Google says patriarchy means ‘a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line.’ Owing to the fact that the Indian society has been a patriarchal society for centuries, we must have experienced the proof of such kind of society at least once in our lifetime. In fact, we experience it every day. From the moment that we get up from bed till we hit our pillow in the night, we see ‘patriarchy’ paving its way through our lives.
Take me for example. I’m 15 and I go to school and lead a pretty normal life for a teenager. Like anyone my age, I have seen patriarchy in my family. Being raised by a single parent, my mom has taken most of my life’s decisions, right from education to expenses. However, she always consults my uncle and my grandfather regarding some important decisions. My uncle and my grandfather have always been a ‘fatherly figure’ in my life and play an important role in my life. It is impossible to imagine a life without their constant support and guidance. Most of the house’s decisions are also taken up by them. They usually have the final say in decisions and their opinion holds the most importance. This form of patriarchy is seen in almost every middle-class family of India, and it is something that all of us can relate to.
The question is why? Why is this superior role played by the male members of the family? What compels them to have this power? The whole idea of gender discrimination is that women stay at home, and are responsible for all the housework, whereas the men are the ones who work and earn for the family. This idea has been carried on by the Indian minds since the beginning of time. We consider the males more capable and experienced enough to take the decisions. But what is making them the ‘so-called’ capable and experienced? Education.
In recent years, feminism has been emerging as an important political struggle that has enabled the women of our society to step out of their homes and work outside. As women in urban and metropolitan cities have started to work outside their homes, they are gradually becoming involved in the intricacies of today’s society. Now, we find women working almost everywhere, in high or decent paying jobs. A person from the past, visiting India in 2016, would be taken aback by the drastic changes the country has witnessed. By gaining an education, women have taken a step towards broadening their knowledge of the outside world. Since divorces have become common and women have been given the freedom to break out of an unsuccessful marriage, they are inevitably forced to get a job to manage the family’s expenses. However, in spite of this reform, we still support male supremacy in our families.
What do I feel about this? I feel that people should view people as just humans, and not discriminate them on the basis of gender. The person who is considered the most capable of handling the family should be given the responsibility, irrespective of whether they are male or female. Yes, and that means I’m not asking men to stop dominating over the family. I’m just trying to say that some people are more capable than other people. Some females can be more capable than some men and vice versa, it depends on their experience, character and family background. The whole point of feminism is giving men and women the same opportunities and equal treatment. Although feminism is more emphasized on female treatment, it aims for equality between both the genders.
I conclude by saying that patriarchy has prevented women from working to their fullest potential for ages and we should work towards eliminating this kind of society. This doesn’t mean that we should work towards a matriarchal society, we should work towards a society that provides equal opportunities for both men and women.
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