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Are Feminists Who Claim “Patriarchy” Just Projecting Their Daddy Issues Onto Men As A Class?

By Anna McGovern··  6 min read
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Did I hear you say “smash the patriarchy” or “break the glass ceiling”? This new, crazed wave of modernized feminism is domineering our society, with women now seeking power over men rather than equality with them.

The feminist movement is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes.” There was a time when women had legal and social restrictions imposed on them, limiting their access to society such as work opportunities, child custody, and the right to vote. Feminist campaigners of the 20th century, to their credit, worked tirelessly to revoke these restrictions and enable women to have access to these rights as men do. Feminism in the 21st century, however, has been taken too far.

Modern-day feminists are not only repelling themselves from this ideological standpoint but have rather spurred themselves in the reverse direction to no longer strive for equality between men and women. These feminists, instead, are fighting to place themselves on an idealized podium, raised higher than men. As political activist Phyllis Schlafly said, "The feminist movement is just not compatible with happiness. They are not for equality; they want to kill everything masculine." 

Feminists incorrectly operate under the assumption that without the legal or social restrictions imposed on women, women would actively pursue the same careers to the same level as men would do. Calling this “the vanilla assumption,” Susan Pinker in her 2008 book The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls and the Real Difference between the Sexes obliterates this skewed sentiment, demonstrating that because men and women are inherently biologically different, women on an evolutionary level are designed to hold different goals in life than what men would aim to achieve.

The pouring of outcries for women to “smash the patriarchy” and “break the glass ceiling” is precisely the issue with modern-day feminism. And I would argue that this wave of feminism infringing on society has its origins within the family home. 

The Connection between “Daddy Issues” and Feminism 

“Daddy issues” is a common phrase used to describe the negative behaviors in a daughter’s life that are shaped by the relationship she has with her absent and/or abusive father. Originating from Freud’s theory of the father complex, he utilizes this concept to analyze an individual who has unconscious impulses and associations resulting from the poor relationship they had with their father. 

As parents are the model for how we form our relationships, a dysfunctional relationship with your primary male role model (usually your father) may lead to you projecting that model onto all men. When the relationship between a father and a mother breaks down, the nurturing and protective environment that their children once knew is torn apart. Research has found that the children of divorced parents have significantly more substance-using friends and less use of coping and social skills than children whose parents had not divorced. If a child’s father divorced their mother, they may start to view all men as untrustworthy. With divorce rates going at over 50%, the children of those parents start to perceive divorce as being completely normal, subsequently dissolving their trust in men and the importance and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

A dysfunctional relationship with your primary male role model may lead to you projecting that model onto all men.

I think radical feminists have pathologized their poor relationship with their fathers so much that they push for the end of parenthood. Author of "The Feminist Bible," The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir argued that women will only be liberated from patriarchy when the nuclear family is abolished. But is the answer really to demonize all men and live a life without the joys of a loving family and the benefits of having a mother and father?

The United States is recorded to have the highest proportion of single-mother households. It’s been proven in many studies that fatherlessness is a primary indicator for a cyclical life of poor education outcomes, crime, poverty, mental illness, and addiction. In a study by the National Institutes of Health, single mothers were more likely to engage in psychologically controlling and rejecting parenting behaviors, which preempt a higher prevalence of adolescent externalizing disorders. These prove to be significant metrics to gauge why feminists, with an absent father, develop these “daddy issues” that they then project onto men in general.

Feminists with “Daddy Issues” Can’t Understand Women without Them

In a now-deleted tweet, Hailey Bieber wrote, “I was put on this earth to be a wifey,” for which she was subsequently hounded by Twitter’s worst raging feminists, disparaging her decision to get married to someone she loved. It’s hardly as if Hailey were proclaiming that she would subordinate herself to her husband Justin and submit to the patriarchal structures of society that feminists disparage so much. But to these feminists, you can’t be a “feminist” against the patriarchy if you’re also a wife.

If I can just say what everyone else is probably thinking – if feminism is about liberating women to have free choice and control over their own lives, why are feminists criticizing women for their choice to get married? It’s because they seem to expect every woman to have an identical experience to them.

Your individual experience is not an indicator for how all women should lead their lives.

An insightful quote from philosopher John Dewey succinctly conveys what these radical feminists with “daddy issues” could take a lesson from: “We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.” Although our personal experiences shape our perception of the world, that doesn’t mean it should be applied to every aspect of society or choice that others may choose to follow.

If your personal experience of your parents’ marriage or your father’s treatment of you leads you to believe that men and marriage are worthless, or even worse, harmful, and you apply this belief to the whole of society, then what do you do with the women who fundamentally disagree with you and whose experience is radically (and positively) different? Do you allow for nuance, or do you loudly shout that they’re wrong and cannot possibly be a feminist? What’s harder – acknowledging your personal experience is only one version and that your worldview might not be universally right, or completely shutting down someone else who seemingly challenges you? 

Closing Thoughts

How can society recover from the bashing of "the patriarchy" and giving up on marriage and the nuclear family? If hating the patriarchy derives from poor family experiences, then society can be healed with healthy family experiences and the people who grow up from them.

The women who are calling against the “patriarchy” are shouting into the wind. Your individual experience is not an indicator for how all women should lead their lives, nor is your man-hating philosophy an ideal to be applied to all (or any) women.

Although we’re not in control of the negative experiences that may happen to us, we are in control of how we choose to remedy them. Rather than calling “patriarchy” because of your own negative experiences, make a conscious effort to resolve the “daddy issues” you have. Surround yourself with healthy people in your life, and you will find true happiness in yourself and those around you. 

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