How to Honor Women's History and Leave Patriarchy Behind

In the week in which we celebrate International Women's Equality Day (August 26), it is important to reflect on what brought us here. After all, why is women's history important?

They say that those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it, but instead of focusing on the oppression of the past — and women whose lives were restricted by patriarchal beliefs — how about we look at everything we've already achieved?

As we reflect on women's failures and triumphs, we also see how patriarchy and cultural expectations around femininity and masculinity continue to cause harm. It's not just about looking at the history of women — it's about looking at the history of humanity.

THE PATRIARCHY

We cannot understand our past if we eliminate the experience, perspective and influence of half the population. When we understand the story of women, their struggle and their success, we notice the effects of patriarchy, which continues to harm and restrict us.

Patriarchy is the rule or control of men over women in the family. This male domination can include fathers, husbands, bosses and male rulers in most social institutions, politics and the economy.

It is believed that patriarchal relations developed from the relationship between men and women with Nature. Women's relationship with Nature was productive, while men's was destructive. Tools such as the spear, bow and arrow, used by men, were merely used to kill; the women, in turn, used the digging stick to cultivate the land and harvest the plants.

With the emergence of patriarchy, the social status of women became subordinate to men: not even their bodies belonged to them, but rather to men, who exercised dominion over them. This means a gender division, in which women's abilities are underestimated, establishing a system of control that places more men than women in positions of power, something perfectly visible in the structures of the institutions that govern our lives.

According to German author Maria Mies, patriarchy allows us “to link our current struggles to a past and therefore can also give us hope that there will be a future”, because “if patriarchy had a specific beginning in history will also have an end.”

Leave patriarchal ideology behind

To leave patriarchy behind, we must question everything: the way we live, the way we do things, the language we use and what we value in society. By eliminating all problematic thoughts, opinions and behaviors from our mindset, the more successful the mission of abandoning the patriarchy that exists within all of us will be.

By allowing ourselves to be looked at as critically as we look at others, we may notice some of our own behaviors that also reflect internalized sexism and misogyny (both of which are tools of the patriarchy). Paying attention to these traits is necessary and paves the way for a new condition in the future.

Challenge gender roles

Gender roles have an important weight in the patriarchal configuration, codifying power dynamics and its rules. These rules, when disrespected, generate ostracism and various types of attacks.

Challenge gender roles, supporting all people who want to get out of the drawers to which they were forced to belong, and also respecting those who feel comfortable with traditional gender roles, as long as they do not comply with their violent aspect.

Focus on the essential

Although anger can fuel some movements and campaigns, it cannot be the center of all actions, nor should it be a consequence of this struggle, because, as such, it ends up becoming harmful and destructive. The important thing is to change mentalities and laws. To this end, the focus can never be on the negative feelings that inequality awakens.

Support the careers of women, transgender and non-binary people

In the capitalist world where we live, choosing to support the businesses and careers of women and trans and non-binary people solidifies our right to subsistence, something that contributes to the destruction of patriarchal ideology. These people struggle to find jobs and finance. We can and should support them, buying companies managed by them, helping their platforms grow and offering the type of assistance that is within our reach.

We must promote alternatives to existing power structures, boosting diverse communities, workplaces and social networks and empowering more egalitarian leadership.

Sources: Kool Kanya and Dawn

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