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What is patriarchy?

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During a recent interview with a Pakistani TV channel, organisers of the ‘Aurat March’ noted that they were marching against ‘patriarchy’. Many of them have since then received considerable backlash, including abuse on social media.

They seem to have hit a nerve.

Why this visceral reaction? What exactly did the marchers contest? What is patriarchy?

Patriarchy is the name given to a dynamic web of ideas, policies, laws, and social practices that bring male domination and privilege into effect. It manifests in constrained opportunities for women.

To understand patriarchy, we have to also understand that gender is not a given or a natural expression of the body. Instead, gender is how we, as a society, organise, categorise, and demarcate bodies. In doing so, we often place these bodies in a hierarchy.

This means that women are not naturally subordinate to men due to any inherent biological proclivities or divine design. Instead, women are........

© The Express Tribune