Writing a matriarchal society

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Riothamus, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    Most definitely.

    That's a good way to say it. I would add that in times of plenty, though, when the food comes easy, the perilousness of existence is less of a factor. Necessity-based functions become values over time by becoming familiar, "the way things are." Changes to the level of necessity bring about ideology.

    Does that society practice birth control? Is there a purpose in limiting pregnancies necessitating limits on casual sexual encounters?

    Would lifelong pair-bonding be a value in a matriarchal society? Why or why not? And how does that factor into a sense of what is promiscuous and what's not?

    Are males just studs, for nothing much more than breeding? Does the stock need to be controlled? Does the male have some level of status that makes it important to know who the father is?

    Would promiscuity be a lager issue amongst lower classes or upper classes? Promiscuity by women in patrilinear arrangements, in the ruling class especially, is not good for patriarchy because genetic testing didn't exist to verify lineage from the male side, so breeding control was important to control for the male parent, but the mother was always self evident -- so would the same necessarily be true in a matrilinear arrangement? The mother would always been known.

    Is promiscuity defined heterosexually (reproductive/emotional), homosexually (recreational/emotional), both? I suspect male promiscuity in consorting with females might be more of an issue than promiscuity between males if control of reproduction is the factor, but I'm not sure that reproduction control in matriarchy would necessarily be all that important -- it would depend on other values, like some notion of racial purity, or disease control.
     
  2. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    The birth control issue might vary depending on what's available or how much they know. I postulated with a potent herbal contraceptive it might depend on harvesting patterns or the desire to preserve it. It seasonal, then it's use would likely be ritualized and reserved for certain "emergencies" such as trying to save a marriage. If at modern levels, then it probably would not matter nearly as much though you might some equivalent of "slut shaming" if patriarchal society is any guide.

    I think reproduction would be highly valued especially in pre-modern societies. So male homosexuality might be frowned upon as men depriving women of their female heirs. However you might have women you look at male homosexuals the the same way men look at lesbians in our society. Of course the two sexes do fnatasize about sexual interactions between two people of the opposite sex, but I'm talking about the specific way in which it is treated. The same could be said of sexual rendezvous with other women. of course the society might know that inbreeding can be a problem, so it might be favorable for the father to be known. In a society where family alliance or clan affiliation is important it might be frowned upon in the extreme, especially if there's landed nobility or patrician families or rather, matrician families similar to Roman culture. It might also be true that men are seen as impulsive and doing so would shame the man or his family by showing a lack of control. It is also likely that shaming promiscuous men might serve the purpose of preventing or limiting the spread of venereal disease.

    Among the upper classes, if our history is any guide, then promiscuity would be more common and acceptable among the upper classes for both men and women. Female homosexuality might actually be put up on a pedestal or frowned upon depending what factors you look at.

    Of course, it might also depend on the capacity in which men are employed as you had said.
     
  3. CMTheAuthor

    CMTheAuthor Life is fantastic, yes?

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    Wow, I go away for a day and look what happens. Time to play catch up.

    One point I feel the need to emphasize (that none of you seem to be aware of) is that quantity of food is not the only factor in health. In fact, it's pretty well established the typical diet in an agricultural society was nutritionally poorer than that in a hunter-gatherer society. Food for thought (yes, the pun is completely intentional.) :p

    Also, what tmso's grandmother went through is actually indicative. In early agricultural societies, a woman typically bore a child every two years or so, based on the measured growth rate of those societies. So, not a lot of flex room for harvesting the crops.

    (All info here courtesy of Guns, Germs, and Steel, since I'm going to try to be semi-professional and cite my sources.)
     
  4. A. Lynn

    A. Lynn Was: "Virangelus"

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    I live on a border town, and I have a lot of dialogue with women who have come from the culture and society thought process of Mexico, versus the thought process of the average United States woman. For example, my first boss originally lived in Mexico and came the U.S. when she was eight. She says she kisses the ground she walks on everyday, because had she still been in Mexico, she is positive that she would have been on some homestead, barefoot, and with five or six children already. Now this is of course her view, and her experiences.

    I am very much agreed, and this thought is backed up by scholars. Per Classical Mythology, Images & Insights (by Stephen L. Harris & Gloria Platzner), Chapter 5, page 145-146:
    This idea of the Creator Goddess is the general lump term that scholars have grouped all such divine goddesses under, simply because they do not know anything else about the figures they are uncovering. Yet despite what has been found, the book goes on to detail the following:

    Fung Koo, I think they wrote that bit just for you ;) Though this book does say that women are associated as the avatars of agriculture, and I believe some of your conversations have contraindicated that.

    Well, actually it COULD be that easy. (Occam's Razor, anyone?) The Venus of Willendorf, which is a stone statue considered typical of the Great Goddess motif, has enlarged breasts and is pregnant. This style of statue was found quite often. Even in the Patriarchal Greek and Roman society, the Artemis of Ephesus statue is depicted with multiple breasts. She was a virgin goddess, yet she was still associated with childbearing and nurture.

    The Great Goddess, from the earliest European images, typically depicted female figures with enlarged breasts and abdomen, or sometimes it is even seen in the act of given birth. They were not associated with love or sex, but rather creation as a whole. This worship of her greatness was likely generated from the fact that man did not understand the precise male role in procreation, and thus Great Goddesses, such as Gaea, gives birth to the world via parthenogenesis within herself.

    Thus, Riothamus, you may benfift in considering that women are often associated with primordial cthonic forces such as Heaven, Earth and the Underworld, or as virginal maiden- nurturing mother-and wise old crone.

    You may also benefit from looking up female rituals, the few that we have on record anyhow.
    • Female rites of passage are collective rather than individual experiences.
    • While men's rituals deal with overcoming beasts in battle, women's rituals deal with BECOMING said beast, such as the Brauronia, the Rite of Passage of Artemis.
    • Races are very common in women's rituals, such as the Navajo girls rite of passage, the "Kinaalda of Changing Woman."
    • In these rituals, women are still considered forces of creation. The above mentioned ritual was a reenactment of creation.
    • Women are considered to be more connected to the natural world. Men however, seek to dominate it.

    This is a fun conversation :) Keep it up!
     
  5. Window Bar

    Window Bar We Read for Light

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    Cerebral differences

    First of all, my hat comes off to all of you who have written 5,000 word treatises in the above posts. It's probably a blessing that I rarely have that much to say on anything.

    The recent neurological studies done on brain differences between men and women would be natural place to start when envisioning a matriarachy. PET-scan technology shows substantial female proclivities toward multitasking and empathy; while (as Virangelus pointed out) men lean toward hierarchical competition in almost everything. Also, females tend toward stronger verbal ability, men toward stronger spatial abilities. (Yup, we're the space cases).
     
  6. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    I am more than skeptical of the matriarchal prehistory period and sky father usurpation theories given that early societies tended toward egalitarianism and humans would have known that men had something to do with the creation of children though may not have known exactly what that role was. In the early phases there probably was no king or queen, just spirits and more powerful spirits or deities that diminished or increased in their importance based on the needs of the tribal groups. Also they tend to find horned altars and horns at many of those neolithic sites which are symbols of male divinity and fertility such as Catal Hoyuk which suggests to me that many of the symbols of male divinity were made out of horn and thus disintegrated over time. It also stands to reason that their would have also been religions where male divinities were revered. It's also possible that some cultures never made idols. We also fail to take into consideration differing customs in different cultures. It may be that some did not make shrines or figurines since they might delay other more important tasks and the sky and earth which they viewed as the domains their deities were omnipresent or that their deities were everywhere to them so they did not bother to make any of either. However in some places we do find images of horned male figures who may have been Gods. Furthermore, fertility cults would inevitably deal with sex. Sky deities are almost exclusively men as well, so it is unlikely that the sky was originally associated with the mother. Considering how humans fixate on fixed roles, it is likely it was so since prehistoric times even before the rise of patriarchal society. Though I am a staunch feminist, I think this idea is more rooted in recent thinking related to the second wave.I do think women's spirituality needs to advanced in the modern era, but historical revisionism is something I do not condone no matter who is promoting it or what vision they have. In fact, more than a few archaeologists reject the notion of a matriarchal stone age. As I have stated previously, hierarchies of gender based nature seem to be explicitly linked to sedentary agricultural cultures. So to call any societies prior to the beginnings of agriculture patriarchies or matriarchies is a stretch in my opinion. Why? Because this is the beginning of greater stratification in social structures and the beginning of inheritance and inherited positions and titles. The beginning of the social stratification models that would dominate human societies for centuries to come.

    However, I do not reject that the idea or possibility of a culture with a Goddess as the chief deity. The Japanese pantheon is anomalous in that the sun deity is female since solar deities are more often male. However, it's also anomalous that the Japanese pantheon is headed by a female deity given it's historically patriarchal structure. This also means that it is possible to have a matriarchal society with male God as head. Religions form around the best perceived morality in a given situation, so this is dependent on a number of other factors and what a culture considers important. Also, though I have heard of prominent male deities in the mythologies of southeast Asian peoples, mother goddesses are extremely important even in the modern era and are the source of many popular sects. So the importance and power of the mother is not be ignored or scorned.

    This being said Virangelus. I thank you for your last few notes. Though I think men very clearly ARE linked to the natural world in ancient mythologies, but this link is downplayed in many ways for whatever reason there may be. Anyway, your last few notes, though brief are extremely helpful.

    I also wonder about so called "third-sex" roles. How would "effeminate" males be treated? What about "masculine" females? What about those we might call in our modern society "transgender" in some way?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  7. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Okay, this is going to be interesting to catch up on.

    Well, no. That was the point. The men weren't involved in raising children in many of the early cultures and in the later, bigger societies. The men were away. The men stayed together in groups, the men went off hunting, fishing, raiding, trading. As cultures advanced and slavery became widespread (including things like serfdom later on,) lower class men might have no contact with their children or be moved away from their children. The men were mobile, the women were less mobile because they had to do the childrearing. The men were involved in getting some food for the tribe, but the men were frequently not involved in childrearing. And since the men were often away -- not involved in food for the tribe on a day to day basis -- they were even less involved with childrearing.

    So the women handled the local, communal areas and women often had quite a lot of power in those areas, with matrifocal communities being common with little regular male presence. But the large groups of men in the tribe went out and increased territory, increased the number of women available to them and controlled access to other communities. The women were also more easily coerced and controlled, because control their children and you controlled them. Whereas the men were often having more children with more women in multiple territories. Losses of children were high, so societies did not necessarily value their children, often selling them into slavery with other tribes. Men most of the time controlled that trade. In a sense, men were able to move on beyond simple survival issues because women handled basic survival needs for the community, as well as the increasing use of slave labor. Women became valued less, not more. They were not isolated to go make babies because food was scarce and infants died. When food is scarce, women are less able to get pregnant and bring a child to term and survive childbirth. (And when food was plentiful, children still died easily from accident and illness.) They were isolated because they were not mobile, because their job became caretaking and making sure children survived. The more isolated that agricultural community was from other communities -- with the men going in and out and having a wife in each village -- the less women had influence and power in larger country units.

    Then you get to cities -- in cities, women had more freedom and opportunities, and more mobility, at least within a city. But they also had less communal resources and support, and their local power in a neighborhood was less than their power had been running a village. Women were also still blocked from education and trade opportunities that became increasingly important in cities. And women were still less mobile than men. For example, William Shakespeare went traipsing off with an acting troupe and then to London, while his wife was back in Avon with the kiddies whom he hardly ever saw. This was a common situation in most societies until fairly late in human history. It wasn't until about the 1950's that this pattern really started to change in large numbers and then only in parts of the world like Europe and North America.

    So the argument is not that women were so busy birthing babies they had no time for anything else. The argument is that lack of mobility and the requirement of caring for infants as well as finding food, etc., limited their opportunities, whereas men were able to expand and from that, take wider control, especially as societies became larger and more complicated. And from that, women became valued less, were ideologically viewed as property, particularly as land deals developed, and were seen as disposable. Women were still often running the local community alone and working in the fields, but were expected to do as men commanded or they were slaughtered or enslaved by bands of men (or even if they did do as told.) Agrarian societies could be very equal -- but expanding beyond small agrarian societies into wide ranging trade, even though women were often involved in trade, put women at a disadvantage. For instance, Vikings (bands of mostly men but probably sometimes some women,) could come into Saxon villages, seize the women and children, keep some of them for their village holdfast and sell the rest as slaves. That's harder to do when you're nursing a baby. (Though not impossible, and certainly working in the fields is very possible while nursing.) Many tribal societies have cultures of raiding each other and these raids tend to be done by mostly groups of men. From this comes an ideology of ritual coming of age -- to prove himself a man, a boy has to kill another man or a beast, bring back goods and women to the tribe in a raid, etc. It becomes a patriarchy because that becomes the way men have status in the society -- they must show their ability to control.

    So if you have a matriarchal society, the legal standing of men in the society would be similarly greatly limited. Men might be allowed to be mobile, or they might be restricted. And the care of children is a major issue in the society. Whether the society has slavery or not is another major issue.

    Very early tribal religions, while they varied on the details of the myth, were remarkably similar from what we've found. They consisted of an earth nature goddess fertility mother creator and her son, the sky god, who was also her consort and essentially fathered himself (and sometimes other gods and creatures.) The earth goddess would bear the sky god in winter or in spring. He would be her lover in the summer. He would die or be sacrificed in the fall with the harvest and be resurrected in the spring. (Variants were that he would be sacrificed/killed in the winter/spring and resurrected in the spring.) Variants of this idea developed into many types of myths (and regional issues may have effected that.) The sky god became more prominent, sometimes was also god of the wood, as well as the sun, lightening and the hunt, and sometimes replaced the earth goddess or ruled over everything. The resurrection/season was sometimes transferred to the earth goddess or related, such as Persephone or Sleeping Beauty. The idea that gods resided above us became more popular.

    An earth goddess is not necessarily indicative of a matriarchy, though it can be. The key determinant to an "archy" is the legal status of the genders in the society and those being unequal. In a patriarchy, for instance, a woman may be able to be the queen -- the leader, and have power and influence in certain areas, but the rest of the apparatus is run by men and women in general have a lower legal status. Likewise, a matriarchy may allow men in prominent roles and to own land, control trade operations, etc., but the men's legal status is lesser, the women control most of the apparatus and the men are blocked from opportunities due to their gender. That doesn't necessarily require controlling their sexuality, although it could involve that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  8. N. E. White

    N. E. White tmso Staff Member

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    If it wasn't for KatG, what would I do?

    Exactly what she said. Limit the opportunities of your males in your made up world and that will lead to a female-dominated society. Now, how you limit them is entirely up to your imagination. Maybe the norm is that all males are transgendered (females born into male bodies)?

    What is the story you are planning on writing? Were you planning on creating the society first and then coming up with a story or...what?
     
  9. N. E. White

    N. E. White tmso Staff Member

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    Ah, here's where I got the idea of an entire half of a species born transgendered. :D

    How would they be treated? That's a good question. I know that for me, as a woman, I do not find the idea offensive in the least, and I suspect that most women feel the same (but I could be completely wrong). As such, I would imagine that in your made up society, transgendered folks would enjoy more acceptance.
     
  10. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    Males don't really get slut shamed in our modern patriarchal/post-patriarchal societies, though. As a question of lineage and inheritance, the reason women get slut shamed is because of the uncertainty of who the father is, which is the relationship between the child and parent that matters. The woman in the equation is more or less irrelevant -- even the children kings whelped on whores were potential heirs to the throne. The status of the woman involved in the production of offspring on the patrilinear line was of absolutely zero consequence. So, if patriarchal society is any guide, for matriarchal society I can't see a likely reason why it would matter who the father is. And the mother is self-evident. So I'm not sure promiscuity would be likely to be any kind of important factor at all.

    That's not to say a situation couldn't be thunked up where it did have some importance in a matriarchal society -- only that inverting the situation and using patriarchy as the guide here is probably not the way to go.

    I'm not sure about this either. Once fertilization happens, all male sexual activity with that woman is completely irrelevant, biologically speaking, except for recreational uses (or possibly medicinal, in that sexual activity in certain periods of pregnancy can alleviate symptoms and at the end encourage the onset of labour). So for 9 months of the year, horny males have no real purpose to the woman. What would she care if he gets his rocks off with other fellas? Nothing about it disrupts the status quo.

    Again, could be thunked up to matter, but at the most basic level the taboo on homosexuality in modern society stems from patriarchy -- it's largely men that find it abhorrent (who are also the ones obsessed with blood lines and baby making), and it's in the most patriarchal value systems where the strongest taboos lay against homosexual behaviour (and not surprisingly also where it emerges the most violently). I'm not sure it would have the same relevance in matriarchal arrangements.

    Definitely plausible -- the rules about pre-marital sex and lifelong pair bonding in human civilization are recorded in early Egyptian dynasties as laws introduced specifically to control the spread of STDs. The suggestion is that before they became laws, some 5000 years ago, the situation was a little more free-wheeling.


    I didn't explicitly state that, but that's part of what I intended to communicate -- the drop in health caused by the change to agriculture, and the increased hardships in life that resulted from it, would have been a major force in delimiting and defining the gender roles and corresponding ideologies attached to them.


    The trouble with brain scans to support evolutionary arguments is that the neocortex, the intersection of all important brain activity, begins in life being almost completely unformed. It takes shapes very rapidly and forms several bazillon connections (to use the scientific term :p) in the first two decades of life -- including all the neural connections related to socialization, i.e. culture, i.e. values, i.e. ideologies. "Proclivities" are equally, if not more so, measures of the process of nurture as they are of nature.

    The women of a matriarchal society might have entirely different observed "proclivities," all predominantly written into the brain through interaction with that society. If that society did not encourage the same things as ours does, where women are actually encouraged to be better at those things pretty much from the days they're born, we'd probably see different brain results that supported that society.
     
  11. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    Well Kat that depends what we're defining as early tribal religion. I've looked into many african traditional religions which are the first religions and I found a wider variation from sky father creators, to the universe being created by a married couple of deities, to creation by a hermaphroditic deity. In native American religions, it is clear that the feminine is deeply important. However I found just many father deities as creatrixes. However you are right in that the grandmother spider deity is a common figure who appears in the mythologies of the Navajo, Zuni, and Pueblo peoples. I have also heard that in the mythology if the Australian Aborigines that the creator was a mother Goddess. The Koreans have one as well. It's a shame its harder to find more information on Korean Shamanism. I've been fascinated ever since I saw a filmed Shaman's rite. I have also heard of some south american religions where a Goddess seems to take primacy. In polynesian lore I found married mother and father deities as well legends where no one deity created the universe. The Hawaiians in particular had no creator deity. I will concede that since the growth of sedentary society is linked to war, that the importance, equality, and reverence of the Goddesses may have been diminished as people began worshipping male Gods of battle more fervently. I'm not saying that there ware no female war deities as mythology would prove me incredibly wrong, but as you said, the male sky deities tend to be linked to battle. I am not skeptical of a time when the great Goddess was afforded as much respect as her consort, but I am skeptical of the particular slant of the matriarchal prehistory theory because of what I know about some of these cultures. However, I have seen religions whose prime deity is a great Goddess so I will not doubt the existence of such religions in ancient times and that there are likely Goddess oriented religions that may have been lost to time as a result of certain events.

    As for your Questions tmso:

    I plan on fleshing out the society first then writing even though I have a sort of Game of Thrones (for lack of a better novel to compare it to) style plot. I don't want to give too much away as I have not planned out everything nor do I want to spoil it.

    Men have opportunities though if one looked at my notes on sex and courtship, one might assume men are no more than walking phallic organs. However men are allowed other opportunities. Most government positions however are off limits to them. There are loop holes, but everything has to be just so. The intellect of a man is not doubted, so much as his ability to channel his thoughts or to remain coherent in their expression. While men are not thought of as blithering idiots, they are considered impulsive. Part of a man's courtship of a woman is that he has to prove himself a valuable asset to not only his potential wife, but her family's elder crones.


    As for third sex groups, this is a very complex issue, the handling of which I drew from historical sources such as the two spirit groups of Native American societies, a peculiar Indonesian tribe, and more contemporary studies with a dash of my own imagining. "Effeminate" men experience a sort of privilege that normal men do not. They are divided into two groups, one which is considered to be male, but to have the touch of a Goddess, and what our society would describe as heterosexual. They are considered men, but for the most part are afforded the same respect as a woman. They marry women, they can do what one might call "men's" work in this society, and their word outside of the bedroom carries the same weight as a woman, and unlike other men the value of said word increases at the same rate with age. However the second group of "effeminate" men which are what we would call homosexual are outright considered women (whether they think of themselves that way or not). The treatment of homosexuality is a very complex thing, and most men do not consider these persons viable sexual partners as they cannot become pregnant nor are they really interested. Furthermore a male engaging in homosexual acts who is not a part of this second division is often scorned because he is seen as denying his spouse her children(since everyone ends up married one way or another), specifically her potential female heirs. In another way, it is result of the man having the audacity to think he can take a woman's role. Remember, more "masculine" gay men in this society are not considered women. The other half of the group IS considered female and thus are not shunned for these activities. This society is both very strangely homophobic towards gay men and in some ways oddly accepting. One might think it would be as simple as allowing for an affair if a woman's husband is gay and was a part of an arranged marriage, however, this is considered adultery and thus frowned upon, and just about any man who can breed is married to a woman. I haven't gotten around to female third sex groups, but I'll probably be working that out soon. I imagine a female equivalent comprised of more masculine women would hold less stigma with the way this society treats lesbianism.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  12. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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    Since I am working on a series with a Matriarchy society on a planet in a neighboring star system, I will share my areas of research.

    The Amazons is the icing on the cake.

    Queen Myrina aka Myrine is said to be a Queen of the Amazons who went to war against Atlantis and founded the city of Epherus, where the Temple of Artemis still stands.

    I can only speculate on my own that she might have originated from Lemuria, which is believed to have been a Matriarchy society that co-existed with Atlantis for 40,000 years.

    If you want to understand a culture, study their gods. Artemis of Epheeus is a good point of study as the goddess of the Amazons.
     
  13. N. E. White

    N. E. White tmso Staff Member

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    Ah, very good point, Fung. I'd like to see some scientific study on this, because you do see that played out quite a bit in what I would call peer pressure (I don't know the jargon, but whatever it is that makes us want to be like the rest of our group). Whether that pressure be from parents, siblings, or other tribe members, what is expected of one, often ends up what becomes of one. Not all the time, of course, but often. And, as you said, the neurological pathways are then set in gray matter, so to speak.
     
  14. N. E. White

    N. E. White tmso Staff Member

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    Very interesting. Now, this is something you came up with based on those three sources, correct? In those sources that you drew on, did they exhibit the same characteristics or did you draw different parts from each one?

    I'm just wondering about the interaction between these third-sex men. From what I understand, the first set of third-sex men (effeminate men that could be transgendered, but can't do anything about it) want and do have sexual relations with women and therefore produce offspring. Whereas the second set of third-sex men are more or less standard male homosexuals, and because they don't produce offspring, they are shunned. Correct?

    That seems clear, and would set up a lot of character and story tension for characters that might be homosexuals trying to pass as the more favored of the third-sex group.
     
  15. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    I borrowed bits and pieces from each one then considered other elements of the society I had already put in place, and added a sprinkling of my imagination.

    The other half that one would consider homosexual is in a very awkward position. They carry many of the privileges of being considered female, but love and marriage are a mind numbing cluster f*** for them. Technically they could be married to a man because they are thought of as women, but they do not produce children, so more often than not they are excluded from a rather important institution that plays into family and political alliances. Any sexual encounters they do have are limited to largely random encounters with men who have not been married off. These affairs are promptly ended by force if necessary once the partner is married off. Their only other option is to This is a society where infertility is a sign of shame. They are not necessarily shamed for not being able to bare children, but the fact that they cannot pretty much screws up most chances they might have at attaining a steady romantic relationship. They are in many ways, despite their greater political clout, made second class citizens when compared to heterosexual third sex men, and yes, it would be a safe bet to say that some are deep within the closet because they want to have a chance at maintaining a relationship with someone they desire. So they may try to convince themselves they're confused or pass themselves off as the other sort. Their only real chance for a steady relationship is if they can attract another of their own kind since it is technically considered lesbian. Lesbianism does not carry the same stigma for certain complex reasons. This means their pool of acceptable sexual and romantic partners is extremely limited and their families will not or rather cannot marry them off, so the economic privileges of marriage are out of the question. Their heterosexual more advantaged brethren are clearly favored in many senses though no one really speaks of such things. This some times makes the heterosexual moon sons inclined to mock or look down on them.

    I repeat, it's a complex and nightmarish mess for some of these people.
     
  16. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    Do you mean Ephesus? The Temple of Artemis and Ephesus are both in Selcuk, Turkey. There's considerable debate as to whether or not the area identified is actually the Temple or not, though.

    Ephesus is honestly the most amazing Roman ruin site I've ever been to.
     
  17. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    Actually the ruins at Ephesus are Greek.
     
  18. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    Greek, Cimmerian, Lydian, Persian, and Roman all told. Much of what's there now comes from the Roman period, when the population and the area of city was largest, and was the capital of Asia Minor. There's plenty of stuff from the earlier eras, too, in particular the Greeks.
     
  19. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    OK, but what does this say about the power arrangement? Is freedom of mobility a denotation of power in the kind of society you're describing here? Is it even "freedom"? Or necessity?

    This sounds more like two societies operating side by side, more or less independently, with some trade occurring between them. Even human exchange -- maybe the girls stay with the women, the boys at some point go off with the men -- does not necessarily denote power relationships here. It does almost sound like a precursor to slavery, but may simply have been a functional arrangement.

    But as a question of power arrangement, is this something that you're describing as patriarchal, matriarchal, neither, both, or something else altogether?

    This strikes me a bit as looking back at a very different past with the values we associate with power today. Questions of mobility and sharing the load of child rearing may not even have been thoughts that ever registered as important. It's entirely possible that women saw the males' travelling as a weakness. Maybe the males saw it as a punishment. Maybe they weren't allowed to stay. Staying still, in a society that is constantly on the move, would probably be a luxury, wouldn't it?

    This is really interesting. The men basically end up having ladies in all the different towns, right? So men move between these "wives" (breeding stations?) exchanging/trading the things they hunt for a place to crash, spread their seed, collect the boys, and move on (rinse, repeat).

    But the argument included here is that the limitation on mobility is mostly a result of the biological factor or childbirth, not necessarily force. What sort of control over the women are you imagining in this arrangement?

    I'm looking at this more from the perspective of long term averages, though. A society that enjoys a lower child mortality rate over a period of time (say, at least two generations) might still be seeing 8 children die for every one that survives, but compared to the neighbouring tribe who are having 12 die for every surviving child, that's a huge advantage, and the effect of this would result in profound differences between the two societies.

    Even if the society with the better mortality rate bred children at the same rate (as if they had a rate of 12), then we'd be seeing effects like rapid population increase, cultural border expansion, resource-acquisition expansion... at least until they reach a maximum relative to the food source. The society could alternatively slow down on the baby making, enjoying the improved mortality rate, and use those extra resources for increased trade with the neighbours for luxury goods.

    Survivability overall would be much easier -- despite the fact we're still talking about large numbers of dead women and children by today's standards. The corresponding effect on social values would almost certainly be present, depending on which of the many routes that society might take in taking advantage of their stronger reproductive base.

    Taking your example above of the mobile male community, moving between different pockets of female territory and having "families" in each, if one of those communities breeds more successfully than the other, the differences are going to become noticeable fairly soon. The presence of the males in those predominantly female communities would have a much different tenor, depending on the health and success of those communities.

    One possible avenue where a matriarchy might come to exist would be a situation where a village of women enjoy considerable economic advantage, and therefore becomes a target for pillaging (scavenging). Eventually the need for a permanent defensive force results in a class of male warriors in service to the women. ...which sort of seems like what exists, and if the shoe fits... ;)

    I think this is definitely part of it. But I'm not sure "opportunities" is exactly the right way to phrase it. More below...

    See, this is where I go "huh?!"

    Even the most brutal patriarchy ostensibly exists (according to its own ideology) to protect its women. Even nutbags like the Taliban come to the crazy decisions they make to protect their women. It's bizarre and often terrible, sure, but it's not an issue of women being disposable. If anything, it's the opposite.

    As for the notion of male opportunity... A counter viewpoint would suggest that a lot of the 'opportunities' available to men come from the relative disposability of males. In some respects, we can consider the mobility of early male societies as being an extension of the female base stations. Men were sent out to hunt, find food, defend territory, and generally run a near constant increased risk of death. When agriculture and urbanization come along, male mobility decreases but does not end -- we still have all sorts of dangerous trades being under the purview of men. Things like fishing, sailing, mining, and military roles, all have terribly high mortality rates throughout history. Males, throughout history, have been the disposable ones. And, correspondingly, have a higher mortality rate: "the fact that women live longer than men was observed at least as far back as 1750 and that, with relatively equal treatment, today males in all parts of the world experience greater mortality than females" (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#Sex_differences). That mortality is due, in large part, to the kinds of job men are normally in, and health differences stemming from being "out in the world" versus being "at home."

    The modern point of view is that women were forcibly kept out of such roles as the military by men. It's just as likely that women, quite intelligently, preferred the men to occupy these roles -- whether because of the biological imperative and inherent disposibility of men, or because women have some degree of control over this and see that it's a horrible, horrible sort of fate. Or it ended up that way for very good reasons once upon a time, but now it doesn't make sense any more.

    Modern government is largely an extension of the military (male) and it makes a sort of sense that it be under the male domain given that history. Even religion-derived governments (male) are effectively militaristic (male), and the purview of the military is largely the defence or expansion of trade (male). Perhaps it's male dominated because males can die in huge numbers and the world can go on... Because women are not disposable.

    In general, I think the notion of patriarchy is a classic Two Box system -- the bogeyman of second-wave feminism. We've built it in order to make sense of certain things, and it's important to know and useful, but in the process we've over applied it. Each patriarchal system is unique, and the response of each local culture to an overarching patriarchy (like the RC Church, for example) is likewise unique. Ideological patriarchies are different from functional patriarchies -- and I think functional patriarchy is largely a conclusion derived from a limited examination using a specific interpretive lens -- values we have today, like mobility, may have been totally inverted in some past cultures.



    (PS -- In case it's not clear, I'm playing devil's advocate and trying to introduce questions, just at places where I think a question might produce an imagined path to a different kind of society. Different interpretations of past cultures might show different ways of representing a real society in a more matriarchal kind of light.)
     
  20. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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    Okay,

    Research into Lemuria will reveal how a matriarchy society differs from a patriarchy society with more attention paid to art, cosmetic design, being close to nature and animals, healing the sick, more community sharing, and more willingness to make friends than throw fists.

    And this is not to say women will not fight. They will. Besides the Amazons around Epherus and Aretias, tribes of seven foot Amazons existed in South Africa up until about two hundred years ago who could slice off a man's head with a mechette.