Have you ever thought about how often the word “reality” is used in our daily speech? Or how many customs created by individuals become “reality?”
Our perception of reality, like our socialization, is heavily influenced by the world and culture around us. Take your own society. A society is a collection of people who live in a specific geographic area, interact with one another, and share a common culture. How do you believe your society was constructed?
What is real is determined by what is socially acceptable. In other words, each of us creates our own version of reality through our social interactions. Nonetheless, we tend to neglect this truth and take the social construction of reality for granted, as if it were something offered to us from the outside and to which we must simply adapt.
What does it mean to say that our reality is socially constructed? It means that truth can be modified. Individuals shape societies to the same degree that societies shape individuals and the process is in constant flux.
Any action that is repeated regularly becomes a pattern. We construct our reality through references to traditions and “common sense.” In addition, people’s behavior may be affected by their subjective construction of reality rather than objective reality, which is where patriarchal order comes into play.
Semantically, the word ‘reality’ is a little ambiguous
When the word “reality” is mentioned, many ancient questions arise. Some of us are compelled simply by logic to ask and question various phenomena surrounding us. Some of us, on the other hand, question and seek to change “reality.”
Everyday reality is objectified. Meaning it is composed of an order of objects that have been designated as objects prior to your appearance on the scene.
Our own childhood begins with the objectification of everyday reality. Additionally, two things occur when we are children. First, you are born into a family that shares and practices values that you eventually accept. You accept an interpretation of reality based on no empirical evidence because you subconsciously regard adults as authoritative sources of information — as complete people.
Second, you never have to deal with the ambiguity of reality because your parents shield you from it. As a result, you become a reflection of your parents’ will and perceptions of reality.
You gradually come to believe that as a woman, your inferior status is a “natural order.” You’re told that you’re a priori formed to fulfill your biological role. Certain liberties are not granted to you because of your sex. This also explains our society’s long tradition of the patriarchal order, as these values are passed down through generations and become ingrained in our thinking and worldview.
Essentially, this is what traditionalists are doing — framing the patriarchal order differently i.e., justifying it with morality, natural order, and traditions — for society to accept it.
Peter L. Berger, an Austrian-born American sociologist, wrote that, unlike puppets, we have the possibility of stopping our movement, looking up and perceiving the machinery by which we have been moved. In this act lies the first step toward freedom.
I believe that we, as individuals, have an ethical obligation to stop our movement, look up and identify the machinery by which we have been moved as oppressive. Furthermore, we have an ethical obligation to will freedom for ourselves and others.
In our culture, we tend to accept unfortunate events as part of the “natural order.”
When we look back at our history, we may notice that many instances of oppression have been justified by the status quo, claiming that it is the natural order of things. This is especially true for women, as it has long been assumed that they are the weaker sex.
In a patriarchal order, women’s roles are to stay home, cook, and care for children, rather than going out and exercising their right to transcendence. Precluding women’s right to evolve by transcending old ways of seeing life and embracing broader, more holistic perspectives.
Throughout history, those who have framed the reality we live in have attempted to sink the group they were looking to oppress. They did so with an interpretation of natural order that transforms it from oppression to something we must accept as given, as “reality.”
Reality is ambiguous; it has more than one meaning, which is frequently imposed on us. This is why we, as a collective and as individuals, should reject any given theory or ordered reality.
Why a black swan is (not) unique
Until 1697, schoolchildren in England were taught that all swans were white. This belief was disproved when a Dutch explorer sailed to Australia and encountered swans with dark plumage.
No number of sightings of white swans can prove the theory that all swans are white. As demonstrated by the Australian example, a single sighting of a black one can disprove it.
According to the Popperian interpretation of the black swan theory, no matter how many observations affirm a theory, it is always possible that future observations will contradict it.
Even though many observations have been made that assume the “natural order” of things — in other words, patriarchal order — it is safe to say that these observations have been contradicted. You can decide for yourself to what extent and whether they were contradicted sufficiently enough.
Myths and stereotypical ideas triumph over reality
Calling things (women’s subordination) by the wrong name (natural order) contributes to the world’s affliction. This is how stereotypical ideas, which I regard as myths, have become embedded in society’s thinking.
Moreover, our society can no longer justify the patriarchal order in the name of traditions. We cannot develop and sustain a false belief despite evidence to the contrary. Women have endured a great deal of pain and suffering as a result of it.
We are born with no purpose other than to exist and, as a result, are free to create our own essence or purpose in life. As a result, “we are nothing but what we make of ourselves” because we are free and in control of shaping our own life purpose. This does not extend to women, however.
Myths and stereotypical ideas have triumphed over reality, and women have become prisoners to a socially constructed reality that denies them their rights and freedom.
Feature image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.