110: How to Dismantle Patriarchy Through Parenting

We began this mini-series a few weeks ago as listener Brian Stout and I co-interviewed Dr. Carol Gilligan as an introduction to the topic of patriarchy, how it is present in every aspect of raising our children, and the negative impacts it has on our children’s lives – both on boys and girls.
The interview with Dr. Gilligan laid the groundwork for us, and in this episode Brian and I are back for a conversation about what we learned and what implications this has for the way we will raise our children.  We discuss:
– Why Brian, a cisgendered, heterosexual white male – an apparent beneficiary of patriarchal systems – is so interested in dismantling it
– Some of the specific ways we parents perpetuate patriarchy through our parenting, even if we don’t realize we’re doing it!
– Why ‘masculine’ qualities like logic are prized over ‘feminine’ qualities like understanding the physical experience of the body and recognizing emotions (and why it’s ridiculous that these qualities are gendered in the first place)
– How patriarchy hurts men (mentally, emotionally, and physically) as well as women
– Brian’s top four conclusions and actions to take to begin the work of dismantling patriarchy in our own families (and, by extension, in society more broadly)
Resources mentioned in this episode (as well as additional resources that Brian and/or I recommend):
Groups that are addressing patriarchy:


Barker, G., Ricardo, C., Nascimento, M., Olukoya, A., & Santos, C. (2009). Questioning gender norms with men to improve health outcomes: Evidence of impact. Global Public Health 5(5), 539-553.

Gilligan, C., & Richards, D.A.J. (2009). The deepening darkness: Patriarchy, resistance, and democracy’s future. Cambridge, England: Cambridge.

Holter, O.G. (2014). “What’s in it for men?”: Old question, new data. Men and Masculinites 17(5), 515-548.

Hooks, B. (2004). The will to change: Men, masculinity, and love. New York, NY: Washington Square Press.

Jakupcak, M., Tull, M.T., & Roemer, L. (2005). Masculinity, shame, and fear of emotions as predictors of men’s expressions of anger and hostility. Psychology of Men & Masculinity 6(4), 275-284.

Kashtan, M. (2017). From obedience and shame to freedom and belonging: Transforming patriarchal paradigms of child-rearing in the age of global warming. BayNVC. Retrieved from: http://thefearlessheart.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/From-Obedience-and-Shame-to-Freedom-and-Belonging.pdf

About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.


  1. Meredith Kaknevicius on April 15, 2020 at 1:34 AM

    I’m having trouble finding the references list for this episode. Is it possible it isn’t posted yet? Thanks!

    • Jen Lumanlan on April 19, 2020 at 6:40 PM

      I added the resources, Meredith – hope you find them useful!

  2. Jessie on April 17, 2020 at 4:42 PM

    Could you please tell me where can I find links to the resources that were referenced in this episode?

    • Jen Lumanlan on April 19, 2020 at 6:39 PM

      Really glad to see so much interest in these resources – I’ve added them now!

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