Dear Mr. President

June 6, 2012
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Dear Mr. President:

Hello. My name is __________. I am __ years old, and a graduating senior at William G. Enloe GT/IB Center for the Humanities, Sciences, and the Arts located in Raleigh, North Carolina. I originally wrote this paper to reflect on my thoughts after reading, “The Will to Change: Male, Masculinity, and Love“, by bell hooks for my Conversations in Diversity, Psychology, and Sociology class. I soon realized after reading and discussing the assigned passage with my classmates the high degree of discrimination patriarchy presented. Thus, I would kindly like to address the concern I have about patriarchy and women’s rights in the United States of America.

Circa 3100 B.C.E., you would find that etymologically, the term “patriarchy”, came from the Greek word “patriarkhia”, took on the literally meaning of “rule of fathers.” Throughout history, the term has just slightly changed its meaning, replacing its recognized definition with the reference of autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modern times, it has taken the general meaning of a social system in which power is primarily held by man, and in which men dominate women.
Patriarchy, as mentioned in Wikipedia (although not an extremely reliable source), is a political-social system that persists in the theory in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and is dependent on female subordination. In addition, as mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary, patriarchy is defined as “a system of society or government, in which the father or eldest male is head of the family” and “in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”

To expand upon the aforementioned position, Gloria Jean Watkins, who adopted the pen name “bell hooks” wrote the novel, “The Will to Change: Male, Masculinity, and Love“, which reiterates this concept. In an excerpt from her novel, mentioned in chapter two, bell hooks explains how her parents, through attending church, were taught that G-d created man to regulate the world and everything it consisted of. G-d also created women to help men complete these tasks, and to listen and obey, while taking a subsidiary role in relation to man. This inhumane and theoretical, yet realistic lesson had gained persistence through various foundations such as school, clubhouses, and even sports arenas. Her parents, with the belief of patriarchy taking a strong role in their lives, was reinforced in their household, and often arbitrated how she was treated in comparison with her brother, who was a year older.
bell’s parents encouraged her brother to exhibit and act through violence, as it was the “manly” thing to do. When her brother was upset, her father would tell him not to show his feelings because it was not a speculated characteristic of masculinity. However, when bell was violent, her parents—especially her father, would scold her and say that it is not a woman’s job to show anger or violence, and encouraged her to show her feelings. Her parents thought this was the “natural” practice of life. This clearly justifies that patriarchy can be shown through psychological terrorism, abstained emotion, and/or violence. This instance is also a very practical method of patriarchy through parenting based off of a non-secular society.

Unlike bell hook’s father, the majority of men does not even realize or suspect the meaning of patriarchy; some don’t even know how to spell it. Patriarchy has become so unrecognizably realistic in today’s world through salaries, jobs, in the household, relationships, and even with teenagers. It is extremely difficult to justify the juxtaposition of how a man will treat a female in a relationship versus how he would act towards her in a relaxed friendship—being that he has manners.

To amplify my reasoning, I would like to reiterate a few statistics taken from an article published on, titled “Salary Stats: Women vs. Men.” On average, women ask for 30 percent less money than males. Men are four times more likely to negotiate a first salary, and are eight times more likely to negotiate their starting salary and benefits than women. In 2007, women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned 75 percent of their male counterpart’s salary. The average woman in her mid twenties, working full-time year round until she retires at age 65, will earn about $520,000 less than the average working male. At the current rate, women will not be receiving equal pay until the year 2050—that’s about a century after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, banning discrimination based on sex resulting in irregular pay for equal work.

From my point of view, patriarchy should not under any circumstances take place. Women should be receiving equal pay regardless of their sex, race, or ethnicity. The positions that women are almost expected to take in society are absurd and sometimes absolutely ridiculous. There is not one line in any text clearly stating that women are expected to care for their home, family, raise children and still maintain their positions in companies. In fact, women have the ability to comprehend information to a greater and more intellectual extent than men do, and are more mature. I think that a majority of women should be in male-dominated fields, where they can exploit their skills and experiences towards the area of perfection. Historically and traditionally, men have assumed certain positions such as becoming a doctor or lawyer, and that has stuck to the basis of society to modern times. Even today, a majority of men that live solely on tradition and custom have not made the effort to take it upon them to share these duties. By not recognizing this patriarchal act of expecting women to assume these positions, just adds to the political and society degradation of women’s rights and infinitively decreased the chances of an anti-patriarchal renditioned society.

Defining patriarchy not only explains the reasons for the treatment of women through history, but it also has the key to their success in the future. Patriarchy defines not only how the society of the United States functions, but it also defines how society functions internationally, and how it controls the female population. It is quite apparent that American culture and a majority of other nations world-wide are based on patriarchy. It may seem almost unperceivable, but this is the foundation of how society functions.
Since it is unknown as to when the patriarchy started, one cannot physically trace patriarchy to its starting point. The practice has politically and socially taken a toll on society from pre-historic times to its present existence. Women have led massive protests in the fight for women’s rights, and to live without male domination. The only means of approach for a woman who wants to defeat patriarchy will come from her determination and love to be in an independent and be identified outside the male perspective.
Thirty-six years ago, in July of 1964 during the presidency of women’s rights supporter John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Act Public Law 82-352 was passed, which forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing. Later, on February 6th of 2011, President Barzana of Kurdistan held a meeting with female rights activists and local women’s organizations representatives trying to make an effort to better the situation. Yet, while entering the 21th century, it seems that nothing in the United States has been done to improve the independent rights of women. My dream, Mr. President, is for a secular egalitarian renditioned society—and for the big picture, universally. My request, President Obama, is that you could take my stand in the protest of an anti-patriarchal nation, and bring it to the attention of the Oval Office.

Thank you.

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