Is the Patriarchy something real, or merely a projection?

the philosophies aim to change society but are difficult to export from a narrow academic context to the larger population without significant reduction and distortion.

I find that that particular point has been adressed time and time again with regards to Patriarchy; not only in academia, but also within everyday discussions.

Take for example, the contentious, Harris Mirkin's work "The Passive Female: The Theory of Patriarchy" and how he addresses some of the, still common, complaints about Patriarchy Theorists:

Closely related to the different evaluation of historical woman is a second characteristic of the theorists of patriarchy. They are arrogant writers, in the sense that they claim that an author knows better what people feel-what they really feel-than the people s/he is writing about. The opposite approach (used by the historians of the woman's sphere) is to assume that the people themselves know best how they feel. Just because I think that you are angry or should be angry, does not mean that you either are angry or should be angry. The fact that I think you are exploited does not mean that you are exploited or should feel exploited. I might be able to convince you that you should feel exploited-in which case you do feel exploited-or I might not. In the latter case I might argue that you are dumb, or passive, or don't know what you really feel. Or I might say that I would feel exploited if I were in your shoes, but that is my projection, not your feeling. Yet, the theorists of patriarchy, angry at what they see as the exploitation of the female, have projected this feeling back upon historical woman, and have argued that she should have felt exploited and angry. And, if she did not feel this way, the only explanation they can come up with is that she was psychologically conditioned.


The theorists of patriarchy adopt male standards in evaluating the role of traditional women, while the historians of the woman's sphere reject these standards. The woman's sphere historians feel that "woman's work" was important, and argue that this work has been ignored and disvalued by male historians who have concentrated largely upon the political/economic sphere. The theorists of patriarchy, on the other hand, are primarily institutionalists and legalists. The important sphere is considered to be the male political/economic realm, and the woman's traditional role is viewed as less than fully human. Thus, though male institutions and values are rejected, traditional women are judged to be passive and weak from the perspective of these institutions and values.

Similar, if not more concise ideas were put forward by bell hooks when she wrote "Since men are not equals in white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal class structure, which men do women want to be equal to?"

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