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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Carol P. Christ

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


For me the word “matriarchy” expresses the certainty that “another world” can exist—a world not based in domination and hierarchy or violence and war. 

The word “matriarchy” makes people’s hair stand on end as they imagine the mirror-image of patriarchy: societies in which women dominate men, beat men, rape men, hold men as slaves, and demand obedience from men.  Some who do not protest very loudly or at all against patriarchy are horrified by the very idea of matriarchy. To be fair, most feminists have also been schooled not to use the “m” word.

Early in my academic career, I read “The Myth of Matriarchy” by Joan Bamberger and learned that the idea of matriarchy gone wrong has been used by men to justify patriarchy. From other academics I learned that in matrilineal societies, uncles have a great deal of power—so therefore there never was a matriarchy.  I was also aware that Jungian and other proponents of a “matriarchal stage” in the development of culture have argued that matriarchy had to be succeeded by patriarchy in order for societies to evolve to a “higher” stage. Unlike many of my colleagues I stubbornly held onto the belief that there must have been “a better way” prior to patriarchy.

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  • wayne bates
    wayne bates says #
    if we remove the gender part of these words and change them to arseholearchy and pleasantarchy perhaps that would help . I am not
  • Amy A Patterson
    Amy A Patterson says #
    I also frequently run into the misconception that matriarchy is a mirror image of patriarchy. I think it is because both words see
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    There are powerful Goddesses in India, but India is so far from being a matriarchy that your comment does not make sense. Gang rap
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    So glad you said this. Women, and men need to be educated on this term and understanding what it means. Martriarchy does NOT mean
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    For examples of Matriarchies where women dominate men some would point to Sweden or India. Some would include numerous other plac

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