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Manifestations of Patriarchy in Me, Latin Woman


Lizandra Barbuto¹

March 2022


Keywords: patriarchy


   For some historians, human beings are the most successful species in the history of the planet as they have occupied all territories, created histories, technologies that sustain them and make new civilizations develop. We are an intriguing species, on the one hand it has the ability to be from the most generous and kind person, to the most monstrous, violent and destructive - like the one that spread patriarchy. This is the human being.

   The violent side is shown by history, for since approximately 3500 BC, it has been

“an endless catalog of wars to define borders, attacks on slaves or victims for sacrifices and invasions to annex new territories and increase the glory of the empire, yet, the external reasons that lead to war are not as significant as the internal need to conflict that human beings have, is their true reason” (TAYLOR, 2008).

   The peculiar and wonderful side of the human being is the ability to reflect, reconsider and become aware of the accomplishments to do things differently, to learn. Would it be possible, therefore, to change the pattern of destructive history to make a more egalitarian, valiant and caring civilization a reality for us to be more successful?

   We are currently in the midst of a war that could have disastrous consequences, one that will crush hopes that human beings can live in peace. Still, I am hopeful that we can – through our intellectual and emotional intelligence – change this pattern.

“Demon Males”


According to historical studies, a destructive milestone, a factor of social change, was gender inequality. We move from an egalitarian and peaceful way of life to another, hierarchical and destructive. Some patriarchal hypotheses justify the violence practiced by men as a justification for something natural: due to high levels of testosterone and low levels of serotonin.

Primatologist Jane Goodal brought up this hypothesis of the “demonic male”, in which she states that male primates, including humans, are genetically programmed for violence and murder. The theme is addressed in the book “Demon Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence”, from 1998, in which Richard Wrangham Dale Peterson examines the evolutionary factors that lead to human male violence (PETERSON, 1996).

This hypothesis falls apart when one observes that in nature, even among males, war is non-existent. Although there is some level of violence among some species of primates, the bellicosity to which humans can reach is characteristic of our species (TAYLOR, 2008).

Other hypotheses are pointed out by Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens (2018) : the most common, that men are physically stronger than women (which has not been proven); and that, due to the need for survival and because of motherhood, women began to submit and accept any conditions that the man stipulated. Over time, the genes that passed down to the next generations were for caring and submissive women. Lastly

“How is it that, in a species whose success depends largely on cooperation, the supposedly less collaborative individuals (males) control the supposedly more collaborative individuals (females)? To date, we do not have a satisfactory answer. Perhaps the most common assumptions are completely wrong. (…) What we do know, however, is that during the last century social gender roles have undergone an enormous revolution”. (TAYLOR, 2008)

   According to Ferguson, although bellicosity began more than 5,000 years ago, violence and inequality are recent in history compared to the date of the first sapiens. It started when the ancestors abandoned the simplicity and mobility of the hunter-gatherer style (FERGUSON, 1997).

   Until the 19th century, the average was two wars each year. Between 1740 and 1897, two hundred and thirty wars and revolutions took place in Europe, killing more than thirty million people. In the 19th and 20th centuries, with the advent of technology, wars were not only faster but also more deadly. These are just a few data on the human capacity for violence (which is practiced mainly among males) (TAYLOR, 2008). This is all seen by some scholars as a characteristic of humanity: war, male domination and social inequality.

Domestication: the evil of humanity


   Male domination appeared along with the domestication of human beings, which removed them from natural states such as hunters and gatherers, a period in which women played a very important role. They had the same freedoms and rights as men, and the society was more matrilineal, that is, the transmission of property took place from the mother's family.

Claudio Naranjo, says that domestication was evil for humanity, to the point that we no longer know where we are. This is because the whole perspective we have is of a domesticated place, of framing the norms and values of patriarchal power (NARANJO, 2005; 2010).

   From the year 4000 BC onwards, history has been one of chronic oppression of a privileged few over the massive majority. Would this be the dark side of the human mind that generates suffering at different levels over these millennia, classified as:


  • Social suffering: oppression and suffering that human beings inflict on each other;

  • Mental or psychological suffering: comes from within the human being. It is so common that its presence is not noticed. Being a habit, it is not noticed, but it is as violent as a war and, possibly, the cause of violent manifestations in society.

  • All of this generates a profound uneasiness that, because it has been so in context for thousands of years, it is not possible to confront the cause. There are so many symptoms of malaise that it is as if we were afraid of ourselves, “as if the mind was hiding something that cannot be faced” . (TAYLOR, 2008)


Do you make room for a different perspective?

   When I write these words, I speak of my experience, of my symptoms of suffering and discomfort. This encourages me to do what I do, to develop myself as a human being, a woman, and as a mother, a role through which I can transmit another possibility to my daughter, who, who knows, will do the same with our other generations.

   Throughout my life, I have been and continue to be an example of those who suffer the social ills of patriarchy. The main effect is related to my position as a brown Latino woman, who actively occupies space in the world through my own merits and efforts. When I speak of the patriarchy's attitudes towards me, I know it can be understood as victimization, but I will explain at the risk of misinterpretation.

   This is even a good reflection for those who have this (pre)judgment, as they are already closed to a perspective, a clear patriarchal symptom: closing off possibilities that show a different perspective.

   My sharing comes from the experience and awareness of understanding how deep patriarchy is in our social structure, with explicit aspects and many others that appear subtly, even being questioned. Patriarchy is there, it is rooted in human life. And because of my work and studies in the field of collaboration, in addition to a certain optimism that generates the energy to continue co-creating and believing that a better society is possible, this sometimes prevented me from seeing inequality in so-called (and not practiced) environments. ) egalitarian.

   It took me a while to realize this, as I believed that in collaborative environments I would be safe. It is also a challenge to accept reality when it is subtle, but it becomes impossible to veil a direct manifestation. In many groups, particularly in European cultures, my worth depended on having a white man by my side sharing responsibilities rather than my own work.

How is patriarchy manifested in this case? All my merits are judged as an enjoyment and use of the relationship, disregarding my experience and contributions. And this is just one of many types of experienced judgments.

   Another visible manifestation is that when everything goes well it is the white man's merit. But if something isn't good enough, that's on me, brown Latin woman. The same for merit: bestowed in a private way and, very subtly, almost imperceptibly, in the eyes of others.

   Particularly, considering the context of collaboration and the intention to create a better world, it seemed to me that there was no prejudiced behavior in such spaces or teams. But have. It's subtle, deep and no less painful.

   These reflections are not summed up in seeing the external patterns about me, but in looking inside and seeing these same symptoms. When it happens? When I overvalue the masculine at my side, especially in work relationships. There's something inside that says I can only be heard if there's a man by my side. I notice the subtle self-devaluation that generates insecurity, often giving credit to the masculine and ignoring mine.


   Working with men in diverse contexts, being a daughter, sister and wife, I recognize that it all comes from deep pain. For all of human history, men also suffer. They fail to connect with their own vulnerability, to live life as a human being who feels pain, who is vulnerable, who overcomes and learns. So maybe men can be human men to their full potential instead of invalidating and oppressing another person to feel safe.

   In no way, these reflections are to accuse the masculine as the cause of all the ills in the world. Men are contemporarily as victims as women, as they perpetuate a pattern that also manifests itself in the feminine. Many perpetuate patriarchal patterns when they play their children against their parents, do not allow male children to perform domestic tasks, as well as when they assume responsibilities that are their own.

   Following my experiences, it is clear to me that we are not free from prejudices just because we find ourselves in a collaborative context or because we are women. Going further, to be minimally coherent, it is crucial that we recognize these manifestations within us – since we are all part of the social structure in which prejudice is rooted, we are domesticated for it. I bring this reflection because I believe that the first step to transforming something is to recognize it, especially in yourself to start changing yourself.


¹Master in Science – GAIA University.



NARANJO, Claudio. Mudar a Educação para mudar o mundo. Ed. Esfera. São Paulo. 2005.


NARANJO, Claudio. O ego patriarcal e sua possível transformação. Ed. Esfera. São Paulo. 2010.


FERGUSON, R. Brian. Violence and war in Prehistory. Em Taylor, Steve. La caída. Ed. La Llave. Vitoria Gasteiz. 2008. 


HARARI, Yuval Noah. Uma breve história da humanidade Sapiens. L&PM Pocket. Rio de Janeiro. 2018.


PETERSON, Wrangham. D. Demoniac Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence. Londres: Bloomsbury. 1996.


TAYLOR, Steve. La caída. Ed. La Llave. Vitoria Gasteiz. 2008. 

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