This study guide on patriarchy examines the some common disparities between men and women. Do women really deserve to earn less than men? Is God a man or woman? These among other questions will help dissect patriarchy and its modern applications. More...
• The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy by Allan G. Johnson (Temple University Press, 1997, 2005).
• Johnson's Web site: www.agjohnson.us.
• The Female Face in Patriarchy: Oppression as Culture by Frances O'Connor and Becky S. Drury (Michigan State University, 1999).
• ELCA Church in Society, Justice for Women Web site (includes reader guide to Johnson's book and many other resources):
• Feminism: A way of thinking, seeing the world and looking for answers to patriarchy and its effects. It encompasses a wide range of diversity but two shared ideas exist: Gender inequality is real, and that's a problem.
• Male centeredness: The path of least resistance is to focus primarily on men and what they do.
• Male dominance: The default is for positions of social and religious authority to be largely held by men.
• Male identification: When men are viewed as the standard, the path of least resistance is to see maleness and men as superior.
• Misogyny: Hatred or dislike of women.
•Paths of least resistance: The easiest possible or most acceptable avenues of response, action or thought shaped by social systems. We follow them because they seem either obvious or correct.
• Patriarchy: A kind of social system that promotes male privilege by being male dominated, male identified and male centered. Sociologist and author Allan G. Johnson writes,"organized around an obsession with control and involves as one of its key aspects the oppression of women."
• Privilege: Any unearned advantage that is available to members of a social category while being systematically denied to others. For example, in a patriarchal system it means men can be taken seriously and are seen to have authority.
• Sexism: That which promotes male privilege.
Source: ELCA Justice for Women
Sexism and patriarchy are about women and men being from different planets, right? Or women as victims and men as insensitive? Not so fast. Author Allan G. Johnson says patriarchy is far more complex.
Writing in The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, Johnson said that if we focus on a model of the world that assumes everything begins and ends with individuals, we’re missing the boat. If we think the problem will be solved once we fix those who are “bad,” we provoke defensiveness and denial. “It gets good men off the hook. It’s easy to ... fixate on male guilt, or ‘gender roles,’ ” Johnson wrote.
Anyway, he added, guilt disempowers people and can lead to backlash. It simply isn’t helpful.
|To discuss this story with Mary Streufert, director for justice for women with Church in Society, Nov. 17-24.|
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