It’s a popular thing right now, as a woman, to hate the patriarchy.
It’s amusing I’m starting out with this thought when in fact, I don’t mean for this to be a political post whatsoever. I don’t want to go into trending topics, my feelings on controversial laws or leaders.
But this morning here at work during a lull, I found myself skimming through old blog posts, looking through pictures, and smiling at the faces of some key people in my life–my patriarchy as it is.
And how sad is it that that sentence I had to already edit this morning three or four times because I’m worried about public perception. How sad is it that it’s unpopular as a woman to say we value our dads, our husbands, our brothers, our male leaders and bosses and co-workers and friends. How depressing is it that we live in a day and age that it’s incredibly politically incorrect to state we have something to learn from an authoritative male in our lives–something to gain from them.
But tomorrow is Father’s Day and I will say it first. I love my patriarchy. I look up to them. I need them. And frankly–I think you need yours too.
Anyone who REALLY knows me would call me a true feminist. I live and breathe the role. I’m a step mother of one, a biological mother of another, and I am pregnant with a third. But to add to that, I’m also the director at a major entertainment venue here just north of Seattle. I work long hours, I manage a staff, and I make pretty cutting and expensive decisions on a daily basis, all while digging into chocolate cream pie at noon because of preggo cravings.
To add to THAT even, I manage my own photography business that I conduct after work hours and on the weekends. Sometimes I manage both roles at once, and both hands are doing something else.
To add to that, I’m a wife. A wife to my best friend in the world who I try to serve in my own ways on a daily basis.
I believe in a woman’s power, strength, ability, and fortitude. I believe in a woman holding a degree and a baby at the same time. I’m a huge fan of women executives and CEO’s and also a huge fan of moms and caregivers and nurtures. And I believe without a doubt that we can also do both if we so choose.
But here’s the caveat that so many women don’t realize–we can be all these things and believe all these things, and still love and need and take wisdom from “patriarchy”.
That word has gleaned a different definition in this day and age. It’s changed to “supremacy” and “a system in which men hold the power”. But I can assure you Patriarchy has not always held that connotation or that definition.
Patriarchy used to mean the protectors, the defenders, the ones to fight for their women, love their children, and make decisions that would better the families, homes, and societies in which they lived. Patriarchy used to consist of the soldiers, the leaders, the workers, the fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, and ancestors that make up our family line. It is OUR male lineage, even as women. They helped society grow and frankly, survive.
But now the very definition of patriarchy, or manhood, has been skewed.
On this Father’s Day I want to honor my own patriarchy.
I want to shout out about my father, who died when I was 24, who led a simple life with a simple truck and a simple job that continued to feed us, clothe us, get us through school, and take us to Disneyland and camping trips and times at the river, barefooted and sun kissed. He was a man who believed in being the head of his household so my mom could stay home and as he would say “Be the true head of the house” while she raised kids and beat dusty rugs and yelled at us to come in for dinner when the streetlamps would click on in the dusk. I want to shout out about my patriarch who never complained about his extra hours or the holes in his socks or the fact that the floor in his old Toyota was totally missing, just like Fred Flintstone. We didn’t have a ton, but we had parents who loved us. We had a father who ruled our childhoods with discipline, patience, and a whole lot of kindness. He wasn’t overly affectionate. He wasn’t a cuddler or a kisser or a hand-holder. But he was a smiler, a winker, the first one to clap at our plays and the last one to leave the conversation when we were in tears over a boy or a bad grade.
He was present.
And he ruled my childhood like any good patriarch would.
On this Father’s Day I want to shout out about the head of my life NOW. My husband. Unlike my childhood, I didn’t choose to stay home and my husband and I are equal partners in sustaining us all financially. But I still see remnants of what my dad did. I still see the determination of my husband to make my life as easy as possible. I still see him bend over backwards to make sure that after a long day, he can make a hot meal for me (he’s an excellent chef) or rub my back or provide whatever comfort I need. With one word he can snap the kids out of their naughtiness and my son tends to follow him everywhere and pines after his dad like Simba with Mufasa. Even with our very equal roles I find myself leaning on him for strength, for advice, and for stability. I find myself asking him his opinion and caring deeply what he thinks about me.
He rules my heart like any good patriarch would.
I’m blessed to have a daughter that can see what good male figures look and act like and treat their women like. I’m blessed she’ll see a man put his wife first, just like she should find later on. And I’m also blessed to have two sons who, I hope with all my heart, will become just like their dad. *With maybe a touch of my sass*
Patriarchy is NOT a negative thing. Manhood is not shameful. Fatherhood is not below motherhood (so PLEASE stop with the “No uterus, no opinion” nonsense!)
Husbands are not lesser than their wives. Boys are not worth less than girls. Men are not scarier, or more aggressive, or more unsafe, or more unmanageable, or more second-rate than women. Men are not all rapists, perverts, molesters, harassers, unfair rulers, controllers, or diabolical schemers.
This doesn’t say bad people don’t exist. There are human beings (not just men) who are simply awful, who are predators, who destroy lives. This doesn’t discount the women who are fearful or distrustful because of a man who has hurt them. I can’t even imagine that kind of burden.
But this message is to say that we can’t allow those terrible human beings to shade, discolor, and literally redefine manhood.
There are men who are kind. Hard working. Loving. Self-sacrificing. And good.
There are men we can look up to as women, work alongside, and learn from. I can’t count how many bosses, teachers, uncles, grandpas, friends, and leaders have passed through my life at one time or another and have completely changed me, taught me, and handed me something that I use every day.
I’m a feminist. I’m strong. I’m an executive. I’m a mother. I’m a picture of the 21st century woman that would put our ancestors from the 20’s in utter shock.
But I need my Dad, who still guides me with his wisdom and kindness, far after his death. I need my husband, who has traits I strive to inherit. I need a social system and a government with experienced and righteous men who also lead families and marriages and branches of industry I know nothing about, but rely on.
I couldn’t go without them.
Happy Father’s Day from this feminist, bull-headed, girl-power, baby toting, I’ll-try-to-do-it-all, woman. Happy Father’s Day from a woman deeply affected by the good men around her. Happy Father’s Day from a daughter who is strong and smart and capable (and sometimes a tad mouthy) because her dad helped push her to be nothing less that that.
Happy Father’s Day to the righteous, kind, good patriarchy in our lives.
I see you. And I need you too.