How and Why Is Patriarchy the Most Significant Social Division

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How and Why is Patriarchy seen as the Most Significant Social Division? Patriarchy comes from the Latin term ‘pater’ meaning, literally, rule by father. Within feminism it is used as a concept to describe the power relations between men and women. For the feminist gender, like social class, race or religion is a significant social cleavage. For the radical it is the most deep and significant social division. The feminists have advanced an idea of ‘sex politics’ in a similar way to ‘class politics’ of socialists. However, as conventional politics has typically ignored gender division feminists have been forced to develop their own concepts to aid in their analysis – one of such crucial ‘ideas’ is that of Patriarchy. Some feminists limit the terms use to describing power relationships within the family, and use terms such as ‘male dominance’ to discuss the wider world gender relations. However, they do hold that the dominance of the father within the family is symbolic of the supremacy in all other institution. Many would argue the patriarchal family is crucial because it lies at the heart of a systematic process of male domination. Thus, it is used in the broader sense to mean ‘rule by men’ within the family and not. Millet talked of ‘patriarchal government’ and institution whereby ‘the half of the populace which if female is controlled by that half which is female’. It is thus crucial because it means ‘males shall dominate female, and elder male shall dominate younger’ It is thus a hierarchic society, characterised by both sexual and generational oppression. Though, one can argue that the effects of patriarchy have lessened in the UK thanks to divorce laws, education, the legalisation of abortion. However, the analysis is still crucial to parts of the developing world such as Africa where 80 million women are subject to female circumcision, bride murders in

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