Historic Patriarchy vs the Mythical Idyllic Matriarchy

Patriarchy Is Just a Scheme to Enslave Women...Right?

Strength or weakness can be expressed in one's decision making process. The greater one's authority, the greater one's responsibility in making decisions. A leader may ask his followers for their opinions, but he may not ask his followers to make his decisions for him. He has the final say, and his is the ultimate responsibility for the consequences.

For example, if a man is faced with a major decision that will effect his entire family--such as buying or selling a house, changing jobs, or relocating--he should not tell his wife, "We will move if you are willing to quit your job." That would put the final decision-making authority and responsibility onto his wife. However, he can legitimately ask God to tell him what to do: "If you want us to move, then tell me by providing employment in the new location or taking away employment here."

He who wears the pants bears the burden. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, and I still need reminders now and then.

What Happened to the Ancient Peace-Loving Matriarchy?

In the prologue to Marriage, East and West, David and Vera Mace wrote:
From the Fertile Crescent…to the rocky eastern shores of Nippon…the patriarchal family reigns supreme. For full four thousand years of recorded history it has held undisputed sway. The odd and fascinating family patterns of some island peoples and hill tribes–polyandry, matrilineal descent, matrilocal marriage, and the like–have captivated the anthropologists. But these are, by comparison with the patriarchal family system, of little account in the great stream of human culture…The hereditary pattern that has dominated the human family, that has been passed down through countless generations, in East and West alike, is solidly, unvaryingly patriarchal.1
Their conclusion was most soundly reinforced by Stephen Goldberg throughout The Inevitability of Patriarchy. He went a step further than the Maces, however, by asserting that those few exceptions are either too unstable to last more than a few generations or else they are illusions, actual patriarchies behind a few token elements of matriarchy.2

1 David and Vera Mace. Marriage, East and West. Garden City, NY: Dolphin Books, 1960. 29  
2 Stephen Goldberg. The Inevitability of Patriarchy. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1974.

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