Patriarchy As An Integral System of Male Dominance Created at the Intersection of the Control of Women, Private Property, and War, Part 3


carol p. christ 2002 colorPatriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.

As the discussion of patriarchy* I began last week and the week before shows, patriarchy is not simply the domination of women by men. Patriarchy is an integral system in which men’s control of women’s sexuality, private property, and war (including violence, conquest, rape, and slavery) each play a part. These different elements are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate one as the cause of the others.  Patriarchy is an integral system of interlocking oppressions, enforced through violence, and legitimated by religions.

The model of patriarchy I have proposed argues that the control of female sexuality is fundamental to the patriarchal system.  This explains why there is so much controversy about the “simple matter” of access to birth control and abortion in the US today. It also explains why so much vicious anger is directed at single mothers by politicians and commentators.  Any woman who dares to control her own sexuality is questioning the foundations of the patriarchal system. Women’s right to control our bodies and our sexuality alone is not enough to end the system of male domination. But the right of women to control our sexuality – and yes to have sex whenever and with whomever we please – is the beginning of the end of the patriarchal system.  Issues concerning sexuality are sometimes dismissed as “soft” or as only part of the “culture wars.” The definition of patriarchy as an integral system shows that sexual matters are “integrally” related to the “hard” “social” and “economic” issues that are sometimes viewed as more real or important than cultural issues.

The model of patriarchy as an integral system enables us to see that in order to end male domination we must also end war–and violence, rape, conquest, exploitation, and slavery which are sanctioned as part of war.  In societies where the violent behaviors of warriors are celebrated and in which soldiers who have been trained in the methods of violence come home, it is unlikely that anyone can succeed in eradicating rape and violence against women.  In the US military the rape of women soldiers by other soldiers is common, and the military is covering it up.  This needs to stop and the men who rape in the military must be punished.  However, the fact that rape has been permitted as the spoils of war from the inception of war up to the present day is rarely considered as one of the reasons for the rape of women in the military.  Can justice for raped women be achieved in an institution that has always permitted and sometimes encouraged rape?  And even if rape can be stopped within the military, will soldiers still continue to rape the women of the “the enemy” and bring learned violent behaviors with them when they come home?  Do we have to end war to end violence against women?

If we wish to end patriarchy, we must also address the unequal distribution of wealth inherent in the notion of “private” property, much of it the “spoils” of war, which led to the concept of patriarchal inheritance, which in turn required the control of female sexuality. It is important that the model of communal land ownership in prepatriarchal societies and the principle of sharing wealth through gift-giving systems become more widely known.  Knowledge is power. Knowledge of more communal alternatives exposes the injustices in systems of unrestrained accumulation of private property in the hands of powerful individuals.  While we may not be able to return to a system of communal land ownership any time soon, we can support universal health care, progressive tax systems that redistribute accumulated wealth, and social safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable.

When we recognize that the desire to pass property on to heirs is one of the roots of the patriarchal system, we might also become more sympathetic to serious reform of the inheritance system.  If individuals were only allowed to leave a set amount to each child and none to family-controlled charities, there would be less incentive to accumulate large amounts of wealth in the first place.  Let us not kid ourselves, the “right” of individuals (most of them male) to accumulate vast wealth and to pass it on to heirs is at the root of the right-wing insistence that taxes on the rich not be raised and tax loopholes not be closed.

If we begin to see the injustices involved in acquiring people and property as the spoils of war, we might also become more sympathetic to the idea of paying reparations to indigenous peoples and to people whose ancestors were enslaved.  This is not a matter of punishing some for sins committed by others.  Are those whose ancestors lived in poverty in the tenements of New York and rose from there to the middle class any less the beneficiaries of the injustices on which the American system was built than those whose ancestors held slaves or took land from the Indians? We could fund reparations with the money that wealthy individuals would no longer be allowed to pass on to their heirs. We might even begin to view these measures–and others like them–as neither unjust nor even as extraordinary, but simply as what is required to repair the injustices inherent in the patriarchal system of private property.

Feminists in religion must also identify and challenge the complex interlocking set of religious symbols that have sanctified the integral system of patriarchy.  These include but are not limited to the image of God as male.  Images that associate divine beings with warfare and violence are also part of the problem.  Feminists have begun this task, but it is not an easy one.  The justifying of injustice within patriarchal religions is a worldwide phenomenon.  Increasing secularization means that secular symbols, especially those created by advertizing, must also be criticized.

Heidi Goettner-Abendroth said that matriarchal societies honor principles of care, love, and generosity which they associate with motherhood, as models for the behavior of women and men. While it may not be possible or even desirable to return to the past, the example provided by matriarchal societies suggests a way forward, a path toward re-imagining societies that have legitimated and sanctified patriarchy, war, and the accumulation of wealth.

In this time when humanity is poised to destroy itself through war, overpopulation, and disregard for the environment, images that celebrate interdependence in the web of life are profoundly needed.  We must recreate the understanding that ours is a relational world.  Care, love, and generosity are not female or “girly” virtues–they can be practiced by boys as well as girls, men as well as women.  Care, love, and generosity are not contrary to human nature–they stem from recognizing that all individuals, human and other than human, are related in an interdependent world.

Patriarchy arose in history. This means it is neither natural nor inevitable. Knowledge is power. We can change the world.

See Part 1 and Part 2 for the full story.

*See the expanded version with footnotes: “A New Definition of Patriarchy: Control of Female Sexuality, Private Property, and War,” Feminist Theology 23/3 (2016).

Carol P. Christ’s new books are Goddess and God in the World with Judith Plaskow and A Serpentine Path. Join her on a Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete in spring or fall. Carol is a founding mother in the study of women and religion, feminist theology, women’s spirituality, and the Goddess movement.  She has been active in peace and justice movements all of her adult life. Her earlier books include She Who Changes, and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.

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59 replies

  1. Hi Carol, could we say that the Hymn to Demeter is the ultimate archetype (already buried deep in our human psyche) to solve the question of how to challenge the Patriarchy and succeed. The answer in the Hymn is to find a way to be able to defer anger (which always imprisons) in our quest for liberation. That’s why the sexy dance by Iambe (aka Baubo) enters the story out of nowhere, and then shocking the audience, Iambe lifts her skirt and exposes her genitals, thereby challenging the strict order of high society or academe to the core, and suddenly causing the profoundly grieving Demeter to laugh. If we are focusing on religion and feminism, we need to construct some deliciously fun, delightfully loving and outrageously humorous, religious ideas in order to out-distance the stuffy, grieving world out there called Patriarchy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • P.S. A comment on the scene I mentioned with Baubo [Iambe] as Redeemer, from “The Story of V: a Natural History of Female Sexuality,” p.20, by Catherine Blackledge:

      “In her grief [Demeter] leaves heaven and wanders desolate on the earth in search of her child. As she mourns, refusing to eat or drink, the earth loses its energy source and starts to become barren and infertile. Eventually Demeter arrives at Eleusis, some fifteen miles northwest of Athens. There, disguised as an old woman, she takes a job as a nurse. But she is still lost in grief, and continues to refuse to nourish herself, causing the crops to shrivel, and famine ensues. While at Eleusis, Demeter is visited by an older woman called Baubo [Iambe], who, on seeing the Goddess’s sorrow, tries to comfort her. Her words have no effect, but then [in some versions of the myth] Baubo chooses to lift her gown, pointing out her naked vagina to Demeter. On seeing this bold display of womanhood, the goddess laughs, and shocked out of her suffering, accepts some sustenance. With this restorative act, life on Earth begins to return to normal. In this way, Baubo’s actions are instrumental in restoring the world to balance, harmony and fertility.”

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      • Laughter is a great remedy to stop paralysis caused by trauma and grief. I love to laugh. But of course just laughing at the Unholy Trinity of rape, genocide, and war (Daly), does not stop rape, genocide, and war.

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      • Carol, Just learned that the essay by Ann Suter, which makes an outstanding case not only for a female author for the Hymn to Demeter, but also suggests that the Hymn was written specifically for an all-female audience, is now happily online — a fascinating read — I’ve linked my name to the text, titled “Beyond the Limits of Lyric.”

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  2. Carol, this is so thoughtful and reasoned and excellent that I’ll have to read it two or three times to suck all the milk out of it. (Is that metaphor all right with you?)

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  3. Carol, this is great, so true. If people aren’t aware of the Indian scholar Vandana Shiva, take a look at her books. In Earth Democracy, Shiva discusses how the common lands were enclosed with the rise of colonialism. Shiva is a brilliant writer on this exact topic and offers a vision for a better world by a mutually-supportive network of local communities to counteract the patriarchal destructive globalization. Like what the Occupy movement started. For example, interesting things are happening in San Diego as a result that movement.

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  4. Another writer to look at is Aldo Leopold who wrote about a land ethic in Sand County Almanac. “That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.” In the land ethic, he says to quit thinking about land use as an economic problem. It’s definitely not a patriarchal view of the world around us. There is a great book “Companion to A Sand County Almanac”, edited by J. Baird Callicott, that interprets his book and discusses his legacy.

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  5. And one more comment. First, there is a great documentary called The Invisible War which is about women soldiers being raped in the military. It was one of the docs nominated for an Academy Award. It’s eye-opening if you haven’t seen it, worth seeing. When Panetta was shown the film, he made some changes in lines of communication for reporting rapes. Interestingly noted in the film is that more men are raped in the military than women.

    Secondly, Carol says that women controlling their sexuality is the beginning of the end of the patriarchy. Yay, I say, but I also believe in Leonard Shlain’s thesis in The Alphabet vs the Goddess that alphabetic literacy reinforced men’s linear and abstract thinking which was an important reason the patriarchy took over (e.g., a shift in a neuronal mechanism influencing outlook and thinking). So, luckily with computers today and more graphical-oriented communications, perhaps if we also worked towards increased reliance on pattern recognition it will help establish a balance.

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    • I’m so happy to hear others talking about “The Alphabet and the Goddess.” I read it years ago and was impressed by the theory, but haven’t found anyone else who read it. I hope you’re right about the possibility of the computer offering more graphically-oriented communication and maybe more balance in the way people think. It’s refreshing to hear words of hope.

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  6. I think some of what you say about Heide Göttner-Abendroth’s descriptions of matriarchy might be misunderstood. These are not just historical societies, but societies that exist today.

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    • Can anyone tell me the name of the matriarchal culture that exists in or near Thailand – something like “Lulu??”

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    • I see what you mean Nancy, the 3 part essay makes it clear that some matriarchal societies exist today. What I meant was that matriarchy is in the past of patriarchal societies.

      The Masuo culture of Lake Lago in the Himilayas could be what ksb is thinking of.

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      • Yes, that’s the one! Thanks! I’d love to learn more about them – in particular, how the men function. If men don’t feel important and needed, trouble ensues.

        Sent from my iPhone

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  7. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175651/
    worth reading on how far we have come and how far we still have to go

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  8. Ksb, reports from the few surviving or partially surviving matriarchal societies are that men are happy. They never lose their mother’s love, they have good sex, and they help to raise the children of their maternal clan. As older men, uncles, they are respected. And they don’t have to dominate anyone. Sounds good to me!

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    • An interesting point about the Masuo culture is that they don’t have writing. I wonder what the implications are, related to “The Alphabet and the Goddess?” The “cultural development association” is apparently working to “help” them develop a written language. Perhaps that is not a good idea. http://www.mosuoproject.org/main.html

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  9. Carol, another great post! A question about “Images that associate divine beings with warfare and violence are also part of the problem.” Would you be likely include “warrior goddesses” in this category?

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  10. Yes I would, even if the war part is interpreted as killing devils or evil impulses. If there was no war, there would be no warrior Goddesses. Death Goddesses in the sense of death being part of the cycle of life, yes, but armed with bronze weapons, yes they do justify war.

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    • Thank you, I just watched it. I’m reading J.J. MacKenzie’s book I Will Love Unloved at the same time, the resonance in terms of the lack of power women have in the Bible is strong. I love the Bechdel test idea, never heard of it before. I like her point that the writing down of the stories and the defining the Biblical canon created this static set of ideas divorced from the flow of history and anchored to the Iron Age. I liked the Q and A video afterwards, and particularly when she says near the end that religion is a way of encoding and scripting cultural agreements, and then throwing away the rationale.

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      • Yes, and it resonated, for me, with the theories of “The Alphabet and the Goddess,” too. I was very concerned when I read today that a movement is afoot to “help” the Musuo people to get a written language. They have managed to keep their matriarchal ways, maybe partially BECAUSE they have no written language!

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      • ksb,
        Maybe being a writer has something to do with it, but I find the theory that “matriarchy” or preferably to me, matrifocal societies are incompatible with written language. This seems to feed into the essentialist (and often misogynist) equation that male=intellectual and female=emotional. Would any of us here prefer to be alphabet-less? Would you be better off without a living language? Without the ability to read and write? That said, I also value oral tradition. Both the oral and written are valuable. (And “oral tradition” is not necessarily without intellectual properties, and written material does not necessarily contain them.)

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  11. Edit of my comment above, it should read, “I find disturbing the theory that “matriarchy” or preferably to me, matrifocal societies are incompatible with written language.

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    • Judith — Leonard Shlain agrees with you. He is not arguing from a misogynist perspective, but a neurological one. At the end of “The Alphabet vs the Goddess”, he quotes Sophocles “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” Shlain argues that the “thug who mugged the Goddess was alphabet literacy”. But he believed we are entering a Golden Age of the right-hemispheric values of tolerance because images will bring worldwide healing. I too am a writer and I love words and am writing a book about this. We rely on the written word, we’re addicted to it. Doesn’t mean it is good for us.

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      • I would not hold too tight to “neurological” explanations of differences between genders. Everything that exists in society, including gender, is social. See book by Cordelia Fine “Delusions of Gender”. She takes apart popular “scientific” books about gender differences that are based on misinterpreted or overblown conclusions of scientific experiments assumption by assumption, method by method, footnote by footnote. Left-hemispheric men and Right-hemispheric women is a myth, not even a scientific one, but popular-scientific and mass media one.

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    • Literacy is one of the signs of a developed society. Let us not dive into the Middle Ages where most Europeans were illiterate, unwashed and ate with their hands in our search for a more just society.

      Also, let’s remember that alphabets does not equal literacy. There are other forms of writing down spoken language, such as Chinese and syllabaries.

      The earliest form of writing was discovered in Sumer (before 3000 BC) and what was written were counts of sheep and grain. So, if we hold to the theory that it was Goddess temple complexes that were agricultural as well as religions centres, it follows that writing evolved within Goddess culture.

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  12. Shlain argues that the “thug who mugged the Goddess was alphabet literacy”.

    Shalin’s choice of words are interesting. The alphabet is a “thug?” My theory argues that “thugs” are “thugs” — warriors in battle and at home. These genuine thugs may have used the alphabet to keep control over the spoils of war. There is a definite role played by the “written word” in Christian control over culture. Jewish tradition had a different relationship to the written word. Marija Gimbutas believes that written language was developing in the matrifocal cultures of Old Europe.

    I find it interesting to think of Shalin’s argument as yet another one that denies the role that “force” (see Simone Weil “The Iliad as a Poem of Force” plays in the “evoltution” of culltures. Current theory in archaeology views theories of “takeover” of cultures as “simplistic.” Yet takeovers of cultures are occurring today and the certainly occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Why the need to deny the role of force by so many theorists?

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    • John 1:1 is the first verse in the Gospel of John. The King James Version of the verse reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Does it mean the “written word?” Maybe. It is interesting, in any case, that writing was invented about the same time as patriarchal religion (~3000-5000BC). And I believe that “force” accompanied the shift from matrifocal to patriarchal society.

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      • The word “Word” in John 1, from the Greek, “logos,” has a variety of interpretations, which all appear to use “Word” NOT literally but metaphorically or symbolically or you might even consider it code. Meanings usually given for “Word” in this context include Jesus as Messiah and “Wisdom,” referring to the feminine divine. See for example, http://transliteracies.english.ucsb.edu/images/flash_projects/word/ This phrase is easily researched with search engines such as Google. Regarding the invention of writing, it’s interesting to me that the first known writer/poet/author is the priestess Endeheduanna (32285-2250 BCE), whose best known work is “The Exhaltation of Inanna.” To me, this associates writing with Goddess reverence, rather than with its suppression.

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      • Hi KSB, a really interesting find for me was seeing the Book of John in Chinese, and the character for Word / Logos was Tao. John Chambers talks about this Tao as Logos in his intro to the Tao Te Ching also.

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      • Logos in Greek means something like “the reason for” or “the purpose of.” The reason for creation in the mind of God preceded the creation itself. This purpose was identical with God.

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      • I mentioned John Chambers alignment of Logos with Tao, but he translates Tao from the Chinese into “Reason.” So that fits well, Carol, with what you’ve explained. I think the Greek word, Arche is “naming” God also in John’s opening line.

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    • Carol —

      I agree with you that the patriarchal take-over was violent and that use of force was the most significant force in this shift. When I started to read Schlain years ago, I was unimpressed. Much seemed taken from women theorists I had already read. But a few years back I read David Abram’s _The Spell of the Sensuous_ and decided that I should go back to Schlain and finish the book. Abrams makes a good case for how non-pictographic written language changed the way we think, and he makes it from the perspective of someone who knows an indigenous culture from the inside out. This convinced me.

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      • Thanks for sharing the information about the Abrams book. This will be on my list to read! I was particularly struck by the review of the book that says “Abram blames the invention of the phonetic alphabet for triggering a trend toward increasing abstraction and alienation from nature.” Echoes of being thrust from the Garden of Eden?

        ________________________________

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  13. Thank you for this forum, Carol, and the wonderful and challenging depth of your questions and reflections always. I remember the shock I felt reading Simone Weil on the Iliad, but I understood she was talking about her own time in the early 20th c. more than anything else. The Greeks were not different than any other patriarchy in terms of war. But there is something in the Greek myths we need to hold onto and praise: this quote from “Great Books: my adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and other indestructible writers of the western world,” p. 135, by David Denby:

    “People longing for an idyllic antidote […] may sometimes forget the real miracle was not ‘Greek serenity’ but Greek fearlessness — the evident possibility that these immensely sophisticated people were in touch with the savage beginnings of their own civilization. […] They were civilized men and women with access to the unconscious. Since they weren’t afraid, they had no need to simplify things, and they made drama, not melodrama, the struggle of right against right rather than right against wrong.”

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    • Ross — what time period was Denby talking about when he says “they were civilized men and women with access to the unconscious”? Is he talking about the time of the playwrights or of the beginning of their civilization (i.e., the Trojan War)?

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      • Thanks Thea — Denby prefaces the quote I shared, by saying that his research…

        “made it clear that rituals necessary to purge fears of drought — the rituals, say, that provide the background to the ‘Hymn to Demeter’ — were still emotionally important to the people who invented democracy, built the Parthenon, and asked questions about how we know what we know.”

        So that’s his era that he’s pointing to I guess (6-5th c. BCE), and that the old texts were still revered at that time). But I have a sense that he is talking about what he himself gleaned from his reading of Homer especially and Greek Mythology generally. That it gets down into your subconscious and creates a shock or wound that transforms into a catharsis and heals a lot of stuff we don’t bring forward, don’t face into in our art forms in the same way in modern times. His last statement intrigues me too, what does he mean by right vs. right? In the various dramas that unfold in the Greek myths we’re after passages that represent the human self birthing process which unfolds throughout our lives, and so we learn from those old stories, like the Hymn to Demeter — still important to us — because we want to evolve and that always takes some risks that might trouble us subconsciously.

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    • The Denby quote for me is part of “the Greeks as the source of everything” theme that leads to teaching the Iliad as the foundation of “our” civilization. It is that, but I would not say the civilization built on it is a “great” one, unless killing in wars, raping and enslaving women, and male dominance are the building blocks of greatness. Unfortunately, if recognized at all as being part of the Greek worldview, these things are viewed as “not central” to the great themes being portrayed. This makes me want to throw up, and after that to create a “better theory.”

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      • Your unwillingness to compromise on the classics is fantastic. It makes me trust your site here, 100-fold. We need a new worldview built on a new worldview, not a revival or revision of any form of old patriarchal enchantment.

        However, I am blinded by my love for the Hymn to Demeter. In my view, it stands alone, entirely outside the compass of the usual Greek worldview. It did not survive either, it wasn’t passed down like Homer, and that’s interesting. The only reason we have a single copy of the text is because it was found in the ruins of a pig farm in Moscow, of all places, built on top of an old 15th century library, and was unearthed there in 1775. Every other copy was destroyed. Such a miracle that so great a masterpiece survived every attempt to wipe it out bring tears to my eyes. Until it was discovered no one knew there was a Hymn to Demeter among the Homeric Hymns. I have no doubt that it was written by a woman, if not Sappho, definitely a deeply sensitive author and profoundly enlightened soul. One reason for Sappho too as the Hymn’s possible author is Sappho’s great love for her daughter, as well as the laments she includes in her poetry for the girls who were forced to leave her school for the sake of arranged marriages.

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  14. Hi Ross —

    I think Denby must be thinking about patriarchal vs. matriarchal rights for example in the _Oresteia_ or Antigone’s right to bury her brother vs. Creon’s (?) right to forbid that.

    I do find the Denby quote you give us intriguing. To my mind, the Greek myths are fascinating exactly because we can still see some of the prepatriarchal goddess myths shining through the crack of the patriarchal overlay. But then by Denby’s definitions, the matrifocal goddess myths would be “the savage beginnings of the Greek civilization,” something I completely disagree with. Most people who use the term civilization are judging the indigenous cultures that preceded patriarchy as “primitive.” I see patriarchy with its violence, rape, and hierarchy not as a step forward towards civilization, but a step backward towards inhumanity.

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    • I love your response Nancy. Usually I’m being told as a feminist to step back and get a life, or find some balance or something. I agree with your spirit of uncompromising commitment to the matriarchal foundation of our history, and fighting for it and preserving it against all patriarchal overlay. The Hymn to Demeter is more feminist than anything I have ever read, including myth, fiction, philosophy, or feminist spirituality. And because it is so healing for me and inspiring, I draw my strength from the Hymn first and foremost, and the commentary I cited is directly connected to that primary joy and empowerment. You are looking only at the commentary I quoted, not profoundly involved first and foremost as I am with the Demeter myth itself. Have a look at the Hymn if you get a chance, I linked my name for this reply. You will see a ton of feminist commentary side by side with the text, amazing how deeply sensitive and profound most of it truly is.

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      • Ross —

        My major myth for at least 30 years has been the Demeter myth. I’ve told it in many ways. I’ve written about it (most recently in _SageWoman_ magazine). And it’s been a guiding light in my daily life.

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    • Amen to that!

      Sent from my iPhone

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    • I agree with what Nancy says here. I also agree with Ross that the Hymn to Demeter is more “matriarchal” than The Iliad and the tragedies.

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  15. 7th c. is often stated, which means the 600s BCE which is the time of Sappho, 1000 years after the arrival of the Mycenean Indo-European warriors to the Pelopponese, and 150 or more years before the “classical age of Greece,” the time of the philosophers and the tragedians. This time is patriarchal war time, but it is also a time when Sappho and other women poets wrote.

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  16. Patriarchy defined as: “the use, misuse and abuse of power over others.” Starhawk
    and “Source” “The Mystery” “God” (having been anthropmorphised by MAN KIND)
    Seen as the HEAD of the patriarchy….gives permission to WAR and RAPE (and do pretty much anything else you can easily justify by all the mal dominated religious texts)…..
    “boys will be boys” after all…… and GOD (as father) is the perfect figure head for MAN KIND, overly attached to their human ego, disconnected from source (EARTH) and the elements

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  17. Thank you ;-) I realized how religions are misogynistic and how we must destroy patriarchy.

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  18. Carol, I agree with all your proposals. It breaks my heart every time I hear American and other privileged people express views that taxes and welfare is a crime.

    This report http://classonline.org.uk/docs/Why_Inequality_Matters.pdf Why Inequality Matters demonstrates how, beyond a certain level of development of a country, it is not more wealth, but more equality that benefits societies. The report also indicates that many Americans are not aware of the extent of inequality in their country (as are many Brits, I am sure), and show preference for the level of equality that is higher even than in Sweden.

    Also, I support your point about control over women’s sexuality. It is not just our reproductive function, it is all our sexuality that patriarchy strives to control: what we wear, how we laugh, our weight, and obviously, how, with whom and how often we have sex. I have one response in mind addressed to patriarchy in response to this, but I will not type it here. :-)

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  19. Carol, in the end Demeter proved that women have tremendous power. The Amazon (women warriors) is another example.

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  20. In 1990, I was working at a women’s clinic at Kirtland Airforce Base in Albuquerque. I primarily gave prenatal, postpartum and gynaecological care to airforce wives and daughters before, during and after Desert Storm. Before their husbands were deployed to Kuwait, I encountered a few cases of violence, and STDs, about the average that I would encounter in any clinic. When the men came back, a couple of short months later, the level of violence skyrocketed. Every day women came in battered and bruised. In many cases, their husbands had engaged in rough marital rape. STDs went way up.

    Clearly, this treatment of their own wives and daughters was fostered by the war. Those of us in the clinic wondered if the men came home and raped their wives because they had engaged in this activity overseas or because, secondary to the short nature of this war, they hadn’t had the opportunity to rape women in Kuwait. Either way, war had engendered a “rape culture”.

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  21. I just found your blog and immediately thought of something that totally relates to patriarchy and men’s to control female sexuality. Last spring my book of poetry, “On the Rim of Wonder” was published. A female friend bought, read, and shared it with a number of people, both women and men. She came up to me one day and told me that while all the women loved it, “men find it shocking. They now think you are a scandalous woman and even have the nerve to brag about it.” I was astounded; the men to whom she referred all think of themselves as super liberal and open minded. I teach high school; students still refer to certain girls in very derogatory terms–it is always about sex. We are still totally entrenched in patriarchy.

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  22. Has the “expanded version” of this been published, and if so, how can I access it?

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Trackbacks

  1. I know you will probably think I’m wrong but I’d rather see men marching against violence towards women than in celebration of past wars. | seventhvoice
  2. The Danger of the Patriarchal Domination Mindset: Can We Do Anything About It? | The Swallow and the Nightingale
  3. Patriarchy In The 21st Century, Part 2 in a Series | DhesBar Publications
  4. What Can We Do About the Patriarchy? – Thea Iberall 2.0

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