Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority , social privilege and control of property. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal , meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage. Patriarchy is associated with a set of ideas, a patriarchal ideology that acts to explain and justify this dominance and attributes it to inherent natural differences between men and women. Sociologists tend to see patriarchy as a social product and not as an outcome of innate differences between the sexes and they focus attention on the way that gender roles in a society affect power differentials between men and women.
I n , John Stuart Mill wrote: "The entire history of social improvement has been a series of transitions, by which one custom or institution after another, from being a supposed primary necessity of social existence, has passed into the rank of a universally stigmatised injustice and tyranny. So it has been with the distinctions of slaves and freemen, nobles and serfs, patricians and plebeians; and so it will be, and in part already is, with the aristocracies of colour, race, and sex. Mill's remarks came back to me recently when I was glancing again through philosopher Mary Warnock's memoirs, first published in In philosophy there has been much attention to how much work we still have to do to overcome the "aristocracy of sex", both in terms of job advancement and attitudes. Unlikely that philosophy, or indeed academia, is alone here, but we are under the spotlight at the moment because of a high-profile resignation over a sexual harassment complaint at the University of Miami that has been widely discussed.
Masculine ideology embodies a feeling of the inherent superiority of the male of the species. He has an intrinsic right to dominate females and to lead his family. He must always appear to be morally upright, strong, ambitious, energetic, virile, brave and able to direct. He should not appear effete, or have a preference for homosexuality, or do any work which he considers to be in women's domain. These very rigid role ideas cause social inflexibility and constitute a barrier to progress.
Rape is a metaphor of our times. Men rape the land and ravage the oceans. They even penetrate the skies.