Re: Swyer's questions on Power

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Wed, 13 Mar 1996 23:05:00 -0500

Professor Thornton: I do not understand how you can say we
should leave the term "patriarchy" behind.Staying with the United States
alone, look at Congress: men are very dominant politically.
Economically, in every type of business and profession, women have gotten
up to the middle levels, but not at all to the top. Religiously,less
important, but the ministers, priests and rabbis are still mainly men.
How would you describe this situation except as patriarchal. If you
don't like this word, you'd have to find a synonym for it. Moreover, the
fact that we here live in what I and many others call a patriarchy, that
is, men holding most of the power politically, economically and religiously
means that even men who don't in reality have much of that kind of power,
actually share in it symbolically; that is, they are men, and it is men
who have the power. Just to bring it down to the situation on this list,
do you think it is happenstance that the three antowners and five members
of the board of governors of Anthro-L are all male, even though women
constitute almost 40% of the list. I have mentioned this several times,
but none of the "governors" have even bothered to do anything about it;
no one except Holloway, my most ardent admirer, has even responded, and
what a response that was! If it doesn't really make any difference, what
would you all say if there were eight women running the show, with 40% of
the membership being men. Even if the governance here doesn't much
matter, the symbolism matters, and folks are accepting the situation
because they're used to having men run the show. Ruby Rohrlich