In order to more helpfully take the men and masculinities field forward within international development, we must reveal deep patriarchal structures of constraint to gender equality. This article frames an approach, by drawing on feminist thinkers, writers on masculinities and thinkers on power, to propose a set of considerations informing how patriarchy might be analysed in depth. Setting out four dimensions (representational, material, ideological and epistemological) in which to undress patriarchy, the article explores male centredness, male privilege, male supremacy and a concept of ‘male order’. The latter provides both the deep-level syntax and the inbuilt directionality of patriarchal power structures, through diffuse micro-technologies of gendered knowledge-power. The four dimensions are applied to a characterisation of recent policy discourse on the role of men in gender equality, to then conclude with priorities for research and highlighting the need for making the work more explicitly political as well as personal.