I was chatting with a friend of mine who’s sister happens to be getting her Ph.D. in Woman’s Studies or Feminism or something (can you get a Ph.D. in Men’s studies…just curious).
Anyway, as I’m sure many of you who read this blog frequently have noticed, I often pontificate on male vs. female issues. For those of you who are new, the fundamental point of my position is that women are the equals of men. However, I’m frequently labeled as a misogynist (unfairly in my opinion) because I like to claim that women have had far more influence throughout history than feminists give them credit for. In fact, I think women have had an equal influence on history as men have, and thus they’re equally responsible for the generally poor state of things.
Well, my friend was playing devil’s advocate to my ideas, which I welcome because I like to refine them and I would like to eliminate any unfairness in my thinking if possible. One of the things that he mentioned was that it’s indisputable that Western civilization has been a patriarchy.
Ok, that may be true, but I still fail to see how it PROVES that women have had a harder go of things than men have. First of all, when do the feminists say that this “oppression” began? I mean, do they look at cave paintings and decide that cavemen were sexist? Frankly, I doubt cavemen had TIME to be sexist since they were too busy trying to hunt and gather before starving to death at age 22. Seriously, how much could the development of women have been impeded by cavemen? I mean, the ceiling was pretty low back then. The reason I mention this is that feminists seem to like to claim that male oppression of females has been going back to the beginning of time…however, realistically shouldn’t we be able to agree that oppression (presuming it can be proven at all) is only a couple hundred years old? I think before a couple hundred years ago (maybe a thousand), people have been too busy with survival.
But anyway, all that’s beside the point.
The concept of this whole patriarchy thing got me thinking. One of my arguments with that is that although, sure, a woman was unlikely to become the “top dog” (although it DID happen, Queen Elizabeth anyone…and there are more examples), there was pretty much not a male leader in history that didn’t have a queen at his side. You seriously can’t tell me that the queen of any given country had less power than, for example, a slave who was toiling away in anonymity in the American South.
Also, doesn’t a patriarchy suppress women in name only? I mean, Machiavelli pretty much clearly stated that the best way to run a country is to NOT be named the head of that country. So all a patriarchy proves is that some men were dumb enough to be named king…that doesn’t necessarily mean that they had any power whatsoever.
But even besides all that, another key argument I’d like to see explored is the concept that perhaps some women would actually rise higher in a patriarchy than they would have risen in a matriarchy. Does that sound contradictory? Well just think about it for a second. A patriarchy and a matriarchy are two different social systems, so it only makes sense that different people with different attributes would be successful in them. For example, maybe a woman who could figure out how to manipulate a man in order to become the Queen of a nation, could never have been elected as reigning ruler on the strength of her own merits alone.
Isn’t that possible?
What percentage of women do you think that is?
And if we can agree that some women actually rise higher in a patriarchy than they would have in a matriarchy, then we should also be able to agree that it would be in the best interests of those women to preserve the patriarchy now wouldn’t it? To that extent, it would be interesting to find out just what percentage of women actually benefit from a patriarchy and thus perpetuate them when they come into existence. Interestingly enough, if a study were done on this and it was found that more than 50% of women in a patriarchal society actually perpetuated it…then we’d have to agree that our definition of a patriarchy was actually, itself, a matriarchy and vice versa!
However, my guess is that if you went into a typical Women’s studies class in any university and started asking reasonable questions like this…they’d throw you into the street rather than engage in any scientific or intellectual debate…which again leads me to believe that we’re living in a matriarchy already.