Patriarchy is NOT the Enemy
It’s common to mistake the institution as the source of a problem rather than the consciousness of the people operating that institution. I feel this has been done with most of our institutions whether governmental, cultural, or religious. I’ve never been one to believe there’s anything wrong with any particular religion; however, I have questioned the people following or leading these religious institutions. This is especially true of today’s most popular religions because if more people patterned their lives after the prophets of these religions we’d see over half the issues of the world disappear overnight.
But religion is a side note in this conversation. I’d like to address the myth that there is an inherent issue with patriarchy as a cultural institution. What is patriarchy? According to the dictionary patriarchy has two components: (1) the father or eldest male is the head of the household and (2) descent is traced through the male line. Other definitions include power in the family and society being held by the male(s) and largely kept away from the female(s).
When you look at patriarchy literally it reveals some obvious flaws like tracing descent through the male line. That one doesn’t even make logical sense considering descent is so easily traced through the mother. Even with paternity tests today it’s hard because you still have to track down the father, which isn’t always easy.
But what about most of the power being in the hands of men? It seems logical to a lot of men, but women see an obvious imbalance and I get it. There are many women who would be much more comfortable with matriarchy where the power primarily resides in the hands of women. Then there are those who believe power should be shared equally across the genders.
I’m one of those people who believe power should be shared equally across gender lines, but I know for a fact this is possible in both patriarchy and matriarchy. How so? Remember, it’s not the system or institution that can force or coral human beings to live a balanced intelligent life. It’s actually balanced and intelligent humans that allow humans to live that way. If we have a patriarchal system where the men (for whatever reason) have all of the power and control in family and government, it shouldn’t be a problem IF (and that’s a big if) the men are balanced and intelligent because those men would automatically hand over fifty percent of the power of those families and governments to the women in that society. The men would get together among themselves and say, “Ok, we have all the power, but we know we’ll fuck this up if we keep it to ourselves. We know our view and perspective needs to be balanced out by women, right? We know this. So let’s bring the women in here and work together to divide up the power, roles, and responsibilities so that our society can run efficiently and fairly. We as men will use the power given to us to ensure things stay balanced and equitable. We’ll use our power to make sure we check ourselves if we get out of line.”
If it was a matriarchal society and the women had all the power and if they were balanced and intelligent, I would expect them to have the same conversation.
The voluntary power division is how we solve the challenge of tracking lineage through the male line as dictated by patriarchy. Why not put women in charge of determining the lineage of the family? Yes, men are in charge of determining lineage, but they are putting it in the hands of women to determine. It’s men saying, “You (woman) tell me who my sons and daughters are.” The end. Case closed. This is men using the power given to them and empowering women to have responsibility in that key area of society. It’s called the balance of power. Problem solved. Of course there are trust issues, but men have trust issues with men too so there’s no extra work there, plus those details can be worked out between a meeting of the minds of the best and brightest men and women in the society.
The truth is, sometimes we are just given power for no apparent rhyme or reason. Sometimes it’s our astrology matched against the place and time we’ve incarnated. Sometimes it’s karma or whatever. The only thing that counts is what you do with that power if it’s given to you. The same thing holds true in your relationships where often times one person has the upper hand. If you’re a woman and your man is weaker than you mentally – what are you going to do? Are you going to abuse that reality and manipulate your husband using that mental edge OR are you going to empower him and the relationship? If you’re a man and you’re physically more powerful than your wife – what are you going to do? Are you going to use your physicality to intimidate her or are you going to lift her up with it?
The same question goes to those in our society with wealth and resources or those in high ranking government positions – what are you going to do? Let’s not give patriarchy a bad name because the men in power lack the intelligence and emotional balance to make the best decisions. Let’s not blame patriarchy for the imbalance in our relationships because the women don’t know how to use their powers and abilities to bring things back into balance. It’s the people not the institution. There will always be a power imbalances in the world and it’s supposed to be that way.