It seems to be one of their favorite battle cries: "Patriarchy hurts men, too!" When feminists say this, they think they're distancing themselves from the damage done to male society by laws and policies which give preferential treatment to women.
They're really not.
It's almost funny how the same group that says they've made a lot of progress, but there's still a long way to go, the same group that says laws giving preferential treatment to women are necessary to correct previous discriminatory conditions, fails to recognize that in lobbying for that preferential treatment, they're also responsible for the damage it does, especially in the hands of women who choose to abuse it.
Child custody is a prime example of this. Feminists will tell you that the belief that women are better parents, especially for younger children, is a notion imposed by "Patriarchy." That assertion is on a list that is being circulated and repeated by younger feminists in debate, without ever questioning its validity.
In fact, the assertion is dead wrong.
The legal presumption that women are naturally better caregivers, used as a determining factor in the decision of child custody, is rooted in a single feminist's mid 19th century activism. When Caroline Norton wrote the bill which would become The Custody of Infants Act of 1839, followed by her "plain" letter to the Lord Chancellor regarding the bill, she probably had no idea that her writing would end up as the inspiration for a court doctrine which would cause for fathers in multiple nations to suffer exactly the indignities she was trying to eliminate in her own life and the lives of other women, but that is what occurred. The Custody of Infants Act was the start of what is now referred to as the Tender Years Doctrine, the basis upon which it became traditional to place custody of children in divorcing families with the mother. The argument that mothers are better caregivers is put forth in Mrs. Norton's "plain" letter, in which she stated that fathers have to hire nursemaids to replace their wives' involvement in the lives of children during their "tender years," and therefore it is natural that the child should be placed in the custody of the mother. Over the years, this doctrine, originally intended to prevent divorce from keeping women from their children, has been pushed and twisted into an every-case imperative, making maternal custody the default in divorce cases.
It is interesting to note that some of the objections to the bill, addressed in Mrs. Norton's letter, have in the end turned out to be true, at least in the United States. With no checks in place to prevent female adultery, abandonment of marriage, or unwed motherhood, divorce and never-married single motherhood here have skyrocketed. Not that these are reasons why women should never have custody of their children, but it's apparent that if everything is arranged to make single parenthood attractive, a significant number of women will choose to be single mothers. As it stands, courts are backing them.
And while child abduction by mothers is not standard behavior, parental alienation has been enough of an issue that it's becoming common to place language in the divorce decree stating that each parent agrees not to slander the other to or in front of the children. Custodial interference is a fairly common behavior among custodial and primary residential mothers, as well.
Today, while some protesters claim that feminist groups do not want fathers to lose custody of their children, mainstream feminist lobbying groups have actively fought to prevent custody from being handled evenly, with genuinely shared custody as the default from which a case would begin.
This is one example, in which by tracing back, then returning to current activism, we can see how the system's discrimination against men has been in response to feminist activism, how feminists have actively fought to keep it that way, and the dysfunction which has resulted from the distance overboard they've gone with their fight. If you look at other areas, you'll see the same thing.
For the last 40 years, feminist advocates have (successfully) fought to impose their gender ideology on the issue of domestic violence, managing to deny assistance to approximately half of the victims of abuse.
Feminist advocated law and policy in the U.S. has whittled away at the due process rights of accused men, provided incentives to make false allegations, and made restraining order abuse easy to commit, and hard to counter.
They've advocated for laws which remove the presumption of innocence from men accused of rape. The handicapping of an accused man's defense makes false conviction a significant risk for men in the U.S., keeping organizations like The Innocence Project busy undoing the damage done by a severely imbalanced, heavily biased legal system.
Feminists have advocated for federally required changes in disciplinary policy at colleges and universities which have led an environment that encourages and enables the leveling of false allegations of sexual violence against men on college and university campuses in the U.S.
Feminists will tell you time and again that your issues are rooted in the dominant power of men whose station is above yours. The argument seems justified on the surface, when you look at the individuals who seem to be keeping you down - male legislators, male judges, police, and government bureaucrats. However, when you hear the term Patriarchy, and you know the individual shouting it at you is talking about the legal and political structure, remember that these groups act on outside motivators. Patriarchy as feminism defines it is nothing more than a puppet responding to the group it finds most persuasive. When feminist advocates, who have been actively lobbying against your rights and your freedom for over a century tell you that puppet is the one who is holding you down, remember who is pulling its strings, and who really benefits the most from keeping the power structure exactly the way it is right now.