Patriarchy: Sociology and Individual Choices

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Patriarchy is a society system larger than oneself. It is more than a collection of individualistic ideas, or individuals themselves, but is something larger. It tends to be organized around certain kinds of social relationships and ideas, often creating and placing limits on social relationships while generating a shared understanding of what is supposed to happen, what is allowed, and what is expected of individual behavior within that system. Patriarchy is affected only by making individual choices of how each person chooses to participate or act within its expectations, relationships, and combined understandings. Those unwritten elements have been generated and nurtured by that same patriarchic system, thereby shaping and directing the accepted actions, behaviors and experiences of its individuals. While acknowledging and identifying the limiting restrictions that exist, each person must make a conscience effort to act in a way that is not ordinarily acceptable within that system, which is taking the path of least resistance or, “going with the flow”. Our individual choices for independent action or behavior are the only methods for creating acceptable and positive change against an oppressive patriarchic system within our society. Race, gender, ethnicity, age, and class are social characteristics deemed major categories in which patriarchy is based thereby needing increased individualistic awareness and personal action for change. As stated in Allen G. Johnson’s, Patriarchy, the System, “We need to see new ways to participate by forging alternative paths of least resistance, for the system doesn’t simply “run us” like hapless puppets. It may be larger than us, it may not be us, but it doesn’t exist except through us. Without us, patriarchy doesn‘t happen. And that’s where we have power to do something about it and about ourselves in it.”
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