Patriarchy woman role society views never ending debate

So before I begin, let me explain what Patriarchy means: A system of society or government in which men hold power and women are largely excluded from it — source – Google. Patriarchy woman role society here the language plays an essential part in the portrayal of Patriarchy, from literature to cinema to advertisements to our daily life; language plays a vital role in stereotyping men and women. Now we will know a thought-provoking essay on how patriarchy opposes women’s empowerment. Very often we hear things like “Don’t cry like a girl” or “behave like a lady,” these are some of the examples of stereotyping genders.

In our textbooks and stories, we often come across sentences like ‘Rama is studying, and Meera is cooking.’ These little expressions have made a mark so deep in our hearts that we have assumed women belong to the kitchen, and men belong outside. The power of language is such that whenever someone says the head of the household. The name of the father comes in mind because we are reading and seeing things like these. So we think it is reasonable to address a male member as the head. The language also plays an active role in building the superiority of men and making women an object of disgrace, like all the swear words are related to mothers, sisters, and daughters. Following is the explanation of the role of language and patriarchy in different mediums:-

About Movie

We always hear that “Cinema is a reflection of the society.” The reverse of this is very likely as well as cinema has a significant effect on the thinking of people, especially youth. The young boys take examples from cinema to woo a girl and expect similar behavior from girls failing to get that they do crime against girls, like stalking, teasing, and sometimes even rape. Cinema has shown that if you keep stalking a girl and keep annoying her, she will finally say yes to your requests, which are not correct in real life, but it is tough to make young boys understand this. Hindi cinema has mostly portrayed girls and women as weak and dependent; it is scarce when we see a strong female character.

Movie Chosen – English Vinglish

We took up this movie for two main reasons, firstly as this movie shows a picture of patriarchal society and appreciation of men’s work over that of women’s and secondly because this movie shows the superiority of one language over the other. English here is the dominating language or men’s language and Hindi being the suppressed language or women’s language. In this movie, a woman who is an entrepreneur and is quite capable of handling her business by herself. Her family members do not at all respect her. The reason behind this is her being a woman and her lack of knowledge of a superior language. Some of the iconic dialogues have been quoted from the movie to draw a picture –

“When a man cooks, it is art, when a woman cooks, it is her duty”- Shashi Godbole

“Shashi’s Mother in Law – In teenage all kids consider their parent’s shame

Shashi- Not Parents, just mother.”

The above dialogues show that how a women’s position in the family is always second grade. This movie also shows us that if a woman becomes strong and decides to achieve something, she can get respect from everyone around, but it is also sad to see that a woman has to work hard to get respect from her family members. In contrast, a man has to be the man to get all the honor.

About Advertisement

Betty Friedan quoted in her book The Feminine Mystique ‘Advertisers tried to encourage housewives to think of themselves as someone who needs appliances and products to take care of the house to show women as house makers’. This statement has proved its words as almost every household appliance advertisement shows a woman cooking or cleaning none of it has ever shown men participating in household work. There was this one advertisement by Haier in which a father talks about his daughter that how she used to enjoy her life as a young girl using these appliances and how these very same appliances will help her after her marriage.

Advertisement Type- Household Appliances

The father says at the end of the ad ‘Ek safar jismein saath hai bharose ka vishwas ka Haier saath umr bhar ka.’ In an advertisement for LG home appliances we see a little girl going to places like waterfalls and imagining a refrigerator, she walks around and sees something exciting and believes a Television a person cooking reminds her of Microwave and so on. Advertisements like these are the stereotyping woman to the role of household, and they are also leaving a mark on the young girl’s mind that working in the kitchen is their domain.

Havells Appliances have started a drive to shows that it’s not only women’s work; they used taglines in their ads that ‘I am a woman and not a kitchen appliance’ and ‘Havells Appliance respect women.’ Their ads show that one should not always expect a woman to do the household work.  It is a small step. We need to work on these lines to change the mentality of people. Media leaves a lasting effect on people, and ad makers must think about all aspects before making any advertisement.

About Cartoons

Japanese make Manga Comic strips, for all age groups, and it uses a vast genre like action-adventure, comedy, detective, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and fantasy, sexuality, suspense, etc. The portrayal of women in these comic strips is stereotyped. It shows women as white-skinned, large round eyes, long eyelashes, thin lips, long legs, small waistline, and a large bust. In these comic men are the main characters, and women are sidekicks or their romantic interests.

Some of the roles that are given to women in these strips are housewives, waitresses, nurses, etc. In one of these cartoons named The Dragon Slayer, which is a story of a boy who wants a female robot that will do anything for him. The boy finds one such robot in the dumpster. The female robot which he finds has long blonde hair and is wearing ribbons to cover just her essentials. Japan is also a dominating male society, and their cartoons show us a picture of their community. In their cartoons, they show that woman’s aim in life is to get married. So women are always obsessed over men in these comics. Men enjoy power over women, and thus a large number of manga comics show the robotic women who can be used by men in whichever form they like.

Portrayal of women

The description of women in other famous Japanese cartoons like Shin-chan and Doraemon is also not very pleasing. We hardly see any strong female characters in these cartoons in Sinchan. We know the kid torturing his mother all the time, and in Doremon, there is only one girl named Shizuka, who is the love interest of the main character. Male characters have always been the prime focus of Japanese cartoons. Patriarchy woman role society can be witnessed everywhere.

Japanese also make sexual manga comic strips in which women’s body parts are flashed to attract male readers; these kinds of manga strips are famous all over the world. They translate it into different languages. We can see that cartoons also show us a picture of our society. It has a significant influence on our children. They can play a big role in embedding gender stereotypes in children’s minds, so it is essential to keep watch of its content.

About Short Story

Short stories are a part of the school curriculum, and some stories leave a mark on our minds forever. The story discussed here is about a family in which we see an angry and annoyed wife and an alcoholic husband. The couple is continuously fighting as their lives have been worsened because of the habits of the husband. They show the woman as an irritated person who has lost all hopes of happiness in her life. It has made her bitter. The attitude of her husband makes her angrier. But, one day, she meets a young man who calls her Amma and treats her very gently. The gesture of this man touches her; she behaves very differently in his presence and remembers her good days. She even gives him the last good blanket she had to keep him safe from the cold weather.

Bitter woman in Story

In this story, the woman is angry because she is forced to live in this situation; she is dependent on her husband for money and livelihood, and her husband’s habits have left them penniless. Poverty and loss of her house have made her like this. She is also ill-treated by the husband, which makes conditions worse for her. This lady is longing for kind words and praises. When someone talks to her politely and treats her well. She becomes happy and remembers her good days when she uses to be satisfied and use to sing songs. Just a kind gesture by a young fellow melts her heart, and she gives him the last good thing she had.

This story is an example of how patriarchy has made women dependent on men. And how using lousy language and gestures can turn a good-hearted woman into an irritated person. The importance of communication and patriarchy in shaping one’s character can be very well seen in this story.

Some Incidences from own life

To sum up the topic, I would like to share some of the incidences which happened in my own life, which can show a picture of language and patriarchy. Whenever I feel the pain, I remember my mother and cry ‘O Mom.’ And whenever I am surprised or rejoiced, I shout ‘Baap re.’ It shows that we, in our own lives, also remember our mothers when we are in pain and fathers when we are happy and excited.

There are many such incidences when I felt that being a girl restricts me from doing things my brothers can do. Like this one time, I had to drop my cousins at their home, and it was 7 Pm. My mother stopped me and said, “You can’t go alone so late; take your brother with you.” When I said, “I am elder to my brother, and I can manage things on my own.” She told me, “don’t argue you are a girl, and it is not good for girls to be out late.”

Although I have been brought up in a house where there were fewer biases based on gender, still, the society and surroundings compel our parents to act protective of the girls. Patriarchy woman role society is so deeply rooted in our psyche that it is almost impossible to give a girl all she deserves.




Manglika Tripathi (INDIA)

Manglika Tripathi is a Postgraduate in Women Studies from the University of Lucknow. She has also done Post Graduate Diploma in Health and Hospital Management. And has an experience of around six years in the field of Public Health. She has worked on projects like the National Rural Health Mission, HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, and Rain Water Harvesting.
Manglika has given training on Health and Sanitation, Family planning counseling, and communication skills. She has attended various National seminars and conferences. Her particular areas of interest are Public Health, gender issues, and Women empowerment.
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