Heteropatriarchy (etymologically from heterosexual and patriarchy) is a socio-political system where (primarily) cisgender males and heterosexuals have authority over cisgender females and over other sexual orientations and gender identities. It is a term that emphasizes that discrimination exerted both upon women and LGBTQ people has the same sexist social principle.
Heteropatriarchy creates an environment of oppression and inequality for racial and sexual minority groups. Heteropatriarchy depends upon the perspective of gender roles, in which men are considered strong, able, and intelligent and females are depicted as weak, unable, and naive. The gender and sex identities created and protected by the projected status quo ensures the power of heterosexual man in a regime of compulsory heteropatriarchy.
The practice of legal (and social) culture of relegating gender to the realm of "women's issues" and sexual orientation to the realm of "sexual minorities' issues” is fundamental to a heteropatriarchal society. Heterosexual men are not only given primacy over other gender and sexual minorities, but are also encouraged and rewarded.
From the feminist point of view, the term patriarchy refers to the father as the power holder inside the family hierarchy, and therefore, women become subordinate to the power of men. With the emergence of queer theory around the 1980s and the 1990s and the questioning of the heteronormativity and the gender binary, this kind of domination is not only described in terms of sex or gender (the predominance of men over woman, or the masculine over the feminine) but also in terms of sexuality (the heteronormativity, or the heterosexuality above other sexual orientations and the cisgender over other identities). The term heteropatriarchy has evolved from the previous, less specific term 'patriarchy' to emphasize the formation of a man dominated society based upon the cultural processes of sexism/heterosexism.
Heteropatriarchy is a facet of popular feminist analysis used to explain modern social structure, which is based on a hierarchical system of interlocking forces of power and oppression. It is commonly understood in this context that men typically occupy the highest positions of power and women experience the bulk of social oppression. This organization is reinforced by the gender norms, which ascribes traits of femininity and masculinity to men and women. Heteropatriarchy is a system of socio-political dominance whereby cisgender heterosexual men are favoured and are routinely remunerated for presenting masculine traits. Conversely, women or people who display traits deemed feminine receive less societal privilege. Historically this has manifested in economic disadvantages such as unequal pay, or the inability for women to own land.
Since ancient times, heteropatriarchy has shaped the way how societies across the world have viewed masculinity and femininity. This societal system has had negative effects on societies, which have beat the test of time and are still apparent in modern days. Throughout Ancient China, it is shown by the example of emperors being male with dominant power. Women and people that showed feminine traits were objectified and oppressed. Women were seen as obedient housewives whose main purpose was to serve males. Due to this, women’s voice has been ignored and suppressed. Leading to a system that grew into a society denying women rights and that they were dehumanized.
Another cause that has led to heteropatriarchy is heteropaternalism, where it’s the premise where heteropatriarchy is established in a domestic arrangement. Meaning that the father of a house is the leader and center power of a family household, and is in charge of any social arrangements. Even though heteropatriarchy and heteropaternalism mainly defines the perspective of patriarchy that make up a mindset in people’s eye that male gender is seen as strong, facetious, and capable. While women in the other hand are perceived as lower class and weak.
This ideology has been promoted through colonization and spreading of Eurocentric culture, reaching hegemony around the world and removing other gender systems as well as other ways of understanding society, genders or eroticism.
In heteropatriarchal societies, it is commonly understood that men generally occupy the highest positions of power in society, causing women and non-binary people to experience the bulk of social oppression. This idea is reinforced by unclear definitions of "gender", "sex", and "sexual orientation" in a cultural and legal context, as well as by gender norms, which serve to set social expectations associated with masculinity and femininity.
One of the main foundations of heteropatriarchy is the normalization of the nuclear family as the only acceptable family unit, manifesting this societal system into modern day. This 'ideal' family structure strongly enforces the idea that men have power over women in regards to maintaining the wealth of the family by being the stereotypical ‘breadwinners.’ This system is also manifested through the gender wage gap in America, in which the average woman earns about 79 cents to a man’s dollar.
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