Fighting Patriarchy

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Fighting Patriarchy by Mind Map: Fighting Patriarchy

1. It's easy to view modern day feminism in action in the United States. Around the world, however, women especially have been silenced from voicing their opinion in public. Many countries still have laws on the books which prevent women from doing the things we consider basic and necessary in the United States - some even ban women from being in public unless they are escorted by a male relative. We in the United States take for granted the freedom we are given by our Constitution. Brave women around the globe are beginning to take the bull by the horns and demanding moves toward gender equality. In South Africa, Winnie Madikizela Mandela (Wife of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela) led a Women's Day March in Pretoria during the year 2000. Fighting patriarchy helped bring about an end to apartheid in South Africa. Continuing that fight is important as South Africa continues to mature as a country.

2. While this photo was found on a website that seems rather anti-feminist, the photo alone speaks to a lot of the things that women (and men!) are actively protesting frequently in our culture. Rape culture has become alarmingly pervasive in our country. It creates insidious cultural attitudes which lead to things like victim blaming in sexual assault cases. Fighting patriarchy fights for giving sexual assault victims the ability to be heard and believed and thus obtain justice for the actions perpetrated against them.

3. The Handmaid's Tail on Hulu is a modern day television series based on the book by the same name. It reflects a world in which politics have shifted, women have been stripped of many freedoms and rights, and have become the property of men, including the fertile women being forced to bear children for wealthy men. The author, Margaret Atwood, has said that when she wrote about the oppression women were facing in the book that she only drew from things that had a historical precedent. She did not make anything up that hadn't already been done to women, which is meant to make the book seem more realistic. When it was written, in 1985, people thought this sounded like a far off world. The current political climate in the United States is making the world of Handmaid's Tale seem all too looming. Fighting Patriarchy means securing current freedoms for future generations. When we erode the rights of women, we erode the fabric of our society.

4. Feminism in art is nothing new. Women have been fighting to have a voice in various sectors of the art world. Barbara Kruger's image is from 1989 but to me it touches on many modern day battles that are still being waged against a woman's right to bodily autonomy. Fighting patriarchy means fighting for the right to allow women to make their own healthcare choices.

5. The Lavender Menace was a group that fought for recognition of lesbian women as part of the Women's Rights Movement of the 60s and 70s. They felt ignored by mainstream feminism and thought they were not being included in the conversation to bring forth more equality for women. The focus, at the time, was not on including all women but rather on those that fit the mold of heteronormativity. Now it is more widely accepted that feminism needs to speak for ALL women - even those who are lesbian or transgender. If a person self-identifies as female then fighting patriarchy is fighting for their right to assert what they feel is their true self.

6. Protesting is something that people have taken part in for many years. It helps effect change in some ways. In others, according to some people, it can be destructive and unhelpful. However, it's undeniable that it brings attention to issues. There were several women-focused protests around inauguration and I think this woman's sign is indicative of the attitude in our country. We pass laws that might try to push us towards gender equality, but unless there is a culture that is based on equality those laws don't do a lot in terms of realizing change. Women are still on average paid less, with so many excuses for why. There have even been appalling jokes made by appointed political leaders that have been in favor of limiting a woman's right to vote. Fighting patriarchy is fighting for maintaining rights that were hard-fought for women, but seemed commonplace for white men. While the jokes might have seemed funny to those saying it, in the current political climate those jokes simply strike fear and spark a call to action.

7. I proudly call myself a feminist. I think that patriarchy in our society has become toxic - not only to women, but to men as well. Patriarchy not only defines a woman's role in life, but aims to define a man's role as well. Rigid gender norms stifle creativity and lead to mental health problems for many. Fighting patriarchy is not something that is just for women. However, only true progress will be made when men realize that by enabling patriarchy that they are putting down the women in their lives - mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, etc.