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View Diary: Threatening Traditions - Part II: Traditional Masculinity (240 comments)

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  •  I have trouble with the reliability of "history," (7+ / 0-)


    PRESENT Shock When everything happens NOW

    by Portia Elm on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:47:35 PM PDT

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    •  And you should (6+ / 0-)

      What's the saying, that history is written by the victors? I don't think there's any question that modern "civilization" descended from the dominator societies that wiped out the goddess-worshiping partnership societies that thrived millenia ago.  The latter were more advanced in all the ways that matter to enlightened human beings, but were no match for the more aggressive and militarily advanced invaders.  Whatever bursts of cultural prosperity occurred in history from that point on were highly correlated with women having more rights and a place in the public sphere, however short-lived these exceptions were.

      Look at the earliest female writers, who had to write under male pseudonyms to be published.  Austen certainly recognized the bias inherent in "public" knowledge, with one of her female characters telling a male friend that women were only viewed as less constant in love because all the literature throughout recorded history had been written by men.

      Women's history has always been and continues to be suppressed by the status quo.

      The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority. - Stanley Milgram

      by penelope pnortney on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:02:20 PM PDT

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      •  er . . . I politely disagree (7+ / 0-)

        In many traditional cultures that rely upon oral tradition have preserved many of the old stories about women in leadership positions, women warriors and their exploits, and stories about when matriarchy did not mean "the opposite of patriarchy."  And, you are describing the rise of the Catholic Church that led to the Inquisition.

        Even in male-dominated cultures, women still rose to positions of importance.  Saint Olga, for one, ruled a country after some serious bad-assery.  Queen Victoria was an able and apt monarch.  It is just that most of the ink went to record male exploits and male adventures.

        Have we ever stopped to ask ourselves why we have (pick your sport) and womens' (pick your sport)?  Why don't we say mens' (pick your sport) and womens' (pick your sport)?

        The premise of this diary is spot on for the larger society found here in the US.  It raises questions that we need to address as a society in order to move passed the quagmire that is embodied in the Tea Party and espoused by the Republicans.

        But to say that these matriarchal societies are dead and gone is a bit of an exaggeration.  Traditional matriarchal societies exist the world over.  They just don't need nearly as much attention as the male-dominated societies.

        •  Which brings me back to a question I've pondered (9+ / 0-)

          wondered, and, yes, raised before.  Why is it that we speak of patriarchy and matriarchy as the only two viable models to which to aspire as a society.  Is it that the thesaurus antonyms for hegemony are powerlessness and impotence?

          Can we not aim higher than for a system in which the vast wealth of power is held by a single gender, a single class, a single ethnicity?

          To me, this is antithetical to democracy.

        •  I politely disagree back :) (5+ / 0-)

          I wasn't actually talking about matriarchal societies and yes, I do know that some exist and have existed.  But the females you're referring to would seem to be the exceptions rather than the rule.  If your premise were true then history would have been littered with prominent females in direct proportion to their numbers in the general population - say half, just for simplicity's sake.  And that simply is not the case.  I don't really count monarchs because generally speaking, females ascended to the throne only when there was no male with higher claims to it (i.e., a son).  The importance of maintaining the blood line and in some cases the concept of  "divine right" played a huge part in who was heir to the throne.  

          The partnership societies I was referring to pre-dated Christianity and Classical Greece and even the settling of Judea.  The advances made by those early partnership societies to culture, to technology, to social organizations were decimated and only smatterings re-emerged in much later "civilizations".  They weren't conquered and assimilated, they were obliterated.  And here's why I say that women's history has been suppressed, not necessarily from malice, sometimes it was simple ignorance and egocentrism - archeologists have known about these early partnership societies for several centuries, but because these earlier researchers were analyzing them through a male-centric lens, with few exceptions they either ignored or misinterpreted what did not fit into their preconceived paradigm.  It's only probably in the last 50-60 years that we have come to a fuller understanding, and that only with the introduction of women into these fields of scholarship.  First, because they bring a different perspective that isn't a priori biased by a patriarchal viewpoint but second, because of the more general influence these (any) new ways of thinking and looking at things bring to scholarship in general.

          The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority. - Stanley Milgram

          by penelope pnortney on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:14:42 PM PDT

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          •  And, (4+ / 0-)
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            jgilhousen, CroneWit, Silencio, NancyWH

            those societies still exist today.  Perhaps you merely do not know of many First Nations' cultures.

            And, my use of matriarchy was not in the vein of "the opposite of modern patriarchy."  Traditional cultures around the world were led by both sexes, and was labelled a while ago as matriarchal in structure as they did not follow the old white guy definition of "patriarchy." Anything outside of this ability for these anthropologists and sociologists to grasp how a society should be run (by men, because, their culture, of course), was labeled as being "matriarchal."  The books from which I gleaned this information were dusty and used rather racist terms, but they also gave insight into how their culture molded and shaped how they viewed anything outside of how they lived.

            Historically speaking, even while women's voices were silenced and their public contributions were ignored, women have always played important roles in societies.  It is merely a glaring failure of those cultures who have forgotten all of the contributions that women have made rather than an historical fact that they have never made any contributions.  Just because you are used to reading second or third hand accounts of history does not mean that there are not first hand accounts marking how much women have contributed.

            Female monarchs have just as much standing as their more pedestrian counterparts.  If they were not able to govern, if they lacked the facility, do you honestly think that their male advisers would not have done everything in their power to overthrow the female ruler?  Do you think that assassination attempts were never plotted against these women for the un-womanly stances they took in their everyday work life?  These women had to be better and smarter than their male counterparts because they were women in traditional male roles.

            The very underpinnings of what you refer to as partnership societies are still with us today.  They were never completely obliterated because women have never been completely obliterated.  Just as there is a political swinging pendulum to mark the decline of one side of the spectrum and the rise of the other side, there is also a societal pendulum that will swing from one extreme to another.

            New ways of thinking about old ideas.  Everything old is new again.  The idea of an inclusive society is not a new idea dreamed up by the Euro-centric, enlightened, progressive thinking Americans.  The First Nations' types had these societies pre-contact.  We held on to these traditions even though to do so meant that individuals among us would be killed.  We survived 500 years of oppression and genocide, our cultures a bit more worn for the wear, but still present.  

            The whole idea of Socialism that swept the Continent in the late 1700 and shifted how economies were formed was due to the exchanges of ambassadors between the European countries and the First Nations' peoples.  There are troves of first hand accounts of shock and horror when the First Nations' peoples saw how the Europeans treated the least among them.  There was a great social awakening that led to people thinking about new ways of forming governments and economies.  You think that the Europeans woke up one day and said, "Gosh, you know, I think socialism is really the way to go."  You think the common people really started playing around with the idea of representative democracy and no monarchy?

            We kept our traditions, we taught those who'd learn, we hoped for the best and planned for the worst.  Over 100 million First Nations' types have died since 1492 through some of the most atrocious practices of genocide, cultural subjugation, social 're-education,' maiming, torturing, and all manner of horror.  And yet, we endured and we protected our cultures just so you can come up with this wonderful idea that was directly plagiarized from our best practices?

            All the First Nations' did was preserve our traditions and remind you of your own long-forgotten traditions.  Do not think that you are the pinnacle of knowledge and wisdom and philosophy.  You forget a lot, but that's all right.  Everyone helping everyone is what it is all about.

        •  You're making a terrible mistake (1+ / 0-)
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          Portia Elm

          of using exceptions as a measure. It's the same way Biblical hardliners say miracles happen all the time... even though miracles in the Bible were separated by centuries of time.

          by DAISHI on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 12:52:01 AM PDT

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      •  from what little I've read, (5+ / 0-)

        I think there is some question and disagreement about that view of ancient societies, from several historians and anthropologists, and I'm not convinced it's solely an issue of suppression or patriarchal thinking. But as I said, I'm not well read on the subject.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:30:07 PM PDT

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