Patriarchy: beyond gender?

Jessica Reed
27 July 2007

During lunch I found myself chatting with a couple of participants when the topic of the male experience of patriarchy came up. While a lot has been written about the relationships between men and women and between women and women, the topic of men vs. men power dynamics within a patriarchal society remains rarely talked about. Strangely enough, there is little doubt that men suffer from a system of patriarchy too.

To illustrate this point, a participant brought up the story of an Indian man who was too old and ill to do a typical "man's work" in the rice field. He instead chose to do his wife's work (and was paid 25 roupees a day instead of the normal 60 paid to men) but claimed to solely do it to "help his wife who could not do it alone" in order to avoid hostile remarks from his colleagues.

So how do men effectively organise themselves to fight against patriarchal systems which oppress them? More than a gender issue, is patriarchy a class issue as well and if so, can we separate the two?

Related: Stiffed, the betrayal of the American man by Susan Fauldi.


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