The Continuing Cycle of Patriarchy

1237 Words Jun 21st, 2018 5 Pages
Before the beginning of the women's rights movements in the late 19th century patriarchy, or a society dominated by males, was the norm in America. Men used sex and marriage to objectify and suppress women in order to maintain a society controlled strictly by males. The foundation of patriarchy was rooted deeply in the marital roles of men and women, one dominant, and the other submissive. Sex and marriage served as a mechanisms to shape the images of men and women in society. The system of patriarchy fed into itself to keep it going generation after generation.
By rooting patriarchy in the family, patriarchal societies are able to maintain unchallenged, male dominance by embedding in people's minds that males are supposed to be in
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The slave owners' wives were made to feel fungible. Fungibility is a notion of objectification where “the objectifier treats the object as interchangeable . . . with objects of other types” (Nussbaum 257). When the slave owners conceived children with their slaves they objectified their wives and their slaves. As a result women in slave-based societies were subdued through demoralization.
When the women's rights movement started in the early 19th century, women began to speak out against patriarchy in America causing a shift towards a more egalitarian society. This change showed that patriarchy could only prevail in society as long as men and women both supported it. Patriarchy drew its support from women by encouraging them to internalize it in their self-images and attitudes which is demonstrated well in Susanna Rowson's Charlotte Temple and Hiram Mattison's Louisa Picquet, the Octoroon.
In Charlotte Temple women's thoughts on marriage show how their self-images have been influenced by society to support patriarchy, a system that represses them. When Rowson speaks of Charlotte leaving her friends and family to elope with Montraville she says Charlotte is going to “throw herself entirely on the protection of Montraville” (35-36). Then when she describes La Rue's ploy to obtain a better life in America she says La Rue plans “to put herself under the protection of no man till she [has] first secured a settlement” (51). Both Charlotte and La Rue, despite their
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