Patriarchy. It’s a word I have only really come to understand in the past decade.
That may seem surprising for someone who has researched women’s studies, diversity, gender, and feminine power so intently.
With a naiveté that still makes me curious, I worked inside the structures that define the very patriarchy itself – the all encompassing, collective, cultural father – systems designed by men, for men, and which still to this day are largely set up primarily for men to prosper in.
I was so ensconced inside of the patriarchy, I didn’t even know it existed.
As I strove to succeed by constantly and without fail impressing my boss, a role represented by a series of men parading through my work life with the keys to unlock what I perceived to be my very life success, I followed the rules laid down by hundreds, thousands, of years of oppression.
And I didn’t even know that it was a massive part of the problem.
Why I never felt like I really fitted in, why I always felt on edge, and why no matter the success, recognition or acclaim did I never feel like I had a secure place in this world I was striving to desperately look like I belonged in.
How is it possible that I, and so many women that I speak with to this day, aren’t aware that this is our reality?
Because this is the world we have grown up in.
We looked to our mothers for guidance on how to be strong, independent women, only to find that they too were daughters of the same patriarchy, many asleep to the conditioning and conformity that has ruled their lives.
Different times, but the same culture and same system.
The veil is finally being lifted. Many lifetimes of veils.
And it is shifting.
But we must open our eyes.
We must question everything.
Our individual and collective ideas about womanhood.
Who we are in the world
Our very place in the world.
We must ask questions.
Of the systems out there.
And the systems within us that keep us enslaved.