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Debate and inform me PLEASE: Are we still affected by Christian Patriarchy?

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 
I think this belongs in this forum, (but move it if you must): Because of Judaeo-Christian foundation of this country/ western society and it's effects on us in this present day and age. I assume this could be viewed also from political points of view, but expect the most educated on this subject to hang out here.

I have come across several websites and books lately that state we live in a post-patriarchal society. That we as a society are founded in patriarchy, but that oppression of women and patriarchal rule are in the past. That if we suffer from being opressed by patriarchal rule, we are only doing it to ourselves and that in this day and age patriarchy does not exist and women do not suffer at the hands of men. These authors seem to think that there are a few individual men that see themselves as superior to women but that in general, women are now elavated as equals and not oppressed.

I am wondering, if I live with my head in the sand and have missed the revolution, because this is not my experience.:

I see our country and society still firmly rooted in Judao-Christian patriarchy and women oppressed daily "in general".....
post #2 of 98
You aren't the only one who missed the revolution because apparently so did I. Just look at the state of things as they are right now, we live in a very conservative Judaeo-Christian society. As far as I know we are still under a very patriarichal rule.

The lines between church and state are even getting blurred, IMO. I think it will be a long time before we are influenced by other religions just as much as we are influenced by the Judaeo-Christian aspect.
post #3 of 98
I can't answer the question, because I do not accept your premises.

I do not think that:
There is such a thing as Judeo-Christian culture. There is Jewish culture. There are several Christian cultures. There are some things that some of these have in common. That's about it.

That patriarchy is the result of or is exclusive to Western/Jewish and Christian cultures and cultural influences.

I don't think that in the US we are in a post-Christian culture. I wear a cross and have been pretty amazed since I started doing so at how many people recognize me publicly as a fellow-Christian. Although most people do not have much of concept of religious law or authority or history, they still self-identify and Christian and build support networks based on that identification. And, many people still do have those concepts of relgious law and authority and history.

I just don't see patriarchal oppression of women as being a major, defining feature of most of the forms of Christianity that most people have adopted today (and, for that matter, at many times and places in the past).
post #4 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by tie-dyed View Post

I do not think that:
There is such a thing as Judeo-Christian culture. There is Jewish culture. There are several Christian cultures. There are some things that some of these have in common. That's about it.



Yeah. That.

To be precise, actually, the term "Judeo-Christian" is offensive to most Jews.





In other words, don't blame your patriarchy on me. I've got my own to deal with.
post #5 of 98
Well, aren't the men largely in charge in this society? (Like the President, Congress, etc.) There are more than just a few individual men who think they are superior in society to women.
post #6 of 98
I guess I see the term Judeo-Christian as reference to Christianity's Jewish roots and similarities in a single (usually male) figure as leader of the group/congregation/etc...

I definately do see that our society is still strongly a partiarchy. I'm not really sure how that would ever change, given the overall structure of government, business and the lack of focus on family. It has always seemed to me that our government/businesses are run by people who have the ability to put their family second because of the large demands made on them by the complexity of our society. Women just do not choose to do that as often as men... either it is not in their nature to put their children second to work after they are born or few women choose not to become mothers. Hence, business and the governement tend to be run by men and naturally decisions are going to be made in the way they think is right... which is not necessarily in a woman's best interest.

I remember reading a quote or essay somewhere about a woman who actually believed that a good mother has more influence over her son to help him to make kinder, gentler (more feminine, i guess) decisions as an adult and that woman who are mothers first actually have as much or more influence than women who choose not to have children or put their children secondary to a job. I don't know if I believe that or not. It always kind of felt like more propaganda to keep a mom home with her children and away from where the "real work" was being done, YK?

In working in corporate America, I definately think that woman have "emasculated" themselves... in that, instead of bringing more family-centered values to work they are ignoring their instincts and allowing themselves to be like their male coworkers who put family second to the "company"/job. It was one of the main reasons I left my job. I thought I would be able to do my job and balance that with having my family come first... instead I constantly felt as though the "company" was demanding to come first. And whenever I tried to bring it up and help change the culture of the team it just didn't work. Because my male (and some female) coworkers were making the other choice (job before family) and felt I was slacking off because my priorities were different.

So, when I hear that women are closing the salary gap, I think, at what price? Instead of thinking women's pay should be higher, I think there should also be a cultural measure of women's values in the workplace... i.e. family first, etc. Because right now, IME women are getting their success by shutting off their instincts for family first to get ahead. (that was what I meant by "emascualting").

I personally believe that if the world/business/culture was more "feminine" i.e. family focused that it would be a much better place. There would be few wars, poverty would hardly exist and there would be many fewer communication problems between cultures.

I guess that is where the phrase "nursing the revolution" comes from?

(oh and I want to make the disclaimer that when I refer to women putting work first, I am not saying that you are doing that simply by going to work. I am referring to a culture that can cause women to put their primary focus on their job out of fear- of not getting ahead, making less money, etc. this is not critical of any WOHM. I was one!!!! I support them. I would still be one if our culture was different!!!)
post #7 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Orchid View Post
I guess I see the term Judeo-Christian as reference to Christianity's Jewish roots and similarities in a single (usually male) figure as leader of the group/congregation/etc...
Ok...and this is "Judeo-Christian" how? It seems to me that nearly universally, it is merely human.

And I point you to Muslim social structures, Confucianism, traditional Japanese culture, many or most (maybe all) Native American cultures, even the ancient world--Greece, most other ancient Mediterranean cultures, etc.

Also, Christianity does have its roots in *ancient* Judaism--which, as far as I and many Christians, are concerned, is NOT the same thing as Judaism. I don't refer to people as gorilla-humans merely because we shared a common ancestor. It is offensive, to both the gorilla and the human. Common origin does not equal common culture. (no, I am not comparing the Jewish people to gorillas, merely using the most widely understood example of a common ancestor to two modern types)

For example, Christianity introduced the concept of nearly absolute monogamy: ancient Judaism allowed polygamy, which is a very male-biased system. Then there are the widely varying treatments of the concept of divorce and what those mean for the male/femal dynamic.

There is no evidence that either Judaism or Christianity introduced to a clean slate the disparity between right of men and women. It is a disparity influenced by biology and found in just about every culture world-wide.

So, to quite Merpk, don't blame your patriarchy on me, I have my own to worry about.
post #8 of 98
huh? sorry, i wasn't really doing much tracing/blaming in my post. i was more discussing my views on how things seem to me now. didn't mean offense! i'm always really cautious and usualyl don't post to threads like this for that reason. truly, no religious offense needed. i'm really not educated enough to have an opinion or view on the religious end of this question.
post #9 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Orchid View Post
huh? sorry, i wasn't really doing much tracing/blaming in my post. i was more discussing my views on how things seem to me now. didn't mean offense! i'm always really cautious and usualyl don't post to threads like this for that reason. truly, no religious offense needed. i'm really not educated enough to have an opinion or view on the religious end of this question.
It is annoying to have every ill of western society blamed on one's religious tradition, though.

I think of it as religion-flavored-patriarchy as opposed to secular-flavored-institutionalized sexism. Whatever ideology people are using to justify the lower status of women, we get it in the neck. I figure, the second-class status comes first, the philosophical underpinnings are created afterward. I suppose one reason that sexism in religion is so pernicious is that people are willing to put up with a lot for God.
post #10 of 98
Ugh. I hate the term "Judeo-Christian" unless you're refering to Torah/OT from a literary perspective (ie, how Bible stories have affected literature and the arts- and even in that context, it's usually from a Christian perspective anyway.)

Most of the time, "Judeo-Christian" means Christian.

Black Orchid- I agree with you about women in Corporate America having emasculated themselves and that it's not a good thing. IMO, though, this has very little to do with Christianity but is firmly rooted in American culture.
post #11 of 98
I'm wondering where the phrase "judeo-christian patriarchy" came from too, since pretty much all major culture/religions known to humankind have been/are patriarchal. My personal theory is that the patriarchy is a vestige of our ancient survival strategies, back when we were just emerging as human. It's the only way I can explain how universal it is.

I think we women have come a long way and life in the U.S. or in Europe is pretty good comparatively... but to say that the patriarchy no longer exists in these places is stretching things. It's still around. Like Black Orchard said, women have to "masculize" themselves to make it in our society.
post #12 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by tie-dyed View Post
I don't refer to people as gorilla-humans merely because we shared a common ancestor. It is offensive, to both the gorilla and the human. Common origin does not equal common culture.
: That is the funniest thing I have read in a while.
post #13 of 98
I realize all of this is going somewhat off-topic, but I'm curious if I'm wrong about the term "Judeo-Christian": I've always heard/thought it was a term that came about during or post- WWII in certain U.S. Christian circles to counteract the appearance of anti-Semitism? Not so much to reflect on actual Jewish contributions to American society.
post #14 of 98
It could be. I've heard that before. The term does, as Ruthla noted, have legitimate applications in a literary context, but that's about it.

I think it has a lot to do not only with some Christian wanting to appear non-anti-semitic, but also with Christian Zionism and so-called Hebraic affinities that have cropped up in a lot of Christian circles.

I belong to a group of Jewish converts to Catholicsm and we are always getting people wandering in who "feel an special affinity with the Jewish people" or similar things. Judaism is a major "other" in Western civilization and now that "otherness" has a certain mainstreamed allure, everyone wants a piece of it. Too bad most don't understand much about Judaism.

I've had plenty of Christians who feel that they have a special "Jewish affinity" berate me for being an ordinary Christian rather than some weird (to me at least!) hybridized religion. And these Christians (and non-Christians) typically know very little about Judasim.

All of this is the resut of and helps perpetuate this myth of some "Judeo-Christian" culture that simply does not exist except where its creation has been deliberately attempted by communities of (imho) wishful thinkers with a less than complete understanding of the two sets of cultures.

Sorry to keep on abut this tangent, but wrt the OP:

You seems to be frustrated with the comments you are getting but what several of us are saying that we cannot discuss the question since it is includs incorrect premises. It seems to be that this is a feminist question, not a religious question.

ETA: Also, I have a HUGE (did I mention HUGE) problem with perpetuating terminology that exists so that people won't think I'm against something. I presume that people are cool and not bigots. I expect the same from them. I don't go around trying to convince people I'm not an anti-semite or a racist or a homophobe. Superfluous, annoying, and prevents non-fluffy dialogue and constructive criticism.
post #15 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaverdi View Post
: That is the funniest thing I have read in a while.
I aim to please!
post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by tie-dyed View Post
Sorry to keep on abut this tangent, but wrt the OP:

You seems to be frustrated with the comments you are getting but what several of us are saying that we cannot discuss the question since it is includs incorrect premises. It seems to be that this is a feminist question, not a religious question.
It would be interesting to perform a feminist analysis of whatever major religious tradition you would like, though.

I guess the problem I have with blaming the patriarchy on religion is that I see it the other way. It's not that religion foists the patriarchy on us. It's that people use religion as a tool of the patriarchy. You could just as easily use it the other way.

Look at the US civil rights movement for African Americans--there's an example of people using Christianity both to bolster and to dismantle racism. Or look at activism around peace and war. (Did you know that Richard Nixon was a Quaker? Isn't that kind of wild?) You can find people using the same religious traditions to bolster the ideologies that benefit their position.
post #17 of 98
Well, there are a lot of people in this society who hold to a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible, or at least who say they do.

And the New Testament explicitly mandates the systematic subordination of females, particularly of married women to their husbands. It's not a subtle thing. Go to BibleGateway and search the NT for key terms like "woman" and "wife."

Of course, a lot of this is softened by secular cultural influence, but that still leaves a lot of people who believe, to one degree or another, that men are entitled to exercise unilateral power over women in various contexts. I think whoever formulated the statements in your OP probably has the good fortune to be insulated from this. It's not just uneducated people in the backwoods, either. You might be surprised at how many middle-class, mainstream-looking suburban churches there are where it would be considered out of line, or at least mildly inappropriate, for a woman to ask a question in Sunday School, because the Bible says we must "keep silent."

Sure, there are plenty of other patriarchal cultures, but they're not all the same and we have a practical battle with our own cultural and spiritual background; it's not just an academic multicultural debate.
post #18 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
Or look at activism around peace and war. (Did you know that Richard Nixon was a Quaker? Isn't that kind of wild?)
Not particularly, no, considering that it was Nixon who both ended the Vietnam War and made the historic overture of friendship to China.
post #19 of 98
There's a place for feminism within Christianity. I know. I'm in it.

That said, OP, I hear you. The patriarchy is alive and well--go and read every third thread here where women are busting their butts, working multiple jobs to make ends meet while their "dh" is at home, not looking for work, and expecting her to do the housework and make him dinner because he's the man.

It's outrageous. It's not human nature. It's patriarchy, pure and simple, whether veiled in religious terms or not and it's got to go.
post #20 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post
Well, there are a lot of people in this society who hold to a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible, or at least who say they do.
No, there really aren't. There are a lot of people who claim to do this, but I don't see any of them actually stoning one another for wearing fabric blends. It's a literal interpretation when it works for them, and they ignore it when it doesn't work for them.
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