Damsels vs. EvilOppressiveGeniusMen… really?

Ok, for the sake of argument lets say that patriarchy does exist today, and throughout human history, and its not the wayward fantasy of overly emotional women weakened by the throws of their monthly cycle. My question is… why? Why does it exist at all? Why is it so pervasive, so widespread, so accepted? If women really ARE as intelligent, capable and especially as human as our male counterparts, ladies, I really have just one question: WHY THE #!&@ DID WE LET THIS HAPPEN!?! I’ve heard “men are physically stronger and more aggressive”. Bullshit. “Men are more hungry for power.” See previous statement.

“The image of the male in early civilization that emerges from this model is very impressive. He was able to imagine a new system of society that would benefit him over the women around him. He was able to organize a conspiracy with the other men in his society against half of his community. He was able to employ his physical strength against the women’s superior capacity for social solidarity. He was able to invent a religious system to establish and preserve his privileges against the countervailing force of women’s perspective and experience. He was strong, imaginative, brilliant, and well-organized. He was also evil enough to want to oppress the women who bore him and his children. If it weren’t for his extreme evil, one might be tempted to conclude that patriarchy is a good system, since it puts such an obviously superior creature in charge of the culture. It seems that much of the ostensibly anti-patriarchal theorizing about the origin of patriarchy is based on patriarchal assumptions.”

~  Britton W. Johnston, Notes on the Origin of Patriarchy (emphasis mine)

Now, I don’t believe that all women were helpless, brainwashed victims throughout the whole of human history. Nor do I believe that all men were secretly members of the Legion of Doom. So what gives? What made society – men AND women – choose patriarchy over other social models? Was there some evolutionary benefit to it? Did it actually benefit women at one point and later morph into something unjust? Or – and this is a scary thought – were women seen by both genders as so very dangerous that they had to be controlled to prevent society from destroying itself?

Discuss.

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6 responses to “Damsels vs. EvilOppressiveGeniusMen… really?

  1. Interesting thoughts you are thinking there. Perhaps, in a fit of perverse “fuck you” to the universe, women thought it would be more fun to be oppressed, resist, and rise above it in a state of sheer bad-ass willpower.
    I kid. Oppression sucks for everybody.

    Is it possible that no one realized the devastating effects patriarchy could have when they started thinking up this institution? There is no way humans could have imagined the disgusting actions that would come from patriarchy. It’s possible it was seen as a mutually-beneficial relationship in the beginning and that it just went horribly, horribly awry.

    If I am not making any sense, I blame it on the late/early hour and this awful cold that I have.

    • Thanks for visiting! Yeah, I really have to hope that this started with the best intentions and morphed into stupidity. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. I’m glad you are posting about this as I’ve recently been thinking more about patriarchy and its origins. This post was so interesting!

    Oddly enough several months back I was angry about how women were mistreated and how men were glorified and a MALE friend told me something that really made me think of it in a better way. Granted I am coming at this from a totally Biblical, Christian perspective so I know it won’t work for everyone. But it helped me personally.

    Jason reminded me that Satan knew the Messiah (or who we Christians believe to be the savior of the world) was going to come through a virgin… a woman without the need for a man! So Satan hated women. He wanted them oppressed and all that. He made life hard for them. All because God was going to use a woman – minus a man’s “help” – to bring Jesus to us. And, for some reason, this made me feel a bit better. 🙂 Not that I accept this oppression of women, but it helped me understand some superior thing about women..or, at least, Mary. 😀

    • Thats really interesting, I hadn’t thought of it that way. In pre-Christian times women were seen as the source of all life with the incredible power to give birth. Their role was seen as more critical than the man, since while it was clear that men were linked to procreation, women’s role was much more obvious. I wonder if that theme carried on in Christianity.

  3. Good questions! I don’t know what to answer though…

    • I think I have a better idea now. Short version? In western societies, it was a combination of factors, but it had a great deal to do with economics. As societies went from being more agrarian to being trade or raid/piracy oriented, men – who then could travel long distances more easily than women since they didn’t give birth or nurse young – began to have more value. Warlike cultures also valued men more than women for similar reasons. As wealth became more than just being able to survive from season to season, passing on wealth became a priority. Passing from father to son was a natural conclusion since those traveling and/or pirating men were the source of wealth, so establishing paternity became then became a priority. Monogamy and therefore marriage and therefore women’s (but generally not men’s) virginity prior to marriage followed. As time went on, religion and myth led to laws and social norms that enforced the behavior.

      This is just theory, but it makes sense to me.

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