Monday, October 14, 2013

Patriarchy and Male Privilege - How Do These Impact Your Life?

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Patriarchy (rule by fathers) is a social system in which the male is the primary authority figure central to social organization and the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property, and where fathers hold authority over women and children. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination.

Male Privilege refers to the social theory which argues that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.

Patriarchy is probably one of the biggest contention points of feminism today. Let me start by saying the difference between patriarchy and male privileges is that one(male privilege) is simply as a result of the other(patriarchy).

Here are some of the benefits of being born in a patriarchal society (some written by Peggy McIntosh):

1. Odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in the man's favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.
2. He can be confident that his co-workers won’t think he got the job because of his sex – even though that might be true.
3. He is far less likely to face intimate harassment at work than his female co-workers are.
4. If he does the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think he did a better job.
5. The odds of being Molested are relatively low.
6. If he chooses not to have children, his masculinity will not be called into question.
7. If he has children and provide primary care for them, he’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent.
8. If he has children and a career, no one will think he is selfish for not staying at home.
9. Chances are the male child was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than his sisters.
10. As a child, he could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of his own sex. He never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.
11. If he is careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to his sex.
12. Even if he sleeps with a lot of women, there is no chance that he would be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.”
13. He does not have to worry about the message his wardrobe sends about his intimate availability.
14. If he’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.
15. He can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. He can be aggressive with no fear of being called a Naughty Lady.
16. His ability to make important decisions and his capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
17. He will never be expected to change his name upon marriage or questioned if he doesn't change his name.
"My husband keeps his name and I keep mine – this is held as a statement of superiority on my part".
“Keeping my last name is emasculating” to a man, but the society never bothers to question how a woman might feel being asked to give up something that has been part of her since her birth". This is an example of a culture of male privilege — where a man’s position and feelings are placed above that of the woman’s in a way that is seen as normal, natural, and traditional.
18. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of the opposite sex(males). Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.
19. Most major religions argue that he should be the head of my household, while his wife and children should be subservient to me.
20. If he has children with his wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of them needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are it will be assumed that the career sacrificed should be hers.
21. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to him on the street and tell him to “smile.”

What are your thoughts on the male privilege?? What are your thoughts on male vs female privileges?? What are your counter arguments??


There is an interesting discussion about this article on Nairaland and decided to bring it here for us to jaw jaw too. Men, please I'll love to hear from you on this topic.


  1. The latest piece I have written actually ties in nicely. On Friday evening, we (3 women) were refused entry into a music night because we had no male companion! To think this still happens in this day and age in Nigeria is ludicrous.

    Titled 'Single Ladies are Prostitutes'

  2. Waiting for other comments.

  3. I'm a man and all I have to say is this is the way the world works, get used to it. In fact, women should be used to it by now.

  4. We do not live in a perfect world. The privileges you mentioned has its pros and cons. Women clamouring for such equality will be the first to antagonise any man that don't carry his supposed responsibility. This is no fault of the men but through the means of God or evolution. Whichever you believe.

  5. To Bash and Victor, all i can say to you is it is easy for u to have this viewpoint because u are a man. A system built on patriarchy and Male Privilege favours you, so why would you want it any other way. But if women and enlightened men say this is not the way it should be, women are equal to them and should be given the opportunity to benefit from this equality, well they are speaking from levels u aren't at.

    Everything written in this article is true in Nigeria, but still there are women who are going against the system & demanding that things changes. A society doesn't change until groups of people enforce this change, until they keep demanding and fighting for what they see is the injustice done to them. It is not enough for us to complain about the way Nigerian society treats women if we are not bold enough to be different & damn the consequence. The fight for equality didn't happen in the West by benevolent men who suddenly got tired of being the all in all in everything & one day thought, "why don't we let these women have a kick around a bit." People fought for the, whatever degree of it, equality in the West. Women fought for it. I fought to be this person that I am, cos I remember many who were discouraging, many who feared there was much to overcome & I couldn't successfully do it. But do we give up because there is a war to be fought? Do we go home & be slaughtered in our sleep? Yes, my analogy may be extreme, but am sorry if more and more Nigerian women are not willing to stand up & fight for equality, this is what the society will remain for a very very very long time.


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