The Prob­lem with Pa­tri­archy

Augustman - - Prelude - WORDS DAR­REN HO PHOTO GETTY IM­AGES

THIS MONTH marks In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day (8 March) and re­minds us that no mat­ter how neg­li­gi­ble the mea­sur­able gap be­tween men and women in life be­comes, there re­mains a strong so­cial gap in lan­guage when it comes to gen­der.

De­spite our at­tempts to erad­i­cate this dif­fer­ence, so­cial stan­dards are far more dif­fi­cult to frac­ture and re­build. Take dat­ing. Men who date a lot are con­sid­ered ap­peal­ing; women be­come less at­trac­tive with ev­ery ad­di­tional ro­man­tic in­ter­est. Men in power are au­thor­i­ta­tive when they make a de­ci­sion; women are con­strued as mi­cro­man­age­rial or bossy.

While we are now busy try­ing to mas­culinise some terms com­monly as­so­ci­ated with the fairer sex, they don’t seem to have the same prob­lems adopt­ing our terms. Could it be chau­vin­ism that is nasty, rather than women?

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