The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

Confronting the patriarchy

May 12, 2021

Olsher said the patriarchy is undoubtedly responsible for harassment incidents against women as well as reflects the “staggeringly high amount of people who have experienced it.”

“The disgusting statistics we see with the frequency of sexual assault attacks is an archaic leftover branch of intense patriarchy and of a time where no woman was considered a living, breathing creature,” Olsher said.

Eichenberger said it is a “no-brainer” that we are living in a patriarchal society, which she said is a tremendous contributor to the normalization of sexual harassment. 

“It’s a taught behavior, and men feel like it’s okay because they’ve never been taught that women aren’t objects,” Eichenberger said. “That’s the fault of parenting, the education system and the people that they associate themselves with.” 

Mankarious said she is disgusted the patriarchy persists and has not yet been dismantled.

“At this point in history, I’m just so done with it,” Mankarious said. “Just get over it already. Act like a responsible human being and don’t harm other people. There have been so many times when I’ve been harassed and I just think to myself, ‘Do you not have a mother?’ ‘Do you not have a woman in your life that you respect?’”

Eichenberger said toxic masculinity is another component to the origin of sexual harassment.

“Part of the patriarchy is that men don’t feel like they can be vulnerable and they don’t feel like they can be emotional, so there is a lot of pent-up anger,” Eichenberger said. “Men need to physically overpower someone to make themselves feel good, which results in violence against women and really festers in our society.”

The disgusting statistics we see with the frequency of sexual assault attacks is an archaic leftover branch of intense patriarchy and of a time where no woman was considered a living, breathing creature.”

— Max Olsher ('21)

Similarly, Mankarious said many boys are reluctant to admit their wrongdoings and actively work to resolve the issue because they do not want to be perceived as inferior. 

“Sometimes there’s this really toxic environment where boys think that if other boys care about these issues, then they are emasculated in some way,” Mankarious said. “That is just so ridiculous to me because I have so much more respect for people that are willing to come out and say, ‘Yeah, I have made these mistakes. I do actually have these problems.’ Yet, it’s much easier for boys to just say, ‘Oh, that’s not me. That’s everybody else.’”

Olsher said the resulting societal culture is a principal contributor to the persistence of sexual harassment.

“It stems from this idea of male invincibility and this idea of ‘locker room talk’ and how it’s acceptable to talk down and talk horribly about women, about their bodies, about what you want to do to their bodies,” Olsher said.

Jaworski said sexual harassment is a man’s way of exerting power over women. 

“I don’t necessarily think that men expect that they’re going to get a date with that kind of behavior,” Jaworski said. “It’s about the fact that they’re able to minimize women and view them as objects and therefore have power over them.”

Doherty said misogyny and patriarchal tendencies are a “spiral that never ends,” and as a consequence, men feel entitled to women.

“It comes down to men just feeling like they deserve something when they absolutely do not,” Doherty said. “They don’t even understand when no means no. It is also the way our society is built and how boys are raised to think that they are deserving of a ‘piece of a**’ whenever they want it.”

Grace Hamilton

In addition, Yamani said boys “don’t really want to take no for an answer,” and when they receive that response, it “makes them want it even more.”

Yurin said sexual harassment endures due to the fact that all members of society are not yet aligned with modern-day expectations and social justice headway over the decades.

“For a long time, as in human history, it was considered that women were the vulnerable ones, the ones that are, you know, set out to fulfill [men’s] sexual desires,” Yurin said.

Anderson said sexual harassment is a “form of inequality” and comes down to the “basic understanding that everyone is created equal.” 

“It’s not okay to think that you’re better than someone else because of the sex that you are born as,” Anderson said. 

Ultimately, Colette said despite social progress, misogynistic ideas and sexist treatment of women still play a key role in the tenacity of sexual harassment. 

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