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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
News Editor

I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Bannon has a point: It’s time to end the patriarchy

Bannon+has+a+point%3A+It%E2%80%99s+time+to+end+the+patriarchy

In a 2016 exit poll conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, 83 percent of participants selected “can bring needed change” under the section “most important candidate quality,” in support of
Donald Trump.

More than a year later, it seems like those voters may have successfully predicted the future—sort of. There has been change, albeit slow and not pretty. Trump has had his hand in nearly every legislative cookie jar, from immigration to tax reform to health care, and he’s been making waves on the streets, the internet and, as of recently, the red carpet.

So, it’s hard to say what doctrines will accompany Trump’s name in U.S. history books. One motif, however, has lingered throughout Trump’s entire journey to the White House, and continues to be at the nucleus of his administration: the patriarchy.

At least, that’s according to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. In “Devil’s Bargain,” the newest book from Bloomberg journalist Joshua Green, Bannon is quoted as viewing the #MeToo movement as an “anti-patriarchy movement.”

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Bannon’s commentary was reportedly the result of watching the Golden Globe Awards with Green.

“[The #MeToo movement] is even more powerful than populism. It’s deeper. It’s primal. It’s elemental,” Bannon said, according to Green. “You watch. The time has come. Women are gonna take charge of society.”
Although I don’t share the “run for the hills” attitude that Bannon has expressed, I hope he’s right. Now is the time that really could, and moreover, should be the end of the patriarchy.

To be clear: Bannon sees not just the #MeToo movement, but the collective attention that has been paid to the issue of the sexual harassment and abuse of women as a negative byproduct of the Trump presidency. An agitator himself, or a “behind-the-scenes Machiavelli,” as Green calls him, Bannon appreciates the revolutionary spirit, but ultimately sees it as a threat.

While watching the State of the Union address with Bloomberg columnist Michael Lewis, Bannon reportedly elaborated on his perspective toward women’s empowerment.

“Time’s up on 10,000 years of recorded history. This is coming. This is real,” Bannon claimed, according to Lewis.

“It’ll never be the same going forward,” Bannon said, wrote Green.

Even though Bannon’s cynical characterization of female voices is totally unjustified, he raises a provocative reflection: Would the ubiquity of sexual harassment and assault have been illuminated if Trump hadn’t been elected?

Maybe not.

Even though 54 percent of female voters supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and she won the popular vote, women’s rights may not have received the explicit exposure under her administration that they currently do under Trump’s.

What would have been the impetus for ending the patriarchy if we felt like it was already defeated by electing Clinton as president?

Sure, Clinton campaigned under the inclusive ideologies of “Stronger Together” and “I’m With Her,” but the identity of “her” was unclear. Clinton supporters would argue that it stood for all unfairly represented groups in the United States—women included—but, this was before national movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up had traction, let alone existed.

In 2016, being with “Her” meant being with just the matriarchal martyr Hillary, not every woman.

Bannon got one part right in his prophecy, “And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch.”

Trump embodies the patriarchy, and then some. He’s not only a heterosexual male with prodigal sons, but he also uses his affluence and arrogance to exercise economic, political and social power over women in his administration, business and citizenry.

It seems fitting that the women’s movement would takeoff at time when an exceptionally patriarchal president—sexist allegations from celebrities included—is in office.

Bannon thinks the movement is strong enough to push Trump out of office, and again, I hope his foresight is accurate.

Trump has been both a blessing and a curse; a necessary evil. Without him, the underlying issues may not had received the spotlight that they rightfully
deserve.

To effectively end the patriarchy, however, we need to recognize that images of American standards or expectations of what we “should” or “shouldn’t” be as a people are mirrored in every president.
Instead of rebutting extreme with extreme, we should turn our criticism inward, and consider why Trump has manifested from our internalized ideologies.

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