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Debate and inform me PLEASE: Are we still affected by Christian Patriarchy? - Page 5

post #81 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
I'm as feminist as they come, but I think there could be biological underpinnings to the widespread development of patriarchy. The biological facts including women's vulnerability during and right after childbirth, which men never have. The fact that women are flooded with maternal hormones after birth which up their nurturing instincts, whereas men are pretty much constantly flooded with testosterone with up their penchant for action and agression. Granted these are very broad statements, and I will be the first to agree that there are all sorts of individual exceptions to the rule - agressive women who are not nurturing in the least, or men who are very peaceful and nurturing. But I'm speaking statistically, not anecdotally.
Yes, but, isn't that also true of the baboons and other primates that organize their troops around female leadership? The females pick the male leaders based on their interaction with young. The biological underpinings of patriarchy could just as easily become the justification for matriarchy.

It just seems like there is such a role for feminist scholarship in biological sciences, and in anthropology, and in history, just to show the possibilities.

It's ironic to discuss the patriarchy in relation to religion, since it seems like feminist scholars of religion have done so much work to uncover the feminist traditions in mainstream religions. But it's like shouting down a well. It's not that I don't think there's patriarchy (or better, sexism, and sometimes, misogyny) structured into religion. It's that we have a counter-tradition and we have to acknowledge and use it.
post #82 of 98
Hmm, not sure about baboons. Gorillas are as patriarchal as they come, with one big male controlling a harem of several females. Chimpanzees, our closest relatives, are kind of mixed I think. The males do everything they can to be sure the females doesn't mate with other males but sometimes the females sneak away and mate anyway . The bonobos (dwarf chimpanzees) just mate with anyone all the time (and are a very peaceful species, leading some researchers to suggest if we were just getting more of it we humans would be more peaceful too ). So there is a range. But it does seem obvious that in our species patriarchy has been the dominant model throughout recorded history.

I totally agree with you about having more feminist scholarship to unearth traditions that the male scholars have missed!
post #83 of 98
Thread Starter 
I'm so confused.....
Why don't you all give me a list of books to read and point me toward key search words in order to study..... OKay????
post #84 of 98
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The reality is, though, that the U.S. was founded on Christian principles,
Which ones would those be, and how are they Christian as opposed to universal or enlightened or ???

Quote:
CarenSwan: (there are plenty of historical examples of matriarchal cultures)
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Kxsiven: There are many examples of peaceful female led cultures.
Citations please, what cultures would those be? Because I'm hard-pressed to recall any from my time getting my degree in Anthropology.

I recall some Matrilineal cultures, but even there, men ran the show. A woman's life was controlled by her brothers and uncles rather than her father. Not seeing that as a huge difference.
post #85 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by frog View Post
With all due respect, that's a load of hooey. Men don't inherently like sports more than women. Women aren't missing anything that would allow them to understand and enjoy sports.

Signed,

frog, the grrl who loves and understands sports and whose hormone levels are just fine, thanks :
sorry, like I said, I just don't get sports so I was hypothesizing, totally making stuff up.

I think the only thing I was really serious about was as to how to dictate equality in such a thing. I guess I see sports the same way I see other forms of entertainment. Whatever people like, that is what they pay to see
I'm talking about professional sports here.

I think everyone who likes sports ought be able to play them. No doubt about that. I was talking out of my ass about my silly ideas about "why maybe men's sports gets more money/exposure in the entertainment industry". I swear I meant no offense!!
post #86 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
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.
:

When we have half of congress, and they stop asking that stupid question about 'would you vote for a woman president?' then we'll talk about post.
post #87 of 98
I am now reading "The Dance of the Dissident DAughter"... anyone read it? AMAZING. Just amazing. I want to give a copy to all my friends who are members of the "Non-denominational" christian church in my neighborhood.

It is a life-changer.
post #88 of 98
I have read an interesting book called, Saharasia, it suggests the creation of a vast desert environment transformed mainly peaceful matriarchal cultures into war-like patriarchal cultures. More correctly, the violent patriarchal cultures took over the territory of the more peaceful cultures. The patriarchy is associated with nasty practices like male and female circumcision, restriction of nursing, male domination including polygamy, concubinage, widow murder, human sacrifice, female infantacide, slavery, flaying of prisoners of war, sacrificing children in the foundation of buildings, veiling of women, female virginity, and on and on. Apparently, the drier the climate, the greater the liklihood of patriarchal cultural practices. Apparently there was some biological advantage in being physically strong and the bruitish generally took over much of the world. This was especially true when food and water became scarce. Females were at a disadvantage, biologically, because of our smaller size and our childbearing.

With the advancement of technology and a focus on education as the indicator of economic success, as opposed to "might makes right," this is starting to decline in cultures that have developed away from an agrarian existance to a more technological existance. Even in places where patriarchal systems dominate, the greatest indicator of emerging female equality is the educational level of women and girls. The US is actually a bit behind the EU and Canada in the decline of the Patriarchy because of our high level of fundamentalist people, but it is declining.
post #89 of 98
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The fact that the patriarchy has been the dominant model throughout recorded history in every region of the world (I know there are matriarchal cultures, but much fewer) makes me think that there is likely a biological component to it.
You came to that conclusion on your assumption. I would like some evidence that there is a biological reason for men to be "in charge". Biologically speakuing I think women hold much more over the men. If all the men in the world today judt instantly died, humans would survive. Not true if all the women were to die off tomorrow--the men would die out as well...
post #90 of 98
There is a biological componant to males being dominating, not necessarily, "in charge."

There is a difference between the two. Patriarchal males do not have a good track record when it comes to leading people peacefully, now, do they?
post #91 of 98
I'm at your reply. I certainly don't think that there is a biological reason why men *should* be in charge, if that's what you meant. I stated that quite clearly in my post. However, I do think it is likely that there are biological reasons why men *have* been in charge for most of human history. And yes of course it is an assumption. An assumption based on logic. There's no biological evidence one way or the other, so logical assumptions are the best we have.

The logic is, (if you believe in evolution, if not none of this applies), that human society evolved in certain ways because it made sense to the human creatures that were evolving it. It fit with their needs. For example, all human societies have evolved as cooperative societies. We live and work in groups. Based on this, it is reasonable to assume that humans have a biological need for companionship; if not we would have evolved as a society of loners like orangutans. Likewise, throughout history women have been the primary caretakers of the children. It makes sense that this happened because it fit with the biology, we have the maternal hormones and breasts whereas men don't. Now there is nothing biological about men that makes them more suitable for leadership per se, but given the cooperative nature of human society and the fact that women were often in a vulnerable postpartum state (no birth control outside of ebf) it would be reasonable to assume that men took on the role of protector and guardian. They are biologically bigger, stronger, and have more testosterone. It was a division of labor that made sense back then.

To me, this is a reasonable biologically-based explanation of how the patriarchy happened. It's not proof of anything, just a logical guess. It is most certainly not a justification for continuing the patriarchy today.

I'm also how you think the human race would survive if all the men died out tomorrow. Last I checked, it takes contributions from both sexes to make a baby. Even if you froze a whole lot of sperm, it wouldn't be enough to keep us going indefinitely...
post #92 of 98
Quote:
I'm at your reply. I certainly don't think that there is a biological reason why men *should* be in charge, if that's what you meant. I stated that quite clearly in my post. However, I do think it is likely that there are biological reasons why men *have* been in charge for most of human history. And yes of course it is an assumption. An assumption based on logic. There's no biological evidence one way or the other, so logical assumptions are the best we have.
I disagree. Stating that there is a biological reason that men "have" been in charge is where Id like some more evidence. If there is one then there should be evidence of it. To me that is logical. Your proposal is like coming to a conclusion and finding evidence for it, whereas I like to look at the evidence and come to a conclusion..
as far as the men dying out...there are enough currently pregnant women and stored sperm that I think humans would be OK if all the men did die, whereas humans CANNOT continue if all the women died. Women, to me, are more essential to humans surviving than men.
post #93 of 98
Quote:
If there is one then there should be evidence of it. To me that is logical. Your proposal is like coming to a conclusion and finding evidence for it, whereas I like to look at the evidence and come to a conclusion..
If that's the case, I'd love to know what your evidence is for your opinion that there is no biological reason for the patriarchy. You make the strong claim that it is ABSURD to think that there may biological reasons for why human societies largely evolved as patriarchies, yet as far as I can see you have offered no evidence to support your position, except to say that there is no physical evidence to support the biology argument. But absence of evidence is not the same thing as positive evidence. By that logic, atoms didn't exist until scientists develop the technology to detect them. By that logic God or anything spiritual does not exist.

Seems to me you are doing the same thing that you say I am; stating a position with no evidence to back up your position.

Given the lack of biological evidence, the only true conclusion we can come to is that we just don't know why the patriarchy evolved as the dominant model. That's where I stand. We don't know, but we can make guesses. It seems reasonable to me given the universal nature of it that it was based in our biological realities back then. However I am very clear that this is only a theory based on logical guesses, not a truth. The way you presented your opinion makes it sound as though you think it is absolute, provable truth.

ETA: It occurs to me that maybe your evidence is the fact that women give birth i.e. the human race could last a couple generations after all the men died out whereas it wouldn't last at all if all the women died out. But I don't really get the connection between that fact and the partriarchy. Ancient societies did not go around asking "who is more vital to the propagation of our species?" and then choose their leaders accordingly. Human history is pretty much the story of might makes right. Whoever was the strongest and the most aggressive was the one who seized power. Given that, it seems to me that men had a biological advantage because they had more testosterone (= more general tendency toward aggression) and they were not tied down during certain periods of their lives during childbearing and rearing. Nowadays we are ever so slowly evolving past the might makes right model -- at least we pay lip service to the ideas of justice and equality -- and the patriarchy is weakening. I think it'll take a very long time to die out though.
post #94 of 98
Quote:
Human history is pretty much the story of might makes right. Whoever was the strongest and the most aggressive was the one who seized power. Given that, it seems to me that men had a biological advantage because they had more testosterone (= more general tendency toward aggression) and they were not tied down during certain periods of their lives during childbearing and rearing.
YES! This is why men have been in charge...they are physically stronger. But, therorizing here, if our biological instincts dictate that we reproduce and further the race then would it not make more sense that women were held in higher regard? That is until men figured out thwy can just physically dominate us...
post #95 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourgrtkidos View Post
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".....
I agree. Women and children and those who are not viewed as "straight" are still at risk from the patriarchy. Anyone who can't see that isn't looking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
It's an interpretive choice by the contemporary Church(es) to latch on to these aspects of Christianity. There are counter-texts and counter-traditions aplenty. You could also say, "Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman, man had nothing to do with him," (a quote from Sojourner Truth) and that could be the dominant interpretation.

There are people who argue that the tradition of nuns celibacy is a method of avoiding compulsory heterosexuality. The problem isn't that nuns are celibate--it's that they don't get to create canon law.

In Judaism we have similar counter-traditions--mystical interpretations of God that include feminine aspects, for example. The reason that we don't have a dominant feminist interpretation is that men hold all the power of interpretation!

It's not the texts that are the problem, I think, but who gets to interpret them.
Those who win the wars write the history, or in this case holy, books.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeyes View Post



I will never feel that women are equal until the ERA passes, we have an equal number of women in congress, have had at least one female president, and have seen womens sports achieve the same status as mens sports. I will not feel that women are equal until we have abolished the words bitch and whore being used to refer to women. I will not feel we have achieved equality until women are no longer being raped as a spoil of war in any country. And seriously, can anyone really think we have achieved equality when so many devalue stay at home moms?
Yes!

As for patriarchy being biological I have heard this in a different light which sort of makes sense.

You always know who the babies mother is. The father is a crap shoot of how good the mother's word is unless you have her cloistered away. Men not being stupid figuired this out and being the larger gender pressed their larger advantage.
post #96 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamamillet View Post
YES! This is why men have been in charge...they are physically stronger. But, therorizing here, if our biological instincts dictate that we reproduce and further the race then would it not make more sense that women were held in higher regard? That is until men figured out thwy can just physically dominate us...
Maybe we are defining "biology" differently, because as far as I can see we agree with each other. You say that one of the reasons why men have been in charge is because they are physically stronger. Physical strength is a biological factor. Thus, it is likely that there are biological factors which led to the creation of the patriarchy. That's how I reason it.

And no, I don't think that biological instincts would lead men to hold women in higher regard. I'm inclined to agree with Pynki, that womens' ability to bear children only leads to men trying to control women, because the men's biological instincts want to ensure the propagation of their genes. Maybe way back in the mists of time, before recorded history, most societies were matriarchal, but we just don't know. I'm still not quite getting what that has to do with the reality of the patriarchy today.
post #97 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourgrtkidos View Post
OMG.... where did this thread go..... to space and beyond.....:

I understand my experience is different than any one else's, yet similar because we all live in America.... did not know Judeo-Christian offended anyone, that is the phrasing I hear and didn't know it was politically incorrect. I am not going to talk about patriarchy in the east, I have no experience of it.

I grew up in the Church and do not agree that patriarchy and oppression can not be blamed on Christianity.
1. Women are blamed for the "fall"
2. Pain in childbirth is a "curse"
3. Women's sexuality is "shameful" only holy virgin could give birth to the savior, nuns have to be chaste
4. All aspects of the trinity are referred to as male

This creeps into people's pysche, and women are treated as less than and in extreme cases with disgust. It has influenced prevalent secular thinking, too. I am confused how women, even if you are Christian and defending your faith, do not see the undertones and influences that subconsciously tell women they are less valuable.
1. The Bible is clear that "all" have sinned, and repeatedly refers to the sin of Adam as the downfall of mankind.
2. Man was also cursed with toil and labor.
3. It was not sexuality that was the issue with Mary, it was the divinely human nature of Christ that results from her union with the Spirit of God. The NT refers to the marriage bed as "pure" and sex within the covenant of marriage is pure and holy
4. Yes, Christianity has a male Godhead - but God also has female characteristics - in Isaiah we are said to be comforted by God as we would be by an overflowing breast


I think it is faulty to assume that different = less valuable. Look at the way we are made. I am nearing the end of pregnancy again and am slower. I need to rest more. My dh does not. I have the womb that bears our children and the breasts that nourish them. My dh does not. I am biologically made to be a homemaker more than he is. I think that shows a divine design and order. Not that I have a lesser role, just a different one.
post #98 of 98
Resurrecting this thread to post an article that I stumbled across in the NYT last night... it seems to apply. I'm not sold on all of this guys ideas, but they are interesting. Basically he is arguing against the model that the patriarchy was created and sustained by men trying to keep women down, and proposes a model where biological and cultural factors drive both men and women in different ways which has resulted in gender inequality.

It can't really be summarized as he covers a lot of ground, but here is a snip:

Quote:
To summarize my main points: A few lucky men are at the top of society and enjoy the culture’s best rewards. Others, less fortunate, have their lives chewed up by it. Culture uses both men and women, but most cultures use them in somewhat different ways. Most cultures see individual men as more expendable than individual women, and this difference is probably based on nature, in whose reproductive competition some men are the big losers and other men are the biggest winners. Hence it uses men for the many risky jobs it has.

Culture is not about men against women. By and large, cultural progress emerged from groups of men working with and against other men. While women concentrated on the close relationships that enabled the species to survive, men created the bigger networks of shallow relationships, less necessary for survival but eventually enabling culture to flourish. The gradual creation of wealth, knowledge, and power in the men’s sphere was the source of gender inequality. Men created the big social structures that comprise society, and men still are mainly responsible for this, even though we now see that women can perform perfectly well in these large systems.
Here's the link: http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

I don't like the fact that he completely left out the factor of how women being the ones caring for the children affects women's position in society (less time to devote to other pursuits, less willing to take risks, etc). But I do agree with his general premise that the patriarchy emerged from natural factors rather than being a male plot to subjugate women. Some men have taken advantage of it to subjugate women, sure, but I don't think that is the core of the issue.

Oh, and mamamillet, he agrees with you that women are FAR MORE IMPORTANT to human reproduction than men. There's some great bits in there -- you gotta love a guy who comes up with phrases like "there is a penile surplus".
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