What They Don't Want You to Know
Understand, that we wish to unpack the occulted lexical thread of signification which the word patriarchy carries throughout ALL examples of feminist rhetoric. When THEY talk about patriarchy, THEY assuredly mean something particular, something consistent, something examinable, something that would manifest their devices if it were brought to light. From the highest towers of the academy to the lowest reaches of the pop-feminist gutter, they all talk about "patriarchy", and in their varied accents they are all referring to the same thing. It is to this thing specifically that we direct our enquiry, in order that we may know it and name it and decode feminist speech by the light of it.
Here is the secret: When feminists speak of patriarchy, all they are really talking about is male power. It's just that simple. All of their circumlocutions dance endlessly and evasively around this—that patriarchy is exactly synonymous with male power, neither more nor less than male power, and that in all cases the terms patriarchy and male power may be interchanged with a negligible adulteration of meaning.
Try the experiment yourself. Find a piece of feminist writing where the word patriarchy occurs; replace this word with male power; see if it makes any fundamental difference. Also, see if it throws an unexpectedly revealing light upon the matter, yielding a sense and consistency superior to the original version.
If you wish, replace the word patriarchy with the simple word "men", and it will yield similar results. I know that many feminists have denied that patriarchy equals "men", but think for a minute: is not bare existence in itself a form of power? Tell me who has more male power: a man who exists, or a man who doesn't?
No feminist understanding of "patriarchy" makes any ultimate sense if you divorce this word from the idea of male power. If you aren't talking about male power in some way then you are wasting your time talking about patriarchy in any way whatsoever. Let that thought be your femspeak decoder template.
Feminist answer experts, seeking to confuse the issue, might reply that patriarchy is male power plus something else. Maybe so. But if you subtracted the male power part, the "something else" part wouldn't stand up any better than an empty gunny-sack, whereas the "male power" part—even by itself—would remain fully serviceable within the calculus of meaning.
Every feminist analysis that I'm aware of does no better than make "something else" to be a form of male will-to-power emanating from the allegedly "constructed" nature of maleness in the first place. But this is a completely circular explanation that will never boost the discussion beyond square one, so we might as well scrap it. Besides, the whole mess boils down to male power anyway, so that in the end all you are really saying is that patriarchy is male power plus male power.
So in the end, you can't go far wrong if you simply set "patriarchy" equal to "male power". You'll go further wrong if you select any other option.
It follows that any feminist who talks about "ending" patriarchy or reducing it in some way, is also talking about ending or reducing male power in some way.
So what does male power mean? It means: any power of any kind which any male citizen might happen to possess.
And exactly what is this thing called...power? That is a very good and very important question.
In the realm of human affairs, as near as we can make it, power is a substance compounded of two ingredients: IDENTITY, and AGENCY.
Identity means the sum of all factors, both mental and physical, which identify you as a discrete center of conscious awareness in contradistinction to other such discrete centers.
Agency means your capacity to either effect or prevent change through the exercise of your volition.
Let that sink in. Take a break for a few minutes, if you want to. Get away from the computer. Go outside , look at the clouds, listen to the birds, enjoy the fresh air.
Very well, you are back. Let's recapitulate.
Patriarchy is a feminist code word for male power. Male power means any power of any kind which any male citizen might happen to posess, and power specifically means identity plus agency. So in practice, the feminist keyword patriarchy maps to the identity and agency of any male citizen.
Gentle reader, you as a person posess identity and agency. In other words, you posess power. You mightn't think you have enough of it, but you do have some. And so long as you have some, you have freedom. Again, possibly not enough for your liking...but some. And some is always enough to get you started—enough to leaven the dough, you might say. Be glad of it, and work intelligently with it.
Let's see how feminism enters the picture. Feminism is an anti-male hate movement, and it is perfectly natural that when you hate something you will seek to deprive it of power—the more the better. We have equated power with identity and agency, and so have the feminist ideologues—although not necessarily in the same terms. Still, they have copped the base mechanics that we've outlined here. They know it instinctively.
In order to undermine male power, the women's movement over the years has set afoot a variety of actions, both large and small, tending to vitiate the identity and agency of men. Indeed, nearly everything which feminism has accomplished has made some contribution to this overall effect.
This "campaign" has cut a gradual, descending swath from the macrocosm to the microcosm, from the political to the personal—striving always toward a finer granularity of control, a greater concision of shades and subtleties in the realm of daily life.
Dry alterations to the fabric of law and the outward form of institutions didn't satisfy them for long—they thirsted for the essential juice of life, and in particular, the life juice of anything male which crossed their path. The last thing they wanted was a workplace or a world filled with insouciant, free-spirited, self-esteeming men and boys. Something had to be done to correct male joie de vivre and male autonomy.
Men were to be subjugated, but if they didn't know this, and if they didn't act like they knew it, then the whole thing would be pointless. It was necessary, then, for the reach of matriarchy to become omni-locational and all-pervading—like the ideological presence of a totalitarian social order.
So, it was and continues to be important to the feminist effort that every possible shred of male identity or agency be appended to the shadow of ideology in some manner. ANY speck of uncolonized male space or male autonomy constitutes a bit of turf still in the grip of patriarchal power. Or at any rate, that's how they see it.
Case in point: what is a "sensitive male"? For starters, it is a sexist expression in exactly the same way that "good negro" is a racist expression. This is a VERY exact paralell. If somebody employs the term "sensitive male", or worse, calls you one, then you ought to feel seriously offended.
Beyond that, a sensitive male is simply an emotional puppet whose strings are available for any woman to pull, whenever and wherever. In short, a man curiously lacking in power; a man of abbreviated identity and agency.
Sometimes they will rate you on whether you "know how to cry". Reason being, that if you know how to cry then it follows that you can be made to cry. That's what they are really looking for in the long run. And here's an extra thought that occurred to me: how would you like to be told that "it's okay to cry" by the very same person who made you want to cry in the first place? You'd be damned if you'd give them the satisfaction, wouldn't you?
These examples are given because in my opinion they implode the circumference of male power about as far as it can be pushed, at least in the daily realm of social interplay. Even to a point where the drive for control reaches straight into a man's inner world, breaching a barrier which civil propriety forbids should be violated.
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall." Know therefore that your coolness, aloofness, guardedness, your methodological skepticism, or even your native lack of response to certain stimuli which others might find compelling, are all vital elements of your identity. Your agency. Your autonomy. Your. . . . manhood. In other words, your male power.
Oh, very well then, call it patriarchy!
Ha! And you thought that "patriarchy" was just a one-size-fits-all guilt-o-matic gizmo designed to put men eternally on the defensive while giving women a carte blanche moral advantage in any given situation!
Well it is that indeed. But as you can see now, it goes deeper. . . .