6 Ways The Patriarchy Harms Men
No matter your gender, getting free of patriarchy is essential in order to end patriarchy. Patriarchy is the system we live in, which means it is the air that we breathe, and if we want to end sexism and sexual assault, then we need to end patriarchy.
And, that includes men ending patriarchy. It includes men declaring that they have had enough of this patriarchal system because they understand that it doesn't serve them either.
a gender-based system of oppression that shows up in every area of society (political, social, and mental system) that perpetuates myths of male dominance and gender norms and expectations and binaries. It uses misogyny and our ideas of what it means to be “masculine” to accumulate and maintain power.
You, as a socialized man, want to unlearn patriarchal ways of being because you care about yourself, others, the society you live in and building a better world. You care about women and those who identify outside the gender binary. You care about other men.
Here are 6 ways the patriarchy hurts you as a man so you can become more conscious of how this system affects you. Awareness is the first step in getting free.
1. Gender Socialization
Patriarchal gender socialization has taught you that you SHOULD be and act a certain way, that you need to be "masculine", dominant, the protector, the provider, bigger, faster, stronger, so on and so forth. All kinds of gender norms and expectations have been placed upon you from the time you were born (often before you came out of the womb).
You might cling to these ideas of what it means to be a man and what roles you feel you need to perform in order to be accepted and belong in society, and in order to feel love and connection. Because this is how you were taught to be loved and belong in society.
You're NOT actually taught to be and embrace who you are.
It's not your fault that you were socialized this way, but you DO have the power to change that and recognize who you REALLY are underneath all the patriarchal gender conditioning.
Now, as an adult, you are responsible for how you show up in the world and the kind of impact you have on the world. You can take responsibility for the ways you buy into patriarchy and participate in it in your everyday life, and CHOOSE to free yourself from it.
Becoming more aware of how gender impacts your everyday experience and freeing yourself from societal gender expectations can enhance your life and relationships. The deeper your awareness of gender socialization, the closer you are to embracing all of who you are and living your full potential.
2. You Are Not Taught To Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Emotions
Patriarchy teaches you, as a socialized man, to suppress your emotions, especially your hurt and sadness. When your emotions are suppressed, you aren’t able to feel the love and power of your whole self.
You are not taught emotional awareness and maturity. You are told not to feel all of your emotions or to express your emotions in unhealthy ways. You are not taught that it's okay and healthy to cry.
Suppressing emotions and keeping them bottled up leads to letting them out in unhealthy ways that are often aggressive and destructive to yourself, to others and society.
Not having emotional awareness or reflection also doesn't allow you to experience true intimacy.
3. You Are Robbed of True Intimacy
You aren't taught what true intimacy really is and how to have it with others and with yourself. You have been taught to rely on women for your selfcare, for your emotional and basic care needs.
Thus, you may not know how to truly care for yourself or how to connect with your body, heart, and spirit. This deprives you of cultivating an intimate relationship with yourself, and in turn, your partner(s) and friends.
You deserve to experience real intimacy in your life. Unfortunately, patriarchy has tried to rob you of this, but you CAN learn intimacy. You can learn how to cultivate true intimacy in your everyday life.
You will learn that, while sex can be awesome, it is not what true intimacy is. You will learn how to experience true intimacy that doesn't rely on sex (and is available to you at any given moment). AND, you can learn how to have the most awesome sex with your partner(s).
It's up to you to decide and invest in your personal growth.
4. Your Relationships Suffer (Especially Your Relationships with Women and Gender Non-Confirming Folks)
Under patriarchy, your relationships with men, women and all genders suffer. Men (all men regardless of sexual identity) don't get to have intimacy with other men.
Instead, men have been taught to only look for intimacy with the "opposite sex" or what is deemed as the "opposite sex". Men don't get to be affectionate with other men and this is harmful. It places men's needs for affection on women and reinforces the hetero-gender binary.
Men's relationships with women really suffer under patriarchy. The first problem is that "men" and "women" are socialized differently, which there is no reason for except to uphold oppressive systems of power.
Because men are socialized to not have the emotional awareness that women have or to have a truly intimate and caring relationship with themselves, they aren't able to have fulfilling relationships with women.
Also, because of socialization, "men" and "women" are taught to communicate differently, and we know that communication is one of the biggest struggles in relationships. Some of that is personality, and a lot of it is from patriarchy and gender socialization.
Patriarchy teaches men that they are inherently superior to women, and when men enter a relationship with a woman, whether it's romantic or friendship, with that conditioning, the relationship DOES NOT WORK.
So much of our struggles in our relationships is because of what the patriarchy has taught us we "should" be instead of truly being who we are underneath all the societal bullshit.
No emotional awareness means no intimacy, which means no fulfilling relationship.
5. It Gets You Further Away From Your Own Innate Power
Patriarchy teaches you to have power-over other humans, especially women, animals and the Earth. But, the trick is, you cannot have truly fulfilling, healthy relationships with women when you are in the unconscious mindset of having power-over them.
Having power-over sets you up as superior and reinforces non-consensual dominance, which is a false sense of power.
Having a false sense of power gets you further away from the innate power that is always already within you at all times and does not rely on external validation or control.
When you’re taught to perceive and treat (unconsciously) another as inferior, you aren’t recognizing their whole self.
When you deny another’s wholeness, you deny your own. The reverse is also true. When you deny your wholeness, you deny other humans their wholeness too.
We are interconnected. If I’m denying your humanity, I am denying my own as well. Whether our dehumanizing has to do with gender, race, disability, sexuality, class, age, body size, so on and so forth….
The patriarchy takes your true power away because it wants you to rely on a system that ultimately uses and exploits you while tricking you into thinking it’s giving you control and power.
Being taught to have power-over suppresses your emotions, affects your relationships, denies your wholeness, and holds you back from living your purpose and full potential. It blocks you from having the life you want. You don’t need to change though. You just need to connect with your whole self.
Real power does not come from the outside, it is already always within us that can be accessed at any time.
When we use our power to oppress people or be complicit in a system that exploits and oppresses people, we are abusing our power and also moving away from it. I believe that we actually lose it though it may not seem that way.
But, the more we oppress people and participate in a system of oppressions, the more we turn away from our true selves, from the wholeness that is us.
6. You Can't Be All Of Who You Are and Live Your Full Potential
This point ties everything together. With all of the patriarchal conditioning, the bottom line is that you, as a socialized man, aren't allowed to be ALL of who you are and really live your full potential.
All of these ways that society expects and tells you to be prevents you from living your purpose and having the life that you actually want and the relationships that you really want.
Society teaches you to ignore your body and exploits your body for capital. You are taught to value your mind NOT your body or your heart and spirit. Thus, you rely on women for care and nourishment and don't know how to have an intimate relationship with yourself.
The way to get free of patriarchy and oppression involves growing your mind, body, spirit connection.