Essay: Patriarchal Consciousness
According to Lorde’s framework for redefining differences, he claims that people’s responses are dependent upon what he terms patriarchal consciousness.
“It conditions us to see human differences in simplistic opposition to each other: dominant/subordinate, good/bad, up/down, superior/inferior.” (Lorde 114)
Analogous to this argument, people handle these differences with mingled feelings of fear and often disintegrate or distort the meaning of differences to make them seem less intimidating. The group of people who appears to be different is then sidelined to a category where opinions are disregarded and individuals are looked at with intense skepticism.
Lorde believes that differences are not the dividing factors between people; it is how these differences are perceived and acknowledged.
Taking a trip down memory lane, one can acknowledge significant gender differences during the 1950s as far as women were concerned. The image of a working woman transformed into that of a petite, fragile domestic figure who took great pride in looking beautiful, cooking for her husband and raising her kids righteously. In fact the perfect woman was a fluid blend of sexuality, delicateness and naïveté and anything that diverged from this malleable image of that woman was considered scornful and reclusive. Working mothers became a symbol of selfish viciousness because a mother would rather choose to stay home and make living comfortable for her family rather than shed all inhibitions to achieve her ambitions. The emotional instability of her husband and children turned into a result of her negligence.
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