorsement, emphasising traits such as sociability, compliance, and sexual receptivity typically associated with females in a patriarchal context[16].

The concept of emphasized femininity intersects with hegemonic masculinity, which represents a form of masculinity that asserts the social dominance of heterosexual, cisgender men over women[16]. These two concepts are closely intertwined, as emphasized femininity often emerges as a response to the boundaries and assumptions set by hegemonic masculinity[16]. Through the exercise of hegemonic masculinity, the patriarchy fosters an environment that tends to put women against each other, leading to a dynamic in relationships characterised by negotiating competition[21]. There appears to be a societal compulsion to devalue women, resulting in girls sacrificing female friendships for the sake of male relationships[21]. This perpetuates a cycle of reinforcing patriarchal norms and maintaining power imbalances within relationships and society as a whole. The perpetuation of these gendered norms not only affects individual perceptions, but also shapes broader societal attitudes and expectations, reinforcing patriarchal control over gender roles and relationships.

Gender and Sexuality

The patriarchal power embedded into today’s society influences the way human gender and sexuality is understood. Using tactics such as peer group identity, sexual hierarchy, male dominance, negative attitude, and labels of deviance, society is led towards a specific, socially accepted form of sexuality[21]. However, it is essential to recognize that society’s understanding of sexuality was not always so deeply embedded. Colonisation and patriarchy forcibly imposed a gender and sexual binary onto Indigenous communities, erasing their diverse and nuanced understandings of gender and sexuality[22]. Contrary to the argued idea of a recent and unnatural profession in society’s understanding of sexuality, Indigenous narrative highlights a rich history of complex gender and sexual identities[22]. Acknowledging these diverse narratives challenges the notion of a singular, universal understanding of sexuality that is often highlighted by patriarchal ideologies.

In the patriarchal culture, boys and girls are often sexualized into conforming to an assumed normative sexuality[21]. Moreover, society upholds a “cis-hetero-patriarchal binary,” which restricts individuals’ permissible ways of living or expressing themselves[23]. Since society imposes such expectations, girls are being influenced to engage with a sexual agenda before reaching adolescence[21]. The pressure to stay within the norms assigned by society pushes young people to not venture outside of the male-female dichotomy and sexual expectations. This patriarchal framework reinforces traditional gender roles and heteronormativity, marginalising non-conforming individuals and perpetuating power imbalances rooted in patriarchy. In the face of such societal pressures, individuals, particularly young girls, are often compelled to conform to these normative expectations of gender and sexuality, restraining the exploration of more fluid identities and expressions.

Domestic Violence

The forces of patriarchy extend beyond individual understandings, influencing behaviours that can be physically harmful against others. The notion that male hold dominance over women can further translate into sexual harassment, violence, and domestic abuse. The patriarchy offers a sense of vulnerability within sexuality and relationships which often places girls as victims to male power. Young women are expected to endure various forms of harassment such as intimidation, objectifications, or verbal and physical abuse[21]. According to Van Roosmalen (2000, p. 222), “abuse is bestowed on women who challenged the prevailing ideology or dominant discourse by saying no… which further aids in maintaining a patriarchal/capitalist system.”[21] Due to the assumed dominance of men, put in place by the patriarchy, women are often left with little to no viable options to escape unhealthy relationships. Stories of domestic violence survivors have accounted for the fact that women are often expected to uproot their entire lives, rather than the men who are perpetrating the violence[24]. Even if women are able to leave the relationship, their lives continue to be dictated by the fear of their aggressor’s power and intimidation[24]. The influence of patriarchal norms perpetuates cycles of abuse and contributes to the silence of women who dare to resist or challenge these structures, further reinforcing the patriarchal system.  


The patriarchy interacts with human sexuality and relationships in complex ways. Not only does it impose social norms and binaries, but it also leads to violence and insecurity. Maintaining behaviours aligned with hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity reinforces a cultural narrative that values the dominance of men over women. This narrative perpetuates gender-based power imbalances and contributes to the normalisation of violence within intimate relationships. From a young age, individuals are socialised to adhere to gender norms, which can result in internalised beliefs about their worth and agency within a romantic relationship. Sexual expectations and gendered power influence young women’s confidence and self esteem within relationships. If women do not align with patriarchal standards, they may feel inadequate and disempowered. The patriarchy proves to dig deeper than the institutional level, influencing social aspects of everyday human life.

Social Patriarchy Pt. 2

Socialization of Patriarchal Ideals

The patriarchy is deeply ingrained in society and begins to influence individuals from a very early age. The patriarchal system, where men hold power and are the primary authority figures in institutions and society has deeply entrenched roots in every aspect of life. Gender socialization is the "process by which children are conditioned to learn their ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine roles’”[25], and therefore children are taught and internalize gender norms and roles that uphold and perpetuate patriarchal ideals. One of many ways in which individuals are socialized occurs from infancy is through colours.  The practice of associating baby girls with pink and baby boys with blue is a well-known cultural norm. The use of colours to indicate a baby’s sex started originated around 1920[13], a recent phenomenon in humanity’s timeline, suggesting the association of colours to sex and gender is socially constructed. To further emphasize the socially produced notion of associating colours with sex and gender, as recently as 1940, pink was deemed more suitable for boys and blue for girls[13]. Pink was viewed to be a colour symbolizing strength and courage while blue was dainty and meant faith[13]. This association of colours and sex based on their symbolism and gendered traits reinforces patriarchal ideals of power.

Gendered Toys

Once the switch in colour associations occurred, gendered separation by colour became more of a widespread practice extending to many areas of society. Children’s toys further the process of gender socialization by perpetuating gender norms, not only through colour, but the toy’s application and purpose. Gendered toys are toys marketed specifically to either boys or girls, often based on traditional gender stereotypes upheld by patriarchal systems. These toys reinforce societal expectations about gender roles and can impact children’s perceptions of themselves and others. Toys marketed toward boys often include action figures, toy cars, building sets, and sports equipment. These toys are typically associated with traits like strength, aggression, and leadership, reinforcing the idea that boys should be active and competitive. On the other hand, toys marketed toward girls often include dolls, cooking and cleaning, and beauty. These toys are often associated with traits like nurturing, domesticity, and physical appearance, reinforcing the idea that girls should be caring, traditional, and focused on their looks. This suggests that young girls’ “socialization is designed to equip [them] for the demands of [their] adult roles as a wife”[25]. Gendered toys can limit children’s choices and interests and socialize them into fitting gendered stereotypes and expectations of the patriarchy. It may also further perpetuate gender inequality by reinforcing certain traits and interests as inherently masculine or feminine. Similarly, media aimed at children depict male characters as strong, assertive, and dominant, while female characters are portrayed as nurturing, caring, and submissive. These representations teach children how they should behave and what is expected of them based on their gender.

Additionally, children are socialized in the patriarchy by observing the people and world around them. Children often learn gender norms and expectations by observing family dynamics. For example, if a child sees their mother primarily responsible for household chores and children, while their father is the primary breadwinner, they may internalize the belief that these are the appropriate roles for men and women. Mothers will often further reinforce these gender roles by teaching their daughters to learn household chores such as cooking and cleaning while sons are taught how to earn and support the family[25]. Furthermore, people around children often inadvertently reinforce aspects of the patriarchy, such as gendered stereotypes, through their interactions with them. Schools are key institutions where children learn to conform to the patriarchal system, both explicitly through the curriculum and implicitly through the behaviour of teachers and peers. For instance, teachers may reinforce gender stereotypes by praising boys for being assertive while discouraging similar behaviour in girls. Moreover, peer influence also aids in shaping children’s conformity to the patriarchy. Children learn from their peers what is considered normal behaviour for their gender and may face social consequences for deviating from these norms. A boy who expresses interest in traditionally feminine activities may be teased or ostracized by his peers, reinforcing the idea that certain behaviours are appropriate only for one gender. Finally, children are taught to reinforce patriarchal ideals with cultural and societal messages. From media that depicts women as objects of desire to religious teaching that emphasizes male authority, children are surrounded by messages that reinforce traditional gender roles and the dominance of men. As an example, “certain religions like Hinduism, propagates the presence of a son as necessary in a family, as it is believed that until a son performs the death rites of the parents, their soul can never rest in peace”[25]. This preferential treatment towards boys and the other various socialization processes aid in the instillation of the patriarchy in individuals from a young age.

Gendered Double Standards

As individuals grow up, the patriarchy continues to perpetuate gendered stereotypes and expectations in everyday life through notions such as gendered double standards. Gendered double standards refer to the different expectations and treatment of individuals based on their gender. As gendered double standards are deeply ingrained in the patriarchal society, they can have significant impacts on individuals’ lives and experiences. One common gendered double standard is sexual behaviour. Women who express their sexuality may be labelled as “promiscuous” or “slutty,” while men who do the same are praised for their sexual prowess. For instance, researchers find that hookup culture perpetuates “a sexual double standard in which men receive more sexual and social benefits from hooking up than … women”[16]. This double standard reflects and reinforces traditional gender roles and stereotypes valued in the patriarchy, where women are expected to be modest and pure while men are expected to be sexually assertive. The sexual double standard can have damaging effects on individuals, leading to feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem, particularly for women. It can also contribute to a culture of victim-blaming, where women are held responsible for unwanted sexual encounters, and encourage underreporting of non-consensual sexual encounters. The sexual double standard perpetuates gender inequality and associate sexuality with fear, judgement, and discrimination.

Beauty Standards

The double standard of appearance and body image is also enforced in the patriarchal society, where women are judged more harshly based on their physical appearance than men. Women are often expected to conform to narrow standards of beauty, which prioritize traits such as thinness, youthfulness, and physical attractiveness. This double standard is deeply rooted in the belief that a woman’s physical attributes are important means of attaining a good husband as the patriarchal stereotypes that only beautiful women are desirable to men for marriage[25]. This can have serious consequences for women’s self-esteem and mental health. Men, on the other hand, are often judged less harshly based on their appearance. While men may also face pressure to conform to certain ideals of masculinity, such as being fit or tall, they are generally not held to the same rigid standards as women. Men are often praised for traits like aging gracefully or having a distinguished look, while women are pressured to maintain a youthful appearance. Furthermore, the double standard of appearance and body image of women affects nearly every aspect of their lives. Female athletes may face scrutiny and criticism for not conforming to traditional ideals of femininity. Female athletes who do not outwardly display social and cultural criteria of femininity in their hairstyle or way of dressing may be subjected to skepticism about their permission to compete[9]. Hyperandrogenous female athletes, in particular, have faced discrimination and controversy. One notable example is Caster Semenya, a South African middle-distance runner who has faced scrutiny and was subjected to invasive sex testing due to her hyperandrogenism. Combined with her victory, Semenya’s “outward signs of gender that many read as ‘masculine’— her lack of makeup, her impressive musculature, the braids that give the impression of closely cropped hair, and her height—raised suspicion about her sex”[9]. The treatment of hyperandrogenous female athletes reflects the double standard of appearance and body image in patriarchal societies as the athletes are judged not only based on their athletic abilities but also on their physical appearance and perceived adherence to traditional gender norms. These double standards of appearance and body are rooted in traditional gender roles and stereotypes perpetuated by the patriarchy and can have serious consequences.


List of the references here.

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