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Patriarchy – or protecting the breeding stock. (part 1)

10 January, 2011

My  comment at PUMApac about a post by Violet Socks set me to thinking more deeply about the problem of  patriarchy.

my comment:    While I agree with Violet Socks in many ways, I think it is more than “cultural” influence at work in Patriarchy. The survival of any specie depends on breeding, which clearly depends on women. Earliest prototype men had to have a breeding woman. Probably the idea of hiding, or controlling women developed as a way of protecting their own “family” group from raids by other “families.” I’m suggesting that the need is still latent and unrecognized and that equality won’t happen until we address that aspect of the problem too. How to do this is another issue in itself.

We all know the Biblical stories. Adam and Eve must procreate and fill the earth with their own. Cain kills Abel and then becomes the prime male mate. Even after Sara gave Abraham her servant to beget a son with, she became so enraged when she had a child by Abraham that she made Abraham abandon his eldest son so that only her son would be part of the family. Thus Ismael became an outcast to the Jewish people even though his father was their own “Father.” We know from Greek mythology as well that Greek women had to be hidden from Zeus whose lust knew no bounds and who therefore interfered with the individual family’s ability to reproduce its own. I’m sure that other stories can be brought forth to support the unconscious representation of this need. The father must assure that his own seed will survive. This is probably the unconscious basis for all patriarchy

Most ancient artifacts show that women were valued for their fertility; I don’t know when beauty became an issue. Anyone?

Procreation is essential to survival. During all historical wars, men have a strong need to rape the women of the conquered lands; surely this is a buried metaphor for fertility and ownership. So lets assume that over millions of years of evolution, protecting the woman from other men or other families or other tribes was essential to the survival of that pack. Patriarchy must develop. Fathers and husbands protected their children and their women from undesirable suitors, raiding hordes, drunkards and rapists. Patriarchy became strongly embedded in the human psyche and was linked to survival.  I’m not sure that it generally involved more than protection.  Women were not looked upon as evil in the Greek or Roman Republics, nor did they need protection so badly that they were confined or limited in their daily lives.

The Middle Ages, however, was a constant battle between various hordes of so-called Barbarians (or other feudal lords) trying to steal the land, the goods, and the women of other bands. Chivalry made protecting women one of its highest goals. It was not generally assumed that women could protect themselves or were strong enough to learn to fight. I doubt that I could ever have succeeded in doing anything if I were stuck inside a hot, metal suit. I am clearly not saying that some women could fight; certainly Celtic women and German women often fought with the men, but most were able to do so. And the notion of patriarch continued.

In the meantime, the Christian Church had been continuously making the case for the evil that resides in women. Original sin became an accepted concept; women needed to be controlled because they were the danger precisely because of their ability to breed and attract men. The tables were turned. And the Christian Church took patriarchy to a whole new level and brought it into the modern world. The Orthodox Jewish religion preserved its notions of patriarchy also. A woman who left the “group” was considered “dead” to all members of the group.

Women are property and breeders. And now they are also evil, unwholesome and need to be prevented from leaving the protection of the home/family/pack.

How do we undo this perception of women?

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