Writing a matriarchal society

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

  1. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    That's pretty much my assumption in all our conversations, which is why I'm not going to take you down like a wild puma on a deer over "boogeyman of second wave feminism." :)

    I would imagine it was both. Once human populations started shifting to agriculture and staying put -- which had a number of advantages for humans -- it became necessary for most of the women to stay with the youngest children most of the time, (which meant that they were also going to be doing a lot of the work to watch over the crops,) making it even more necessary for men to roam outwards for more food sources, resources and trade, including acquiring assets by war. This necessity also gave men a number of freedoms and opportunities, as well as risks. One of those would be mating with women in more than one place, which would not then necessarily mean that the man then would work to help all his children. Matrifocal societies developed well on throughout history and cultures did sometime shape themselves to that, with men's lodges where the men stayed and boys went when they were old enough. Another system obviously was the multi-generational extended family, where the woman had a support system of relatives, her own or her mate's. How much power she had in that system depended on the culture that developed.

    It would depend on the culture that developed and the circumstances of the region. The larger the culture that developed and the larger its trade with other systems, the more patriarchal it tended to get. For instance, the matriarchal and/or goddess worshiping early cultures of Japan are believed to have been subjugated by invading and more patriarchal China. The current and long term matrifocal societies of the Caribbean stemmed from slavery there. It's a pattern that has persisted throughout our globe through most of our history. The men head out on the boats or the oil rigs, etc. and the women stay home with kids and work in the canneries, the textile factories, etc. (although there is crossover.) A woman might have been a servant and able to raise her kids in the home of her employer, but her husband is not employed by the same person and not there at all or most of the time. Before that, the woman would have been a serf and so on.

    It was, that's why land ownership became very important. An entire mobile community might raid a place and then try to hold it, setting up a permanent camp. Then they would farm, raise structures and the bandit chief might declare himself a lord or a king. We know that women were in armies and part of army operations. We know that women participated in trade and craft making and businesses. We know that women ran farms, ran fortress siege defense and other defenses, that women would travel looking for better opportunities, re famine or disease. We know that women had opportunities for roles in male-dominated societies if they ran certain gauntlets or were in certain groups. We know sometimes women ruled or at least nominally ruled or ruled through the backdoor, depending on the cultural laws. But the need to care for small children, to nurse them as the easiest and most effective way, and being pregnant before that, was a major factor for women. It made them less mobile and also easier to constrain. That's why childcare issues are still big issues for feminism -- it's very easy to lock women out of areas you don't want them in through their children.

    "A girl in every port." They didn't necessarily collect the boys. If you were say a peasant soldier in one of the Crusades, and you got an Arab woman pregnant, you just left with the army (or died.) The kid then might be considered an outcast, not because of a lack of father but because of taboos on ethnic blending. The kid then might have to roam away from the Arab culture as an adult to another culture. The peasant soldier was sent by his master because he was a serf, and on return, might find any family he had moved to another holding by his master or his woman taken up with another man. Or he might desert into a city, where if he could escape notice for a year, in some countries by law he'd become a serf no more and could start yet another family. And that still goes on today in a fashion. People did not marry (and in earl cultures probably didn't have marriage rites,) and if they did, say, in medieval times, it was not usually by a priest. Marriage was -- and still is -- a trade transaction. It's a business contract, and in many cultures for centuries, the business contract was not between the man and the woman, but between the man and whoever owned the woman, such as her family. And that also still goes on today.

    I'm not imagining any arrangement; I'm talking about history. The limitation on mobility was due to a combo of change to settled agriculture, regional geographic circumstances, biological situation of childbirth and early care, and in many cultures, force, including law, religion and various forms of slavery. But there are also nomadic societies still and in those societies, the women and children are mobile, but the society may be matriarchally leaning or patriarchal, may have slavery or not, but they tend not to be matrifocal.

    I'm not poo-pooing famine as a factor, but I will say that historically, I don't think there seems to be a correlation between famine and patriarchal cultures versus abundance cultures that are non-patriarchal. Patriarchal cultures developed in both. Both abundant and famine cultures had both war and trade as factors, though, and any culture with slavery, which might be either, is usually patriarchal. I also don't know how a society in the past would slow down on the baby-making. That's been relatively impossible for societies to do until very recently -- and with that control, there has been an increase in women's legal standing as actual humans and entry into sectors of trade. If women are able to control their fertility, then they usually develop a bigger say in the economy and the economy tends to improve and grow. We're seeing this in parts of Africa, for instance, and in India, etc. But though there were early birth control methods, mostly these were not easily available to women for most of history, as someone else noted. In abundance cultures, women were able to have more children to term. Of course, in a hypothetical culture, you could come up with a way for them to be able to slow baby-making, one way or another.

    What you do get in Earth history is this weird loop -- agriculture provides settlements which grow, women are less mobile, men roam out in trade and war (trade,) women are more disposable and less valuable in cultures, slavery develops and is part of trade, patriarchy spreads through trade and war, technology develops from trade (including birth control,) moving the societies away from a mainstay of agriculture, technology improves access to education, increases trade and cultural interactions, technology and improved access to education increase opportunities for women in trade and improves their legal standing as equal humans, societies become more egalitarian. At least some of the time. So the key shaper of things tends to be long-roaming trade and interaction.

    Exists where exactly?

    Well no, it does not exist to protect its women. Women are disposable in a patriarchy. They are property -- chattel as they're called in the Torah and the Christian Bible. Their legal standing ranges somewhere between slave and child, depending on the culture. Protecting women as ideology is protecting property, the same as you do with land, livestock, possessions. That would essentially make them valuable, as property, but women are easily replaced property. That's what mobility and trade provided. The important thing in many types of patriarchies is to make sure that they only produce offspring that are yours, which requires controlling and often isolating them through culture and law. So the other half of the ideology is keeping women from legal standing as humans and thus from being involved in trade and any political power. They can't handle it (not human or are children,) is given as the reason, and must be protected (not given legal standing, enslaved and/or limited.) The more people who can have trade power, the more you have to share -- this is part of prejudice of many kinds. In the long term, that sharing benefits your economy and produces more trade, but many humans are not worried about long term. Up until about the mid-1800's for instance, in Europe and North America, when a woman married, her property became her husband's. They legally became one person -- him -- and the woman could not buy and own property herself. She no longer had legal standing as a separate and equal human. I'm sure that the rationale was protection, but the reality was that it was simply seizing her goods, or more commonly the marriage was a business transaction between the woman's family and the man. Her husband could also beat her and rape her without it being illegal because legally, she's his to do with what he will. However, in those cultures at that time, if the husband killed the wife, even though she was his property, that became a problem because women did in many areas have the legal standing of children (minors.) But in other cultures, and earlier cultures, a man could kill his wife legally.

    Even in a matrifocal culture, this can be the case. The man returns and can kill, beat, rape, etc. the wife or mate and it may be legal under the law. The woman may have to turn over property to the man because it's the law, etc. It is the legal standing of a gender or group that effects things when we're talking about archies.

    I would not argue that men are not disposable. The premise of slavery is that both sexes and children are disposable. And both sexes died at a high rate with short life spans whether they were settled or roamed. (There is, however, a correlation between your famine/abundance and life span obviously. In more abundant countries, people live longer on average and the wealthiest live the longest.) However, many cultures developed the legal primacy of men, which gives men rights as humans if they are not in a slave group in the culture. How many rights you have is key -- you may be able to do some things and not other things in the culture. Patriarchies reserve the top opportunities for acceptable males. A matriarchy would also reserve the top opportunities for acceptable females.

    They weren't sent out; they went out and it provided culturally forms of status and property rewards. However, the culture might require them to go out as a rite of passage, which is being sent out. The type of roaming and duration and whether males returned even if alive depended on the culture.

    Urbanization tends to increase mobility, not decrease it, because there's more trade and cultural interaction.

    Well again, women were involved in fishing, mining, war action, trade caravans, factories with heavy machinery, etc., all the dangerous trades, including the trade that was dangerous up until relatively recently -- agriculture. Pearl diving -- women are good at that. Hard labor, field picking, etc., and they continue to be. But how much they were involved depended greatly on culture, circumstances, slavery, etc. And it doesn't change the fact that women did not do as much long-roaming trade because of childcare and because food sources became largely settled -- agriculture, and because they were limited in participating in many areas because of cultural laws. Again, both sexes are disposable. The reason women live longer -- and they do even if men don't roam and work in safe cubicles -- and females live longer in many species, they think is biological, due to mitochondrial mutations over time that effect how men age. Women may not be subject to the effects of such mutations or effected as much because of their reproductive cycle.

    Historically, this would be bunk. :)

    Several million horny young men in China right now who can't find wives would be an example that biological imperatives (women bear children and are needed in the population,) don't necessarily mesh with cultural ones (women are disposable and not desirable, especially if you're only allowed one child.) We have many long cultural traditions of killing female babies in large numbers. Culturally, people are not always rational actors and there is path dependence besides. The issue in a culture is a particular person's legal standing as a human in the culture. In patriarchal cultures women have no legal standing to a limited legal standing. It's not an either or, two box system. So you might, in fiction, have a matriarchal culture in which women get the top jobs, run the government and top areas of culture, etc., and men can own property and participate in trade but have no say in the government. Lots of ways to work it.
     
  2. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    Japan was implied to not actually have ORIGINALLY been matriarchal but had a period where it was ruled by queens as a result of a civil war between kings. Wikipedia may not be the best source, but it is quick....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_war_of_Wa

    Though historians do agree that the patriarchal system was re-instituted/truly introduced and reinforced by Chinese influence. It is also believed that the female shamans who definitely seem to have been of great importance to Japanese society and religion, was much greater than at present. To add the depressing nature of the history of Japan as it pertains to the welfare of women is that many of the shaman roles women had were reduced to the duties of shrine maidens whose position only continued to decline as history marched on. Many blame this on the introduction to the patriarchal nature of Confucianism which is not far fetched in the slightest considering how Chinese society turned out. This can be said of many Asian cultures though, including the Vietnamese who to this day worship a number of mother Goddesses who are among the most prominent deities in their culture, if not the most, the Koreans who while not matriarchal from what little I know of it's ancient history suffered a similar fate to that of Japan.

    However, aside from the bit about Japan, everything else Kat has said is unassailable according to the understanding of history and human culture I have. I'd also wager that any number of academics would agree with her. In fact, what she said for the most part sounds like a mirror of what several of my college professors had said. The sad truth is that these systems treat around half of the population as disposable property as opposed to people. This as Kat pointed out, has had tragic results which many people had not considered. It is for this reason I think such systems matriarchal or patriarchal should be gotten rid of and relegated to the pages of history as an unfortunate chapter in history compared to other acts of grave inhumanity such as the holocaust, the rape of Nanking, and forced relocation of the Native Americans.

    Also Modern Day Myth:
    All of what we know of Lemuria is purely hypothetical and shrouded in myth by everyone from UFO conspiracy theorists who lack a basic understanding of human history, people with racist agendas, and numerous other causes, delusions, theories etc. What we know of Lemuria is as certain as the mood swings of a bipolar person.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  3. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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    Hardly.

    Numerous artifacts exist from the Temple of Artemis in Epherus.

    Artemis of Epherus is even mentioned in the old testament of the Bible.

    The ideas of a Matriarchy society associated with that culture have been used for Matriarchy societies on The Outer Limits from the 1990s as well as the Wonder Woman TV series from the 1970s.

    So, it is a good template I am sharing.
     
  4. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    Are you aware I was only talking about Lemuria in that last part?
     
  5. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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    If you read my other posts carefully, you will realize Lemuria connects the dots between Queen Myrina, her war against Atlantis, her discovery of the city of Epherus, the Amazons worshiping Artemis as their goddess, and the parallel to everything the Greeks believed Artemis stood for as the ways of the people of Lemuria, which was used as the ways of the Amazons in Wonder Woman and The Outer Limits from the 1990s view of an Amazon society.
     
  6. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    I think you're talking about this purely in the scope of fiction, but the way you address it makes me wonder if you actually believe it.
     
  7. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    On Japan, I meant to say that the Japanese matriarchal/goddess worshiping believed to have possibly existed. :) There is an enormously varied number of religions in Asian cultures historically, which is only to be expected because it is large.

    I would like to see no matriarchies or patriarchies on Earth. However, using them and understanding them in fiction, historical or invented world, I don't think is a bad thing. I think Fung Koo's point that patriarchies are complicated is also very true. That's why there's a lot of debate in academia about the existence of matriarchies as well and what a matriarchy is supposed to be, because human systems can get very complex and we are often grasping historically at fragments, like the Japanese. You can have an iron clad rule and law in a society about these things and then there are open breakings of that law which are tolerated by the same society. The systems are ever changing.
     
  8. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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    Common sense dictates there is more human history on Earth than our recorded history shows.

    I found a YouTube clip of someone reading Myrina's speech to her Amazon army as she led them into battle against Atlantis. This is the very same Myrina credited to have discovered Epherus in Turkey.

    Only one other nation existed with Atlantis and they both vanished together.

    40,000 year old human skeletons are evidence there is more history than 12,000 years of recorded history.

    So yes, I am willing to believe Atlantis and Lemuria both existed before recorded history.

    Your POV is like the old belief Earth is the only planet on the Universe that can support life 30 years ago. Recent discoveries prove that notion wrong.

    Look where Earth is positioned in our galaxy. Earth is a very young planet and our solar system is very young too.

    Ruling anything out these days makes as much sense as still believing the Earth is still flat.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  9. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    First of all, if you're at all referring to the supposed lost subcontinent in the Indian Ocean then there are some serious problems.The Amazons were related to Indo-Iranian groups such as the Sarmatians and Cimmerians who lived up around the Ukraine and Turkey meaning they were more than likely warriors who fought from Horseback with a bow and arrow in a similar fashion to the Scythians, Mongols, and various Turko-Mongol tribes. The supposed site of Lemuria is over half a continent away which means that the Amazons would have been darker skinned and more closely related to the Dravidian peoples which does not line up with historical artistic representations of them. Nor do the earliest renderings of Amazon armor. According to both obscure occult accounts and history, any Hypothetical Lemurian connection could not be possible. Furthermore, the Egyptians were the first to tell anyone of Atlantis. The tale of Atlantis was first introduced to to western thought by Plato in 330 B.C. long after the Atlantean civilization had disappeared 9,000 years prior according to legend leaving it's true nature to be obscured by the mists of time, mistranslation, and a changing collective conscience. Furthermore, Diodorus Siculus who first put the story of Myrina to paper was writing about a conflict that had to be a little over 9,000 years old predating written history as we know it. He was writing in 60-30 B.C. with little in the way of prior sources. We know how much trouble it can be to accurately determine the nature of certain historical events that have occurred more recently, so what makes you think such accounts could be so indisputable? Furthermore Diodorus starts with the Trojan War which we know now to have been a historical event which occured much later in history. There may be history before that point, but your argument has several gaping historical flaws in it. Furthermore, I looked up the vanilla legend of Myrina and found not a single reference to the Ephesus in it. I also looked through youtube and could not find this speech. The lack of information on Myrina herself in places I have searched make me to question your claims further. Another problem is that the only written accounts of the Amazons are from the Greeks who HATED them making their accounts suspect. About the only aspect of this that agrees with your argument is that the Goddess Artemis may in fact have come from a tribe in the region of modern day Turkey who may very well have been the Amazons. This historians do agree with. Such portrayals of female figures, divine or not, tended not to resemble the wild archer Goddess in Greek lore.

    So Modern... What say you of this?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  10. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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  11. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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  12. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    I need to have more information on the people of the Seychelles before I am certain of it's usefulness as a source of inspiration. I also desire to know more of the specifics of the non-Christian traditions of the Seychelles.
     
  13. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    Just out of curiosity (and perhaps because I haven't checked out the links you posted), why do you keep calling it Epherus?
     
  14. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    I think you mean the boobyman :p

    :D

    Correct -- what I'm pondering is the process whereby the force, laws, and religions came to believe in a patriarchal system. This has manifested in beliefs, in various places around the world, that today are (and historically have been) defended vehemently, often resulting in even worse negative consequences for women. So... how did that happen in all those various situations? And, do those processes give us any room for imagining different sorts of matriarchies that could have arisen instead?

    The reason I asked about a power arrangement is because you mention coercion and control, which suggests something quite different than a circumstantial, situational unempowerment, as opposed to an ideological patriarchal disempowerment.

    ...in my house? :eek:

    Absolutely. And my point is only that no two patriarchies have ever been identical, but often "Patriarchy" (capital P) is discussed as if it were all one thing, one unified front, and that all men believed it openly until the civil rights movement, and that even today most men remain practising or sympathizing patriarchs, believing it privately, and given half the chance would reassert dominance and resubjugate woman. And in some respects that may be true, but belief/ideology and practice are different.

    ...between a smaller number of people. Urbanization specialized roles in society, causing fewer and fewer people to occupy jobs once done by far greater numbers of people. More of human became less mobile, and a smaller proportion of humanity became more mobile. At least, that's been my understanding.

    But in history there many more examples, say from religious history, some 2000 years ago rulers would slay all the male babies in a kingdom without blinking an eye. In Chinese and Mongolian dynasties, as another example, an entire army loyal to a given ruler would be slain when their leader died.

    There are different reasons for every example, but in China today you're missing the point -- the whole reason for promoting male babies is because reducing the number of women reduces the rate of population expansion. It was specifically intended to curb the biological imperative. This is, again, something wholly weird and unique if considered a patriarchy -- which I'm not sure it is.
     
  15. Modern Day Myth

    Modern Day Myth Registered User

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    Auto spell checker problems with my Android phone. My old Samsung Jack was getting too expensive to hold onto anymore. It is Ephesus.

    Here is a link to a travel link to Turkey connecting Queen Myrina and the Amazons as the pioneers and founders.

    http://www.travellinkturkey.com/aeolia-myrina.html
     
  16. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Patriarchies don't exist without coercion and control, so I would imagine that matriarchies would also have some form of it as well. If you are trying to treat people unequally, with some being legally adult humans and others being legally not adult humans, it requires some coercion and control. While that is not always physical, it definitely needs to be there. One thing to take a look at, maybe, is societies where queens ruled. Placing women in the ruling role, even if the society itself is highly patriarchal, usually means some interesting social beliefs about women's status.

    That's because they are then talking about a set of core beliefs, specifically that men, or at least some groups of men, are legally and socially (divinely, etc.) the adult humans and women (and certain groups of men usually,) are legally and socially not or not quite. A lot of those beliefs are ingrained and automatic because the men and women live in a patriarchal society that socializes them. Men have a lot of difficulty understanding how women experience the society, that it is fundamentally different and more dangerous than the way the men experience the society. And that is part of patriarchy. For instance, the tendency of a man to automatically get behind the wheel of a car when a man and woman are getting into a car together -- it's a learned behavior, for both sexes. Patriarchies are different from each other, but the main core -- men are supreme, women are important but/unimportant lesser beings -- is built into the society. The society can change and women can improve their status, but I am still not an equal being in my society, even legally, and am subject to coercion, control and violence based specifically on my gender. In the U.S., for instance, there are considerable efforts going on to roll back women's rights gained so far as equal citizens. In Japan, women get education, work, but there is still the social expectation (and pressure and coercion, etc.) that when they get married, they will drop out of the workforce to raise babies. (And Japan is dealing with the fact that increasingly women are bucking that stricture and the population has some decline numbers.) Women understand that what legal standing they have in most societies is tenuous and can be removed. And all or nearly all societies on the planet are patriarchal still. It's not a matter of men reasserting dominance -- men still have dominance in the societies and control most of the upper offices of society. Women have improved their status in some societies but the patriarchal systems remain.

    So for a matriarchy, it's the learned behavior that women are better in charge, even if men are sometimes in positions of power. They would still be largely unrepresented in positions of power in government, trade, education, and religion/philosophy. They might have considerable rights, but there would be ingrained assumptions about men that position them as different and lesser, assumptions that are laid on all individuals because they are part of the men group. Like, say, that men are obsessed with romance and the society does not value that, sees it as a male and thus less valuable trait to be avoided socially by females, or at least theoretically avoided and therefore female interest in romance is discounted as not really an interest in romance, etc. It's worth pointing out as well that males and females in an imaginary race/society don't necessarily have to be biologically, socially, emotionally, etc. like human males and females are perceived. You can even have males bear the children, and that's been done in stories of course.

    Urbanization creates a large, diffuse population mobilizing and migrating to the cities. There, they interact with other cultures and social philosophies, so old socialized roles get broken down. We are more likely to see gender stratification of power and roles in more isolated rural areas than in cities where women would then often be taking on male jobs in the main, legal market and also in the black market, especially as there is more industrialization. People are harder to control and watch in a city, less religious, less effected by social pressures, and less able to dominate the whole territory. Individually, a woman may have more freedom in a city, but she may also have less control/status and far less resources. And the problem of having to care for young children remains the same, city or village. But a city is a mobile, fluid population with people moving in and out of it, and thus a nexus point of trade and cultural exchange, including ethnic blending, which happens far less in an isolated rural village. In cities, women were exposed to some of the effects of far-ranging trade and war that men roaming encountered, and women's rights in patriarchal societies tended to improve first in cities. At the same time, however, in a village, especially a matrifocal one, women would be more likely to be able to run things, if the society allowed it, or run it behind the scenes if it did not. Women might be able to do the same thing in neighborhoods in cities, but it was harder.

    That wasn't because they were not valued, however. That's because they were valued and considered a threat. Because men were better and ruled, if you slew the men, you weakened the society of your enemy and protected yourself from them being able to make war on you in rebellion of your conquering. You established your male genetic line in its place. Women were useful in the same way that cattle are useful. They were property, to be used for breeding and labor and enslaved, and again property has value -- but not as equal human beings. Girl babies were killed because they were undesirable and not valued as human beings in the same way that males were. As you note, there is rhetoric and then there is practice. The rhetoric about how wonderful women are tends to be a form of social coercion and control on women as their place as beautiful breeding property.

    No, the Chinese government did not plan it that way quite. The one baby law was to reduce the population in general, not the population of women. The unequalness is a huge problem for them, especially as Chinese culture and politics does not encourage ethnic blending. But culturally, China -- which was largely agricultural -- is a patriarchy. Their society believes that a male heir is absolutely necessary to run farms, take care of parents in their old age and extend their genetic line. If you don't have a male heir, you've failed. (China had extended families that were largely patrilinear -- the brides moved in with the husband's relatives.) Girls are useful for breeding and homecare, but largely a burden in the society and believed not to be able to make as much of a living for the family -- and are kept from doing so often. So when the government limited it to one baby with a few exceptions, the population skewed male because female babies were aborted (and quite possibly also killed.) Not all the time, but enough that there is a generation of Chinese males who are up a creek. Throughout ancient cultures, leaving infant girls out to die is pretty much a tradition. Girls are useful, but men are superior. Biologically, logically, this is not a good plan. But culturally, it's been the plan. Remember, one woman could have sixteen babies. You don't need that many women, or at least they didn't think they did.

    Interestingly enough, with the urbanization and industrialization of China, women's status has somewhat changed, and in communism, they became officially equal citizens. China is dealing with a two country issue -- a well off urban China where women are more valued (at least as much as male indentured workers,) and a poor rural China where women are still not, even though they are major workers for agriculture. But it's still believed the sons will earn more money. China is promoting the value of women in rural areas particularly, in order to try to rectify the gender ratio problem, but they are dealing with massive child and female trafficking issues. Changing patriarchies is slow.

    Comparatively, changing matriarchies may have been fast and may have been due mainly to war and the slave trade. So would matriarchies be less likely to war? We don't really know.
     
  17. Riothamus

    Riothamus Registered User

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    Most feminists I know of, both famous and known only to local citizens do not believe matriarchy would be any less inclined to go to war if it rose up in a sedentary culture the way patriarchy has. I think tales of women warriors seem to suggest that the motives of war might be a little different, but given the universally inherent predatory nature of all politics, there would still be just as much war. Much of this is dependent on other factors as well.

    Kat is also right in saying that while urbanization was an initial factor in the oppression of the female populace, the city has now in a grand twist of irony, become a catalyst in the empowerment of women in many places. Of course, as many academics might say, this is dependent on a series of other factors that have come into play throughout human history.

    I also tend to prefer to write about humans as we know ourselves to be to avoid screwing up biology and to make conflicts and characters more relatable. I am well of the sea horse's peculiar reproduction methods and some of these stories but I am a person who likes his sciences hard and when no one is discussing supernatural intervention as part of the equation, I may very well become stuck trying to iron out the evolution of an entire species for years on end and I could not forgive the slightest screw up. I am already a HUGE nut about making sure my social sciences are sound and accurate, so one can imagine why it would ultimately be better for my mental health to write about humans.

    Another excellent point Kat has made is the fundamental truth of these elements in society when it comes to power groups and deference by one group to another. These things are learned. I am making some elements of the society I am imagining a flip to make certain points or see how men might be put in similar positions or react to them.However,this is one area I'm having a bit of trouble with. I am trying to discern what stereotypes about men to use against them or invent based on what some might call "commonly perceived male traits". One thing I have determined is that men are not considered stupid or without knowledge, but are perceived as impulsive and having difficulties channeling their thoughts,thus one of the reasons they need to be controlled.
     
  18. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    If you limit the perspective only to the middle and upper classes, sure. At the core, patriarchies are typically a class system whereby only select members of society, men and women, participate in the ruling class. Women have a lower class ceiling than most men, true, and overall women fare worse, true. But men, like women, have been devalued, debased, used and abused throughout history by the ruling class -- arguably in many cases in extremely terrible ways, at the minimum on par with the treatment of women. There is a masculine virtue (read: ideology), however, of bravery and honour before abject horror -- no matter who it is inflicted by.

    I'm just saying -- history sure wasn't swell for most men, either. Most people, in general, got the poopy end of the stick.

    Not if teenage girls are any indication! As the correlate of the usual accusation levelled against the most prickish male, we can probably expect about the feature from girl-world as the immature-revving-your-engine-as-compensation phenomenon. :D
     
  19. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    1) That doesn't have anything with the specific issue that you brought up that I was addressing -- i.e. why the babies and enemy armies were killed versus why female infants were killed;

    2) I already addressed that numerous times when talking about slavery, serfs, how men were often removed from their families forcibly, how patriarchies are different systems but operating from core beliefs and this bit:

    That some men are badly treated and not given legal human status does not change a patriarchal system. At the ruling level, the women are still property and the men -- the acceptable men -- are the rulers. Slavery of men, women and children was, as we've already discussed, a key factor in the spread of patriarchal systems, based on the core values that some men and all women are not full equal human beings. (Which is not to say that matriarchal systems wouldn't have slavery. Both are unequal systems.)

    But again, that's the point -- legal status, ability to run stuff and proportional representation in the ruling bodies, access to education and opportunity, social treatment based on the membership of groups such as ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. -- basic statistics -- effect how egalitarian societies end up being. Our history is not one of egalitarianism, although it is one in general of striving towards it slowly. And so issues of egalitarianism are issues that come up when we construct any fictional society.


    Women are equally violent to men, but they are frequently socialized not to be. In a matriarchy, those learned behaviors might not be present. Which is the idea of the Amazons, essentially, whether or not they existed. We don't know that they did and we don't know what matriarchies may have actually existed and how they operated. We have very few examples to work with and fragmented evidence from ancient cultures. So a matriarchy may have frequently gone to war to increase territory, resources and trade, and certainly would have had to defend itself against encroachers. But if they attempted to use war in that way, they were certainly less successful at it than patriarchies which became the social form on the planet.
     
  20. Fung Koo

    Fung Koo >:|Angry Beaver|: <

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    The issue was about a mismatch between biological imperative, culture, and policy, as a represented by modern China. My point is that the relative value of killing off men or women or boys or girls can go many ways, and the wholesale slaughter of males versus females isn't necessarily a question of patriarchal values or biological imperatives, but could be one or the other, some mix of the two, etc. The notion of "being valued as human beings" is what I'm reacting to -- neither men nor women below a certain class were valued as human beings at all. Soldiers were fodder, women were breeding factories, slaves are slaves... all of whom are pawns in the games of the ruling classes, men and women alike.

    But otherwise, I get what you're saying.

    ...assuming the definition of 'egalitarian' today is better than the definition from before.

    You know, I'm not sure I agree with this (at least as you've phrased it). Overall I think the general desire has always been to find the optimum middle ground with the highest level of happiness for everyone with an equal division of labour. The system always ends up becoming skewed, yes, but I'm not convinced that people today are more right-minded and egalitarian than in the past. The realities underlying the prevalent ideals change, and certain ideals become outmoded, others change, and others need to be chucked out. It's the realities of post-industrial society that allows the definition of 'egalitarian' that we use now to be valid today. But if you brought today's notion of egalitarianism up as a social goal in, say, pre-Elizabethan England, I don't think it would match the realities that operated at that time. Being egalitarian back then meant something different than it does now. So I think it's the "slow striving" I object to -- I think the general tendency is to always strive toward the most egalitarian result, but 'egalitarian' as defined with respect to the time you're looking at. As a concept, egalitarianism evolves slowly, and we always strive towards it.

    At least, that's what I think on days when I'm feeling marginally positive about humanity...

    Yep.