South East High School

Opinion: Destroy patriarchy, burn down gender roles

She looked so lost and so afraid.

It was the world she lived in, but everyone told her otherwise. They blamed her. They ripped her of her voice and of her freedom, and traded that for restrictions. From a young age, she had been taught that being a girl would come with rules and boundaries, and that she was always submissive to her superior gender.

And she was so lost and so afraid, and there was nothing she could do. She was another pawn in patriarchy’s game.

It’s the system of society in which men hold the power, and women are largely excluded from it. It’s the system of society in which men are seen as strong, emotionless and brave. It’s the system of society in which women are seen as weak, emotional, and dependent on men. It’s the system of society in which being anything other than the gender roles assigned to you is considered anything but okay or normal.

It’s the cause of such hatred and immense feelings of dislike to those who do not identify in the appointed gender profiles.

Although so many people try to break free from this horrible society, they’re always hit by the stigma of being themselves. They’re always told they’re wrong. They’re always called names, laughed at, and it needs to stop.

And so it stops now.

Patriarchy is a painful system of society, and I refuse to be drowned in the endless amounts of yelling commands telling me to stop. I’ve had enough. I’m tired of being told I can’t, when I know I can. I’m tired of being compared to male classmates, and being called bossy for being in control when every other boy in the room is doing the exact same thing. I’m tired of being told that I’m annoying, and that I should stop talking because I’m disrupting the class when all I’m doing is getting someone involved in current events.

I was so lost and so afraid, and it was the world I lived in but everyone told me otherwise. They blamed me. They ripped me of my voice and of my freedom, and traded that for restrictions. From a young age, I had been taught that being a girl would come with rules and boundaries, and that I was always submissive to my superior gender.

For some time, I felt like there was nothing I could do but play as the pawn in patriarchy’s game.

Because it’s not my fault women are considered weak and inferior to men, and it’s not my fault that men are considered dominant and emotionless compared to women. It’s not my fault. It’s patriarchy’s fault.

It’s one of the main reasons why women are constantly called “bossy” or “controlling” when “stepping out of their given roles” or “surpassing the expectations most have of women”. It’s one of the main reasons men are often called names and laughed at when they report their sexual assault and why men are often portrayed as lust-filled, emotionless, monsters incapable of being respectful to their opposite gender. It’s one of the main reasons homosexuals and transgender folk are often attacked for being “too feminine” or “too masculine” for their assigned gender at birth or their sexual preference.

It’s revolting, and it needs to stop.

What some don’t seem to understand is that patriarchy has a handful of negative effects. If you don’t fall into one gender role, society brands you as weird or a freak. Society considers you less than, and sometimes, it’s hard to convince them otherwise.

Aside from gender roles, patriarchy is also responsible for socially constructed ideas of beauty mostly targeted at women and girls. Girls are expected to be skinny or curvy, and sexually pleasing the eye. In other words, women are told that they have to be very attractive to appeal to men. Women are told that their self-worth depends on whether or not a man finds them irresistible. Women are objectified and sexualized by these “dominant men” because they’re considered to be puppets, or tools for their own enjoyment instead of their equal.

Men too, are targeted by socially constructed ideas of beauty. Men are expected to be muscular and strong and attractive. They’re expected to be brave and intelligent and in control because society believes women are too weak and inferior to be dangerous or strong.

And for a long time, patriarchy has blamed feminism for this, but feminists did not do this, other men did. Feminism did not build barriers between the sexes and imaginary concepts like virginity and beauty used to degrade those who don’t fit certain acceptable standards, sexism did. So we burn down the ridiculous unattainable ideals of what a woman is and what a man is.

Instead of teaching what types of beauty are acceptable, how “valuable” virginity is, and what happens when you don’t fit into certain categories, let’s teach that individuality is beautiful. Let’s teach that individuality is valuable. Let’s teach that there is no such thing as categories because no one is meant to be exactly the same.

It’s time to stand up for what’s right and get rid of what’s wrong before it plagues the mind of every person.

Patriarchy poisoned us, and it’s up to everyone to fix it.