Patriarchy is often defined as a system of male dominance. This definition does not illuminate, but rather obscures, the complex set of factors that function together in the patriarchal system. We need more complex definition if we are to understand and challenge the the patriarchal system in all of its aspects.
Patriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.*
Marx and Engels said that the patriarchal family, private property, and the state arose together. Though their understanding of the societies that preceded “patriarchy” was flawed, their intuition that patriarchy is…
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