Respondent 545

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

The assumption – and acting out – of male supremacy over females, and those others who do not identify as male.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

As a white, male, straight, able bodied and coming from the Protestant tradition (although I don’t subscribe to this) in Northern Ireland, I have almost exclusively benefited from patriarchy and privilege. It has hurt me through the disadvantage to those I care about being on the bad end of things.

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

I went to an all male school and I think when younger this affected my thinking towards women and those who weren’t as privileged (in the ways mentioned above) as myself. My actions towards people I was in sexual relationships could have been better. I don’t believe I actively went out of my way to hurt anyone, and have never been violent towards another person but the insidious nature of patriarchy probably means I have been a shit to women in the past without really knowing it.

How would you define masculinity?

I’d say it is impossible to do without passing into the value judgements I don’t agree with. Now I have been asked the direct question I think masculinity is as much a construct as femininity or gender and, if we believe in patriarchy, we have to see ‘masculinity’ as a construct to maintain the status quo and support oppression. In this case, the oppression of women. I think men are also hurt by this construct (mental health issues, suicide rates) but my feeling is this is probably over reported and represented.

Does misandry exist?

No

To me, those who claim misandry are simply railing against the slow tide of equality. To achieve equality some people have to lose power, but that is because there was an unfair imbalance in the 1st place.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Only in a way that has advantaged me

As a male I basically have it all laid out in front of me and am told I can do what I want. Reading about misogyny and its most modern incarnation – Internet Trolling – has really opened my eyes to what women have to go through on a daily basis just to get through the day and try and exist in the world. (This is without even getting near what women of colour have to endure). I think by passively being allowed to go about my day without being told directly I’m worthless (Trolling, rape threats, casual sexism, misogyny) or indirectly told I am only valued for the way I look (disproportionate sexualisation of women in popular culture) means I am at a distinct advantage.

What best describes you?

A feminist

I think as men it is important to be a feminist (it’s bloody common sense) but I also feel it is important to recognise we are different and more privileged than women and therefore try not to take the centre ground or leadership role in these debates and movements. We need to not let go of our privilege but use it to help. Eg. If you are an influential male in the media, don’t use that influence to directly grandstand yourself for feminism, rather use that influence to give women the platform themselves. We may mean well but we just don’t get what it can be like, it’s impossible for us to know.