Inspired by Carol P. Christ: Patriarchy Rules the Supreme Court by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Along with the words of Justices Sotomayer, Breyer and Kagan.

The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe was expected, but there was nothing that could prepare me (nor likely anyone else) for the devastation of the actual decision. My gut is reeling. I thought it would be useful to survey the landscape through the lens of patriarchy. Thanks to Carol Christ for having always written insightful comments about the roles of patriarchy. This is inspired by her work.

The dissenting judges were quite eloquent, so I will work off their words.

  • “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”
  • “After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had. The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away. The majority’s refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment of its decision.”

My Commentary: Through the eyes of patriarchy here is no need to consider life-altering consequences because it only recognizes two roles for women: madonna or whore. We are never seen as full humans with civil and independent rights. Patriarchy doesn’t just hate the sexual freedom of women, it has spent millennia trying to quash it, make it into something dirty, control it. It’s a love/hate relationship with sex. Rape is really OK (look how hard it is to prosecute). Pedophilia OK too (look at the church). But a woman making her own sexual, reproductive choices . . . a bridge too far. Patriarchy will always force us to pay a price for having sex, for being alluring, for being female.

  • “Today, the Court…says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”

Commentary: I am so tired and angry. The very existence of my body is an affront to the sacredness of male sperm. That is patriarchy. Patriarchy is a system of destruction. Guns which are by their nature destructive, fine. Spreading poisons and destroying the environment, and mother earth, especially in the name of profit, fine. It wasn’t that long ago that women and children were considered the property of men. True to form, the Supremes are continuing to protect the property interests of men by focusing on women’s bodies.

  • “The Court reverses course today for one reason and one reason only: because the composition of this Court has changed…Today, the proclivities of individuals rule. The Court departs from its obligation to faithfully and impartially apply the law. We dissent.”

Commentary:  Another feature of patriarchy. Individuals especially those who feel they have a god on their side (always male) have the attitude they are holier than the rest of us. In the name of that male god, they claim the divine right to make decisions on behalf of everyone else. Really think about this: Of the six who overturned Roe, two of them are credibly accused of abusing women. Think about tha.t Two men credibly abused women have now ruled on what millions of women can do with our bodies thereby abusing all of us. It makes me sick. That is not only what patriarchy allows, it demands it.

  • “No one should be confident that this majority is done with its work. The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone. To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation. Most obviously, the right to terminate a pregnancy arose straight out of the right to purchase and use contraception. In turn, those rights led, more recently, to rights of same-sex intimacy and marriage. They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decision-making over the most personal of life decisions. 
  • “Today’s decision strips women of agency over what even the majority agrees is a contested and contestable moral issue. It forces her to carry out the State’s will… it takes away her liberty.”
  • “As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions…Some women, especially women of means, will find ways around the State’s assertion of power. Others—those without money or childcare or the ability to take time off from work—will not be so fortunate. Maybe they will try an unsafe method of abortion, and come to physical harm, or even die. Maybe they will undergo pregnancy and have a child, but at significant personal or familial cost. At the least, they will incur the cost of losing control of their lives.”

Commentary: Notice how those with wealth will still have options while the poorer among us will not. Another feature of patriarchy.

In patriarchy, women’s bodies are nothing more than a container to hold men’s sperm which is considered “sacred.” Our wombs only become community property when that “sacred” sperm has been introduced. And it must be protected against all threats. Each seed that finds purchase must be treated as sacrosanct. Incest, rape, abuse, not important, if the male seed is implanted, that mission becomes a holy mission. By decree, by law and by religious fiat. There is patriarchy in all its ugliness.

I dissent!

If there is any doubt about how deeply the Supremes are leaning into patriarchal culture and poison, the final opinion contains what was in the leaked draft: a citation from Matthew Hale who lived in the 1600s and sentenced women to death for witchcraft.  (I have no words). Will the new witch hunters be a police force aimed directly at women for real or imagined reproductive “crimes”? Will the new Scarlet A refer to “fallen women” and their healthcare providers? Will we have special jails just for the “sinful women” who dared to claim control of their own bodies?

With heartbreak – I dissent!

BIO: Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a ShamanWhen Eve Was a Goddess, (now available in Spanish, Cuando Eva era una Diosa), and One Gods

Categories: Abuse of Power, Feminism, General, Patriarchy, Roe v. Wade, Women's Rights, Women's Suffering, Women's Voices

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18 replies

  1. Love your commentaries, Janet. I’ve been reeling as well since the SCOTUS ruling came out officially last Friday. Patriarchy is poisonous. You rightly say: “Patriarchy is a system of destruction.” When I was still teaching, I found it really difficult to get that concept across to students. Most people think of the word as reflecting a benign way of arranging society–giving the father’s name to their progeny. In order to regain some personal peace and balance, I think we need to “think globally, but act locally.” What can I do in my specific geographical space? I can’t change the SCOTUS decision. But, I can work locally with people who are politically savvy and work towards women exercising agency over their own bodies.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks you Janet
    I dissent … I dissent …( no words)… here in Australia the journey to introducing Abortion rights in some states is happening right now …………… how different this day is for us both ………….. the impacts of USA supreme court reversal decision is been felt here as I shared and discussed with follow women of this “man’s” decision …………..WE dissent with you……… and She WILL rise, and She Rises ….yes think globally and act locally …. yours always in loving union in whole bodies, minds and souls … She RISES…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent. Yes, patriarchy is poisonous. Let’s impeach the lying male members of the Supreme Court. Just ask Anita Hill about Mr. Thomas. I remember those hearings before an all-male Senate panel. He’s gotten worse, and Trump’s appointees are even more patriarchal. How sad for our fading democracy. How very sad.
    Janet, RO and BB! SHE RISES!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Barbara. I must say that it drives me crazy that Mr. Thomas (well done) is in the position he is in. They keep making the point that “no one is above the law” in regards to a President. Well not only is a President as close as possible but so too are Justices. It is sickening. There should be term limits, court packing, impeachment, whatever is necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Patriarchy doesn’t just hate the sexual freedom of women, it has spent millennia trying to quash it, make it into something dirty, control it. It’s a love/hate relationship with sex. Rape is really OK (look how hard it is to prosecute). Pedophilia OK too (look at the church). But a woman making her own sexual, reproductive choices . . . a bridge too far. Patriarchy will always force us to pay a price for having sex, for being alluring, for being female.”

    Oh god I can barely read these words – or this essay – I weep – and rage bubbles. Fantastic essay Janet – if not heartbreaking.

    May we all survive this travesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sara, yes may be all survive. If we support each other, our strength will RISE. It must.

      Liked by 1 person

      • we must find a way to support one another – it is our survival and that of the earth as we know her that is at stake here – this summer i am off the grid for days at a time – and the more I am in the forest the more insane the rest of this socially constructed insanity seems – I want to help but how? all that’s left now for me seems to be the necessity to write about nature – its become an obsession I can’t shake – so I have to go with it – excuse delays in responses – its because of this off the grid living.


  5. Thank you Janet for posting this. I need to process this grief in as many ways as I can and try to find equanimity. This is truly a result of pure patriarchy and religious trance. I would have to add misogyny also. I really have a hard time with understanding how women can actually be supporters. To me it seems to stem from such a fear of the power of the feminine in everything, even within their own beings. So it needs to be crushed in every way possible.
    It is so horribly sad for all. I pray that these extreme acts somehow backlash and lead to a rising up and empowerment of women everywhere. May the beautiful power of the feminine shine through to guide us all through these very dark and difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Michele for making the effort to post here. Yes, processing the grief. That is the process we are all feeling isn’t it? I think that’s another effect of patriarchy. It keeps us all outraged, in a tizzy, frantically staunching the flow of the damage. We will be forever locked in this ugly dance unless we can change the narrative. As you say, “crushed in every way possible.”

      YES, YES to the beautiful power of the feminine. Thank you for drawing out attention to it.


  6. Wow! Can’t believe Alito had the nerve to quote someone like Michael Hale who sentenced women to death for witchcraft! Deliberate or ignorant of what Hale did? I would say deliberate! He wanted to send a message all right. That said, someone on Twitter said all women are now under a Britney Spears type conservatorship! Ironically, Spears, as a wealthy woman, can afford to fly anywhere she wants to have an abortion if she so chooses while most of us can’t. Good for her to get her freedom and have the baby her father has denied her all those years. The rest of us not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can believe it. I think of it as total intellectual dishonesty as well as rank hypocrisy. There really is no legal basis to destroy Roe so he had to go back hundreds of years to find his “legal” justification. That’s how cruel and out of step this decision is.

      Interesting take on Spears. Thank you Shoshana.


  7. Such a powerful and important response to the Supreme Court decisions. All of this is so true and so horrifying. Thank you for writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

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