The patriarchal society in which we were born formed the way of thinking and the behavioral model that has existed for thousands of years. In any society, religion and social institution it is recognized that the man is the head of the family, and the woman and the children obey him. Primitive societies, also patriarchal, did not leave us enough material about their culture. But over time, patriarchal principles were established as the only possible way of building a family. The patriarchal society gives the head of the family, the man, the head of the tribe or the clan, practically all the powers and leaves him the last word in deciding the fate of the wife and children.
In ancient Greek Sparta, the father left the new-born child on the roof of the house, and if the baby was alive the next day, he admitted to being a member of the Spartan society. Greeks were never in the favor of giving powers to women, even the renowned Greek scholar Aristotle’s works depicted women as morally, mentally, and physically inferior to men. Women were treated as the property of men and their role in society was just to reproduce and serve men in the household.
The English adopted the rule: “A man’s house is his fortress,” without even mentioning that for a woman a house can and should be a fortress. Moreover, in the great article of the well-known feminist Stuart Mila, “On the Mortgage of a Woman,” it tells about the rules adopted in the 18th century: the position of a married woman is even worse than that of a slave girl, at least she gets paid for her work and Has the right to flinch from his master’s sexual harassment. At the end of the 19th century, a law was adopted, known as the “law of the thumb”, according to which a man had no right to beat his wife with a stick whose thickness exceeds the thickness of his thumb. What a touching care for a woman! At about the same time, there was still the right to sell wives to the cattle market. True, there were few such cases, but still, they were and remained perfectly legal.
Until the end of the First World War, women in Western society were deprived of the right to vote in elections, and in some countries, such as Switzerland, such a woman’s right was received only in the late 70s of the 20th century. As you know, the best way to manage is to suppress the will and legitimize the statuses (slave status, alien status, betrothed status, aristocrat status, etc.). Through codes and norms, the dominant position of the man as the head of the clan and family, the executor of laws established by other men, authorized to create rules and norms of behavior and relations between the sexes, was established.
Many proverbs and sayings reflect the humiliated status of women in Indian society as well. There are many stories like Sati Pratha, child marriage, and female foeticide which depicted the way women are being treated in our country. To consolidate the dominant position of the man, women were deprived of the right to inherit, the right to dispose of their bodies, economic rights and even the right to remain with their children in the event of a family breakup. How much easier it was for a man to remove all the evils and grievances on his wife and family members than at some external object!
It is true that women are breaking the stereotype still things like marital rape, lack of decision making, differentiation in education facilities, and the biased living standard is prevailing. There is so much required to be done. A strong commitment and will power can only help to uplift the status of women in a society.