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Patriarchy in sexist and violent social relations

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ABREU, Liliane Alcântara de [1], NUNES, Letícia Monteiro [2], SOARES, Pamela Cristina [3], REHDER, Giovanna de Souza [4], MELO, Natalia Sayuri [5], SILVA, Gabriella Braga Dias da [6], MENDES, Matheus Passos [7]

ABREU, Liliane Alcântara de. Et al. Patriarchy in sexist and violent social relations. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year. 07, Ed. 04, Vol. 04, p. 21-45. April 2022. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link: ‎


This article aimed to review the theoretical framework on patriarchy for a better understanding of its origins, how it works and the consequences in sexist social relations and gender violence. The guiding question was based on the following question: does the naturalization of rules and social relations of patriarchal behavior act in the perpetuation of impositions of domination, violence and sexist discrimination? Thus, the general objective was based on understanding how patriarchal value judgment behavior can impact oppressive and sexist social relationships. The hypothesis was based on the assumption that the more ethnocentric and loaded with prejudice and discrimination a society is, the more relationships of machismo and oppression it will instill in individuals. As a methodology, the article was based on the author Liliane Abreu (2022), but adds other bibliographic review surveys for the theoretical discussion, and with main basis in Everardo Rocha (2006) and Silvia Lane (2006), but citing other authors . As a result and conclusion, it was understood that there is a need to socially discuss and reflect on the issue of gender in the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, as this is intrinsically related to the origins of judgment and learning of ethnocentric values ​​and the strengthening of patriarchal contexts of yoke and violence.

Keywords: Culture, Social Psychology, Sexism, Society, Violence.


This article aimed to review the theoretical framework on patriarchy for a better understanding of its origins, how it works and the consequences in sexist social relations and gender violence. The article was based on the work “Silenciadas: o Universo da Violence Intrafamily” by Liliane Abreu (2022), which is the result of an in-depth research with seven victims of intrafamily sexual violence. In addition, the writer makes an overview of the social and historical, behavioral, psychopathological and psychological constructions that originate from patriarchy and give rise to sexist and sexist behaviors based on power relations, and consequently, on generalized violence – including sexual ones intrafamilial – that span the centuries.

Several other authors were mentioned in this article, potentially having the theoretical framework of Silvia Lane (2006) from the perspective of Social Psychology, and united with a brief clipping of Anthropology using Everardo Rocha (2006), allowing a more forceful analytical reading about behavior social sexist with foundations in patriarchy. It is worth mentioning that anthropological foundations are largely aggregated to Social Psychology, since the former studies in profusion the origins, evolution, social customs and generalized human development (physical, material and/or cultural), and also embraces Psychology itself, producing a movement to complement symbiotic knowledge.

The guiding question was based on the following question: does the naturalization of rules and social relations of patriarchal behavior act in the perpetuation of impositions of domination, violence and sexist discrimination? Thus, the general objective was based on understanding how patriarchal value judgment behavior can impact oppressive and sexist social relationships. As a consequence, there was a need to stick to specific objectives, which were developed in understanding how socially learned cultural and historical values ​​and beliefs can normalize behaviors and thoughts, as well as, understand how ethnocentrism can negatively impact a society with oppressive parameters. In this sense, the assumption was raised that the more ethnocentric and loaded with prejudice and discrimination a society is, the more relationships of machismo and oppression it will instill in micro (families) or macro (communities) individuals and groups.

As a methodology, the research was based on bibliographic review surveys for theoretical discussion. In order to briefly understand social behaviors and the constructions and consequences of patriarchy, in addition to the aforementioned authors such as Liliane Abreu (2022), Sílvia Lane (2006) and Everardo Rocha (2006), other theorists are brought in this article from a national and international research with researchers Liliane Abreu and Natália Melo at the end of 2021, and with publication schedule in book format until mid-2022, by the publisher Sagarana, from Portugal. The research focused on the so-called “Cassandra Complex”, which is the illness of knowledge and knowledge professionals in the face of denialism and social alienation.

During the investigations and subsequent interviews, the two authors identified and understood that the backbone of the problem is also in the construction and secular strengthening of patriarchy. Therefore, a small part of the authors’ theoretical framework could help in this article, such as the historical and philosophical factors supported by writers such as Zygmunt Bauman (2008a; 2008b; 2009), Philippe Ariès and Georges Duby (2009), Jacques Dalarun ( 1993), Shulamith Shahar (1983), Silvia Federici (2017), Michel Foucault (1978; 1988; 2001), Daniela Arbex (2013), María Dzielska (2004), Barbara Hanawalt (1986; 1988; 1999; 2007), Rosalie David (2007), Mary Houston (1996); Margaret Leah King (1976; 1981; 1991), Marty Williams and Anne Echols (2000), Marisa Rey-Henningsen (1994), Gustav Henningsen (2010) and Roque Laraia (2007).

Josiel Carvalho (2017) is cited on the issue of the legitimate defense of honor, while Olga Tellegen-Couperus (1993) is also brought to the reinforcement of Roman Laws formatted in patriarchal origins, later reinforced by the Legenda Áurea by Jacopo de Varazze (2003). ) in the 13th century and which were included in the practice of law throughout the West from antiquity to contemporary times, and which more intensely precipitate sexism and violence against the female figure. On violence, Claudia Oshiro (2017) and Brazilian government data also through Cíntia Engel [S.I.], point to a greater number of aggressions coming from family environments. Finally, Ilza Veith (1965), Juan-David Nasio (1991) and James Hillman (1984) are also brought by the sexist spectrum of hysteria socially placed as a female disease of the woman who is crazy. And it is this theme that will be developed in this article.


In the book “Silenciadas: o universo da violência sexual intrafamiliar” (ABREU, 2022), its author openly presents this theme, which is treated as a social taboo and which still blames the victims. Its objective was based on opening the most forceful debate in many societies on this demand and that has its origin in the power relations of patriarchy. Therefore, the book’s narrative addresses points such as rape culture, analysis of psychological, psychopathological and behavioral profiles of aggressors, victims and family members/acquaintances, and other relevant aspects of this universe.

She explains why some mothers take care of victims’ safety and others don’t; why close people (even women) attack victims by labeling them as guilty and protecting the aggressors. Furthermore, the writer traces the behavior of the victims’ multifactorial illnesses and even how certain psychology and social assistance professionals involved react to the demand for sexual violence.

To this end, the author approached more than 5 million women in closed groups of social networks who began to briefly describe their intra-family cases. However, when asked to participate in a research interview on the subject, such people became dull and withdrew, subsequently denying the invitation. However, this turned out to be an extremely important behavioral data. And even with the few, but seven punctual and dense reports obtained, two of them take more than a year for the victims to be able to speak for the first time what happened to them. (ABREU, 2022)

The theoretical surveys made as a basis on the social, historical, behavioral, psychopathological and psychological constructions that give rise to patriarchy and give rise to sexist and sexist behaviors based on power relations – and consequently, on generalized violence -, were taken to the work so that laypeople, victims and professionals could understand the chains that lead entire societies to the silencing and perpetuation of sexist, sexist and violent conduct (ABREU, 2022). It is precisely these patriarchal origins and secular dismemberments that are relevant in this article.

Abreu (2022) begins his book by presenting that everything originates in the narratives of religiosity, regardless of the geographical location of a people. Mythological records are full of directions for social conduct, especially those that trigger yoke behaviors, and people even in remote times tended to follow the examples of these icons of power represented in the gods, muses, warriors and heroes. The philosopher Zygmunt Bauman (2008a; 2008b; 2009), for example, narrates that even today people build their behaviors – including the perception of what it is to be happy – from the behavioral repetition of the highest class scales and individuals who have greater social visibility.

This can be seen in an analytical research work by Abreu et al. (2022) with some digital influencers and their followers, in which it was identified that there would be a social narcissistic symbiosis driven by the fear of exclusion and invisibility, but precipitated by the intense discourse of what happiness is. This behavior generates in the followers the psychic understanding and the behavioral actions of reproduction that may tend, in certain cases, to also be supported by meritocratic discourses. Making this parallel is important, as several authors mutually agree – and this can be seen in practice in the description of the research by Abreu et al. (2022) –, that societies in general are effectively driven and encouraged to consume a certain way of living, and religions are the first organizational stabilizers of social conduct. It is from religious fundamentalisms that the greatest behaviors linked to prejudice and discrimination also arise, and which deeply hurt individuals and social groups.

According to Abreu (2022), the world records of various peoples show this relationship of power and yoke, and rape culture is very present, which delimits a very precise social message of humiliation to the victim. This can come in actual physical and/or sexual violence, but veiled in sexist and misogynistic jokes, in moral attacks, in psychological manipulation, or even in the conduct of economic/property damage that keeps the person in constant dependence. These alienating processes can appear different in intensity depending on the local culture of each social group. In this sense, Laraia (2007; apud ABREU, 2022) states that cultural diversity is a conditioned consequence of differences in the physical environment. Therefore, culture shaped by human contexts acts as a catalyst for certain behavioral learning patterns in a society. (ABREU, 2022)

At this point, one can recall the work of Brazilian researchers Liliane Abreu and Natália Melo, with the publication in mid-2022 of the results in book format that will bear the title “Cassandra’s Complex: the illness of knowledge facing a society alienated and negationist”, by the publishing house Sagarana (Portugal). As already mentioned briefly in the introduction to this article, the research focused on the so-called “Cassandra Complex”, which is the psychic illness of professionals with specific expertise and resulting from social alienating behaviors that are opposed to basic knowledge and with generally scientific evidence. What at first appeared only to be a psychopathological investigation of generalized social illness, expanded to the understanding of ancestral origins that pointed to patriarchy. This understanding ended up reinforcing the initial contents of Abreu (2022) in his other work from the book “Silenciadas”, and that despite the objects of study being different, they ended up intermingled in a complex network due to their origins and secular strengthening from patriarchy to contemporary times.

Thus, it is appropriate to present in this article a few and very brief historical indicators raised by Liliane Abreu and Natália Melo of this patriarchal trajectory for the construction of sexist, sexist, misogynist, and even homophobic and racist behaviors. The original content is quite extensive, but it is worth bringing a small clipping here.

Historians David (2007) and Veith (1965) describe that it was in Ancient Egypt, through the Kahun Papyrus (about 1900 BC), that the first reference to hysteria appeared as a mention of a female disease originating from the uterus – Hystera, later baptized by the Greeks and which means uterus – and that the ancients linked directly to a supposed female madness. This document manifested itself in the transitional period of several ancient matriarchal cultures to patriarchal formatting.

The effective violence arising from this transition that began to provide the yoke and make the role of women in those ancestral societies invisible, was potentiated over the centuries, especially with the expansion of Roman dogmas and conduct. It should be noted that Rome was built through the kidnapping and collective rape of the Sabine women (ABREU, 2022) and by the imposition of force, destruction and fear of other cultures and civilizations of the time. The restriction of the feminine intensified by the Roman Empire gradually gained new status with the advent of Christianity and the Middle Ages (5th to 15th century), as women had the ambivalent social stigma of two figures strongly described by the ecclesiastics of the time. The first would be Eve, an alleged by-product of Adam and who was the sinner who removed humanity from Paradise out of stubbornness – and therefore would be a danger to society – but, contradictorily, she was also the great procreator. The second figure rested on the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. (LE GOFF and TRUONG, 2006; DALARUN, 1993; FEDERICI, 2017; HANAWALT, 2007; HOUSTON, 1996)

Soon, these practices gave strength to the religious of the time to create social regulations. One of them was the Italian Dominican Jacopo de Varazze (2003), who recorded in the 13th century new behaviors and social guidelines inspired by the idealized behavior of the saints, generating the ‘Legenda Áurea’. Thus, women should strictly follow religious precepts.

A few centuries earlier, Saint Augustine tried to create strong bonds in the society of the time through fraternal bases of love for others, with the aim of breaking what in his understanding was mundane. However, at the end of the Byzantine Period (4th century) and beginning of the Middle Ages (5th century), it generated practices that were unified to the new system of fiefs and laws imposed by Justinian I, and that also rescued the old laws of Roman law – also known as ‘Corpus Juris Civilis or code of Justinian I’. It was determined, from there, that women had no right to anything, having to submit only to obedience and reproduction, and clerics could no longer contract marriage or copulate, among other things. (TELLEGEN-COUPERUS, 1993; DALARUN, 1993)

The law included the right of men to decide the life and death of their wife, daughters and other female figures in their care, including the daughters and widows of brothers, cousins ​​and servants who eventually died. At the same time, an immense number of respected historians and specialists in the Middle Ages such as Dalarun (1993), Ariès and Duby (2009), Federici (2017), Hanawalt (1986; 1988; 1999; 2007), Houston (1996); King (1976; 1981; 1991), Williams and Echols (2000) and Marisa Rey-Henningsen (1994) explain that women at that time only had the occasional function of procreating or continuing to serve religious dogmas in convents. Sexual pleasure was something contemplated by men, and even sex as a pleasure in general took on the shape of sin.

É preciso um grande operador ideológico, assim como estruturas econômicas, sociais e mentais correspondentes, para que a reviravolta se opere. O agente dessa reviravolta, dessa recusa, é o cristianismo. Assim, a religião cristã institucionalizada introduz uma grande novidade no Ocidente: a transformação do pecado original em pecado sexual.  (LE GOFF; TRUONG, 2006, p. 49)

All these historians mentioned above claim that the change brought about by fundamentalist religiosity in Christianity when it became political and social imposition, and after the initial 300 years of the Christian Era, were not positive as has been romanticized and propagated by certain negationist authors. The female figure was effectively restrained in moral, sexual, psychic and behavioral ways, see the philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and head teacher of the School of Alexandria (Egypt), Hypatia (351/370-415 AD), murdered as a witch in the transition to fundamentalist radical Christianity in the reign of Theodosius I (DZIELSKA, 2004). Women who refused to follow the standards imposed by the patriarchy and the church were arbitrarily placed in the place of the witch, madwoman or prostitute.

Historians such as, for example, Shahar (1983), King (1976; 1981; 1991) and, Williams and Echols (2000), explain that in regions where certain European peoples, such as the Gauls, Celts and Nordics – with relations of more egalitarian genders – took longer to be invaded by the Romans and later the Christians, women maintained a more balanced social status as local chiefs, warriors, healers, butchers, blacksmiths, bakers and other crafts, and with an increased group respectability , especially if they were not inland cities. This included in the 11th and 12th centuries, and with the emergence and strengthening of the arts and intellectuals, some wealthier women graduated from universities and worked as doctors. However, gradually until reaching the 16th century, female figures were being removed from these positions by misogynistic behavior, cutting down these activities with the social justification that they were male jobs.

Ariès and Duby (2009) and other authors explain that all misogynist, sexist and patriarchal-supported behaviors and social organizations derive from the constructions of that period. On the other hand, historian Marisa Rey-Henningsen (1994), a specialist in research on the Inquisition, matriarchy and cultural traditions in Spain, identified that specifically in Galicia, because matriarchy was preserved and is still deeply rooted there even today, the local sociocultural context differs from others, even in Spain itself. The contemporary Galician local culture does not allow space for patriarchy, precipitating women who are self-possessed, highly intellectualized and owners of goods and businesses. Furthermore, sexual and religious behaviors, family systems and gender roles of men and women present themselves as unique. The author recorded about this sociocultural behavior: “(…) it is in accordance with the cultural and economic female domination and the matriarchal norms that prevailed until very recently among a large part of the population of Galicia”. (REY-HENNINGSEN, 1994, p. 260, our translation)[8]

There is still a need to make a parallel. Gustav Henningsen (2010), a historian who specializes in the Inquisition and husband of Rey-Henningsen (1994), points out that Galician women were extremely attacked during the period of witch persecution, much more than any other area in Spain at the time which leads to the reflection that perhaps it is precisely because of the patriarchy’s attempt to end the matriarchal communities of that locality.

The result of feudal practices, which later became more castrating in the Modern Age, is that sexuality and limitations on female behavior in societies were amplified to such an extent that the precipitated psychic illness in the form of hysteria reinforced the misogyny around the stereotype of the mad woman who cannot have a voice.

Authors such as Williams and Echols (2000), as well as the other historians already mentioned, present a picture of women who went through confinement, mistreatment, torture, and/or actual death, either on account of witchcraft or alleged madness. The Renaissance doctors themselves, from the 16th century onwards, came to understand hysteria as a symptomatology of “dementia”. Therefore, when the labeling was not based on madness, it permeated the supernatural, as in the recorded cases of demonic possession, in the village of Loudun, in France (1634), or in other localities such as Louviers (1623), Aix-en-Provence ( 1609), and Salem (1692-1693), in the United States. (CAPORAEL, 1962; COSTA, 2017; FEDERICI, 2017; SAGAN, 1996)

Several historians and anthropologists point to the persecution of the feminine as a form of yoke and based above all on religiosity, which somehow became civil laws, and the men who dared to protect these women were taken to painful ends like theirs. Hillman (1984) cites that when a woman received the clinical label of hysteria, she left the satanic stigma and gained the stain of defect for being the bearer of a uterus, having to be cloistered like crazy, especially if it was not possible to stop her from her aspirations. Dr. Esther Fischer-Homberger (apud HILLMAN, 1984, p. 224), is quoted by this psychologist with a phrase from her doctoral thesis: “Whenever the diagnosis is hysteria, misogyny is not far away”.

Over the centuries, the female figure was placed on the level of discredit and silence. Even in perfect mental state, many were admitted to asylums as a form of disposal, and faced with cruel doctors, they developed real disorders or actually starved to death in the face of their ill-treatment conditions. In the cases of those who actually presented psychic aggravating factors, the situation was accentuated. And so, medical reports gained space in books confirming social assumptions that women are naturally crazy. This is very well pointed out by Foucault (1978; 1988; 2001), and gains the same proportions in the Brazilian asylum system until the beginning of the 21st century in the narrative of Arbex (2013), in the work “Brazilian Holocaust”.

Unfortunately, all these historical behaviors of female behavioral manipulation reach at some point all social individuals, generating behavioral distortions that can even be more serious, including women’s connivance with violence against other women. Abreu (2022) reports this in his book, presenting all possible developments. She reports in an excerpt:

O elo entre pecado e punição está enraizado sobretudo na cultura judaico-cristã e cruzou o tempo até nossos dias. Essa filosofia do mal – que separa inclusive os males naturais das catástrofes, dos males morais do ser humano – talvez explique parcialmente – evidentemente, unida à outras questões – o porquê pessoas próximas a uma vítima de abuso sexual nada fazem para socorrê-la, e até partem para o ataque a culpabilizando pela agressão sofrida. São peças de um quebra-cabeça que vão se unindo para que se entenda uma rede de abusos, conivências e silenciamentos mediante inversão de discurso em que o sujeito alvo das agressões é deslegitimado e excluído. (ABREU, 2022, p. 105)

In view of what has been narrated in this article, and rescuing medievalist historians such as Ariès and Duby (2009), and Hanawalt (1986; 1988; 1999; 2007), it is possible to perceive in their works that the private life of the past was focused on the family and in the woman who owned her home at that time, it had an organized and, in this sense, a positive role. However, it was all part of a social behavior to enclose women. In addition, the value system was supported by the Bible, reinforcing that the female figure was weak and strongly inclined to sin, needing maximum control. But what seems so far away, still remains today. Therefore, and supported by the aforementioned law of the pater familias, in ancient times there was authorization for the justification of femicide. But what about today?

It is this practice based on the pater familias that arrived in Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries, which inspired the title XXXVIII, of Book V, of the Philippine Ordinance Law (BRASIL, 2001). She authorized the husband to kill his wife if caught in adultery. Subsequently, the ‘Law of the thesis of the legitimate defense of honor’ emerged, which gave this man the right of justification to be completely acquitted for this type of crime and based on the “loss of senses or intelligence” in the face of “the heat of emotions”. (CARVALHO, 2017)

Therefore, because it appears in the Brazilian national legal and constitutional annals as a criminal release, it is that societies – and specifically citing the Brazilian scenario -, and especially men, absorbed the understanding of having the right to rape, beat and/or kill their girlfriends, lovers, wives and daughters, or any other female figure within his reach. In the aggravating factor of death, it is the practice that enters statistics and is known as femicide, appearing in the maps of violence released by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights and Public Security bodies with a focus on women’s safety. The ‘Law of the thesis of the legitimate defense of honor’ was declared unconstitutional in Brazil by the Federal Supreme Court, but only as of March 15, 2021. (BRASIL, 2001; BRASIL, 2016; ENGEL, S.I.; OSHIRO, 2017).

Misogynistic, sexist and sexist behaviors are the result of a social and cultural conduct continuously permeated from family education and strongly grounded in religiosity. This can be proved not only in statistical data from government agencies and also from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), but authors such as Oshiro (2017) describe that forty percent of women who suffer domestic violence are specifically from the evangelical line. Therefore, not only the aggravating factors of physical or sexual violence are socially regulated, but the moral, psychological and even patrimonial ones are still provided for in Law No. of all ages, but to re-educate society in the form of legal dictates.


Psychology is the science that studies behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious reflexes. However, for the understanding of what is effectively Social Psychology, the question arises of when the behavior becomes social or not in the individual.

For pure Psychology and in its essence, each human being has individualized behaviors, and precisely because it has a subjective biological structure (each subject has its own). Thus, according to Lane (2006), learning derives from each personal experience through reinforcements and punishments, and this emphasizes individual experiences. However, the concepts that microgroups or macro groups consider in their systems of values ​​and beliefs in this educational and normative process, produce new cultural meanings that also cover emotional and action spheres. In this way, the entire social context to which a subject is inserted has a direct impact on what is normal or acceptable in an ethnocentric view.

Ethnocentrism is the vision of the world that we have from our own group of coexistence, and thus, comparing the other with our own values ​​and behavioral, social and cultural models. In this way, there are the estrangements, the difficulties of understanding and adaptation that individuals present when faced with everything different from their own context. Rocha (2006, p. 10) states that the violent (and prejudiced) character of ethnocentrism often stems from the “assumption that the ‘other’ must be something that does not enjoy the word to say something about itself”. Therefore, ethnocentrism crosses the value judgment of the culture of the other in comparison with the group culture of the self, according to this author.

At this point, the other is prevented from talking or explaining about himself, while the one who positions himself as an observer (the self) judges, compares and criticizes (often with disdain) and in a distorted way the reality of the observed. The manipulation of sociocultural and behavioral facts marks ethnocentrism, thus creating knowledge even with prejudiced terms to name the individuals of a society. Rocha (2006) uses as an example the Indians, who are still called lazy and indolent, to emphasize the ethnocentric image that certain researchers, and that previously the colonizers reproduced about these individuals who refused to be enslaved (which according to the author , is evidence of vast mental health).

These initial data from Rocha (2006) can be correlated with the social norms made by men in contemporary societies, governed by patriarchy through jokes, actions and speeches that diminish women, creating not only a malaise, but a hierarchical verticalization, whether in the professional or personal field. In addition, adding to this, there are, for example, the clichés about the types of clothes worn authorizing sexual harassment, thus opening and justifying violent behavior, such as the culture of rape and femicides, and using only these two examples.

Thus, Rocha (2006) points out that History books carry phrases such as that the Indians walked around naked to print the ethnocentric demarcation of completely adverse cultures. However, within already constituted societies, stereotyped labels are highly present even in smaller groups. The ethnocentric word and terms become the authority to distinguish the other, and they permeate societies in a common way. Thus, the author ponders the terms: “dondoca”, “doidões” and many other derogatory terminologies that attack individuals in the sexist, misogynist, ethnic and sexual orientation order, to show that these adjectives take a different structure and carry a ideological and/or value judgment bias.

The power of ethnocentrism in a society makes room for other relativized views and thoughts. The counterpoint in relativization is, according to Rocha (2006, p. 20), when someone perceives “the things of the world as a relationship capable of having a birth, capable of having an end or transformation. Seeing the things of the world as the relationship between them”.

When reflected from the perspective of Social Anthropology, and therefore, from the perspective of the question of human culture -, the difference between human beings and the activities that people have towards each other, denotes ethnocentrism. As a Science that aims at understandings of a social nature, and linked to Psychology – and citing the emphasis on Social Psychology -, there is a contribution to the search for overcoming ethnocentrist behavior, implementing the connection that differences do not constitute a threat, but rather add to culture and social interaction.


Language (verbal or non-verbal) is an extremely important factor. Language is something that is part of everyday life for all people, no matter where or how they live. Certainly each place has its mode of expression, which was developed by the social and historical causes of each environment. Lane (2006, p. 26) states that “language, instrument and social and historical product, is articulated with objective, abstract, metaphorical meanings, in addition to the neologisms and slang of each era”.

The behavior that men have of perceiving women, not only in the professional sphere, but for women in general, constitutes a non-verbal language, and that can be presented in certain men in a disrespectful and vulgar way, but the same could happen if the roles were changed and those looks started to reach them through the women. Thus, the verbal forms influence not only the speeches, but also the actions, and how this can harm the whole society. Because it is something historical, it is extremely difficult to solve, demanding a great effort of personal and social re-education. Today, such events occur much more with women, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be inappropriate if they happened with men as well. In addition, women have been known to ostensibly harass certain men.

The media should be used not for defamation, humiliation and disrespect towards people, but for positive things, praise, encouragement and advice. It is unfortunate to know that something so essential to human life is misused, and thus harms society.

In Lane’s view (2006), the socio-historical influence comes from the development of language in which, from the meaning given by the words, it constitutes a worldview loaded with values, actions, feelings and emotions. The categorization from a non-verbal language, dressing individuals with pre-determined colors according to their sex (in contemporary understanding): boys would wear blue and girls would wear pink.

Someone’s ethnocentric worldview only changes when the person manages to reinterpret and deconstruct their primary beliefs, which are often part of an alienating social education, and therefore, they re-elaborate their own social role. Lane (2006) points out that from birth, the individual is within a historical context, since the relationships between the adult and the child follow a pattern of the society in which they are inserted. This standard is a set of habits and actions that society thinks is right and morally acceptable. Society can and perhaps will intervene, through laws and regulations that ensure that things remain as they are, and curb everything that is outside the vision of what is right.

Em cada grupo social encontramos normas que regem as relações entre os indivíduos, algumas são mais sutis, ou restritas a certos grupos, como as consideradas de ‘bom-tom’, outras são rígidas, consideradas imperdoáveis se desobedecidas, até aquelas que se cristalizam em leis e são passíveis de punição por autoridades institucionalizadas. (LANE, 2006, p. 13)

The author named these norms imposed by society as social roles. It is the social roles that govern the relationships between individuals. A father and a mother have their social roles imposed, which establish how a man and a woman should relate to each other, as well as the child must relate to his parents.

Social roles are clearly distinct between men and women; and this very apparent distinction is only perceptible when the individual leaves his ethnocentric space and allows himself to be involved with the same responsibilities and social expectations that are imposed on women. The social role of men is not commonly represented in multifunctional equality as women, and this possible perception of role reversal – but which is only egalitarian in the division of functions – still causes some moral discomfort in many individuals because they understand that they are exercising a minor or subservient attribution for being linked to the feminine by sociocultural construction. However, when the same situation, within several other conjunctures, is represented in a society where women assume this role, the community not only accepts, but also imposes enormous expectations and responsibilities on this female figure.

Lane (2006) explains about individuality despite the existence of social roles. For the author, social interaction generates confrontations and individuals build their own self through differences and changes with others. Thus, social identity (what characterizes each subject as a person) and self-awareness are built. In this regard, the author highlights:

É nesse sentido que questionamentos quanto a “identidade social” e “papéis” exercem uma mediação ideológica, ou seja, criam uma “ilusão” de que os papéis são “naturais e necessários”, e que a identidade é consequência de “opções livres” que fazemos no nosso conviver social, quando, de fato, são as condições sociais decorrentes da produção da vida material que determinam os papéis e a nossa identidade social. (LANE, 2006, p. 22)

Certain men, despite their role and social identity, when they begin to become aware of themselves and question the way society behaves, tend to show subtle changes in attitudes, behaviors and actions. They participate more in domestic activities and support their partners more strongly, showing a continuous maturation. The author presents:

Deste modo entendemos que a consciência de si poderá alterar a identidade social, na medida em que, dentro dos grupos que nos definem, questionamos os papéis quanto à sua determinação e funções históricas – e, na medida em que os membros do grupo se identifiquem entre si quanto a esta determinação e constatem as relações de dominação que reproduzem uns sobre os outros, é que o grupo poderá se tornar agente de mudanças sociais. (LANE, 2006, p. 24)

Many societies are influenced by machismo, even in small attitudes, which also leads to the question of the strength of patriarchal society and its impositions, as well as the great difficulty of changing all these behaviors and which sometimes seems impossible, since resistance of breadth of consciousness starts indoors. At this point, Lane (2006) analyzes the family-oriented aspect of Social Psychology in his work. The author describes that the fact that man is educated to have a very strict social control from an early age, is what leads him to the certainty that he holds power.

A instituição familiar é, em qualquer sociedade moderna, regida por leis, normas e costumes que definem direitos e deveres dos seus membros e, portanto, os papéis de marido e mulher, de pai, mãe e filhos deverão reproduzir as relações de poder da sociedade em que vivem. (LANE, 2006, p. 40)

This passage by the author can be related to the demands of conduct for family formation, or other impositions such as performing household chores, while the other has fun and enjoyed leisure. Another point is found in sexual relations, and that as seen earlier, societies have been largely educated by religious dogmas to understand that women should not and cannot experience pleasure before, during and after sex. These small behaviors are also addressed by Lane (2006), and they evoke who can and who cannot do certain things, reinforcing machismo in society.

According to Lane (2006), capitalism subdivides societies in general into two social classes: the one that owns the capital and the means of production, who has the money, and the other that is dominated and exploited, generating gains to the first with their work (usually manual). Briefly, whoever has money commands, obeys who works and receives something for it. The foundation of contemporary patriarchy would be strongly based on these concepts.

In this antagonism, the need for consumption arises on both sides, because if one can flaunt its dominant status, the other dominated equally begins to create aspirations and objects of desires to try to get closer to those who effectively hold the capital. In this way, not only these items of aspiration change, but also the man himself, and precisely because he has new achievements during this process.

When the individual produces, he feels useful, starting from the thought of simple desire, he reaches a level of transformation that transcends the personal and extends to the social. Lane (2006), uses the example of someone who feels cold. This person may provide himself with yarn and needle, but he will acquire knowledge from someone on how to knit. Once ready, he can receive praise for his work and be proud of it, in addition to creating a knowledge propagation network to teach others. He notes that gratification is not in monetary gain, but in satisfaction, and even so, it generated a productive and appropriate chain within this micro-universe.

The author explains that in capitalist societies, manual and intellectual work are only separated on the ideological plane, as both activities imply thinking and carrying out actions. The elitization of the intellectual is precisely linked to the ruling class.

According to Lane (2006), all work requires the elaboration of a sequence of thought, but the value of this activity loses importance between displacements from the workplace to the home, wages and completion of the product, thus dissociating the man from the product. Hence, the dichotomy that the author explains arises: if, on the one hand, the worker cannot think, for the specialist intellectual, the right to produce is revoked. This causes some prejudices, some are even common to hear, such as statements – which are a great injustice and fallacy – about the class of university professors: only those who do not know how to teach.

If this is transferred to the domestic environment to which women have been limited for centuries, there is the provider – who dominates, for bringing the money, the earnings to the home –, and the housewife, who is dominated, needing the remuneration of its provider and using its productive force for the manual service in the invisible tasks. This second one has always been and continues to be seen as someone relaxed, with free time and who does nothing. This is reinforced in today’s societies with the discourses of meritocracy, creating a process of alienation to disqualify the work and efforts of those who cannot get out of a certain professional, educational or social position.

Social Psychology understands that the human condition in societies only expands and changes when the symbiosis between communication and mutual cooperation occurs, regardless of the hierarchical condition of class or gender, horizontalizing relationships and thus creating group and self-consciousness himself, as an individual who is part of a whole. The vertical power hierarchy stagnates social relations, defining and freezing social roles, and therefore not allowing their flexibility. Again, who dominates and who is dominated always remain where they are.

It is in the modification of their ethnocentric culture that the subject comes to understand that there is a need for gender balance, and their adaptation in the world makes them more sensitive, being more concerned with their appearance, bothering with inequalities and prejudices. This individual gradually abandons concepts linked to the oppressive force, breaking the positions of oppressor and oppressed, and extinguishing the verticalization of gender behaviors, until reaching a harmonious balance.

Pondering this narrative and in the text by Lane (2006), Community Psychology as a micro-universe within Social Psychology seems to contemplate this attempt to rescue the understanding of the individual, becoming aware of himself and the social from the micro to the macro thinking. Making the subject understand his own importance in parallel with his entire family and neighborhood group has a great impact. Working these small groups into an expanded and growing perspective, family-neighborhood-city-state-country-world, makes the chaining of new behaviors of actions, attitudes and thoughts more concrete.

When the individual makes new reflections, generates solidary positions and effectively transforming thoughts in the face of the sense of responsibility towards others, of rights and duties, of support to those who need it, of solutions for what goes wrong, among other things, he ascends. According to Lane (2006), this requires an intense effort and dedication from all those involved to break the stigma of relations of domination already impregnated and apprehended in the family, school, and even in the face of fundamentalist religious imputations, and starts to create a strong thought of group.

Not only that. According to the author, in the case of Community Psychology work, the biggest challenge is to instill in the family axis that everyone is responsible for themselves, for the family members and for things within the home. That there is no major or minor work, or determined to a specific genre. On the other hand, the one who bears the greatest burden of responsibility for taking care of the house and children, despite not having a cash remuneration, works as much as someone who goes out every day and gets paid for it. No one disqualifies volunteer work outside the home, which happens to be unpaid. Why disqualify the work of those who take care of the family and domestic tasks, which are extended to female figures?

Many individuals need more time to understand all these processes, while others remain in great resistance. Others are already doing this process more easily, trying to distance themselves and understand that the toxic machismo evoked as a perverse offspring of patriarchy hurts and even kills the entire society in different proportions. These specific people are contributing to behavioral change in societies in a more accelerated way, and they are allowing themselves to reach understanding about these construction sites regarding gender oppression and violence. In their subjectivities, they are able to effectively re-signify their experiences and resize their perception of themselves and the world, a moment in which empathy and gender equality finally make sense.


The patriarchal sexist culture normalizes and relativizes behavior at all levels, especially in the use of words, restraint and control, and extending to effective actions of violence.

Socially, individuals were induced to accept this fact as a gift and later blaming victims, and historically this is strengthened in religiosity and amplified in the formatting of laws and social conduct. In contemporary times, the media, through advertisements, movies, soap operas, books and jokes, objectify the woman’s body, in addition to romanticizing and ironizing gender violence in general, but especially sexual violence. At the same time that it is instilled that a woman must be desirable, she is also directed to keep herself in seclusion, maintaining modesty and respect. In this dichotomy, women are led to maintain silence and acceptance, or still, historically placed in the status of “crazy” and who should be ignored, silenced or pushed away.

Men – and women in a process of alienation – who allow themselves to reach an understanding of this process tend to develop a real empathic transformation and gradually distance themselves from elements considered prejudiced. Previously incorporated concepts can be modified and the way this subject perceives the women around him also changes.

It is on these unified aspects that the team of authors believes they have answered the initial guiding problem: do the naturalization of rules and social relations of patriarchal behavior act in the perpetuation of impositions of domination and sexist discrimination? Yes, and effectively, the way in which prejudices and norms are preserved in social education is what perpetuates this sexist gear. This leads to the reflection that how fascinating it could be to see a society in which everyone could also have their concepts positively altered and free from the shackles of discrimination and ethnocentrism that lead to oppression.

Given the general objective and specific objectives in trying to understand, it was possible to detect through the theoretical understanding that the behavior of judgment of values ​​effectively impacts on social relationships, and this is perpetuated by cultural, religious and moral beliefs initially learned in the family environment. In the primary bonds that declassify domestic work as minor, and from that, other constructions of normalization of conduct, behaviors, actions, verbalizations and thoughts are extended, negatively strengthening and solidifying the oppressive parameters, including the yoke in potential for silencing the the other in the face of fear and labels of devaluation. They are small everyday actions that are so normalized, romanticized and even historically normalized that they become imperceptible, but they are obviously offensive and in many cases, destructive. However, this is only understood when social individuals allow themselves to open themselves to the distance from the latent ethnocentrism that leads to the rigidity and permanence of distorted and harmful concepts to the other and to the groups.

Our hypothesis was able to sustain itself: the more ethnocentric and loaded with prejudice and discrimination a society is, the more relationships of machismo and oppression it will try to instill in micro or macro individuals and groups. The place of putting oneself in the other’s shoes and developing empathy to eliminate these relationships between oppressor and oppressed, and even in many psychological minority groups, would be the ideal reach of a just, balanced society with psychic maturity.

The works chosen for theorization, provide a small, but forceful reflection in relation to this game of power and submission that are present in various social contexts that prevent us as a human species, to evolve as individuals and society. Therefore, there is a need to discuss and reflect socially on the issue of gender in the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, as this is intrinsically related to the origins of judgment and learning of ethnocentric values ​​and the strengthening of patriarchal contexts of yoke.

They are small changes of vision that need to receive broad awareness, as they denote the positioning and perpetuation of sexist, sexist and generalized violence of systematic oppression at a vertical level, exempt from justice and balance.

In addition, Psychology as a Science must not only study this behavior in societies, but also help in the re-education and work to find new alternatives to remedy the current social and individual damages, and who knows, one day, extinguish the sexist/sexist situation that so much nullifies, injures and destroys, women and men.


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8. “(…) accords with the cultural and economic female dominance and the matriarchal norms that prevailed until very recently among large parts of the population in Galicia.” (REY-HENNINGSEN, 1994, p. 260)

[1] Specialist in Pedagogical Neuroscience from AVM Educacional/UCAM/RJ; specialist in Art Therapy in Education and Health at AVM Educacional/UCAM/RJ; specialist in Behavior and Consumption Research from Faculdade SENAI CETIQT RJ; specialist in Visual Arts from UNESA/RJ; Bachelor in Design from Faculdade SENAI CETIQT RJ. Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[2] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[3] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[4] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[5] Bachelor in Social Communication from Faculdade Casper Libero/SP. Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[6] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[7] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

Sent: July, 2021.

Approved: April, 2022.

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