I was reading an article written by Jane Alpert called Mother Right and found it to be fascinating. It examines many things, among them the idea that we would have a shot at a caring peace-filled world free of almost all oppression of anyone if only we lived in a matriarchy rather than a patriarchy. The idea is that in a patriarchy, the traits most desired are traits associated with masculinity and the traits most loathed are those associated with femininity. Stereotypically of course. This means the MOST masculine run the world, the most feminine remain at the bottom.
So let’s examine this. Our world is filled with murder, war, poverty, greed, rape, and just basically hate. What are stereotypically masculine versus feminine traits?
|Emotionally stunted||Emotionally available|
The point I’m trying to make is that masculinity encourages a cut-throat world where the basic goal is to dominate and overtake EVERYONE else in order to do what’s best for yourself, while femininity encourages teamwork, cooperation, friendship, empathy, etc… If the world were more oriented towards feminine traits, there would be no top and bottom. There wouldn’t be the capitalistic idea that in order to be “on top” you need to oppress and kill and enslave everyone else. As Jane Alpert says beautifully about matriarchy and femininity (pretty much the whole point of this article was to post this quote since it is spectacular):
But feminist culture is based on what is best and strongest in women, and as we begin to define ourselves as women, the qualities coming to the fore are the same ones a mother projects in the best kind of nurturing relationship, to a child: empathy, intuitiveness, adaptability, awareness of growth as a process rather than as goal-ended, inventiveness, protective feelings toward others, and a capacity to respond emotionally as well as rationally. If matriarchy means a society in which these are qualities all human beings admire and strive to embody, a society in which the paradigm for all social relationships is the relationship of a healthy and secure mother to her child, then matriarchy means nothing less than the end of oppression.
Which world would you want to live in? The one where no one is trustworthy, where winning is valued above all else even if it means destroying the entire human race, where everyone is encouraged to be selfish and aggressive, or the kind where people are actually, gasp, nice to each other and encouraging? If we lived in a matriarchy world peace (clichéd as that may sound) might actually be achieved.
Of course the real catch-22 is that masculinity and femininity were invented by patriarchy. Both masculinity and femininity are social constructs of the patriarchy, so the idea of feminine traits being so cooperative, kind, and peaceful might disappear were we not oppressed. But it would really be worth a shot wouldn’t it?