News & Politics

5 Things CNN Gets Wrong About the Patriarchy

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Recently CNN ran a piece that not only incorrectly defined the patriarchy, but it then made it responsible for things it’s not–particularly violent crime. Not only is the patriarchy not nearly as responsible for bad things as this author claims, but the patriarchy has done a lot of good, too.

1. The patriarchy isn’t violent, dominant, and controlling

Author Richard Edmond Vargas, who was sent to prison for ten years for robbery, writes:

Patriarchy is a social system that defines men as being inherently violent, dominant and controlling while rewarding them with power for being that way. It is no secret, especially these days, that we live in a patriarchal society. Why are we continually surprised when a man takes up arms and commits mass murder?

Men and women and all kinds of societies and governments can be violent and controlling, but that doesn’t mean that’s what the patriarchy is or that it caused it. So immediately Vargas is kind of confusing the word patriarchy with men or fathers. That’s not what it is exactly, but it often gets interchanged that way in modern critiques.

At best patriarchy is “a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line.” At worst, or at its most political rendering, patriarchy is “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.” This isn’t to say that some government systems, where men have been in power, haven’t been violent, domineering or controlling. People love power and power corrupts. This isn’t the patriarchy’s fault, but the result of a myriad of other contributing factors like personality, upbringing, character traits, role models, and more. Even still, this isn’t exactly how Vargas defines patriarchy, so it’s a little tough to argue with him on those grounds when the definitions aren’t the same. Even though he uses the word “patriarchy,” his piece seems to define it as “men” or “fathers.”

2. The patriarchy actually reduces crime

As unfortunate as some of Vargas’ own life choices and experiences have been, blaming crime and prison sentences on the patriarchy is like blaming Dairy Queen and McDonald’s for obesity. Not only is personal responsibility important, but correlation does not imply causation. While men do commit more violent crimes than women, a solid “system,” if you will, of patriarchal influence–and by this I mean healthy, responsible, mature males–would actually reduce crime in America. USA Today reported, “Studies show children with involved fathers, stepdads or father figures are less likely to get in trouble with the law, tend to do better in school and are more likely to hold a job.”

This is in part why conservatives have been frustrated to watch the feminist lobby overtake groups like the Boy Scouts of America. Groups with strong men at the helm that purposely foster the development of boys in a healthy, mature way are to be valued and protected, not mocked or pressured until they change their ways and let girls into the party. A strong healthy male-led organization helps boys turn into strong men, which ultimately helps society.

3. The patriarchy performs integral jobs others won’t or can’t do

There are more men than women in industries that make up the bedrock of this country’s technical, physical, political and legal infrastructure, all of which are integral to America’s success. Men dominate in vocations like accounting and finance, technology, culinary arts, law enforcement, emergency services, math-heavy fields like engineering, politics and construction. About 85 percent of our nation’s military personnel are male, particularly those in elite forces. This isn’t necessarily because women are excluded–they are from some units–but because few can fulfill the rigorous requirements.

While there are certainly some folks pushing for gender quotas in certain fields, I don’t see a lobby in full force for female firefighters or construction workers. Why is that? The patriarchy gladly does a full set of jobs in an essential handful of fields many women won’t, can’t, or, frankly, shouldn’t do. They not only perform this work, but many do it happily, willingly, and with ease, because it complements their innate biological wiring.

When our home was built in 2013, we would come watch the construction process slowly unfold. In the blazing heat of a humid Virginia summer, at least a dozen men at a time would be building our home, hammering, sweating, and working harder than I would ever like to outside in July. As Camille Paglia said, “If civilization were left in female hands, we’d all be living in grass huts.” Thank God–that’s certainly true for me.

4. Modern patriarchy includes women

As the United States basks in this third wave of uber feminism, it would take serious persuasive skills to convince me that women are largely excluded from society or government. Of course, there are more men than women in positions of power, but that’s often more due to specific choices rather than societal pressure from the patriarchy. So while the patriarchy was a bedrock of American society in the traditional sense of the term, it’s morphed over time to include women.

Many great men owe their success to women and indeed have paved the way for their successes. From actresses and inventors to business people and mothers, women have made inroads in society not, as feminists would say, despite the patriarchy, but often because men and women in their lives saw value and encouraged it.

5. Women and children need the patriarchy

Feminists have worked really hard to abolish the patriarchy and indeed, they have nearly succeeded. But what has this accomplished? There are more women working in society, in positions of power, and in politics, than ever before, yet these studies by economists show that since the 1970s these gains in women’s rights haven’t made women any happier. Why? Because women and children don’t inherently want to abolish manhood–they just didn’t want sociopathic jerks in their lives, among other more complicated things.

As I wrote a couple years ago:

As post-sexual-revolution women have been released to explore their own sexuality, they have discovered that the easy-to-please, passive-aggressive, “Mr. Nice Guy” offers devastating disappointment. Just consider the confused, bored sex people are navigating after campuses and California passed “affirmative consent” regulations. Or in other words, women are experiencing a kind of sexual frustration that surpasses that of their female predecessors. Who knew?

Once again, Camille Paglia pointed out how much women and children need the patriarchy. “Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”