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Patriarchy is a social and political scheme that is adamant in the inherent dominance of men, their supremacy to everything and everyone believed to be weak, especially women. According to patriarchy outlook, men are bestowed with a God-given right so as to rule over and subjugate the weak and uphold that dominance through an assortment of forms of emotional intimidation and aggression. From as far back in history as one can remember, it has always been the case in most societies that men were dominant, the protectors, the providers and the rulers and decision makers. America has been no different, even before its invasion by foreigners. American society is, and always has been, patriarchal. Men are dominant in the home, over women and children. Although there have been lawful social alterations in the past century and a half that have made American society less male dominated than it once was, only a meagre a proportion of women compared to men have right of entry to the authority and resources such as schooling, the careers, even governing positions, which were at one point only reserved for a small percentage of men (Oregon & Florida). Women can now take part in an election and have property in their own name. These changes are remarkable and considered as milestone achievements, but it also remains true that women only have as much access to male dominated circles as the influence of patriarchy is willing to afford them. This essay will discuss the connection between patriarchy and the subordination of women, their sexualisation and the inherent male dominance even in things like advertising, i.e. all advertisements are aimed at appealing to men’s tastes and rarely women’s, which is still obvious that men dominate the economy as well as the politics and social media. This paper will aim to discuss also how patriarchy has influenced the gender roles in American society, to date. Sexual or gender assignment of roles assists in explaining how American patriarchy has preserved itself. American society has barely been different in assigning women the domestic role, when compared with other societies. Common feminine roles are: homemaker, wife, mother, and caregiver. This society continues to associate male superiority with female domesticity, as it has in years before, although not to the same extent as the 1600s, for example.

American society has lived on Puritan principle influences for a long time. Puritans insisted that men were the dominant sex, assigning women to a predominantly domestic and submissive role stemming from the belief that women were weaker than men and that men had a God-given right to rule over all things. Women’s duties included, but were not limited to being wives, mothers and homemakers. This perspective of women is still very much alive, even though, in American society today there are women working in the corporate world. It is not surprising though, that like the female slaves of old, the expectations on these women are to work inside the home, as well as outside. This means that, even though, a woman decides to pursue a career like any man, she cannot escape society’s stamp on what a woman should be and how she should behave. There have also been penalties laid on women for being mothers and wives while trying to pursue a career in corporate America. It was not until the 70’s that women could have paid maternity leave and insurance that covered maternal needs. In today’s society, women’s obligatory role in the domestic sphere has also incorporated an assortment of chastisement for women who snub aspects of it. Spinsters, as well as lesbians and unmarried women who share their lives with male lovers, or even women who are not mothers still endure social censure for their denunciation of the wife-mother role. At the same time, laws exist now against educational and employment discrimination against women, even though the employment laws are only enforced, at least, part of the times. Supreme Courts have ruled against the traditional sex-role expectations as an acceptable foundation for family law. Contraception is now available to most women, as well as abortion oppoerunities, allowing women to make choices on their own regarding their bodies. Crimes against women, such as rape and domestic violence, are no longer secrets to be dealt with in the privacy of the home; however, they constitute serious matters of concern for the public. Although America is and has always been a patriarchal society, there is an increased presence of women in law, which may hint at the possibility of women having some real and significant power, at last.

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It is not wholly true that every man has authority over every woman, as much as a single woman has any power over a single man. Many women are in positions of authority over other women, and patriarchy affects different women’s lives distinctly in various areas to different degrees. In some sense, when patriarchy functions as it should, some women might find it as an acceptable way of life. Who could argue with being protected, loved and cared by a strong, capable and understanding man? Hence, as far as patriarchy is concerned, it is not all oppressive, as not all women are oppressed by it uniformly. One must also consider that there are other forces at work in society, and male dominance is not the only force. When we take into account race, for example, and begin to scrutinize the effects of patriarchy in different races, it would appear that there is a difference in gender roles in different races.

African Americans have suffered a great deal under slavery and other injustices. Socially, there appears to have been a switch in gender norms between African American men and women. During times of slavery, women slaves were expected to work same hours as men, and at home women had to further assume their duties as wives and mothers. Slavery separated families and, in some instances, encouraged healthy males to breed with healthy females without regard to family or responsibility. Hence, the typical patriarchal society values that could be found in Africa, at the same time, were lost along the way, leaving women as primary care givers to their offspring. This seems to have been passed down through the generations as, when one observes the typical African American household, it features a matriarch style of life along with absent fathers and wayward children. This indicates that women in this society suffer a double blow in that, although they have assumed the typical patriarchal role, they are still denied the benefits of entry into positions that are predominantly considered as male positions. Other social factors contribute to this, like racism and classism; however, this is not as influential a factor in defining the gender roles in African American society as it is in others. Race and class are commanding influences; their consequence coalesces with that of gender to characterize society. Therefore, women in African American societies take on the role that their male counterpart should be taking on themselves, as well as their feminine roles, without reaping the benefits of being protectors of their families. In an indirect way, one could argue that patriarchy destroyed the familial values of the African American men. The slave owners (white males) were predominantly concerned with profits and gains, and hence the decisions they made were upheld because of their position as household heads, even over their slaves. Such attitudes are still affecting African Americans today, and they have left the society with a mixed-up sense of gender responsibility, as American society sees it, that men should be providers and women should be homemakers. The subjection of African American men during slavery disrupted their sense of masculinity; hence, patriarchy was destroyed within this sphere of American society.

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American law and society have assigned women to a specific role and have devalued the women’s role. Women have been belittled, both externally and internally, to the domestic role only. “A woman’s role is in the home” (Knobe, 2011), was one of the anti-suffrage slogans when women were fighting for the right to decide who should be in power. That view has not been limited to doing regular household chores and not without prejudice. Instead of honoring women as life-givers, American society has proceeded to dehumanize and objectify women. Added to their expected role as housekeepers and caregivers, women are seen as sexual objects for the pleasure of men. In the advertisements, women appear to be geared towards the fantasies and desires. Little regard is given to the needs of women, but women are, in fact, used as objects to allure men to purchase certain products, like cars, perfume, sportswear, or even flight tickets. The objectification of women does not end in advertising, but also spills over to pornography, where women are portrayed as servants to men, whose sole purpose is to provide pleasure for men. Pornography is now a mainstream industry, and this proves the point that women are viewed as objects, which do not deserve to be honored or respected but to be used at men’s discretion. Such attitudes also show that America is still a patriarchal society, howbeit a modern one, that puts the needs of men above those of women, and regards women as second class citizens, who need to be rewarded according to the pleasure and approval of men. The blatant disregard for the humanity of women has led to a rise in human trafficking and exposure of women to pornography and prostitution, which are harmful to women, but viewed as financially beneficial by males, who engage in this business.

Society has also often chastised women for their cry to be seen as men’s equals, denying  their rights, by means of claiming women as being weak and emotional creatures. The argument has been that emotions cannot allow one to make rational decisions, which is what is needed when running a corporate business or governing a country. This has seen many women attempt to become like men, stoic, and unfeeling, in the work place. However, it also appears that women cannot win in this situation. If a woman is her natural self, she is deemed emotional and weak in the area of potential liability in business. When a woman decides to put aside her emotions and behave as “rational” as any male counterpart would, she is deemed harsh and labeled with highly offensive terms like “bitch”. It would seem patriarchy promises to make room for women in a man’s world, and yet seems to put a lot of conditions, which are impossible for any woman to satisfy.

Men have always assumed that women were a defective part of humanity, as did Aristotle who believed that women were “conceived when the temperature was too low”. Women’s role in society has always been linked to their reproductive function and domestic role. This has led to a public retaliation by a group of women collectively known as feminists, and not a favorite among male counterparts in this patriarchal society. Although men use the biology of childbirth to enslave women, we find that in any society, they are unfettered to any expectation and are free to explore and develop new ideas. The fight that feminists began to fight was to award women the same right as men, so as to use their minds to reach higher goals, unchained to a single biological factor. This fight has brought about interesting and progressive moves towards equality; however, one might argue that true equality between women and men may never be reached, due to the obvious and undeniable ability of women to conceive and bear children. One could argue that, without said weaker sex, mankind’s perpetuation on earth would be in peril. It is, indeed, a wonder that men do not recognize this, and that if they do, they refuse to give women’s position the honor and respect they deserve. It is also a wonder that patriarchy is celebrated, which often leads to decisions that end in war and torment and yet the sensitivity that women possess, which tends toward preservation of life, is deemed as a weakness. In any case, as women ability to give birth is not diminishing in any capacity, it remains the tool, through which patriarchy has been capable to continue to assign women their domestic role only.

In conclusion, sex roles often seem to be like those things, to be so obvious that they are part of the general outlook. Gender roles are essential, invasive well-established in our society, to the point that they can easily seem a normal thing and something to be expected (Oregon & Florida). It is hard to think about life apart from the existing sexual division of labor or something akin to it. More accurately, a situation ,in which gender roles are non-existent or not defined, are hard toimagine. No tangible model for equality of men and women exists at present, nor should it be possible. At the same time, “men especially are resistant to the deconstruction of patriarchy. After all, the end of patriarchy means the end of male privilege”. The promise of equal rights has left women in a slightly elevated position, however, with little differentiation between women in the 1800s and now. The expectations placed on women are the same, such as to be wives, mothers, homemakers and the perfect lovers for the satisfaction of men. Their lives are not their own. Men continue to dominate social, economic and political trends with little influence from the needs and voices of women. Although women have long fought for equal rights, the ground for success and recognition are still invariably uneven. It is not uncommon for women to be asked to perform sexual favors for a promotion or other favors. Hence, one can conclude that patriarchy in American society is still very much alive and has a way of keeping things the way they are, by means of promising equality, giving a little bit at a time to women to keep them hoping. However, at the same time, these actions always pursue preserving and upholding the desires of men above those of women.

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