Article written by Amy Pons
The Patriarchy is alive and well, and thriving in all sexes.
‘Today, most anthropologists would agree, regardless of their stance on issues such as the universality of male dominance, that an entirely different order of male dominance became associated with the rise of the large and populous agricultural states organized in terms of classes. The patriarchal systems that emerged brought women for the first time under the direct control of fathers and husbands with few cross-cutting sources of support. Women as wives under this system were not social adults, and women’s lives were defined in terms of being a wife. Women’s mothering and women’s sexuality came to be seen as requiring protection by fathers and husbands. Protecting unmarried women’s virginity appears to go along with the idea of the domestication of women and an emphasis on a radical dichotomy between the public and the private sphere. The private sphere is watched over and protected by men, and women are excluded from the public domain. These agrarian societies that give power over women and sons to fathers should properly be called “patriarchal.”’ – Cited from the University of California Press, “Strong Mothers, Weak Wives”
Ok so that’s how we got here…makes sense right? We now understand why young girls are sexualized and a woman’s place was in the home to support her working husband in the fields.
So, you can see how this, created 10,000+ years ago hasn’t aged well. Coming from a family of farmers, I saw this firsthand. My grandma was in charge of feeding the men and children, cleaning the home, and ensuring nothing on the social calendar conflicted with farming schedules. Does it sound like I’m not grateful for farmers? I thought so, but allow your mind to be open to the fact that I’m not speaking of farming here, I’m talking about the patriarchy and how we got to where we are.
Growing up, I had always wondered where sexism came from, how are women always innately viewed as “less than” and why are men so threatened by our success. Ah, ok, it’s because (rewind to the agricultural boom) men felt the need to “protect” motherhood and young girl’s sexuality as they were going outside the home every day to farm. Idk, something doesn’t add up – so let’s dissect a bit…
I introduce you to the debut of “I’m in charge now”, a story of a young married couple who unbeknownst to them is about to change the course of history forever –
Cue to a front porch after a long day of shared chores to keep the house going, a young husband and wife relax watching the sunset together –
Wife: “whew, that was a long day, I’m so happy that we have each other to split all of the work, it makes me excited to have children together since we are completely equal”
Husband: “So am I, it’s going to be fun raising kids together…you know, I was talking to neighbor Fred and he was talking to some of the townspeople about how we may not have enough to eat this winter”
Wife: “Oh dear, that’s concerning, should we expand our garden?”
Husband: “That’s exactly what I was thinking but even bigger than that, I would plant enough food to supply the entire village for the entire year!”
Wife: “Wow, you could do that?”
Husband: “Yes, and I think I have to”
Wife: “Ok, sounds good, I’ll cover everything here while you’re planting, it will be the new way that we partner each day together”
Husband: “Well, I’ll be doing all of the work for the village so I think it’s right that I take credit…you’ll stay here and do all of the work I had been doing, bring me food when I’m hungry, etc. – I’ll need to implement strict rules for you and the kids while I’m gone to make sure that you’re raising them correctly”
Ok, I took some indulgences – I don’t at all suggest that the wife would be immediately complacent nor that the man would be immediately controlling but clearly this happened over time to end up where we are now.
So, piecing together 10,000 years of women expecting to take over all household duties and child rearing while the man made the money for the home, and also contributing to the wellbeing of the entire town created a paradigm shift of “the man of the house”.
This was probably ok for the time being, by and large because at the end of the day, it was still a partnership that made the day to day possible, the patriarchy hadn’t yet become toxic. Life was seemingly simple, the man would go to work in the fields and the woman would be CEO of the home. Cool.
Ok, so then something started to happen within the social, economic, and political parts of the world. Women wanted to do more, see more, contribute more…but what about the home? The kids? Me? This is where the tide began to turn toward control, toxicity, feeling of beholdenness.
Valerie Rein, PHD writes the following in her book “Patriarchy Stress Disorder” (I highly recommend),
“The discussion of patriarchal culture and Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is not a question of men versus women. Both the masculine and the feminine are severely traumatized in patriarchy’s oppressive system.”
Very how it started —> where we are. The oppression of women by the patriarchy may have begun 10,000+ years ago, but today both men and women are both harmed by and perpetuate the patriarchal oppression. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you haven’t been hardwired to oppress others by sheer fact that you identify as a woman. In some cases, it’s even worse because they have no idea they’re doing it. Men oppress men, men oppress women, women oppress women, women oppress men – it’s happening all day, every day, to most people.
In many ways, we all have PSD, and from her book, Dr. Rein states that due to women having been burned at the stake for speaking their truth, it is literally in women’s DNA, the moment we are born to take a stance of “less than” to protect ourselves from being persecuted.
Take that over hundreds of years to include generational trauma, and you can see where the fear mindset comes from in many women today. But also, for men. Patriarchy has come to not discriminate and anyone can be both harmed by but also perpetuate the ideals of treating others as “less than”.
So, what do we do now?
As many of you may feel, there is a great shift in humanity happening in which the pendulum has swung too far and we’re needing to stabilize. This may be showing up for you in ways that feel surprising – things you were ok with even a year ago, now feel icky…you feel uncomfortable around those that you love because they’re misogynist/bigoted/racist – nothing is wrong with you…you’re growing, you’re leveling up.
The universe is asking you to identify what you are willing to tolerate as you shed old habits, unhealthy norms that you had always been “ok” with. You’re being asked to help humanity through to the other side so that we can all be better together.
I’m not saying it is easy, to look around you and to release what doesn’t serve you but it’s critical to be able to step into your highest self.
As we all, men and women, begin to shed and reject the patriarchy through peace and education, we will win. Humanity will prevail, but it will truly take each and every one of us.
Are you ready?
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