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Why Does Patriarchy Persist?
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Why Does Patriarchy Persist?

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The election of an unabashedly patriarchal man as US President was a shock for many--despite decades of activism on gender inequalities and equal rights, how could it come to this? What is it about patriarchy that seems to make it so resilient and resistant to change? Undoubtedly it endures in part because some people benefit from the unequal advantages it confers. But is ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published November 5th 2018 by Polity Press
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Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


"In asking why patriarchy persists, we are asking why a set of cultural rules and assumptions that are psychologically incoherent and harmful has such a powerful grip on the psyche? In essence, we are asking where is the resistance?"

The two authors put forward a different view: they argue that patriarchy persists because it serves a psychological function. It was nice to read something so
Gayle Noble
Patriarchy is one of the world's oldest societal structures and despite its polarizing divisions between men/women, black/white, rich/poor etc, it seems as entrenched as ever. In their examination as to why patriarchy seems to prevail against drives for equality, Gilligan and Snider have come to some interesting conclusions.

Boys/men learn early that to succeed in patriarchy, they have to distance themselves from their emotions and feelings and that girls/women will pick up the slack (they also
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It never ventured outside the effect of nurture on individuals and how our society holds up that nurture. It did stray, boringly, into personal anecdote.
May 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
As a somewhat late bloomer, I did not begin college until my forties, and initially chose Psychology as a major. Since I was a mother of 3 Developmental Psych was one of my first courses. I remember being in shock at first that children had very specific phases of brain growth that prevented them from understanding certain requests. Junior refusing to show empathy for his infant sister does not mean he's being mean; it simply places him in a certain brain-growth phase that prevents him from ...more
Brian Stout
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm surprised this book isn't higher-rated: to me it's one of the most powerful contributions to feminist literature since bell hooks A Will to Change.

Though it's a short 130 pages, weaving psychological research with personal anecdote, it's a slow read: the insights are so powerful that they require one to pause and take it in. I frequently found myself reading a passage, then thinking "wait, what?" Part of Gilligan and Snider's brilliance is how neatly they upend the entire discourse on
Much of the time while reading this book, I felt like the authors were talking about girls and women from the 1950s. Or they were talking about girls and women with martyr complexes, not the majority of girls and women today; at least not in the United States. Moreover, what does it all have to do with the last presidential election? Was that election really proof that so many voters did not want patriarchy to die?

Personally, I think not. I think that election was more proof of the failure to
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this.

Gilligan and Snider argue that patriarchy serves a psychological function: Both men's (culturally imposed) emotional detachment and women's (culturally imposed) self-abnegation protect them from loss... but only by protecting them from true connection, thus perpetuating a system of hierarchy and domination rather than one of connection and relatedness. The first part of the book fleshes out this idea, explaining how John Bowlby’s pathological responses to loss mirror the
Grandpa Jud
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Significant effects of patriarchy, according to Gilligan, are to silence the voices of women - they say what they think others want to hear or what men want to hear and not what they really think. Men are also damaged by patriarchy by being cut off from their feelings - they may be viewed as sissies if they cry or express emotions that women freely express. Men become materially oriented - interested in things more than people. In the book, Gilligan expresses her view as to why patriarchy, ...more
Morgan Schulman
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I was given an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

I feel like this was two books In one: a book about secondary gains that cause men and women to perpetuate the patriarchy; and a book about the 2016 election. Although these things are obviously connected, I didn’t feel the book pulled it together cohesively into one narrative. Having said that, the psychological insights into patriarchy were well worth reading, and I did feel like I got something new from the book, which I
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting and found I identified with a lot of what was revealed by the studies and interviews. On the other hand, it took me such a long time to read it. I found it difficult to understand and repeatedly felt I needed to read sections again.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Eh...Not sure I agree with their theory as to why patriarchy persists...
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Reveals clearly the pathological and psychological nature of patriarchy and the roadmap for moving away. Fascinating theory and ideas! A great read!
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Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, psychology
Feminism is one of the greatest liberation movements in human history. According to Carol Gilligan, one of the most influential feminist thinkers, whose work in the field of women’s moral and identity development has broken new ground in psychology, feminism is the movement to free democracy from patriarchy. It should be obvious when you think about it. Patriarchy is contradictory to democracy, like slavery is and like imperialism is.

The election of a patriarchal man as US President has
Dan Davis
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Carol Gilligan is Affiliated University Professor at New York University School of Law.
“Our ability to communicate our own feelings, and to pick up the feelings of others and thus to heal fractures in connection, threatens the structures of hierarchy. Feelings of empathy and tender compassion for another’s suffering or humanity make it difficult to maintain or justify inequality.” 0 likes
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