Very often «Gender» is considered only as an analytical category, an approach to reflect on how (gendered) identities are constructed: socially and culturally created roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that society considers appropriate and desirable for men and for women. Masculinity(ies) and femininity(ies).
But «Gender» is also a political idea that addresses how power is distributed in society, focusing on the privileges and possibilities that some people have and some people do not have in society. Therefore, a pivotal objective in gender analysis and politics has been to inquire into the ways in which masculine power, privileges and dominance have been normalised in public and private spheres and how men have predominantly placed themselves and been placed in social hierarchy over women. Ladies and gentlemen, that is patriarchy: a domination system that accepts the fundamental ideas about the ‘nature’ and value of women, their limited roles and possibilities in society (based on the gender-sex system) and privileges men as the centre of all rationality and normality.
Patriarchy is this picture from LinkedIn suggesting to follow ‘people’ (and people being only men). Is the objectification of women, mainly but not only as sexual objects, denying women’s value as human beings.
Patriarchy is my plastic artist female friend explaining that she had chosen to use a male model in order to represent the Human being, the Universal (she definitely should read more Monique Wittig) .
Patriarchy is the State, defining maternity as much more important that paternity (in parental leave or in children’s custody), relegating women to their ‘reproductive’ role and men to their ‘productive’ one.
This is the ‘radicalism’ of feminism and gender analysis and politics, and what most of (white, middle-class, heterosexual, boddy-abled) men fear about it: by challenging the status quo it threatens the(ir) privileges.