Patriarchy : A Patriarchal Society

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Nathaniel Mann HIST 105-650RL Exam 1 Dr. George 07-30-15 Question 1: Patriarchy Throughout the course of human history, societies worldwide tend to follow a specific pattern of male domination in politics, economics, and culture. From the earliest city-states of Mesopotamia to the massive empires of China and Rome, women were forced to take a limited role in society. This systematic oppression of women is indicative of a patriarchal society, in which “women have been subordinate to men in the family and in society generally” (Ways of the World 59). Though these civilizations share the characteristic of male supremacy, each had different practices governing interactions between the genders. Each society had a unique idea of exactly what rights women were afforded and how the patriarchy was enforced. The Mesopotamian, Chinese, and Greek civilizations were undeniably patriarchal, but how the dominance of men was expressed varied between each society. Before examining particular societies, the general notions of patriarchy must be established. Generally, women were considered inferior to men, but each facet of society provides a distinctive insight into gender roles. A fundamental difference between the two genders was that the responsibility of a man was to be a member of the public, whereas the responsibility of a woman was to be in the home. Social norms defined men as “rulers, warriors, scholars, and heads of households” (Ways of the World 59). Even if a man had little
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