In many civilizations, the concept of patriarchy was existent but there was no name for it because the population thought that the dominance of the male was “normal”. As we moved forward in time, the concept never disappeared. Most of the families today still have a dominant male and even if they don’t. Male children are still affected by the ideology that has been shared with their friends by their parents who have a dominant male in their homes.
Even if today we have a complete definition of patriarchy, it is still seen as the “normal” way to live in families. Whether u live in a home affected by the patriarchy or not. Male children will always be exposed to the concept and will develop the wish to dominate and not feel powerless even if it is not something they wished in the beginning.
Bell Hooks and Michael Kimmel both have displayed in numerous essays how males are not necessarily in the quest for power and dominance because of gender differences but instead, males are generally powerless in a certain view and society is the main reason why they are seen as dominant beings who use violence and finally how it is possible that they could be “liberated” from the role that has been given to them by society.
In Bell’s essay, he refers to patriarchy as a life-threatening social disease. Throughout his essay, he explains the methods and goals of parents in the system of patriarchy: “to indoctrinate boys into the rules of patriarchy, we force them to feel pain and to deny their feelings”. Patriarchy resolves heavily on the existence of masculine and feminine behaviours. It would be safe to assume that women are the victims in this case, which they are, but they also help promote this system. Instead of fighting back some end up supporting the system by not realizing what the problem is and taking action. Even if both realize the existence of patriarchy, the “psychological patriarchy” according to Bell will be the biggest challenge. Unless most become able to understand it, the misconception that men are the enemies will remain. Thus, making the liberation of men as dominant and violent enemies impossible.
In Michael’s essays, he displays the “manhood” existent in America. It consists of two fears: the fear of being called homosexual and the fear of being called “sissy”; In other words, being associated with what they consider to be weak beings such as gay individuals and girls. Furthermore, he explains how our every behavior and actions are gendered and that they impact the manly cover: “Every mannerism, every movement contains a coded gender language”. People distinguish each by behaviors and actions taken and “manhood” has certain actions and behaviors associated with it and anyone who does not behave in such way would not be seen as “manly”; This indicates that “manhood” is just an image that is shown specific audiences, it is an act. Michael suggests that if people were more open to differences and accepting, this would help men be freer and more open and not necessarily doing “manly” acts as frequently as they did.
Men are seen as the universal human, the dominant ones. I think that if men managed to redefine masculinity in a way where men and women would seem more equal and relatable sexism would significantly decrease. The lesser the difference between men and women, the more chance they have of understanding each other and finding more similarities. This could also affect racism since the image of the “dominant white male” would cease to exist therefore removing differences leaving only ethnic differences and the color of the skin. For the same reasons, homophobia would also be impacted by those changes. The usage of the term “sissy” would drastically decrease.