Most men never think about patriarchy—what it means, how it is created and sustained. Many men in our nation would not be able to spell the word or pronounce it correctly. The word “patriarchy” just is not a part of their normal everyday thought or speech. Men who have heard and know the word usually associate it with women’s liberation, with feminism, and therefore dismiss it as irrelevant to their own experiences. I have been standing at podiums talking about patriarchy for more than thirty years. It is a word I use daily, and men who hear me use it often ask me what I mean by it.
Nothing discounts the old antifeminist projection of men as all-powerful more than their basic ignorance of a major facet of the political system that shapes and informs male identity and sense of self from birth until death.
"It’s never, never, never the woman’s fault. No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman. No means no. […] The one regret I have is we call it domestic violence as if it’s a domesticated cat. It is the most vicious form of violence there is, because not only the physical scars are left, the psychological scars that are left. This whole culture for so long has put the onus on the woman. What were you wearing? What did you say? What did you do to provoke? That is never the appropriate question."
"Telling a young girl she can’t wear what she wants because it’s not appropriate encourages the idea that men’s reactions should dictate society’s norms, and that all women are meta-Eves, tempting and ensnaring men with our sultry-eyed gaze. My parents’ culture is steeped in patriarchy, in the philosophy of the one-step machismo machine, where there is just one kind of man, and two kinds of women: the angel and the whore. These limited ideas of masculinity breed men who want ownership of women."