Age Patriarchy

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  • Age Patriarchy
    • Definition: Used the describe the inequalities between adults and children
    • Gittins: There's an age patriarchy of adult domination and child dependency.
    • Patriarchy literally means "rule by father," and the term "family," referred originally to the power of the male head over all other members of the household, including children as servants as well as women.
      • This is enforced by violence against women and children.
        • Evidence: Humphreys and Thiara (2002): 1/4 of 200 women in their study left their abuser because they feared for their children's lives.
    • Children try to resist the status of child and the restrictions that go with it.
      • Example: children often exaggerate their age. "I'm nearly nine."
    • Hockney and James: "Acting down or behaving in ways expected of younger children is a popular strategy for resisting adult control.
      • Example: Reverting to "baby talk," or insisting to be carried.
    • Criticisms of age patriarchy
      • Adults' control over children's lives is justified on the grounds that children cannot make rational decisions and are unable to safeguard their interests themselves.
      • Despite being under adults' supervision, children aren't as powerful as child liberationists claim.
        • Example: the 1989 Children Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child establish the principle that children have legal rights to be protected + consulted.


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