An old anarchist slogan states that 'no man is good enough to be another man's master'. The sentiment is admirable, but the slogan is silent on one crucial issue. In modern civil society all men are deemed good enough to be women's masters; civil freedom depends on patriarchal right. The failure to see patriarchal right as central to the political problem of freedom, mastery and subordination is so deep-seated that even the anarchists, so acutely aware of subjection among men, have had few quarrels with their fellow socialists about sexual domination. From the beginning of the modern era, when Mary Astell asked why, if all men were born free, all women were born slaves, feminists have persistently challenged masculine right; but, despite all the social changes and legal and political reforms over the past 300 years, the question of women's subordination is still not seen as a matter of major importance, either in the academic study of politics or in political practice. Controversy about freedom revolves round the law of the state and the law of capitalist production: silence is maintained on the law of male sex-right.
Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract, 1988