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Patriarchy is a form of social organization in which the father is the head of the family or in which men govern or rule a society. As a system, patriarchy can perpetuate itself because male children inherit their father’s lands, wealth, and so on. The influence of patriarchy can be seen in all the world’s cultures to varying degrees. The number of men in important governmental positions compared with the number of women is frequently quoted when discussing both the causes and effects of patriarchy. In an attempt to expose power relationships between groups and individuals, feminists have expanded the definition of patriarchy to include how cultures view maleness and masculinity as the standard against which others are judged. This entry will discuss the second ...

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