Crowdfunding Countercurrents

Submission Policy

Popularise CC

Join News Letter




CC Youtube Channel

Editor's Picks

Press Releases

Action Alert

Feed Burner

Read CC In Your
Own Language

Bradley Manning

India Burning

Mumbai Terror

Financial Crisis


AfPak War

Peak Oil



Alternative Energy

Climate Change

US Imperialism

US Elections


Latin America









Book Review

Gujarat Pogrom

Kandhamal Violence


India Elections



About Us


Fair Use Notice

Contact Us

Subscribe To Our
News Letter


Search Our Archive

Our Site



Order the book

A Publication
on The Status of
Adivasi Populations
of India




Patriarchy And The Dysfunction of Society

By Janet Surman

22 November, 2014

With much talk of paedophilia plus the physical and sexual mistreatment and abuse of women in the news just lately (if largely because of the number of well known individuals called into question) it set me thinking about the perpetrators and why it is that so many males are drawn towards violence of this kind. What is it about the make-up of societies around the world that spawns and breeds ongoing generations, some of whose offspring have a propensity for what the majority view as antisocial? For we are talking about a global phenomenon here; neither nationality nor religion seem to make a difference.

Patriarchy is the common factor. Nation states and wildly differing cultural societies from all continents are mostly male-oriented and hierarchical throughout. From politics and state institutions, business structures and workplaces to schools, universities and sports organisations – all know their place and the majority rarely question it. What we have is the perpetuation of patriarchy right through society. What happens to ego, personality and character when individuals are automatically and without consideration slotted into their place in such artificial constructs? Why should one individual or a small group of individuals have so much power over so many others, creating a false perception of worthiness, ability or status? When this relates to earnings capacity or 'standing' in one's own recognised social group, community or place of work how does it affect self-esteem? Does this contribute to an individual's perception of themselves as victims of society or of a system? And how does this apply differently, if it does, to male and female?

Within the hierarchy women still, as a group, fall well below the station of men in opportunity to reach the top levels in employment and in wages or salary and they still carry the greater burden of 'unpaid' work such as that done in the home, including child care and parental care. And with this knowledge there is still a reluctance or refusal in many societies by some men to take on a share of day to day necessary chores which, presumably, they'd have to do if living alone? Why is there still this lingering culture of certain jobs being 'women's work'?

As for the men, who have been culturally indoctrinated in the belief that, for one reason or another, they are superior or more important, more entitled (than women), whilst at the same time being intensely aware that their place in the hierarchy is pretty low, affecting self-esteem, ego, etc., is this possibly a trigger to, or an excuse for, the use of violence against women, against children – their own or others' and to other men physically weaker than they are? And why would a woman choose to stay with a partner who regularly uses violence of any kind against her? Has she, too, been indoctrinated to feel that it is down to her worth, that she deserves it?

Whatever the truth for individual examples of givers and receivers of violence something is seriously amiss in this outlook and attitude to coexistence in any kind of community or relationship. The dysfunction of so much of society is a result of unwritten laws and accepted norms of which we had no part in the making but which we are expected to accept and adopt as our own so-called customs and traditions, as our supposedly 'cultural heritage.'
The system we were born into - grew up in as children, studied in, succeeded in, failed in, struggled in, worked in, built relationships in, produced children in - shaped us and we accepted or rebelled, became acquiescent or antagonistic and we observe the results in all those around us.

Changing the conditions for ourselves and future generations means changing the system. The first priority for peaceful and productive coexistence would surely require a huge expectation of individual acceptance of and satisfaction with one's own existence and overall place within the wider community. A strong feeling of self-worth would flow from the freedoms fought for and gained. Worth not granted from above, bestowed by a now defunct hierarchy but coming from the inner self because of personal choices made from the unlimited options available in a society built on common ownership and free access. This is truly a paradigm shift which requires much individual consideration. It is the only way ahead for an intelligent life force intent on achieving its full potential in harmony with Gaia.

Janet Surman, member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. www.worldsocialism.org/spgb






Share on Tumblr



Comments are moderated