Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?
Thu, 25 Jul 1996 17:55:59 -0700 wrote:

> FWIW, I could easily reverse your folks logic and say there's NO
> evidence of a Patriarchy ever having existed. There isn't any more
> evidence for a patriarchy. All monarchy is based on male OR female
> ascension. Dictatorships are dictatorships, not patriarchy (using
> your definitions) So in a sense you are correct. There is little or
> no evidence of EITHER a patriarchy or matriarchy.

First of all, let's distinguish the various forms of authority. We have
domestic authority (authority over a household), we have corporate
authority (authority over the group), and we have state authority
(sovereignty, authority over those who hold corporate authority).

Monarchy refers to rule by a monarch. A monarch is a sovereign (an
individual who holds absolute sovereignty). Monarchy deals with the
placement of sovereignty. It tells us little about the role of gender in
political organization, which is the purpose behind matriarchy

I can easily see why the concept of patriarchy is associated with the
oppression of females if it is being confused with sovereignty. The only
way to deny anyone sovereignty is through oppression. However, the
concepts of matriarchate and patriarchate deal with corporate authority.

>>So a male still helps provide for the children? That doesn't make it
>>either patriarchal or matriarchal. Who has the political power in this
>>sytem? The men or the women?

> By your definitions, the only society that could be EITHER must kill
> off the other sex. What a rediculous idea.


He is distinguishing between the domestic group and political
organization. A matriarchy (matriarchate) is more appropriate than
matriarchy (matrilineal) argument. I suppose this one ain't going away
no matter how much noise I make.

>>The women may be independent of their husbands under this system, but it
>>doesn't sound like they are independent of *all* men, and they sound
>>distinctly dependent on their brothers.

> I think you need to read the information more carefully. The brother
> is OBLIGATED to care for the children. That creates INDEPENDANCE for
> the women.

Obligated, yes. But, it is still the brother who makes most of the
domestic decisions. This is dependence. Since the brother cannot
possibly be around to make all the domestic decisions, some independence
is gained.

> I actually started off thinking there was no evidence of matriarchy,
> but mentioned this to my wife (who's a historian specializing in
> ancient civilizations), she laughed.

Interesting, does she have any examples of an ancient civilization which
did have a matriarchate? Or, are we talking matriarchy (matrilineal)?