What is the relationship between patriarchy and sexism?

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Jul 14, 2016

Answer:

Patriarchy is regarded, by many feminist academics, as the dwelling-place and safeguard of modern sexism.

Explanation:

The concept of patriarchy far exceeds a short form answer. However it can be summed up simply in the idea of a masculinity-based hegemonic and overarching structure in society which prevades and instructs most, if not all, social interactions.

If patriarchy is assumed to exist, it yields a way of explaining sexism in modern society. That is, despite the generally agreed-upon stance that the sexes are equal, people continue to act in ways that indicate an assumed superiority of masculinity or at least an assumption of greater competence in men.

As an example: it is readily observed that women in similar positions to men in a workforce will often receive lower wages. This is explained in two ways: women ask for raises less often, and women are regarded as generally less worthy of raises.

This idea relates to the idea of patriarchy because as viewed by academia, patriarchy, that is to say the distinction between what it means to act like a man and a woman, is the underlying structure that informs the ideals of how a woman "should act" and thus teaches women to be less demanding in their careers. Further, patriarchy again defines the default successful employee as male. This predisposes managers to regarding female employees as less effective and thus less worthy of wage increases.

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Apr 22, 2017

Answer:

In a patriarchal society, men are given preferential treatment, and power over, non-male identified persons.

Explanation:

Patriarchy is defined as rule by men*, and in patriarchies, men's ideas, needs and desires, and ways of seeing the world structure reality. Sexism is sex-based preference (thinking one's sex is better than other sexes) which, in a patriarchal society, means men are treated in ways that empower men.

The opposite of patriarchy is matriarchy, closely tied to matrilineal societies. In matrilineal societies, lines of descent and inheritance are established through mothers, and women are its leaders. (Think about naming conventions here - in patriarchy, offspring typically carry their father's and not their mother's names...) It is believed that patriarchy was established by overthrowing originally matrilineal and matriarchal societies. In this sense, patriarchy is premised on the submission of women (the first figures of authority) to men, and sexism is needed to keep women in their place.

*More specifically, 'men' are male-identified persons. Although based on the sex-category of "male," being a man socially is actually a gender identity. Some men may not identify with patriarchal masculinity (idealized gender norms for men that require men to be dominant), and some women may identify with masculine gender norms. It gets super complicated!

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