sexual politics – sociological 3

Patriarchy’s chief institution is the family.
It is both a mirror of and a connection with the larger society; a patriarchal unit within a patriarchal whole.
Mediating between the individual and the social structure, the family effects control and conformity where political and other authorities are insufficient.
As the fundamental instrument and the foundation unit of patriarchal society the family and its roles are prototypical.
Serving as an agent of the larger society, the family not only encourages its own members to adjust and conform, but acts as a unit in the government of the patriarchal state which rules its citizens through its family heads.
Even in patriarchal societies where they are granted legal citizenship, women tend to be ruled through the family alone and have little or no formal relation to the state.

As co-operation between the family and the larger society is essential, else both would fall apart, the fate of three patriarchal institutions, the family, society, and the state are interrelated.
In most forms of patriarchy this has generally led to the granting of religious support in statements such as the Catholic precept that “the father is head of the family,” or Judaism’s delegation of quasi-priestly authority to the male parent.
Secular governments today also confirm this, as in census practices of designating the male as head of household, taxation, passports etc.
Female heads of household tend to be regarded as undesirable; the phenomenon is a trait of poverty or misfortune.

The Confucian prescription that the relationship between ruler and subject is parallel to that of father and children points to the essentially feudal character of the patriarchal family (and conversely, the familial character of feudalism) even in modern democracies.

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