Australia as a patriarchal society

2138 Words Jun 19th, 2002 9 Pages
For centuries, the role of women in society has been carefully defined by a patriarchal sociological system. Up until the 1960's it was considered a woman's national duty to reproduce and her primary function in life. To consciously limit the number of children that they had meant not only were women going against their natural function, but failing in that national duty (Currie & Adamson, 1977). Women have had to fight for the right to vote, which only occurred in Australia in 1902 (Currie & Adamson, 1977), and were denied the right to education, especially tertiary education. Even after this right was won, there were still fears being voiced about the bad effects on girls at school from bending over desks and being strained by thinking …show more content…
Ever since birth, children have been raised into societies view of their sex. Boys are taught to be aggressive, while girls are shown subservience, and passivity. Girls are taught how to act, how to be 'feminine' and told who their superiors are, that is the male population. It is through these prerequisites of behaviour that radical feminists quote the threat and the action of rape and physical violence as a means of maintaining this superior/inferior status of men and women.

According to some radical feminists, the heterosexual relationship, and the presumption of this as a 'norm' is a patriarchal system in itself. Adrienne Rich (1980) claimed that the assumption of a mystical/biological heterosexual inclination, a 'preference' or 'choice' which draws women towards men, obscures the covert socialisations and the overt forces which have channeled women into marriage and heterosexual romance (cf. Krieken et al, 2000). She claimed that this social arrangement emerges to enforce women's total emotional, erotic loyalty and subservience to men.

In regards to employment, women today can do paid work, but their work is usually menial, badly paid and lacking in status (Krieken et al, 2000). Kate Millet (1970) saw women as a reserve labour force who are made use of when they are needed (for example in war time) but are discarded when not required (Krieken et al,
Open Document