The way that patriarchy can look appears through the faces, social stature, and sphere of influence of the following:
- presidents, dictators, kings, and rulers
- generals, contract warriors & war profiteers
- judges, finance ministers, & senators
- police chief, sheriffs,& wardens
- directors of the FBI or CIA,
- corporate CEO’s, tech “gods,” & the 1%
- spies, conquerors, superheroes,
- ministers, priests, the Pope, and yes, God.
Patriarchal authority is often jealously guarded and fervidly held because it grants great privilege over others. In order to obtain this authority or to keep it, force is typically used. This force or dominance doesn’t have to be loud, overt, or overwhelming, although it certainly can be!
Notice that patriarchal dominance can be relatively subtle or seemingly innocuous such as a person sharply criticizing another simply to “keep them in their place,” whether that place is in the boardroom or the bedroom. Another insidious way to maintain dominance is to stereotype individuals as a group. Common stereotypes like women are ditzy, flaky, or unreliable; Asians are smart, but conformist; or Native Americans are alcoholics and on welfare are patriarchal straitjackets. These horrid stereotypes serve to effectively dismiss large groups of individuals from being considered important, capable, and unique.
Patriarchal privilege and force is obvious (but not named) in corporate “hostile takeovers,” or in the way that we teach young boys how to play football. It is blatant (but still not named) in the actions of “hate” crimes that are racially or sexually based—such as the Steubenville rape case. Tragically, but unsurprisingly, the media coverage about that case quickly became all about the perpetrators (the persons with the most privilege and authority in the situation), rather than about the female victim and the misogynist crime.