Like all social systems, patriarchy is difficult to change because it is complex and its roots run deep. It is like a tree rooted in core principles of control, male dominance, male identification and male centeredness.
Its trunk is the major institutional patterns of social life as shaped by the roots—family, economy, politics, religion, education, music and the arts.
The branches— first the larger, then the progressively smaller—are the actual communities, organizations, groups, and other systems in which we live our lives, from cities and towns to corporations, parishes, marriages, and families.
And in all of this, individuals are the leaves who both make possible the life of the tree and draw their form and life from it.
-Allan Johnson, The Gender Knot