Have you ever faced a situation where you are asked to complete tasks or chores because “you’re a girl.” Especially by the older generations, who aren’t as open-minded and are often set in their ways.
If you choose not to listen, your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles would reprimand you. They will then try to reinstate the norm that women and girls should behave and act in a certain way – none of them are exceptions. They impose such patriarchal structures in every aspect of a woman’s life.
Even marriage is utilised to uphold patriarchal norms, where women are subject to marriages and early pregnancies solely to facilitate the continuation of their husbands’ family line. Instead of building sustainable, healthy households, women are constantly put through this vicious cycle. Separations and divorces are severely frowned upon in most sections of society thus forcing them to remain in unhappy marriages.
Women should always bear in mind that marriage is not the only option to start building their futures. There are endless possibilities that can be explored. They could pave their own way in life before choosing to settle down and have children. Regardless of what they choose to pursue, women should never be forced into a marriage.
Patriarchy also polices women in the way they dress. It is a common mysoginistic assumption that women who grow out their hair, wear short skirts and dress ‘provocatively’ are “asking for it.” They get told off and scolded for exposing skin. This completely limits a woman’s freedom to express herself through clothing as she is forced to constantly worry about society’s assumptions. Instead of policing women, we should focus on ensuring our men do not make them feel unsafe.
Patriarchy is an incredibly harmful social structure which oppresses women on every level. They suffer physically, mentally and emotionally, and are forced to stay silent in spite of their sufferings. We need to be conscious of these dangerous norms and work to ensure they no longer subject women to suppressed realities.