What is the patriarchy?

As already said, I claim that the biggest problem of social interactions of Eurocentric/Western society – including most of its alternative subcultures – is the confusion of sex and love. I have also already described how this confusion can be resolved in practise by a precise use of differentiating language. Next I will look at the system which intentionally maintains, promotes and uses this confusion: the patriarchy.

Patriarchy is defined in Wikipedia as follows:

“Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and control of property. In the domain of the family, fathers (or father figures) hold authority over the women and children. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilinear, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage and descent is reckoned exclusively through the male line, sometimes to the point where significantly more distant male relatives take precedence over female relatives.”

I complement this definition with a bit of background information: The social roles of “woman” and “man” are instilled into all individuals who grow up in patriarchal societies from birth. Every role contains certain behavioural patterns concerning gender identity and sexual attraction. As children learn mainly by example and imitation, not only of their parents, but the entire environment of a child (relatives, neighbours, education system, the economy, advertisements of all kinds, consumer behaviour, popular culture, media, etc.) influences their social role. The behavioural patterns learnt emerge when their sexuality awakens – and unconsciously influence the thoughts, attitudes and activities of all adult individuals.

It is common that the respective social roles are confused with biological sexes – the claim is that there are not two social roles, but rather two absolute genders – woman and man. This way of thinking is a patriarchal construct called the gender binary which erases other genders, such as intersex people. In reality, the two social roles are not a biological or genetic constant, but only a set of behaviours which is forced onto the specific sexes by education:

  • Individuals with a vulva are raised in the social role “woman”: It’s a girl!
  • and individuals with a penis are raised in the social role “man”: It’s a boy!

This is why the majority of adults with a vulva will take the social role “woman” while most of the adults with a penis will act on the social role “man” most of the time. Minorities such as transgender individuals and non-binary genders equally participate in patriarchal role allocations in exactly the same way: They, too, were once raised in a certain role, and they will unconsciously take either the social role “woman” or “man”. Who, however, begins to notice these conditioned patterns can – unconsciously or intentionally – change their role independently of their gender.

As a consequence, all combinations of gender and social role are possible: Apart from women in the social role “woman” and men in the social role “man”, there are women in the social role “man” as well as men in the social role “woman”. Many transgender individuals experience a shift in their social role some time into transition, particularly when their social environment starts assuming the corrected gender (woman or man) and treats them in the associated social role (role “woman” or role “man”). Some, however, continue to assume the social role they were raised in, despite their transition to another gender.

Intersex individuals and non-binary genders either adopt the social role with which they grew up, or the social role pertaining to the binary gender to which they feel closer. Switching between social roles is also possible: While most adults unconsciously “prefer” one social role, some situations can trigger a temporary “switch”, causing the respective person – suddenly or gradually – to show behaviour that is typical for the other role.

Sexual orientation has nothing to do at all with the social role: Any lesbian woman can take up the social role of
„woman” in the same way as a heterosexual woman, only their erotic and romantic desires are addressed to different sexes. So, although rarely, a woman might adopt the social role „man” or a transgender man the social role „woman”, etc.

For all genders the patriarchy can be summed up by two simple denials:

  • Women do not want sex, only love.
  • Men do not want love, only sex.

That is the great patriarchal falsehood, which is packed into the social roles of „woman” and „man” in every patriarchal society (the Eurocentric and various others, also and specifically in Muslim society) as some truth of nature. This falsehood may, if it is formulated that bluntly, seem to be a well-known absurdity. Since it is, however, firmly embedded in most individuals’ unconscious mind, a lot of education will be necessary to remove this false and destructive idea.

How exactly does the patriarchal falsehood work?

Once activated, the patriarchal falsehood causes women to suppress their sexuality, since they are allegedly only
interested in love. Only during preparation or right in the middle of a romantic relationship are sexual impulses acted out. Any sexual attraction towards other people which only exists at the erotic level is rejected before oneself and others, in order to maintain the wrong idea that sex is exclusively wanted in combination with love. The erotic level, however, is the dedicated line to one’s own life energy. The suppression of this causes women to exhibit a certain social inertia when compared with men: On average women, more than men, tend to adapt to the values of others and maintain rigid and conservative systems; also, there are much fewer female artists than male ones.

Men manifest the patriarchal falsehood the other way around. They suppress their desire for empathy and love, in order to exhibit toxic masculinity with characteristics such as „indestructible, brave, emotionally distant, always ready sexually”, in order to fit into the social role „man”. They actively live the erotic level, but reject the romantic level before themselves and others in order to maintain their wrong picture of masculinity. As a consequence of the suppression of the romantic level, perceptions and activities related to topics that are not concerned with romantic relationships are also muted or missing completely. A typical example for that are men, who have suppressed their romantic level so much that they cannot even hug their best male friend in a way pertaining to the level friendship on the intimacy scale. The ability to feel and show empathy towards others suffers on all levels, from colleagues at work to going after or acting out a sexual interest.

A small reminder:

  • The romantic level includes the sexual level.
  • The sexual level, though, also exists independently without the romantic level.

For sex we need basic body hygiene, that everybody enjoys each other’s company, mutual consent and fairness towards one another. For a romantic relationship we need everything necessary for sex, plus being deeply acquainted with one another, mutual interests, trust, falling in love, and the desire to share as much as possible of one’s lives with one another. A romantic relationship thus has much more demanding prerequisites than casual sex. To find someone hot is rather simple in comparison to an honest attraction to the whole personality of a significant other that goes deep enough that falling in love and wishing for a romantic relationship becomes possible. Therefore the wish for activities at the romantic level occurs much more rarely than the wish for erotic activities – simply because, at the romantic level, much fewer individuals match than at the sexual level.

When the social roles of „woman” and „man” with their respective suppression mechanisms and wrong ideas encounter each other, their differences become obvious: Women seem to be more passive in the preparation of social contacts: Their wish for love, which may pass their internal censor unhindered, will simply find much fewer resonating individuals than their wish for sex, which is routinely repressed. Due to this suppression, individuals resonating on a sexual level are often not even noticed. Therefore, women have great difficulties to recognise individuals they are resonating with at a sexual level or, if such a resonance has managed to pass the unconscious censor, to take the initiative and get into contact with them. Sometimes, such a detection of an erotic wish takes a detour via the patriarchal falsehood: In this case, individuals resonating on the sexual level are falsely allocated as resonating at the romantic level (a „crush”).

Men, however, seem to have no problem to occupy and hold social spaces: Their wish for sex may pass their internal censor unhindered, their wish for love, however, is suppressed. They can constantly detect and address individuals resonating with them at a sexual level. The number of resonating people is – compared to the apparent selection of women – much higher, because the sexual level contains many more possible candidates than the romantic level. Men, however, due to their suppression of the romantic level, have difficulties to recognise people resonating at that level, or to communicate their interest in an empathic way. In this system, men have higher chances of success to realise their sexual wishes if they interact with their potential sex partners through romantic activities like kissing, caressing or cuddling, thereby activating the romantic level. Because for the social role „woman”, the romantic level must have been switched to „on” to unlock the erotic level.

Thus, on the highscore list of the patriarchal falsehood, individuals who have taken on the social role „woman”,
generally get the short end of the stick: As a consequence, if a woman agrees to a sexual interaction, the man at least gets the fulfilment of his wish for sex. The woman gets neither one nor the other, since her focus lies on the fulfilment of her emotional wishes at the romantic level, which was never on the table, due to the “empty” activities of the man.

If we take a step back, however, both social roles lose:

  • Because of course, women desire love and sex.
  • And of course men desire sex and love.

In reality, both have wishes for a combined romantic and sexual level (= falling in love/romantic relationship), and for a purely erotic level (= casual sex). Played like this, in the end nobody gets what they wanted. And so the patriarchal falsehood chronifies itself.

The chronification of the patriarchal falsehood – part 1/2: In the mainstream or: Why do women fancy assholes?

In the heteronormative mainstream, many men are of the opinion that most women would fancy assholes. Unfortunately, they are correct; and the reason is the patriarchal falsehood of the role “woman”.

The patriarchal falsehood claims:

  • Women do not want sex, only love.
  • Men do not want love, only sex.

When the two social roles meet, there is a man who directly addresses his desire for sex to a woman – and a woman who angrily rejects, as sex should only happen at a romantic level – and that is not part of the package. That sets the following chain reaction into motion: Any initially honest communication between the sexes is cut off. In its place communication fills up with powergames, secondary motivations and mutual manipulation attempts – by both men and women.

In order to satisfy their wishes for sex, most men in this situation, when they have understood the dynamics of these interactions, intentionally start to deceive women by mimicking a romantic interest in order to arrive at a sexual encounter. Thereby he procures an advantage among all prospective men at the sexual level: Now his manipulation one-ups all men who honestly communicate their interest in a purely sexual level, since the desired woman will only respond sexually to those men who (seem to!) offer her the romantic level. Since the social role “man”, due to its suppression of the romantic level, mutes the ability to show empathy and respect towards other human beings, the deceptive trick to exhibit an artificial romantic level comes more easily to men who do not question the patriarchal construct of the social role “man” and thus their part of the patriarchal falsehood. Because, the less strong authentic impulses of their own romantic level disturb their deceptive display, the better for its success.

Since women repress their own sexual impulses, while men act them out, from the point of view of a woman the male world looks like an endless queue of sexual interessents: It seems that whenever one of them is told off, the next prospects are already waiting. This can easily be seen in any online forum, where women are firmly bombarded by messages from men, while they themselves hardly ever take the initiative to actively write to men. If women would not suppress their sexual desires, but admit them and, as a consequence, show initiative at the erotic level themselves, the number and frequency of interessents would be approximately the same for all sexes.

Any man who has learnt how to invest all his energy into the deceptive display of an artificial romantic level in order to arrive at sexual encounters therefore stands out from this almost endless queue of interessents. The trick is to fake the romantic level so perfectly that, compared with interessents who authentically show their whole personality with all of its attendant flaws, only an artificial person can be seen instead, apparently without any flaws and marketing himself to be “Prince Charming”. And that is precisely the definition of an asshole. Interestingly, the mask of such a “Prince Charming” is not a carefully enacted new personality, it is even the complete absence of one – basically an empty canvas, on which a woman projects and then mistakenly believes to see the possible fulfilment of the desires she craves most: An empathic, respectful man who will fulfill her romantic desire, and, simultanously, a wild, interesting man who will seduce and satisfy her – “At last, a truly interesting man!”

Against the artificial personality of “Prince Charming” not only honest interessents at the sexual level, even honest men interested in an actual romantic relationship compare unfavourably, at least at first view, because they exhibit, like all real people, all kinds of flaws, while “Prince Charming” has worked on his talent as an actor to show a slick and polished surface without blemish. That dynamic creates the impression that women would fancy and even favor assholes, sexually and even amorously: These are much “better” at getting into sexual encounters and even romantic relationships with women than men who communicate honestly.

Now the chain reaction accelerates exponentially: As more and more men who understand this dynamic resignate and assume that only assholes have success with women, many of them learn to behave like assholes in order to cheat their way into sexual encounters.

Why do I call people in the social role “man” who exhibit such behaviour “an asshole”? That is because we will always find one, behind the slick and polished mask of “Prince Charming”. Beneath the mask there is a man who has been so frustrated by the constant refusal of his honest attempts at communication at the sexual or the romantic level, that he now tries to realise his sexual wishes with a due portion of misogyny and a deeply-felt “give it up already, you slut”. When the asshole dons his “Prince Charming”- mask, we see a man who seems to promise romantic and sexual fulfilment. In reality, however, he is simply faking the exact words and activities which the addressed woman wanted to hear. After consenting to a sexual act by the woman who has been the target of this whole ruse, she will not get what she wanted of course. She does not even get an inkling of fulfilment at the romantic level (which was, from the beginning onwards, never included). In addition, there will usually also be no fulfilment at the sexual level – because no asshole cares to give anything meaningful to a targeted woman, or to waste a lot of empathy on her erotic satisfaction. The asshole actually despises the seduced woman – representative for all women who rejected or did not even notice him in former interactions, when he still attempted honest communication – because an (other) asshole outshone him. People in the social role “woman”, who fall for these asshole tactics of people in the social role “man”, assemble lots of negative emotional and sexual experiences – and suppress their own sexual wishes even more afterwards, since their realisation always ends badly. That drives off further men who are attempting to communicate honestly, who become the next assholes, who manipulate further women, etc. etc.

And thus we have arrived at the emergence of Rape Culture.

The chronification of the patriarchal falsehood – part 2/2: In the queer community or: The patriarchy is dead. Long live the patriarchy!

Globally, various alternative scenes, for example parts of the political left or the queer community, like to claim that they successfully fight the patriarchy within their communities. While a few promising concepts actually exist that are at least weakening some patriarchal introjects, I have to add that the idea that the patriarchy is held at bay within any of these subcultures is only wishful thinking. The social roles of “woman” and “man” are exactly the same as in the heteronormative mainstream. One’s sexual orientation also has nothing to do with the social role, at all: A lesbian woman can assume the exact same social role of “woman” as a straight woman; only the erotic and romantic wishes are addressed to a different sex.

In the queer community, the social role “woman” is usually taken by lesbian (= homoromantic) or biromantic women. Bi-transgender men, lesbian transgender women or panromantic individuals of a non-binary gender can all adopt the exact same social role “woman”, too. In the social role “woman”, all these people suppress their erotic desires, as sex is only permitted in combination with the romantic level. The sexual level, however, is a direct connection to one’s own life-force. The suppression of these erotic impulses therefore produces LGBT spaces which are frequented by many passive women without a lot of meaningful social interaction. A handful of couples who satisfy their erotic desires – at least amongst themselves – make up exceptions to the rule, due to them the sexual level and thus, life-force and creativity, is not entirely gone from such spaces. The result is: The women usually also don’t have casual sex with each other, just like straight women with men in the heteronormative mainstream. As a consequence, a typical subconscious behaviour pattern has evolved in most of the lesbian communities of the Eurocentric/Western society: Since the social role “woman” permits having sex only in combination with a crush or romantic relationship – and with two women, this happens on both sides! – secondarily motivated lesbian crushes are so common among women and individuals of a non-binary gender in the queer community that the amount and frequency of short-term romantic relationships, serial monogamy and the following emotional drama has become a real-life cliché in lesbian communities. Moreover, people who are familiar with the trope and are using it for jokes are recognized as “part of the tribe”.

In the heteronormative mainstream, this absence of erotic seduction and interaction is usually filled by straight men in the social role “man”, which is, of course, missing in a lesbian/biromantic space. As a result, a few women shift into the social role “man”. A classic example are dykes or butches, who, compared to the rest of the lesbian community, initiate erotic contact in a very active way. Since these women have assumed the social role “man”, they suppress their own romantic level. That mutes their ability to empathise with their fellow women and their feelings which makes it easier to don the slick and polished mask of “Prince(ss) Charming”: By faking interest in the romantic level they “unlock” the suppression of sexual desires of their targets, which have usually assumed the social role “woman”, and thereby arrive at sexual encounters with them. Exactly like the male version, a female Prince(ss) Charming simply says what her target wants to hear. Often she does nothing at all, simply not negating any wishes directed at her. After a sexual encounter – which has been the goal of the whole ruse – her target will find out that she did not want to realise any of these wishes, but simply allowed events to take their course as long as she got an advantage out of that.

Certainly, not all dykes or butches use the social role “man” like that. But the tendency to behave in this way is much higher with dykes or butches than with femmes who usually assume the social role “woman”. In case of individuals whose attribution to “femme” or “butch” is difficult due to their ambiguous appearance and/or behaviour, the social roles that can be expected from them are much more difficult to predict.

If the assumption of both social roles happens often enough to set an exponential social chain reaction into motion, forms of Rape Culture with abusive behaviours up to sexual assault will also happen in LGBT “safe” spaces.

In the gay community, however, a contrary picture emerges. Here, the social role “man” is usually taken by gay (= homoromantic) or biromantic men. Biromantic transgender men or panromantic individuals of a non-binary gender can also adopt the exact same social role “man”. These individuals will then experience their sexual desires without repression – their needs for empathy in general, and love at the romantic level, however, will be repressed before themselves and others. That creates a sexually open space in which reports about one-night-stands, seduction, allusions or jokes with genital content are standard components of small talk. If the majority of the group reaches a certain level of intoxication that behaviour is amplified even further. People living in romantic relationships, however, often react with distance and scepticism to this bold display of sexual openness and promiscuity. If they are in such a gay group as a couple, they will consciously hold their distance and be more focussed on themselves than on the community. Meanwhile, the singles bemoan that it is so difficult to find a suitable partner for a romantic relationship and to hold long-term romantic relationships stable. Including joint browsing of online dating sites and discussion of the respective (failed) past romantic relationship experiences. Those are direct consequences of the suppression of the romantic level: If, in a romantic relationship, both sides repress their romantic level, there are no empathic connections deep enough for a successful romantic relationship. Since empathic connections are not only needed to stabilize a romantic relationship, but also to hold a social group together, some gays or biromantic men shift towards the social role “woman”. They then exhibit very “womanlike” personalities and dismiss the sexual allusions of their fellow gays in a displeased way.

This triggers negative attention from certain individuals in the social role “man” who have stunted empathy and respect for their fellow men. They treat men with feminine appearance and/or behaviour as “killjoys”, and fail to recognise the sort of nonverbal signals which would have marked the line between seduction and transgression – or even intentionally ignore the boundary such signals would have communicated. In this way, forms of Rape Culture with abusive behaviours up to sexual assault will also happen in gay “safe” spaces.

In conclusion, the queer community – compared to the heteronormative mainstream – is not a place where the patriarchy is less at work; it is more akin to a particularly precise filter. This happens by the stronger segregation of genders than in the heteronormative mainstream and gives a good view of the application of the patriarchal falsehood: The lesbian community reinforces the behaviours of the social role “woman” ad absurdum, while the gay community does the same with the behaviours of the social role “man”.

An interesting case in point for that are the recommendations regarding the LGBT culture of Vienna of a Viennese tourism organisation. For lesbians and biromantic women, a list of cafés and clubbings is offered. Their typical activities are: Smalltalk, networking for the queer community, reading (if the café has books) and dancing at clubbings. For gays and biromantic men, however, there is a list of gay saunas. Their typical activities are: Swinging (= casual sex) and bathing in the nude. A gay man told me once: “If you are looking for a woman for casual sex in such a sauna, you will have to bring her along with you for that!”

Why are there no “lesbian saunas” where women and non-binary individuals with a pussy can enjoy casual sex with one another, exclusively? And no nice book cafés just for gays, where they can sit in peace, smalltalk, network, and read, exclusively? Exactly: Because the patriarchal falsehood is active. Women only want friendship and love and men want only sex – right?