Patriarchy is a Social System Construction with a Long History

Patriarchy is a social system that places men as the main power holders and dominates in various roles in society.

The patriarchal system is one system that is strongly opposed and rejected by feminists. This is because patriarchy assumes that women are only perceived as having a reproductive function. So that women are considered only able to be at home to get pregnant, give birth, take care of children or do domestic work only.

In the Javanese language, it is quite familiar to us that women’s duties are only macak, manak, and cooking. This perception is a collective perception of society that makes women seen only as objects and places men in a special position.

However, what exactly is patriarchy? How did patriarchy first appear? Here’s an explanation.

Patriarchy is a Social System with a Long History

Patriarchy is a social system that places men as the main power holders and dominates in the role of political leadership, social rights, moral authority and property control.

Within the family sphere, the father figure always has authority over women, objects and children. Some societies that are patriarchal are also patrilineal, meaning that properties and titles held in the family are passed on to male descendants.

Implicitly, the patriarchal system also institutionalizes government and men’s privileges and places women’s position under men.

The term patriarchy comes from the word patriarchate which means a structure that places the role of men as the sole, central and even all-powerful ruler.

The patriarchal system makes men have special rights over women. The dominance of men does not only cover the personal domain, but also in a broader domain, such as education, economics, political participation, social, law and others.

In the personal realm, patriarchal culture is the cause, even the root of the emergence of various kinds of violence that occur, not only against women but also against men. Because of the label of privilege that belongs to men, many of them feel they have the right to exploit women’s bodies.

Historically, patriarchal culture has manifested itself in the social, religious, political and even economic organizations of many different cultures. Even though it is not clearly stated in the constitution or state law, most contemporary societies are patriarchal in practice.

In societal culture, patriarchy then raises gender gaps and even raises social problems that affect aspects of human life. Patriarchal culture is still present in Indonesia, for example the idea that a woman’s job is to macak, manak and cook. Thus, making women go to high school is considered a waste because they only end up in the kitchen, serving their husbands and taking care of the children.

According to the journal The Evolution of Human Sociality (2001) by Sanderson and Stephen K, it is explained that patriarchy is the result of sociological constructions passed down from generation to generation. This social construction then forms gender roles which eventually become a hereditary culture that is difficult to eradicate.

A Brief History of Patriarchy

It is thought that patriarchy emerged from the second millennium BC, in Babylon. In the book The Creation of Patriarchy , written by Gerda Lerner in 1986, it is explained that at that time there was a division of labor, in which women’s sexuality was fully controlled by men. The division of labor related to gender roles in the social construction that existed at that time.

Through this book, Gerda Lerner also explains that patriarchy is not only in the form of a single event, but also as a social system that is present in society. Patriarchy emerged in different parts of the world at different times.

Robert M Strozier, through his book entitled Foucault, Subjectivity and Identity: Historical Constructions of Subject and Self (2002) explains that male dominance over women was found in the Ancient Near East around 3100 BC (BC). These forms of domination include limitations on women’s reproductive capacities and exclusion from the process of historical representation or construction.

Before the 19th century, biological explanations of the roles between genders referred to patriarchal culture as a natural order. The designation of this natural order takes the biological allusion coined by Charles Darwin about evolution which he explained in his book entitled The Origin of Species in 1859. In his book, Darwin explained evolution through biological understanding which is now a scientific theory.

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A biologist named Alfred Russel Wallace also applied Darwin’s theory of biological understanding to the general public. The application of evolutionary principles to human development and social practice is known as social Darwinism. However, this was never explained directly by Darwin.

With the popularization of the idea of ​​human evolution, with what was previously explained as a natural order for the world, it turned into a biological order. The modern term that uses this biological concept is used to explain a social phenomenon called sociobiology.

Sociologists use genetics to explain human social life, including gender roles. According to the sociobiological point of view, patriarchy arises as a result of the biology attached to social conditions.

According to a book entitled The Inevitability of Patriarchy , which was published in 1973, Steven Goldberg explained that male domination is a human universal, as a result of a biological structure. This also advances the biological interpretation of male dominance.

One of the evolutionary sociobiological theories that explains patriarchal culture is the Bateman principle. Broadly speaking, the Bateman principle explains that patriarchal culture begins with the view that women, almost always invest more energy in producing offspring than men.

As a result, women end up being a resource that is often fought over by men. One of the most important female preferences in having a partner is which male controls more resources to be able to help himself and his future offspring. Thus, this causes men to be more competitive and successful in obtaining resources to compete with other men.

Why Does Patriarchal Culture Appear?

As previously explained, that patriarchal culture is something that is opposed by feminists. This is because patriarchal culture is considered to place women below men and only see women as objects. If it reaps a lot of rejection, how can patriarchal culture emerge? And even become a hereditary culture and thoughts that are difficult to eradicate?

In a book written by Lusia Palulungan, et al entitled Women, Patriarchal Society and Gender Equality, it is explained that in a cultural and social system, most of Indonesian society, women are perceived and placed only to function reproductively.

It is in this perception that women are considered to be only able to stay at home to continue offspring, raise children and do housework which are categorized as domestic work that can only be assigned or carried out by women.

Meanwhile, men are perceived and placed as having a productive function, as breadwinners in the public space who are considered to have full responsibility for the sustainability of the household. Because of this, the man as the breadwinner and the head of the household holds the status of the father in the family who often becomes the ruler in the family.

Patriarchal culture like this, does not only stop at home or within the family, but also becomes a culture that exists in society and the country. Patriarchal culture is socialized in society because it gains legitimacy from various aspects of life, be it the state or religion.

Not only does it close women’s participation in the public sphere, but it also causes various kinds of acts of discrimination and gender injustice to women.

Impact of Patriarchy on Women

The presence of patriarchal culture in society can cause gender inequality which according to Siswanto, this can give birth to subordination, marginalization, violence, stereotypes and double burdens. Here’s an explanation.

1. Marginalization

Marginalization is a process of marginalization caused by gender differences which can lead to poverty. There are various ways that can be used to marginalize a person or group, one of which is by using gender assumptions.

2. Subordination

Subordination is an assessment or assumption that a role performed by one type of gender is lower than another gender. The values ​​prevailing in society have distinguished and separated the gender roles of women and men. Women are considered to have responsibilities and have a role in domestic and reproductive affairs, while men have a role in production affairs and public affairs.

3. Stereotypes

Marking, labeling or stereotypes often have a negative nature in general and eventually give birth to injustice in society. Stereotypes are often used as a reason to justify an action taken by one group over another.

4. Violence

Violence means acts of violence, whether physical or non-physical, perpetrated by one gender or a family, community or state institution against another gender.

5. Double load

Double burden means that one gender receives more workload than the other gender.

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Because of the negative effects caused by patriarchal culture, many people, especially feminists, demand gender equality. Gender equality can be interpreted as a situation between men and women in terms of rights or laws and conditions or quality of life.

Gender justice can be reflected in conditions where women and men have the same rights, status and authority before the law, have equal and fair opportunities and opportunities to enjoy the fruits of development.


Gender Equality Indicator

Gender equality can be achieved through the implementation of development policies and strategies based on gender equality and justice. The realization of gender equality can be marked by the absence of discrimination between genders, so that both men and women can have access, opportunities to participate and have control over development and obtain equal and fair benefits from development.

Based on the Parameters of Gender Equality in the Formation of Legislation compiled by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, there are several indicators of gender equality, along with their explanations.

1. Access

Access is an opportunity and opportunity to obtain or use certain resources. Consider how to gain equal and fair access between men and women to the resources to be created.

2. Participation

Participation is the participation or participation of a person and group in activities and or in the decision-making process.

3. Control

Control is authority, mastery or power to make decisions. In this case, whether certain office holders as decision makers are dominated by certain genders or not.

4. Benefits

Finally, benefits are uses that can be enjoyed optimally. Decisions taken can provide fair and equal benefits for women and men.

Example of Patriarchal Culture

Patriarchal culture does not only occur in Western countries, but also occurs in Indonesia. In order to more clearly understand patriarchal culture, here are some examples of patriarchal culture.

1. In the household realm

Women are always required to be able to do various kinds of housework that are included in domestic work, from cleaning to preparing food. If a woman is unable to carry out these demands, then she can be ostracized by the people around her. However, this is different from men, in a patriarchal culture, men are not required to do household chores. So, when men do it, they tend to get compliments as if they are doing something extraordinary.

2. In the realm of work

A woman may not work in men’s jobs, such as being a pilot, an architect, which are currently dominated by men. So, sometimes there are still many who doubt the ability of women when they become pilots or other jobs that are dominated by men.

3. In the realm of politics

Women are still placed as the shadow of men in the political sphere. Since the beginning, a patriarchal society has assumed that men are stronger than women, be it in the family, society, personal or state life.

Patriarchal culture and social values, especially in Indonesia, require women not to participate in politics or government. The system and direction of government policies on women’s issues are considered to be increasingly gender responsive. However, the position of women remains vulnerable to various forms of political manipulation and is often used as a tool of legitimacy.

4. In the realm of personal life

Women continue to be encouraged to pay attention to their appearance in detail, starting from their skin, body shape, clothes they wear and more. Women also have to follow things that are agreed upon by society, such as women having to wear closed clothes, not being allowed to leave the house late at night and others with reasons to protect women.

However, patriarchal society actually puts aside something that is more important, namely education for women. There are still many groups in Indonesia who believe that higher education is only sufficient for men and not for women. Because it’s enough for women to just stay at home, do domestic work and have a good appearance.

On the other hand, while patriarchal society expects women to be able to take good care of themselves and their families, men who preen themselves, do their skin care and pay attention to fashion are seen as violating nature and receiving scorn.

As we know, patriarchy is a social and ideological system that can cause negative impacts in people’s lives. If Sinaumed’s is interested in knowing more about patriarchy, then Sinaumed’s can dig deeper by reading books on . As #FriendsWithoutLimits, sinaumedia always provides a variety of useful and original books so that Sinaumed’s has #MoreWithReading information.

Author: Khansa