205: How patriarchy hurts us…all of us

I have to admit, I’m a bit scared to say it… The P-word… “Patriarchy.”(Phew! I did it!)I know some listeners find it hard to hear. I’ve spoken with more than one woman who has told me: “I sent your podcast to my husband but then he heard the word “Patriarchy” and it was all over. There’s some sadness there for me, for sure. Every time I talk about patriarchy I talk about how much it hurts me and those of us who identify as women – but I also talk about how much it hurts men as well. And that’s not just lip service: I truly believe that patriarchy has robbed men of a full emotional life. I was talking with a parent in the Parenting Membership recently who asked her husband if he ever felt truly seen and understood. He said ‘no,’ and ended the conversation. She cried as she told me: “I feel so sad for him that he doesn’t know that he could be seen and understood, so he doesn’t even realize he’s missing it.” We can know these things conceptually, and we can think that patriarchy kind of sucks, but maybe we think there’s not a lot we can do about it. After all, isn’t the man the one who really needs to change? Member Iris and I had had a conversation in the membership a couple of months before I was in Vancouver for the Parenting Beyond Power book tour, where she mentioned that she’d been thinking a lot about how patriarchy shows up in her life. We made plans to get together to record an episode while I was in town – and here it is! Iris and I discuss: The power and control that men held over women and girls as she grew up in the Philippines, including casting out female family members with out-of-wedlock pregnancies, while nothing happened to the men who got them pregnant (and lest we think this couldn't possibly happen where we live, men have very real power over women's pregnancies in the United States as well right now too...) How she sees herself catering to her husband’s needs - adjusting her daily schedule to his; eating what he wanted for dinner even if she preferred something different; perceiving that he expects her to do more than half of the household, even though neither of them works for income; Patriarchal messages that are being passed on to her daughter about the value of marriage, children, and meeting men’s needs. Even though she’s no longer in the Philippines, Iris still sees patriarchy in her relationship with her husband and daughter. She even sees how it hurts her husband, who is looked down upon in our culture because he doesn't present in a typically 'masculine' way. She shares the practices she’s using to pass on different messages to her daughter about a woman’s role in a family and in the world. But I don’t think we should only have these kinds of conversations with our daughters. We should also talk with our boys about their feelings, and encourage them to fully experience their pain, hurt, and joy, and teach them that it’s OK to care about other people and not be an island that feels no pain and never cries. Enjoy this beautiful conversation with Iris.

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Jen Lumanlan always thought infancy would be the hardest part of parenting. Now she has a toddler and finds a whole new set of tools are needed, there are hundreds of books to read, and academic research to uncover that would otherwise never see the light of day. Join her on her journey to get a Masters in Psychology focusing on Child Development, as she researches topics of interest to parents of toddlers and preschoolers from all angles, and suggests tools parents can use to help kids thrive - and make their own lives a bit easier in the process. Like Janet Lansbury's respectful approach to parenting? Appreciate the value of scientific research, but don't have time to read it all? Then you'll love Your Parenting Mojo. More information and references for each show are at www.YourParentingMojo.com. Subscribe there and get a free newsletter compiling relevant research on the weeks I don't publish a podcast episode!