Patriarchy is a very sensitive issue to talk about because of its historical prominence and the fact that it is inclined towards staying with us for a longer run. Its origin can be traced back to as old as the stone age when women played the role of taking care of the progenies because of the biological tendencies and weren’t allowed to do something that involves physical work because the men took the charge & power over them, to the times that we are living in, the twenty first century. We have reached a point in history where this unspoken social phenomenon is facing more than just the argument of gender roles and the treatment of gender. It is challenged by the demand of recognition, the acceptance and the involvement of the people of every gender, sexuality, race, class and backgrounds. The mere acknowledgement of it is not enough.
We have been conditioned by this patriarchy since time immemorial, and it has affected our decisions, knowingly or unknowingly, whether we wanted to make those decisions or not wanted to. But we have come a long way since the time when there was no awareness about this unspoken rule of the society. People are now more educated than ever. They have access to each and every piece of knowledge present in the world (but to the privileged ones of course) and this where my argument comes into play. Why is it that even after so much education, so many ‘Ted Talks’ and social events, we are still stuck with this phenomenon in our lives? Why is it that the suppressed communities are still trying to find space and a strong voice as the oppressors have? The answer is: fear.
We fear the patriarchy more than what it has conditioned us to, which rises above our education. And this fear, in turn, makes this social stigma even more powerful. The oppressors still oppress, but in a technologically advanced, climate deteriorating & a fashion where people are still playing by divide and rule. The education of this social phenomenon teaches us how scary it has been for the people who have revolted against it and makes us scared of fighting.
The privileged ones, who are educated enough to not follow the patriarchy and move a step ahead, still take a step back, knowingly. We know that a girl’s attire shouldn’t be the reason for her to get molested, yet, I being from a metropolitan city, still wear ‘conservative’ clothes when travelling in public transport, knowing that I shouldn’t be bothered by it, but yet I give in because I am scared, that what if patriarchy wins over me. The class divide, is more prominent because of this fear. The men, who have had it easy historically, they were allowed to do anything, warrior-ship, arts, science, business, literally anything, are still questioned about fashioning certain behavior & roles that are stigmatized to be of the oppressed people. Expression of emotions, following the internet trends or even loving the things that has been stereotyped to be ‘feminine’ or something that the lower working class people help us with, are all looked down upon. They fear nothing, but the patriarchy. The acceptance of people with different sexuality, a concept that has been there with us since history could remember but is considered to be new and modern, is still trying to find its place in the community. More than the patriarchy, what they fear is not having the right to existence, even in the communities which claims to be ‘woke’, an atmosphere of uneasiness is felt and can be even seen sometimes.
What adds on to this fear is the generation gap, which deals with it on different levels. The people who have lived the major changes in the world, the most experienced, or the ‘boomers’ as we know of, fear that voicing up or taking an action against patriarchy might ruin the life of their progeny. They were equally conditioned by the patriarchy as we are, the difference is that there wasn’t the much awareness and content available for them to consume when they were growing up. We on the other hand who have access to everything as I mentioned above still fail to remove the stigma if not completely, even the half of it. The fear in our generation grows bigger than the stigma but also gets in interplay with the pressure from your own community which in itself was born because of this stigma. The dual nature of fear makes it coiled up for us to untangle and grow out of it. Am I thinking correctly? Or am I offending someone? Should I Google this? Or should I just not care and be myself? Or I should be mature and think about the effects it can have on community? Or should I posses the ‘bad bitch energy’? The internal wars with our own self are countless. This is where the fear of our own self’s judgement takes over the judgement of society. Knowingly or unknowingly, we end up being stuck with this fear.
However, even at this stage of confusion and fear, we still hold the power in our hands more than anyone else. The fear is dominating, and will be for the coming years, but it is in our hand to control it and fight with it. A lot people revolt against it, knowing the scary effects it can have on them, through arts, science, commerce or even nothingness, people are voicing it out and some are even living it and not just the ‘performative activism’ that most of the privileged class are stuck with. The uneducated will be educated, and it is not them who can do so alone because of the existing pressure, but the educated that pushes beyond the walls of this stigma, comes out of the fear and gives out the resources. Until then, it’s just manic world that we have to strive through.
Written By: Amya Roy