Respondent 238

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

The privilegeng of the (white) male gaze at the expense of anything that fits outside this norm; this includes homosexuality. As a gay man, it’s startling to see the mainstream acceptance/titilation of lesbianism versus disgust at male homosexuality (and this goes way back even to sexual consent laws). Women are seen as harmless, sexually passive, and secondary to men. Despite equality laws and big changes in society, patriarchy still rules in covert ways, in language, in what is “acceptable” for women, etc.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

In childhood, by defining what I can and cannot do as a “man”, by my mother’s expectations of herself and her own frustrations passed on to us, and her values instilled in me and my siblings; in adulthood, more subtly in how I engage with women, and teenage girls I work with – often experiencing high levels of initial distrust on their part, because of how they expect me to act towards them.

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

In childhood/teenage years, by participation in “slut-shaming” norms; now, in less aggressive/intentional ways – just by being part of a male-privileging system, I subconsciously have taken on some of its values, its microaggressions. I don’t have enough perspective on how I currently do, but I’m open to being called out on it.

How would you define masculinity?

There isn’t a definition broad enough! But probably a pattern of traits shared by many people who indentify as male.

Does misandry exist?

Yes

It exists, but in a vague way. Women can hate men/masculinity but, because of our patriarchal system, it doesn’t really change power play. Sometimes misanthropy is just redirected misogyny, in the same way that black people who express prejudice views and values against other races, I believe, are simply adopting the colonialist/racist values handed down from white supremacy/oppression. In a male-dominant culture (despite being outnumbered by females), a woman’s “misandry” cannot be considered in the same way that societal/institutional misogyny is at all levels.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

My last boss (at a girls’ school) expressed disapproval at my appointment and was antagonistic towards me, in part because of my gender. However, I had little contact with her. Elsewhere it has advantaged me to be male on countless occasions.

What best describes you?

A feminist

Male feminism is possible in my opinion. I get why some radical feminists will see the problem with that; I also see feminism as being a broad church (with multiple denominations). The most important thing, more than a label, is behaviours. I seek to challenge patriarchal values in myself and others when necessary. Also, I know that, in my feminist journey, I cannot speak for women. If a large number of the women I respect took umbrage at my feminist self-labelling, I would have to question it.