Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Sexism & Patriarchy Examples of Patriarchy in Everyday Life Reply To: Examples of Patriarchy in Everyday Life

Aditi Sahu
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Patriarchy, a structural system that facilitates in reducing women of any country to be second grade citizens. Be it a developing country like India or as highly developed country as Germany, the picture is the same for women everywhere. This system has been ingrained so deeply in the structure of any country, that common everyday incidents that are highly patriarchal in nature are neglected and accepted as something very “normal”. And anyone who dares to call out or voice opinions against such everyday incidents, is termed as a snowflake—an insulting slang which basically means someone who is easily hurt or offended by actions or statements of the others. But the obvious truth that people nowadays seem to ignore so effortlessly is that, no matter how many rules or laws are made against gender discrimination in any part of the world, we are a long way from achieving a society which is free from everyday patriarchy, until and unless we muster up the courage to address the patriarchy that we witness around us on everyday basis.

Patriarchy is real and very common, anyone with even a little bit of sense should be able to understand that. However, we as a society have become—or rather remained—so backward in our beliefs and practices, that we fail to acknowledge the male privilege. The everyday patriarchal customs have been accepted by us as the only way to be! As if that’s how any change is going to be brought in our country. We desperately need to get hurt and offended at the smallest issues conforming to patriarchal standards in order to wipe this deeprooted system from our world. And the saddest part is, even the tiniest patriarchal custom is not so tiny once you understand its implications. Let me offer an example to understand this better. A little girl wins a prize in her school for one or the other talent; the judge, while giving her the prize she won, asks her, “What’s your father’s name, child?” That’s it, that’s the example. Seems too miniscule, right? Well let us go over it once again: what was the need of asking that little girl of her parentage? And even if there was a need, why was the only parent that was considered was the male one? One might think it is a very small thing to make a fuss about, but it is honestly not. How is wiping one parent’s existence—always the female one— at every milestone in life, a small thing? How does no one seem to notice that in almost every form one fills out, it’s always the father’s income that is asked? As if it is not even a possibility that a mother has an income. Why can’t we take the middle way and just ask parents’/family income? Why can’t we ask someone’s parents’/guardian’s name whenever they achieve something? Why is the whole credit always given to the patriarch of the family?

Acknowledging one’s father’s efforts or work is in no way denying how much work the mother does, but when do we ever take the step of acknowledging the work done by mother? On mother’s day? Sure, on mother’s day we applaud our mother for doing everything she does and then go back to denying her existence in every paperwork we fill. Why can women either be their father’s daughter or their husband’s wife? Why is it so that on every paperwork, a woman has to write her father’s name when she is unmarried and then after marriage she is supposed to fill the column of w/o? How come a husband is never supposed to fill a column that says h/o? How come a husband’s identity never changed after marriage? When he turned 18, he became “Mr” from “Master”. In the same way, when a woman turned 18 she became “Ms” from “Miss”. But…oh wait, she has to become “Mrs” from “Ms” after marriage too. The fact that she is married is so important that it should be mentioned even in the title she uses. Why exactly? Why is so much importance placed on the institution of marriage when it comes to women? Why is it that being married is a part of a woman’s identity while for a man it’s just a choice that he made in life?

The answer to all the above questions is patriarchy, everyday patriarchy, to be precise. The patriarchy that has made us believe that a woman is nothing if she is somehow not presented in relation with a man. Her identity, her worth is nothing. No matter how much she has done in her life, no matter how much she keeps on doing, she can only either be one man’s daughter or another’s wife. She cannot and does not exist on her own.