About the show: Dave Pickering takes us on a personal journey through gender as he tries to explain masculinity both to you and to himself. Part true storytelling, part TED talk and part apology, the show looks at how the patriarchy hurts men too; how the patriarchy has hurt him, and how he has hurt people because of patriarchy. Drawing on an anonymous survey of 1000 men, feminist theory, internet memes and his life experience, Dave will explain the conclusions he Read More ...
Does patriarchy exist?
How would you define patriarchy?
It is a word that has had many definitions, from an original one (rule by a father figure, now only found in the Pope’s title of ‘holy father’ and the fictional Patrician in the discworld novels) to a fairly recent one meaning something similar to ‘nanny state’ (patriarchal policies). However it seems to have become the current word in feminism for a male-dominated society and culture (the previous word for this having been ‘Masculinist’, at least according to my university reading ten years ago). I’m fuzzy on exactly where it fits in however, since there are other words also used like ‘male privilege’ and ‘rape culture’, and I don’t know whether patriarchy is interchangeable with either of those terms or where it interacts with them.
How has patriarchy hurt you?
It hasn’t hurt me directly. I was bullied at school for not fitting the stereotypically ‘masculine’ image, but I was also bullied for wearing glasses, and there is no ’20-20 visionarchy’. Bullies will always target those who are different, whether the majority have an actual privilege or not, so I don’t see it as patriarchy hurting me. Indirectly, the struggle of feminism against patriarchy (and sexism in general) causes all sorts of low level emotional hurt to me. From the guilt of seeing patriarchal injustices I can do nothing about (e.g. in Saudi Arabia and India) to the guilt of knowing that perhaps there are some here I could do more about, to the social minefield of actually talking about gender, especially online (Question 8 of this very survey for example. I’ve met some women who are offended by the idea of a man calling himself a feminist rather than an ally, but the majority movement seems to be that feminist should apply to both genders – at least until it shifts again, or invents a new word)
How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?
I went through a period as a teenager of seeing feminism as a negative thing and sexism as being over, or even slightly ‘too far’ against men. I never did anything beyond argue about this, mostly politely, but I feel I probably did an amount of emotional hurt.
How would you define masculinity?
I wouldn’t. Masculinity and femininity are both words that (b eyond their original and technical meanings) are part of a battleground between feminism, patriarchy and various other ideas. I have a vague ideaof what masculinity used to mean, and I never fitted that. But I have no real idea what it means now.
Does misandry exist?
The pedantic scientist in my me refuses to give any answer other than yes, but misandry is so rare compared to misogny and the lack of either (people without a hatred of either gender) that it doesn’t really require attention. The word is often used as a smokescreen for misogny, just like the existence of breast cancer in men (at a tiny tiny percentage) is used as a smokescreen to claim the race for life is sexist. But i’m too pedantic to deny it exists, its just rarer than breast cancer in men.
Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?
Only in a way that has advantaged me
Sexism has never been publically acceptable in my lifetime, so I can only guess at how much ‘invisible’ prejudice I have benefitted from. However I am aware of the various experiments done using female names on Cvs, online comments and the gender gap on pay, so I am statistically near-certain I have benefitted to some degree at some time.
What best describes you?