Thursday, June 30, 2005
Notes on the Patriarchy
Well, I suppose it is possible that I have been remiss in my duties, and that perhaps half an iota or so of the blame for the confusion rests upon my weary shoulders. Let's face it; I have omitted to prominently display a definition of patriarchy anywhere on the blog. I had assumed--rashly, it turns out-- that I preach primarily to the choir.
I'd forgotten for a moment that feminists are required to waste at least half of their waking hours reassuring skittish fans of the status quo that we aren't man-hating nutjob conspiracy-theorists.
Until such time as I have the leisure to more adequately address this pressing issue, kindly accept that when I deploy the term "patriarchy" I am alluding to "The Establishment" or "the global megacorp," or, as the excellent Mimbreno of The Other Dark Meat more accurately suggests, "the dominant culture." This broad characterization of patriarchy makes it easier to blame it for everything.
Patriarchy does not mean men. Seriously. Look it up.
While I didn't think patriarchy meant men, I decided to find a few sites through Googling patriarchy. This is my idea of amusing myself. I'm such an odd little freak.
From a glossary of terms about the Corinthian Church: patriarchy. A hierarchical social system and way of thinking where "fathers" or "patriarchs" rule which has become a model for every form of domination and subordination. Paul contradicts this system when he asserts that within marriage, women and men are equal sex partners (1 Cor. 7:1-7).Combining two interests of mine in one pleasing site is Buffy the Patriarchy Slayer.
Then I found The Patriarchy Website. I admit I had a little trouble with the subtle phrasing of the following: "Contrary to common understanding, true Biblical Patriarchy is not man dominance, but God dominance through man as head of his household, where he must love his household as Christ loves the church and if necessary lay down his life for it. Biblical Patriarchy is the essence and timeless aspect of the Hebraic Roots."
Oh, gee, once you explain it like that, I understand it's really about a male god dominating women, not just any ole mortal man.
Then I came to a site that just infuriated me. Ostensibly "Refuting the Most Common Feminist Lies and Pseudo-Scholarship" is the Domain of Patriarchy. A cursory glance seemed to indicate a propensity for cherry-picking findings and facts to suit the bias of the author. Unfortunately, there was at least one item that I knew he might be correct about.
Feminists and NeoPagans often say that the number of "witches" and heretics killed by the Inquisition in Europe over several centuries was between 3 and 9 million almost entirely women. My understanding is that primary research on court records from the period puts the number somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 killed. A good source on the revision of the number executed during this period is Recent Developments in the Study of The Great European Witch Hunt by Jenny Gibbons.
Anyway, Domain of Patriarchy pissed me off mightily, more so that I didn't want to give even grudging acknowledgement to anything on the site. So I end this post grumpy and feeling like I too blame the Patriarchy. For everything. Dammit.