Women and Patriarchy

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WOMEN AND PATRIARCHY
TONI LEANN GIBSON
GLOBAL HISTORY UP TO 1500
February 1, 2013

Patriarchy is defined as the institutions and values of male dominance. According to the text, Historian Gerda Lerner states that by the second millennium B.C.E , written laws codified and sought to enforce a patriarchal family life that offered women a measure of paternalistic protection while insisting on their submission to the unquestioned authority of men. From that point in history, possibly before, and even in today’s society, women have been considered to be beneath men. Sadly, women of the classical era accepted their place in society, particularly within empires such as, India and most places within China. On the other hand, the women of the Roman empire protested a law that forced them to wear rags. If I were a woman living in the classical era, I would choose to live in the Roman civilization, simply because they lived with less severe punishment for disobedience than the women of China and India. Women of China were expected to obey whether the command given was believed to be right or wrong, and the women in India were not forced, but voluntarily became nuns in a monastery to escape having as many restrictions imposed upon them. It seems apparent that women and patriarchy have a history that stretches as far back in time as historians can trace and it more than likely dates back to before the first civilizations were established.

Sometimes, accepting one’s fate makes the hardships encountered easier to handle on a day to day basis. The women of the classical era had become accustomed to the patriarchal attitude of the societies they lived in, and for them life was easier if they bowed to the will of men than it would have been if they had defied their position. The women of China felt as if they would obtain a bad reputation, and lose their family’s as well as their own honor if they disobeyed. Ban Zhao makes understanding why women bent to the word of men by...
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