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Gynopatriarchy and the Truth of Female Dominance in Durkheim's Thought


A Social and Anthropological Refutation of Male Dominance and Patriarchal Oppression of Women!


Contrary to feminist propaganda, which asserts that most human societies are, and have always been in the past, patriarchies, human societies are no exception to the rule of gynocentrism. It operates, in fact, covertly behind a myth of the patriarchy within a hidden and clandestine dynamic which also serves as the lifeline of the system. So, indeed, patriarchy is a mythos rather than reality and can be considered or better said described as gyno-patriarchy, most soothing to the male ego, for wife and female rule. That this is so is confirmed by women from some of the most dissimilar cultures in the world and as a cross-cultural phenomenon. It was an American housewife's proverb saying that "My husband may be the head of the house but I am the neck that turns the head; And it was a Saudi Arabian woman professor who said on the BBC World Service that "The traditional Saudi wife runs her family and runs her husband" (BBC World Service, September 23, 1982). Moreover, from Durkheim's point of view, the founding father of sociology, in the gynocentric culture, the ideal structure of the family, reflecting the joint, identical interests of females and families, is the patriarchy (Durkheim's Response to Feminism, Jennifer Lehmann, page 171)! However, although male patriarchy or male dominance constitutes a myth with no corresponding reality (S.C. Rogers, "The Myth of Male Dominance and Forms of Female Power), the underlying truth of Durkheim's observation, namely, the concept of what we've defines as gynopatriarchy or matrifocal patrilineal gynocentrism is true. Those terms are synonymous whereas gynopatriarchy or patrilineal matrifocal gynocentrism is not only the same but leads us back to the profound social and anthropological truth of reality that humans (as well as primates and mammals) are bound to a gynocentric system of society no matter how it is expressed. Therefore, the assumption that even if patriarchy in this form exists (and it is not) reflecting allegedly male interests destined to oppress women, will be proven false, and the famous feminist slogan "the patriarchy hurts men too", when changing only one word, taking the "too" from the equation, describes gynocentric reality as it is, namely, that the (gyno) patriarchy hurts exclusively men while elevating women to the status of Goddesses. It was most dramatically reflected in the ideal of the Roman Matron!

While labeling the phenomenon as "patriarchy", Durkheim defends this system against the charge that it constitutes an "enslavement of women," calling such a proposition "most disputable." He asserts that it is possible to "unjustly" downgrade what he calls Roman "patriarchy"; and that attacks, like defenses, are ultimately in vain. The "patriarchal" system according to Durkheim can only be judged against its social context, which produces and "justifies" it. Therefore, despite the wrong label, Durkheim's realization of reality is correct not only for the reasons he mentions and others that I have elaborated in different researches but because he describes the underlying truth and dynamics of the patrilineal and matrifocal gynocentric society. Thus, Durkheim's first defense of what he understands as patriarchy and we see as patrilineal and matrifocal gynocentrism and call it gynopatriarchy, is to defend it against the feminist attempts to rewrite history: "patriarchy" according to Durkheim is not antifeminist. We would say that if it existed, it was a gynocentric straw man actively working in the women's service and purposely acting against men. And this is exactly what gynopatriarchy or the patrilineal and matrifocal gynocentrism represents. For us, it means that being antifeminist is being both anti-feminism and anti gynopatriarchy.

His main line of argumentation, however, is positive. Patriarchy according to Durkheim "actually advances the interests of women because it advances the interests of the family". So, by stating and interpreting reality in this way, Durkheim still sees the world through the glance of gynocentrism and making the interest of the family equal to the woman's interest while disregarding the husband. Thus, Durkheim correctly points out that "one source of feminine grandeur is family strength". Furthermore, according to him, "one source of family strength is familial integration". And the paramount form of familial integration is for him what he defines as patriarchy. Again, dismissing his label, his elaboration of the patrilineal and matrifocal realities of gynocentrism is true. Before, the advent of Eleanor of Aquitaine's cultural gynocentrism, patrilineal and matrifocal societies although still discriminating against men, created a strong and holy family, and thereby engenders reverence for the woman of the family. Durkheim finds the archetype of the strong, unified, and revered family in Rome. Therefore, he defends it as a system which, among its other virtues, exalts women and although less, still discriminates against men. In Roman society, women, as wives, enjoyed a "worthy position." Women, as mothers, were the objects of profound "respect (obsequium et reverentia)." This exaltation of wives and mothers was due to the structure of the (gyno)patriarchy, to "the strength with which the marriage bond held firm." The Roman family "brought together, in close unity, husband and wife acting like parents, and their children" (1980, p. 256).

Furthermore, the (gyno)patriarchal domestic organization in Rome, reflecting gynocentric patrilineal and matrifocal realties and dynamics, had several distinct features. According to Durkheim "never was the bond of matrimony stronger than in Rome, never was the union of man and wife more fully regarded as an inviolate partnership throughout the whole of life." Consequently, to him, "the Romans had no less high an opinion of the wife than the Germans" (1980, p. 292). The Roman matron derived from (gyno) patriarchy, reflecting the matrifocal state of gynocentric reality had "a far superior social status" than that of the Greek woman (1980, p. 303). Therefore, (gyno)patriarchy creates a strong family, central and important to society and men. This situation bequeaths importance on the family role and confers respect for the women who occupy it. Under what Durkheim understands as patriarchy, the family is "intense" and "important." Husband and wife are close because patriarchs are relatively oriented toward, and involved in, the family. This completely dispels that feminist falls claim that due to patriarchal values the father isn't involved in the children's life or constitutes his share to the family and even the assertion that he isn't important for the children's life. In his view, patriarchy advances the interests of women because it advances the interests of the family. "The greater the place occupied by the family in the man's preoccupations", writes Durkheim, "the more he feels himself to be his wife's associate, the more he loses the habit of seeing in her an inferior" (1910, p. 143). As a result, in the powerful, pivotal, cohesive matrilocal and patrilineal family, "women's role" had "greater importance" and the wife and mother had a greater "moral position", according to Durkheim. The woman is "surrounded with respect" and shares the "condition" of her husband. However, it must be added that it was not only her moral supremacy but also financial superiority resulting from her female privilege rooted in the realm of informal power exclusively controlled by women as explained by S.C. Rogers in her research.

Durkheim also notices this phenomenon and describes it by clarifying that "this result is the more marked as the (gyno) patriarchal family is more strongly and more solidly organized (1910, p. 143). Historically the status of women was best "where (gyno) patriarchal power reached its furthest development" (1910, p. 143). "The (gyno) patriarchal family", he continues, is the modern family. It supplants the primitive, communistic clan, which is essentially amorphous: extended and homogeneous, simple and mechanically integrated. By contrast, Durkheim understands "the patriarchal family" to be organized and delimited. It manifests the universal law of all-natural evolution: the law of differentiation and specialization. It also manifests the universal law of all familial evolution: the "law of contraction or progressive emergence" (1921, p. 536). The (gyno) patriarchal family evolves still further, however, into the "conjugal family,". And (gyno) patriarchal authority evolves into "conjugal authority". However, here we must add that the conjugal family itself is a contraction of the matrifocal family balanced with those of the patrilineal dynamics. The conjugal family is the (gyno) patriarchal family, contracted to its nuclear core: husband, wife, and children. The children themselves are only transient members of the conjugal family; they exit the parental family upon entering nuclear families of their own. In the conjugal family, the husband and wife are the only permanent elements, and kinship is reduced to marriage (1921, passim).

Similarly, the myth of male dominance from a sociological and anthropological point of view is created by creating a delusion as if the conjugal authority is a contraction of patriarchal authority that allegedly is also true in real life. As we will see that's not the case. But first, let’s further analyze the myth. Here the myth creates the false contraction or attribution as if the conjugal authority is also the family authority of the husband rather than the father and accordingly the illusion that it is the husband rather than the wife who has the authority in the family. It is the myth that the man is the head of the conjugal family, the patriarch. However, not only he has a restricted empire but he has neither an empire nor is he the king. Whether we define it as contracted rather than an extended family; a nuclear family or otherwise, first the only perpetual subject of adherence there is the wife, the matron, and second, she wields the true informal power over her husband, while him having neither power nor means to exert his authority together with the woman enjoying hypo agency, he becomes dependent of every whim. Turning into her slave. The delusion of conjugal authority altogether with hypo agency and the taboo of female informal power is all the power components of what is described as patriarchy and constitutes the myth of male dominance. It is necessary for the sustainment of the gynocentric society and it is the natural form of the organization not only of the family but the gynocentric family as the building blocks of society. Inasmuch, the conjugal family represents the gynocentric familial evolution, and the myth of the male conjugal authority is an essential part of the conjugal family.

To further examine this myth, we have now to dismantle how the husband is taken his actual power and is subordinated to the wife so that the myth can still exist. As I explained in my research on "Medieval Women in Feudal Europe: Property of Men, Chattels of Husbands, or the Privileged Sex of the Middle Ages?" (link in the references), medieval law was largely based on, embodied a Heritage and was an extenuation of the Roman law. Therefore, it is important to more deeply examine a few aspects as to the status of women in the Roman Empire. As Douglas Ghalbi writes and correctly points out in his website "Purple Motes": "The reality of men’s guardianship (meaning protection, responsibility, and supervision) over women is instructive. A close analysis suggests that guardianship over women (tutela mulierum) was a burden that men sought to avoid. Ng (2008) pp. 690-1. With apparent contempt for men’s welfare, a leading, early twentieth-century scholar of Roman history declared: "He {Augustus} devised an ingenious system of rewards and penalties to overcome the selfishness of bachelors; there were to be rewarded for the responsibilities and cares inseparable from marriage, and penalties to outweigh the obvious conveniences of celibacy". Ferrero et al. (1909), vol. 5, pp. 60-1. The conveniences of celibacy are obvious only in misandrist and gynocentric societies. Marriage could be very attractive to men in the right circumstances". So, why is it so? If the alleged patriarchy has offered so many perks and bonuses for men in a marriage, they should have been eager to marry women. However, being reluctant to marry and avoiding guardianship means that marriage as well as the subsequent conditions were a trap for men serving as a honey pot to trap them into marriage and the plantation of slavery and exploitation. Now, let's scrutinize the dynamics that will enable us a glimpse into this reality that led men fled marriage, abandon women, and what were the reasons for this kind of behavior.

1. Most men in the Roman empire lacking any form of formal political power and especially the financial and material means to assert this power over women (as it were men who were responsible for the family member's misbehavior for instance) as well as having no informal power (as proven by Susan Carol Rogers in her research on ancient peasant societies), means the absolute power granted to men over the family was a power dynamic regarding and affecting only the relationship as regarding men and state which wanted to give up its responsibility (for its female citizens) and place this burden on the shoulders of men for the reason to be discussed in the paragraphs below. It had nothing to say or any effect on the relationship between men and women in the personal domestic sphere.

2. However, the same dynamics made men more subservient to women and dependent on them in a personal relationship because being unable to assert their power as the Roman state apparatus denied them any meaningful tool for asserting their guardian status whether by lack of material (financial) means as well by the virtue of legal and social acceptance, again for the reasons to be discussed below, they had practically to go with every female whim to keep them silent and productive so that they won't reap the consequences of their misbehavior. For the Roman empire, this was a way to keep men in check too so that they will be silent and subservient to the state.

3. Roman politics were well known for their policy of dividing and ruling. The dynamics described above are the application of this tactic as regarding the gender dynamics between men and women which still more favored women and discriminated men.

4. This further shows and not only refutes the claim that women were property and chattels as already done in my previous post the status of women in medieval times but that the idea that men benefit from the "patriarchy" is plain and simple a deluded lunacy. In fact, given the research of Martin van Cleveland it proves there was never patriarchy but a privileged status of the aristocracy, made up of queens and kings, that oppressed everyone while within the group of the majority of oppressed masses women were still the privileged sex.

5. In such a system, men were not only disposable but a mere tool of complete slavery of both women and the system. They were not only subordinate to the Empire/Kingdom/Monarchy but their wives too while the wife was only subordinate to the Empire/Kingdom/Monarchy.

6. This dynamic still exists today both as a cultural norm and its practical application in law, economics, and especially family courts while the modern state apparatus only replaces the structures of the more ancient Roman empire. Additionally, the Roman law laid here practically the basics to the principle of hypo-agency for both medieval gynocentrism as well as gynocentrism 3 which is the modern feminist society and well-fare state. So, we can trace what I use to call proto gynocentrism back to the Roman Empire. The roots of all those concepts like hypo-agency, men are eager to fulfill any whim of the women (putting women on the pedestal, the code of chivalry, men paying financially and by law for female misbehavior (men who are arrested for DV even if a woman was the perpetrator or the practice of Charivari), all of those dynamics can be already observed in Rome and its law as well as society.

7. All of the above forces at work here, as we will immediately see, can be found as the very power dynamics of medieval feudalism too which encapsulated the basic cultural, legal, social, societal as well as the economic foundation of our modern society now a day! Both ancient Rome as well as ancient Egypt, all of those cultures and dynamics can be seen as proto-gynocentrism which was followed by classic gynocentric culture beginning in the 12th century in medieval Europe under the reign of queen Eleanor from Aquitaine

Moreover, hypo-agency, as we have pointed out above, originated in the Roman empire. However, we should also remember that it was never intended as a "grant of privilege" as it is today in modern culture. Hypo-agency arose in Rome only because men and fathers were given an illusion of absolute authority over the family unit without meaningful tools to exert it which was needed as a threefold power dynamic of the gynocentric culture as I have explained above. Now, because (even in an artificial way) they were given absolute authority, then they were also given absolute responsibility (relieving women of responsibility only because the fathers and husbands had the responsibility to keep them under control instead of the State). To counteract this artificial dynamic (and as a part of the proto gynocentric culture) Romans created a more balanced system, not in terms of responsibilities but other duties women had to perform in society (although men were still more oppressed than women). In that sense, we should always bear in mind that one of the main characteristics of proto development is that it is not as bad as the culture it precedes. It is normally more balanced. Yet, one can observe many of the elements in X culture as being at the seed level in its preceding protoculture.

For instance, proto gynocentrism was not as bad as gynocentrism itself. Proto feminism which partly overlaps with gynocentrism was not as bad as modern feminism. The first waves of feminism were not as bad as the third wave. In a later development, feminism worsened the situation because, in our current culture, men still have the responsibility to keep the family under complete control (or the State intervenes and imposes punishment on the Fathers and Husbands). However, men have no authority to keep the family under control while women on the other side were given a "grant of privilege" and access to overwhelming formal power enabling them to tighten the grip of oppression and exploitation over men (a big difference between our current culture and Rome). Additionally, feminism removed all of the men's authority in the family, but, none of the men's responsibilities in family matters. Feminism, in modern culture, also retains the hypo-agency that women had in ancient Rome, while at the same time, men are subtly held responsible for anything and everything that women commit as misconduct (especially sexual or procreative misconduct). Also, feminism has removed any protection from men as well as the few duties women did have towards men within the traditional frame of gender roles. As it was in ancient Rome we can see and observe now an even stronger revival of movements like MGTOW – Men Going Their Way as a response to such dynamics!

S.C. Rogers expands on this phenomenon from an anthropological point of view. The assumption of male dominance, writes Rogers, of universal male dominance, which stems from epistemological biases in anthropology, is belied by evidence that women wield considerable power within the context of peasant household and community. The apparent contradiction between public stances of male dominance and the realities of female power can be resolved and explained by a model that is potentially extensible to other types of pre-industrial societies. According to Rogers, in most societies, males tend, to monopolize positions of authority and are more involved with formal political institutions than women are (Stephens 1963:289). According to Rogers, in most societies, males tend to monopolize positions of authority and are more involved with formal political institutions than women are (Stephens 1963:289). If anthropologists limit their interests to the formal level of political processes, assuming it to be the most significant, men will appear to be dominant, and women to be relatively powerless. This dominance/subordination pattern gains further credence in the fact that in many societies, both men and women behave as if men were dominant and as if formal decision-making processes, controlled by men, were the most significant (Stephens 1963:289-290). Anthropologists seem generally to have accepted this behavior at face value, and we are left with an assumption of virtually universal male dominance and a preoccupation with formal forms of power. The result is the formulation of power models that have no room for the input of informal power. Recently, several investigators have become interested in the roles of women, finding that women do, in fact, often wield significant amounts of power, in the sense of having considerable input into, or control over, important decision-making processes. This is problematic, however, because women’s power usually does not involve authority or legitimization. Because women tend to wield power without directly participating in formal political institutions, their power does not fit into earlier models and so has not been explained in terms of larger societal-level power processes. In an attempt to redress the imbalance in extant male-oriented data, students of female power have tended to be heavily descriptive, and to dismiss outright, or to treat as a relatively uninteresting given, male forms of power and culturally elaborated ideologies of male dominance. Because of a lack of appropriate analytical tools and, until recently, a lack of data, the relationship between female and male forms of power has not been explored.

More specifically, Rogers shows tackles in her research the larger structural dimensions of women’s power, using peasant society as an example. In essence, she demonstrates "that, although peasant males monopolize positions of authority and are shown public deference by women, thus superficially appearing to be dominant, they wield relatively little real power. Theirs is a largely powerless authority, often accompanied by a felt sense of powerlessness, both in the face of the world at large and of the peasant community itself. On the other hand, within the context of peasant society, women control at least the major portion of important resources and decisions. In other words, if we limit our investigation to the relative actual power of peasant men and women, eliminating for the moment those sources of power from the outside world which are beyond the reach of either peasant men or women, women appear to be generally more powerful. At the same time, the “symbolic” power of men should not be underestimated, nor can it be left unexplained. She argues, therefore, that a non-hierarchical power relationship between the categories “male” and “female” is maintained in peasant society by acting out of a “myth” of male dominance. Taking the point of view of Leach, she assumes that the myth to be the expression of an idea which may be demonstrated to be factually untrue. Exactly as I have explained this dynamic in Durkheim's thought. While it may form a significant part of the belief system of its perpetrators, “the truth which it expresses does not relate to the ordinary matter-of-fact world of everyday things” (Leach 1969: 107). Thus, one cannot understand the significance of a myth if it is taken to be the expression of a believed idea which defines, in a very direct or complete way, ordinary behavior. To understand its significance, a myth must be viewed in the larger behavioral and ideological context of which it is a part. The “myth” of male dominance to which I refer is expressed, not in legends or folktales, but patterns of public deference toward men, as well as their monopolization of positions of authority and prestige. She is thus referring to a different order of phenomena than that which Leach had in mind. However, because some of the characteristics he attributes to myth effectively describe the phenomenon which is of interest here, the. the term, used in a metaphorical sense, is applicable. That is, it may be factually demonstrated that peasant society is not male-dominated.

Furthermore, the “myth” of male dominance paradoxically serves to order social relationships in a non-hierarchical system. Thus, except for specific patterns of behavior directly linked with its expression, the “myth” of male dominance does not directly determine ordinary behavior: males do not dominate, nor do either males or females believe them to be dominant. The perpetuation of this “myth” is in the interests of both peasant women and men, because it gives the latter the appearance of power and control over all sectors of village life, while at the same time giving to the former actual power over those sectors of life in the community which may be controlled by villagers. This is the ancient and basic dynamic that was exploited by the Roman society while still preserving this primordial dynamic. Henceforth, the two sex groups, still, in effect, operate within partially divergent systems of perceived advantages, values, and prestige, so that the members of each group see themselves as the “winners” in respect to the other. Neither men nor women believe that the “myth” is an accurate reflection of the actual situation. However, each sex group believes (or appears to believe, so avoiding confrontation) that the opposite sex perceives the myth as reality, with the result that each is actively engaged in maintaining the illusion that males are, in fact, dominant. In proposing that male dominance operates as a “myth” in peasant societies, she means to suggest neither that this is a phenomenon found only among peasants, nor that “peasant society” necessarily represents a homogeneous type. Tentatively, I propose that the “myth” of male dominance will occur within a particular system composed of the components specified below. These components are fundamental characteristics of the wide variety of peasant societies. They are also characteristic of other types of traditional societies. If they are, in fact, necessary and sufficient requirements for a model that operates as sketched above and elaborated below, then this model should apply to a variety of non-peasant societies as well. The limitation of the present study to peasant societies is a function only of my own research experience; the possibility of wider applicability remains to be tested in future research, whereupon the suggested components may be refined, added to, or discarded.

These components include:

1. Women are primarily associated with domestic.

2. The society is domestic-oriented; that is, the domestic sphere is of central importance, at least socially, and has important implications for life beyond the domestic.

3. To the extent that the distribution of jural and other formal rights belie the power of women, most ordinary and important interactions occur in the context of a face-to-face community, where informal relationships and forms of power are at least as significant a force in everyday life as formalized, authorized relationships and power. This set of components will assure women the kinds of power to be illustrated below.

4. Men have greater access to jural and other formal rights.

5. They are occupied with activities which may at least be overtly considered important. With these two components, we have the basis for some kind of male dominance. The five elements together give male dominance a mythical nature. Felt lack of power on the part of men, while perhaps not a required component of the system, nevertheless enhances both the relatively powerful position of women and the mythical nature of male dominance.

6. Men and women are approximately equally dependent on each other economically, socially, politically, or in other important ways. This component ensures that both groups will “play the game,” and a relatively even balance of power will be maintained. It should be noted that the existence of this component renders impractical the analytical strategy of using autonomy as a measure of relative power: because the two sex groups are mutually interdependent, neither can be more autonomous than the other.

Additionally, according to Rogers, evidence of the following may be drawn from the extant literature that exists:

1. peasant male lack of real power

2. public behavior suggesting that peasant society is male-dominated

3. extent and types of power wielded by peasant women, both in the household and the community

4. a high rate of mutual interdependence between peasant men and women. The third point is the most crucial one if we are to refute the notions that males are universally dominant and that power processes can be adequately understood with exclusive reference to formal systems of authority

In peasant societies, the domestic unit is of primary economic, political, and social importance, so that a woman’s power in this sphere extends to the village at large.3 Also, it has been found that women have significant channels of power, quite apart from their households. We will look first at some of the evidence, and the ways it has been handled, relating to female participation in power processes within the household, and then examine some work which has been done on female participation in the larger sphere. As regarding the deference for men, she writes: " While a deference custom is “a ritual expression or cultural expectation of an unequal power relationship... a cultural rule,” it does not necessarily reflect accurately the power relationship between husband and wife, that is, “who dominates, and who submits; who makes family decisions. . . who gets his (or her) way in case of disagreements; who is catered to; who ‘commands; who obeys, and so forth” (1 963:296). Having made this distinction, however, he balks at a cross-cultural assessment of husband/wife power relationships for three reasons. First, he says that while deference customs are public, standardized, and clear-cut, actual power relationships between husband and wife are often not governed by cultural rules and are expressed in private, so that they are out of the ethnographer’s range of information. Furthermore, because they are not governed by cultural rules, they may vary considerably between individuals in any given society. His most compelling reason, related to the first two, is that the ethnographic data on this subject are meager, vague, and generally poorly reported (1963:296-297). In the past several years, however, more relevant ethnographic data have been forthcoming, which suggests that beyond the formal rules lie discernible patterns of behavior; the interplay between male and female power seems to be no more or less individualized than other aspects of behavior.

Dubisch (1971) has suggested a systematic method of assessing the relative power of peasant husband and wife. She maintains that this will be largely determined by the relative contributions made by each spouse to the “key social and domestic unit, the nuclear family” (1971:3) and lists a set of criteria, appropriate to the Greek village she studied, by which this may be measured (1971 :S). To measure relative domestic power, she suggests the following criteria:

1. the respect accorded one spouse by the other . . . both publicly and privately

2. interference of one spouse in the sphere of the other

3. decision-making regarding allocation of family resources

4. arranging plans for children

"Riegelhaupt (1967) and Friedl (1967) in their studies of Portuguese and Greek peasant communities, respectively, emphasize the economic power base of women. In both cases, women have significant input into decisions regarding the allocation of family resources, which amounts to interference in spheres legally or culturally defined as the male domain. Riegelhaupt contrasts women’s virtual economic control in the household with male monopolization of legal rights over economic transactions (1967:112). According to this study, female economic power stems from the division of labor, by which women are responsible for marketing bread and all of the family’s farm produce which is not sold through government agencies". This not only follows Durkheim's assumptions but also shows us specific dynamics through which the formal power is controlled by the informal one. "Much of the family’s income passes in this way through the woman’s hands; the rest is handed over to her by her husband (1 967: 120). Women are thus the primary handlers of the family’s financial resources. They make all marketing and household economic decisions and are always consulted in “male” agricultural decisions (1 967: 1 19-1 21)

She cites evidence that men monopolize positions of prestige and “importance” and are deferred to by women in the extra-household sphere. She maintains that women wield considerable power in the domestic sphere because they bring the land to the household as dowry. They remain in control of it, actively participating (behind a facade of male dominance that I already mentioned at the beginning) in decisions regarding its use, as well as other household economic matters and marriage arrangements for their children (1 967: 105-1 07). It is important to understand that the underlying dynamic hasn't changed with the advent of modern urbanized and industrial cultural with more emphasis on the individual and less the familial because the deepest dynamic pervading not only family life but also every interaction between man and a woman is her being the natural and sexual selection which can't be changed. This leaves the ultimately strategical informal power at the level of evolution in her hands while other more tactical changes, even if occurring, won't be able to make any differences to the absolute power a woman has over a man. Furthermore, Friedl observes that Greek women retain a strong sense of power by creating and maintaining men’s dependence on, and a sense of obligation toward, women. As such, female solidarity, expressed in informal women’s groups held together by a well-developed interhousehold female communications network, is most often cited as the strongest power base from which women operate in the community. Margery Wolf, Aswad, and Riegelhaupt all describe how women’s groups, more heterogeneous and less brittle than those of men, act as a kind of information control, heavily influencing community public opinion and mediating between groups of men.

The latter act as protectors of an individual woman’s rights in the household; she may appeal to her group and expect injustices to be redressed through informal group pressure (1 972:39). More important, these women’s groups take advantage of the well-developed male sense of preserving the patrilineage honor and manage to influence affairs which theoretically concern only males: "This is precisely where women wield their power. When a man behaves in ways that they consider wrong, they talk about him-not only among themselves, but to their sons and husbands. . . it becomes abundantly clear that he is losing face and continuing in this manner may bring shame to the family of his ancestors and descendants. Few men will risk that (1972:40)" This kind of feminine power is enhanced, I would suggest, by the fact that women, feeling little identification with the patrilineage, are not loathe to erode the institution by bringing shame to it. Aswad also suggests that the power of Arab women’s groups stems from the fact that they are not, like those of the men, restricted by political alliances and stylized speech patterns. The informal and heterogeneous nature of women’s groups allows them to act as mediators, preventing major conflicts from erupting between men’s groups (1 967: 149-1 50). Their gossip also shapes public opinion, indirectly affecting male political decisions and behavior (1 967: 1 SO)

In the Portuguese village studied by Riegelhaupt, women are virtually in control of information dissemination because of the division of labor: men work individually in the fields, while women come into frequent contact with each other in the course of their household work within the village. Men thus depend on their wives for information about village concerns, events, and personalities (1 967:116-118). Riegelhaupt points out, however, that this is relatively unimportant in terms of political power because sources of power lie outside of the community. But, at the same time, women have far more extensive contact with the urban world than men do, first as domestic servants (as young girls) and later as market women (1967:118). They may thus act as mediators between the community and political processes outside. Men cannot play this role because they lack urban contacts, are unable to form themselves into factions or voluntary organizations to act as pressure groups, and “are reluctant to put themselves in a relationship to another villager where both parties are not on an equal footing, and so are prevented from choosing a spokesman or leader from among themselves” (1 967: 123-1 24). It is pointed out that men virtually monopolize formal political rights; most women, for instance, do not have the right to vote. However, especially in an authoritarian system, sources of political power lie outside legally constituted institutions; decisions are made through informal structures (1967:121-122). It is village women, not men, who are the key actors in those informal structures to which peasants have access. ln contrast to the pattern of women taking over processes in a legally male domain, Fried1 reports that Greek women may disrupt processes in a traditionally male domain, upsetting orderly relationships between men by misbehaving publicly. This potential sanction is strong enough to give women significant influence over relationships formed by men (1 967: 108).

A final form of power wielded by women is related to the supernatural. This is relatively rarely reported in contemporary peasant societies and accrues most often to several individuals in a single community, rather than to the female population at large. Pitt-Rivers, for instance, discusses the Sabia or wise woman in a Spanish village. She has the power “to right what is wrong,” and, although villagers, especially males, are apt to profess skepticism publicly, they seek her out when in need of help (1961:193). Her magical powers are such that she may use them to manipulate relationships within the village. Moreover, it is believed that, if she has an evil intent, she may use her powers malevolently. For this reason, care is taken not to offend her (1961:192). Pitt-Rivers reports that all women are believed to be potentially able to evoke menstrual magic and the evil eye, two forms of malevolent magic (1961:197-198). That women possess supernatural sources of harm gives them real power through the threat of dangerous reprisals if crossed.

Women form informal groups, based on kin and neighborhood ties. Because of the lines along which they are formed, these groups include several generations of individuals, belonging to both farm and factory households. The village is divided into about fifteen quartiers, invisible to an outsider, but clearly defined in the minds of the villagers. Before running water was introduced in the village (about twelve years ago), there was a public fonfuine in each quurtier, where women gathered to do laundry and collected water for their households. Each morning, the village baker’s wife drives a van through the village, stopping in each quartier so that neighbor women come out together to buy their bread and chat with each other. The baker’s wife acts as a gossip broker, spreading news between quurtiers. In the evening, those women who do not have their cows gather in the barn of the nearest woman who does to buy a day’s supply of milk. Women rarely visit each other's homes or leave their quarters, except for visits between close kinswomen. Nevertheless, in the course of their daily work, they keep in close contact with each other. Also, all village houses are built very close to the street and each other, with the kitchen in the front. Women keep one eye on the window during as much of the day as possible, so that little happens in the quartier without their knowledge. In contrast to the women, whose activities and interests are centered almost exclusively on the household and quartier, men work in outlying fields or factories outside of the village, thus spending most of their time away from home. They gather in the cafe or the forge in the center of the village, choosing their closest associates from the village at large and forming informal groups of age-mates of the same occupation. Their groups are therefore more homogeneous than those of the women. While women’s conversations and interests are largely restricted to discussions of local activities and individuals, men’s conversations often include discussions of topics that extend beyond the village: regional and national politics and industrial pollution, for example.

Women in G.F. wield considerable power both in the household and in the community at large. To illustrate, we will look at several specific examples of power processes, first in the home and then in the village. As has been noted, women are responsible for making and keeping the family budget. This includes responsibility for allocating pocket money to their husbands. Mme. Gabin, a factory wife, does not give her husband any part of his paycheck, so he has to do odd jobs around the village to earn money for cigarettes and an occasional trip to the caf6. While most wives are more generous, they find nothing particularly remarkable about this behavior. Men grumble privately about their wives’ refusal to give them more money, but this is recognized as their prerogative. Furthermore, they are reluctant to complain too loudly, as that would imply that they were not fully in authority at home. “My wife,” said one farmer, “is my minister of finance.” “I’m the one who gives out the money in my house,” he added, “although sometimes I need to ask for some of it back again.” Ideally, major budget decisions are made mutually, with the husband as the final authority. When there is a disagreement, however, it is the wife who usually wins, although the final decision is attributed to a change of heart in the husband. For instance, Mme. Francois wanted a motorbike for fetching the cows from pasture. She argued at length with her husband, who insisted that they could not afford one for at least a year. Two weeks later, she had a motorbike. When I asked her about it, she might very well have said, “I control the budget and I wanted it, so too bad for him, I went out and bought it.” But rather, she winked and said simply, “Pierre changed his mind.” Women are also responsible for child-rearing. Farm children of both sexes work with their mothers until boys become their fathers’ assistants at adolescence. Factory wives have less contact with their children since little or no work is demanded of them at home. In both farm and factory households, children are considered important, but the households do not revolve around them, and mothers are not notably child-oriented.6 It is mothers, however, who help children with their school lessons and are responsible for day-to-day discipline and guidance. Fathers act as disciplinarians and are quite distant from their children. Until recently, for instance, girl children addressed their fathers by the formal Vous. A mother’s control over her children is enhanced by the father’s authoritarian position. The threat of appealing to the rather frightening authority figure in the person of “papa” is generally enough to keep the children in line when her screams and slaps fail.

Within a priori limits as to who may be seriously considered for a seat (i.e., no factory workers or commerpants), women play a powerful role in influencing the composition of the council. A farm wife may alternatively push her husband into the political arena, or, by demanding more help from him at home and refusing to help him in his work, prevent him from entering the race. Furthermore, because of the well-organized communications network between women, they can influence public opinion and so affect the outcome of the elections. The wife of a contender in the 1971 elections said: Women fight with each other to get their husbands on the Municipal Council . . . some aunts and cousins don’t even speak to each other because you see, it’s always between two groups, so they spread ugly rumors and all that so that people will vote for one or the other group. Even women whose husbands are not running actively participate in the “fight.” Just before the 1971 elections, the wife of a factory worker spread a rumor that one of the contenders had molested her daughter. This man, a farmer, a member of an old village family, and part of the slate put up by the group who won most of the council seats, was defeated. Virtually everywhere, it is observed that male and female peasants perform very different, but equally essential and mutually interdependent tasks something that Durkheim described as the desired "equality" that constitutes harmony and balance.

Given these observations, it seems that Fox’s assumption-because women tend to be limited to domestic level decision-making, they universally play a secondary role (1969:31-32)-is a false one. Domestic decision-making is of primary importance in peasant societies because there are few extra-domestic decisions of importance to community life which are within the power of peasants to make. Friedl affirms this when she maintains that in a domestic-oriented community, the fact that men monopolize high prestige extra-household positions is insignificant. The power attribution in the private, not the public domain, is of primary importance in this cultural context (1967:97). The fact remains, however, that high prestige does not accrue to these male activities. While ultimately the wife makes household decisions, males are usually sold a delusion of being considered the heads of households or the one to hold authority positions there especially with impeding divorce laws, as shown by Durkheim, that favor women and even more so the no-fault divorce. The husband only approves and validate at the end overtly to the decisions made by the wife covertly inside closed doors because he normally has no other choice. In G.F., as undoubtedly elsewhere, women play an important part in shaping their husbands’ positions in the community and as I said the husband in his position of prestige validates it.

This point of view still leaves unanswered several crucial questions: why are peasant men, on one level of analysis, characterized by felt lack of power, and on another, shown to be deferred to, to monopolize positions of authority and prestige, and assumed to be “dominant”? If women do wield a significant amount of power, why do they behave as if men monopolize power? Why do Greek women, for instance, who wield power in the “significant” private sector, take such care that it “is hidden behind the facade of male dominance” (Friedl 1967: 106)? Why do women in G.F. insist that “Pierre changed his mind” when Pierre is only, as usual, doing what his wife told him to do? Why do both men and women in so many peasant societies publicly grant such high prestige to the relatively insignificant extra-household activities of men? These apparent anomalies are resolved by the explanatory model outlined above: male dominance exists in peasant society as a “myth,” acting to maintain a non-hierarchical power balance between the categories, male and female. Inversely, although we have shown that males are not dominant, both sex groups act publicly as if they were because each may maintain their power in this way. It is obvious that the kinds of overt power and authority exercised by men depend on the perpetuation of the “myth.” Women’s power also stems from it in a variety of ways. Because extra-household activities are given the highest prestige, it is to men’s advantage to claim the village sphere as their own. It is to the peasant woman’s advantage as well, because it leaves her in control of the domestic sphere, which is the central unit of the community and the only sphere over which villagers may have much control. Here we have a power/prestige balance between the two spheres.

It remains balanced as long as prestige is accorded to activities and actors in one, while actual power emanates from activities in the other. Within the domestic sphere, it is also to the woman’s advantage that her husband is a figure of authority. It has already been pointed out how this may enhance her control over children (see page 741). Although she is overtly responsible for some kinds of household decisions (for example, in G.F. as elsewhere, those related to gardening and milking), it is to her advantage to act as if her husband had the final word in those decisions requiring a joint agreement. In this way, she protects herself from mistakes or omissions: “We don’t have such and such because my husband wouldn’t buy it.” More importantly, if he is allowed to be the overt decision-maker, his status as “head of the family” is preserved, and with it, his-and his family’s-image in the community. Here, the exchange, probably unconscious, is between power and image: “1’11 give you credit for making the decisions here, if you’ll make the ones, I tell you to.” It is the nature of the “myth” of male dominance that neither men nor women will admit publicly that it is only a myth. Both men and women must publicly insist that men actually do the most important activities and are fully in charge. It should therefore be clear that the mythical nature of male dominance is never made explicit by its perpetrators. Despite their public deference and respect toward men, however, women are aware that men’s political and social activities are relatively trivial and their economic activities no more important than those of women. They are also aware that they have significant power in shaping their husbands’ activities and that it is most often themselves who make decisions in the home. There is some evidence in G.F. that women are fully cognizant of the situation: condescending winks and smiles passed when no men are looking, Mme. Rouyer’s confidence: “Most of the wives here really control their husbands, even if it doesn’t look like it.” More oblique, “humorous” comments are sometimes made between women: “Vous savez, Les Hommes, c’est une drole de race,” “Men! They think they’re being such a big help and all they do is make a mess. . . Oh, they’re no good for anything!” At the same time, men act publicly as if they believed the “myth.” They take the village government and other village level activities with considerable seriousness and take public implication of their lack of control over their wives and families as a slur on their manliness. For instance, in G.F., the purchaser (a farmer from a neighboring village) at a land auction which village farmers tried unsuccessfully to prevent incurred a great deal of hostility and verbal abuse from villagers. One farmer later remarked with great disgust, “He probably bought that land because his wife told him not to come home without it, and he was more afraid of her than of us.”

Also, these illusions are fostered by the contrasting characteristics of formal and informal power; the formal occupied by men; and, informal power occupied by women. Whereas formal power must be at times hard, strong, and assertive, female power is normally soft, passive, and self-effacing. Whereas formal power is like an irresistible force, female power is like an unchangeable phenomenon. Whereas formal power acts at times like a forcefully, fast, and sound, female power is like the sun - steady, quiet, and uncontestable. Against resistance, formal power is loud, gives commands and orders, whereas female power whispers, manipulates, and erodes. Generally, then, whereas formal power requires time to be crude, sometimes confrontational and direct, female power tends to be subtle, manipulative, and indirect. Whereas assertiveness and the occasional use of power is the hallmark of formal power, the maneuver is the hallmark of female power. Inasmuch, it is significant that these remarks, indicating that neither men nor women believe males to be dominant, are expressed only privately, and well out of earshot of members of the opposite sex. It indicates that both sexes believe that it is important to act and speak publicly in mixed groups as if males were dominant because they assume that the other group believes it to be true. By operating in this manner, they succeed in staving off confrontation, so that the whole system of rewards and perceived advantages is not threatened. Even if men are themselves not so sure how important male activities are, they continue to act as if they are the most important because women expect them to. If men are aware that women may have more effective power than they, it is acceptable to them as long as there is no public challenge, so they may continue to think that women do not realize it. If they are given credit for running things, that is good enough. If women openly admitted that they did not believe men to be dominant, the whole delicately balanced system would break down.

Anyway, women, on the other hand, buy their power by granting men authority and respect, assuming that if they allow men to believe that male dominance exists, men will not notice that women are wielding a considerable amount of power. Male behavior would lead women to believe that they have succeeded in their ruse. From this point of view, too, the system would collapse if women were forced to recognize publicly that men were not being taken in either. What we have described here by crosschecking, combining, and verifying both Roger's, Durkheim's, and Chinweizu research that we are going to discuss next in detail, is described and validated furthermore in Chinweizu book which elaborates on this dynamic in depth whereas as already in the initial chapter he states: " there, indeed, are other modes and centers of power which women monopolize. In those centers, women control scarce resources, commodities, and opportunities; and they distribute them. They exercise power through education, propaganda, directives, suggestions, rewards, and punishments. It is the dynamic that Durkheim shortly described in his work. Roger expanded on it and Chinweizu researched in depth. Women as he says, also "wield instruments of persuasion and coercion."

The bottom line, as we have discussed here, is that female power exists; it hangs over every man like a ubiquitous shadow. Indeed, the life cycle of man, from cradle to grave, may be divided into three phases, each of which is defined by the form of female power which dominates him: mother power, bride power, or wife power. From birth to puberty, he is ruled by mother power, as exercised over him by his one and only "mommy dearest". Then he passes into the territory of bride power, as exercised over him by his bride-to-be, that cuddlesome and tender wench he feels he cannot live without. This phase lasts from puberty to that wedding day when the last of his potential besides finally makes herself his wife. He then passes into the domain of -wife power, as exercised over him by his resident matriarch, alias his darling wife. This phase lasts until he is either divorced, widowed, or dead. In each phase, female power is established over him through his peculiar weakness in that stage of his life. Mother power is established over him while he is a helpless infant. Bride power holds sway over him through his great need for a womb in which to procreate; if he didn't feel this need, he wouldn't put himself into the power of any owner of a womb. Wife power is established over him through his craving to appear as lord and master of some woman's nest; should he dispense with this vanity, not even the co-producer of his child could hold him in her nest and rule him. There are five conditions which enable women to get what they want from men: women's control of the womb; women's control of the kitchen; women's control of the cradle; the psychological immaturity of man relative to a woman; and man's tendency to be deranged by his excited penis. These conditions are the five pillars of female power; they are decisive for its dominance over male power. Though each is recognized in popular jokes and sayings, their collective significance is rarely noted.

The power of the womb, which incorporates the evolutionary trait of the wan as natural ad sexual selection, is great. It holds the mightiest of men in thrall. Be he a Caesar or a Croesus, a Rameses or a Genghis Khan, a womb will bring him to his knees when he seeks access to it. For the man, that indispensable factory belongs to the woman and the woman alone. Woman's monopoly of the womb loads the mating encounter in her favor. It reduces the man to a supplicant. Since he is driven to survive through his progeny, he will pay any price to be allowed the use of a womb. He has little recourse. Should he seize her factory against her will, by subterfuge or by force, he will be legally persecuted but she can also thwart him by aborting the featus, or by smothering the child at birth. It is therefore in his interest to yield to her terms, whatever they may be. If he must, he will conquer the whole world and lay it at a woman's feet to be allowed to use her womb. Confronted with her monopoly over the womb, the man is obliged to be her slave if that is the price she demands; and she does. This basic evolutionary trait is the root of all the above dynamics discussed in Roger's as well as Durkheim's research! In anticipation of the bride's demands, and of her monopolist's veto powers, a man is trained to seek adventure and win the world; by laying the booty at her feet, he can avoid her withering scorn and rejection. Of course, man's situation is not as terrible as that of the male mantis which is obliged to surrender his life when he mates; but it is close enough: man is obliged to surrender his liberty and his earnings when he mates.

Following modern research, especially that of Dr. Thomassin, we can now conclude that mothers use another form of power namely their cradle power. It is the cradle power that is used in the strategic interest of female power. In the nursery, they channel boys towards certain kinds of behavior and guide them away from others. The boy-child is taught to disdain cooking, child caring, and housekeeping; but the girl-child is encouraged to learn them. A boy showing keen interest in such skills is branded a "sissy" or mocked as unmanly or effeminate. The boy-child is also taught to revere and obey mother, and to hunger for her smile and approval. These lessons mark him for life. His disdain for childrearing skills will ensure that, when he grows up, he will abandon the nursery to his wife, so she can dominate it and shape the next generation to suit women's interests. His disdain for cooking will put his stomach into the hands of whatever woman cooks for him in adult life. His reverence for his mother, and his habit of obeying her, prepare him to revere and obey any woman, such as his future wife, whom he makes into his mother-surrogate. This mother power over a boy is anchored on his awe for the mysterious ability of the person who gave birth to him; on his gratitude to the nurse who cares for him, who protects him in an unfamiliar and often frightening world; on his respect for his first teacher. And which forms the original fear in all human beings. Many of us don’t remember this, but a long time ago, we lived inside our mothers’ wombs. We were tiny, living human beings. There were two hearts inside your mother’s body: her own heart and your heart. During this time your mother did everything for you; she breathed for you, ate for you, drank for you. You were linked to her through your umbilical cord. Oxygen and food came to you through the umbilical cord, and you were safe and content inside of your mother. You were never too hot or too cold. You were very comfortable. You rested on a soft cushion made of water. You spent about nine months in the palace. The nine months you spent in the womb were some of the most pleasant times of your life. Then the day of your birth arrived. Everything felt different around you, and you were thrust into a new environment. This is the turning point where female strategical evolutionary female power evolves to embrace both the strategic level as well as the tactical power of controlling familial human and economic resources...

In this new environment, you then felt cold and hunger for the first time. Sounds were too loud; the lights were too bright. For the first time, you felt afraid. Inside the womb, you didn’t need to use your lungs. But at the moment of your birth, someone cut the umbilical cord and you were no longer physically joined with your mother. Your mother could no longer breathe for you. You had to learn how to breathe on your own for the first time. If you couldn’t breathe on your own, you would die. The birth was an extremely precarious time. You were pushed out of the palace, and you encountered suffering. You tried to inhale, but it was difficult. There was some liquid in your lungs and to breathe in you had to first push out that liquid. We were born, and with that birth, our fear was born along with the desire to survive. As infants, each one of us knew that to survive, we had to get someone to take care of us. Even after our umbilical cord was cut, we still had to rely entirely on adults to survive. When you depend on someone or something else to survive, it means that a link, a kind of invisible umbilical cord, is still there between you. This is original fear as well as the original desire for life is later used as manipulation through the subtle social engineering and female familial conditioning as well as a necessity for mother's warmth, approval, and praise; and through the sometimes, unconcealed manipulation of his gratitude.

To hold all three power is indeed to have overwhelming informal power. Somehow, women hold all three. Evolution (or God: take your choice of explanation) gave the womb to a woman which means the evolutionary power of sexual and natural selection. Therefore, follows the cradle or the kitchen power which are the woman's informal power of controlling the family's financial and economical scarce resource as well as the humans one. Evolutionary informal power leads to financial power dynamics. Evolution as well as finances and human resources are the three most basic power components of female informal power. In quietly annexing the financial power of the family as well as seizing control of familial human resources during the original division of labor between the genders as explained by Durkheim, women pulled off the most consequential coup in human history. That coup guaranteed that however mighty a man may become, he will submit to be ruled by a woman. With these three pillars of power in her domain, a man and all his possessions, tangible and intangible, are female to dispose of. In other words, female power consists of evolutionary strategical power and a twofold tactical power over familial economical resources.

Woman's evolutionary control of natural and sexual selection (The womb) is unassailable and will remain so until cloning makes the womb unnecessary for procreation. That's happening already and creates a strong opposition to prevent access for men. So, if research into cloning is blocked shortly, you can guess in whose interest it is done (women) and by whom (feminists). Therefore, any movement to deprive women of their control of the evolutionary power of natural and sexual selection can expect to be resisted, with all the methods, devious and direct, and is doomed to fail. Note this: even the most extreme of feminists do not go so far as to advocate that women abandon control of those three power components of female informal power. The first one cannot be changed but feminists resist any attempt to balance the economic as well as a human resource by giving men more balanced access to the financial domain and human resources aka. child support shared parenthood and so on. They may insist that the man assist, but they would never abandon them to him altogether. Feminists may demand creches in workplaces, but the creches are still to be run by women - as in the kibbutzim of Israel. The business of familial human and financial resources may be reorganized to accommodate women's new ambitions, but the reorganization will only be permitted to shift control from some women to some other women, but never to men. Thus, the wheel of delusion continues to turn and with it the inevitable suffering of men under gynocentric Matrix

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