Respondent 18

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

It’s the assumption that everything is designed for men, even the things in it that weren’t designed at all. Men, says patriarchy, are the only things that get to be subjects first and objects second.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

My father taught me that women should be seen as objects to acquire and not subjects in their own right, and taught me that to be attracted to a woman was to objectify her. This had a very negative effect on me; I’ve never been able to date because I still feel on some level doing so would be a violation of a woman.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

Oh, lots of ways! I sent a girl a valentine when I was 14 influenced by the answers above, when I’d decided that true love could only be had with someone whose looks and personality were both repellent to you. I think I said that in the valentine; she wasn’t happy about that. But most of the ways I won’t know. I’m sure I’ve hurt women through the unthinking things I’ve said and the unconscious actions I’ve made. Certainly a part of me still objectifies women, and certainly all of me can’t know quite how horrendous that is when it happens to a woman in question. I can’t begin to answer this, in short. I don’t know how much damage I ended up doing in the end.

How would you define masculinity?

I guess it’s patriarchy with totems, where stuff like SEX and FOOTBALL and ACTUAL POWER are used as necessary things a man needs to self-actualise.

Does misandry exist?

Yes

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

What best describes you?

None of the above

I try to be an ally to feminism, but am not very good at it. I don’t feel comfortable defining as one as I don’t want to be the one setting the standard, although literally every woman I’ve said this to has shouted at me in anger and dismay. “Just say you’re a feminist!”, they say. I should probably start doing that, at some point.