Sunday, February 6, 2011

Follow Up Post: Why Patriarchy?

Reading “Patriarchy, the System: An It, Not a He, a Them, or an Us”, I pictured the author to be a woman.  However, the author’s identity as a man was identified towards the end of the article.  Personally, I found the article much more appealing when I discovered that the author was male.  At first, I thought that the peice was whiny and full of complaints.  Even though good points were made I found it biased, thinking this was a female discussing the idea of patriarchy as a male-dominated system of inequality.  Finding that Allan G. Johnson wrote the chapter I found the argument more persuasive because it was coming from someone who was not female yet still saw women as being oppressed.
I definitely agree that often when issues arise we look at personal traits, or individual cases rather than trying to address the underlying social roots.  Although people are obviously part of “the system” they must be viewed as participants who are in turn are also shaped by socialization.  I think this is a clear model that displays social issues well yet I also don’t believe that the general public realizes this relationship.  It is much easier to see people as the main issues, thus when a specific course case is displayed in the media people are likely to see personality traits or past personal experiences as the root of the problem.  I believe it is easier to see the relationship between a personal experience and an issue rather than investigate the social systems in place that caused the issue to happen.  Thus, as Johnson explains, people often take the path of least resistance and accept the easy solution. 
I would be curious to read the rest of Johnson’s book, as he references chapter 10 at the end as including his thoughts on how people can take responsibility.  The answer of how to address the many problems embedded in society is unclear.  It would be interesting to read how Johnson attempts to tackle these patriarchal issues.

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