Most of us were reared in a patriarchal society. Patriarchy dominated and oppressed women since humans started building societies. The ‘me-too movement’, gender equality, and feminism are the newcomers. They are the newfangled ideas that still rejected by most societies, subtly in some, violently in others.
Patriarchy started when everything was ruled by brute force. That is why we have kingdoms and history. Females or the weaker sex were relegated to the backseat – the beautiful and useless queen, the homemaker, the entertainer, the caregiver. Women are cast in the supporting roles, never the lead.
The suffragette movement in the early 1900s was met with disgust, ridicule, and violence. But it opened the eyes of many on the oppression of women – the suppression of their rights and the inequality of the laws. Women’s voices were heard for the first time and their individuality looked upon without prejudice to her sex. But the fight didn’t end there.
We are now far into the 21st century, yet the remnants of the once unshakeable patriarchal society are still visible amongst us. For most women, we are lucky to be born into more forward-thinking homes and societies where we are given the freedom, the rights, and the privileges we deserve. This is not the case in many parts around the globe. Women are still oppressed and abused in many homes, communities, and societies.
Yet, even us who are in the modern world are still victims of the overlying patriarchal doctrine. Girls were ‘protected’ and trained to be good wives, while boys were encouraged and groomed to succeed. Strong-willed females are still looked upon as difficult or unladylike and are schooled to ‘act accordingly’. Unlike in the blatant abuse and disregard women’s rights in the dark ages, it is harder to rise above this ‘gentle’ oppression.
How do we rise above the patriarchal society that we’re in?
Let’s start with ourselves. Let’s begin by building ourselves to be a strong, determined, happy, and accomplished woman. The fight starts with us, and we are our best asset or our worst enemy. Let’s choose to be an asset to ourselves and the community. This means taking the road less taken, trusting ourselves, and risking the ridicule of others. When you fail, you will fail alone. But you will also have the option to stand back up and start again.
Let’s nurture a feminist home. Being the primary caregivers of our families gives us the edge in shaping the next generation into a more feminist society. Train your sons to respect and consider women his equal, in all aspects of life. Teach your daughters her rights, open her eyes to the limitless possibilities of the future where strengths and gifts are the foundation of success, where male domination is unacceptable.
Let’s influence our community. Let us help slowly abolish the entrenched patriarchal mindset of society by influencing our immediate communities. We can set programs designed to encourage girls, help other women, and educate the stubborn. Look around and find ways you can help and contribute. We can show our neighbor that us, successful women are also generous, kind, and great wives, mothers, partners or friends.
How did you rise from a patriarchal society? Let’s discuss! If you haven’t yet, join the successful sisterhood here.