I was reading a discussion elsewhere about what the patriarchy is. One poster thought it referred to the structures and institutions in society and the way they are used to enable men to dominate women e.g. legal system.
Another thought it was more than that and include the culture of our society.
I know feminists use the concept of the patriarchy a lot. But I am still not sure what is the common definition of the patriarchy? Or do different feminists have different views on what the patriarchy is?
I think there are differing views. My take on it is that patriarchy has evolved into what we see today, rather than being a conscious societal choice iyswim. Which is why I call it "patriarchy" (an idea/system endemic to society) rather than "the patriarchy" (which always makes me think of conspiracy theories).
Yes I think there are men who work to maintain it, but they don't acknowledge that it exists and that that's what they're doing.
So MRA's do that, but they have this fiction that women are equal now and have vastly loads more power than men because men sometimes want to fuck them and can't for one reason or another and therefore women are oppressing them by not being available to stick their dicks into and this represents a massive, enormous amount of power by women, equal to or greater than the weight of power and wealth and political decision-making exercised by men.
And most men who work to maintain it would simply not recognise that that's what they're doing and believe that they are "equalists" (which is like male supremacists but just not admitting that that's what you are). Like the ones who talk about women in the workplace as if we're there to serve men, but don't realise that this has a direct influence on the status of their female colleagues in that environment and would be really upset if they knew you thought they were sexist nobs because they think they're nice guys and believe in equality.
Patriarchy is an ideology that places men above women. It infiltrates and governs all areas of life - government, law, culture, family etc, to the point that you can say we in the West we live in patriarchal system. It would be simplistic to say men create and enforce patriarchy. Everyone contributes, mostly unconsciously, to maintaining the norms that produce patriarchy