Is belief in patriarchy and overwhelming male privilege mandatory to be a feminist?

  • Do my ideas of systematic oppression qualify as what you would define as 'Patriarchy'?

Well, I think this

Money equals power, and women have traditionally been denied this power, hence their lower standing in society . . .

is spot on. And it seems like you follow it up by mostly saying that men struggle a lot too, but I don't think you ever say that men are equally as disadvantaged or that women haven't been denied power, etc. So based on my read of what you've said . . . yeah.

  • Is the belief that men are disenfranchised in many ways, perhaps to a comparable extent as women, compatible with feminist theory?

Disadvantaged in many ways, yeah, but I'd say "to a comparable extent" is not compatible with my understanding of feminist theory.

  • Living in a Patriarchy, is it better to be a woman who conforms to traditional gender roles, or a man who does not?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Is this more of a "what is worse"? I guess I'd need it re-worded a bit -- does neither want to conform to society? So the woman is putting up with the status quo, and suffering the consequences of, I don't know, not being true to herself (or something less corny) while the man is not conforming and is therefore suffering the consequences society will heap on him for acting that way, even though he is being true to himself?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but those seem so different I feel like it makes more sense to ask who has to better (or worse), a woman or man who specifically don't desire to live or identify with the traditional way of life either choosing to conform or choosing not to. I genuinely think, in that instance, within a patriarchy, the non-conforming man would have an easier life -- not to say an easy one, but he would already have the advantages of being a part of the dominate gender, so no matter how pissed off society is at him, they're just as pissed at the woman, but she has less resources.

  • Since patriarchy can sometimes disadvantage men, and sometimes be advantageous to women, and sometimes ambivalent to both, is using a gendered term like patriarchy strictly accurate?

I believe so because it comes from men holding the majority of power. As power changes, it's becoming less and less accurate and isn't that useful of a term -- especially since it garners such a negative reaction. But I think it's accurate.

  • Is it the responsibility of feminism to solve men's issues as well as women's issues?

I don't think so, though I do think a lot of men's issues are addressed in indirect ways. Still, I don't think it's feminism's responsibility.

If it is not feminism's business, why the hostility towards honestly intended MRA's?

I don't venture into MRA territory anymore because when I did, it was so shockingly sexist. Perhaps I've only seen the worst. I have no problem with "honestly intended" MRAs, if you mean MRA's who focus is, say, lowering male suicide rates, providing support for homeless or battered men, etc. What I've seen, however, is MRAs arguing that men have these problems because of the overreach of feminism. I just don't agree.

And does this not invalidate the common sentiment that feminism is about gender equality?

Yes, but I don't think feminism is just about gender equality. That is the goal, but the avenue is through focusing on women's rights because we believe we are the ones from whom power has been withheld.

/r/AskFeminists Thread