I recently ran across a piece of CrimethInc propaganda which discussed patriarchy. It placed the blame of things like "domestic violence, oppressive gender roles, low self esteem" and other effects of patriarchy on "an object that doesn't even exist," namely, the pursuit of female body perfection.
This isn't the first time I've run into this argument (otherwise I wouldn't bother discussing another inane CrimethInc propaganda poster.) Lots of feminist-minded people have told me the same thing.
For me, this account of patriarchy confuses the ends with the means. I'm pretty sure that preferred body images change quite frequently, if viewed from within a historical perspective. The "large chest, skinny waist" woman that this poster apparently refers to has only been an object of cultural adoration very recently, and only then due to the fact that the mass culture industry was developed first in the United States. Does that mean that patriarchal violence doesn't predate 1900? I don't think so.
The obsession with the perfect female body and all its attendant evils comes from a patriarchal system that institutionalizes differences in all social and personal situations between men and women, not the other way around. Putting the blame of all sexist violence narrowly on culture is a profoundly non-materialist misunderstanding of power and systems.