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The War Against Patriarchy

The War Against Patriarchy

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Published by fmwatkins

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Published by: fmwatkins on Dec 13, 2008
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06/28/2012

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T
HE WAR AGAINST PATRIARCHY
 
Dr. Daniel AmneusFeminist Ellen Goodman writes of the Beijing women's conference of 1995, and warmsup to her subject by citing Nancy Reagan's advice to girls, Just say no. It's platitudinous, but good advice: obey the rules, be chaste, and you'll have a happier and more stable life,you'll benefit your children and your husband and society. "It sounds like the easiest thingin the world," says Ms. Goodman--which it is. But she tells us take a better look and "youcan see just how easy it isn't." If this sounds like Ms. Goodman is getting ready toaggravex the patriarchal system she hates--it may be just that. [Los Angeles Times, 14Sept. 1995]The international community assembled for the women's conference finallyagreed that a woman's human rights included her right to be free of sexual"coercion, discrimination, and violence."Again very platitudinous. Ms. Goodman seems to be looking for something she can callcontroversial and she finds it in this:In the most controversial provision to come out of the health committee for conference approval, the nations declared that equal sexual relationships betweenmen and women required "mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility."Ms. Goodman interprets this as follows:For the very first time, they asserted that women across this world have the rightto say no.She has told us that the simple counsel to girls to "just say no" is not all that simple. Thisis evidently a preliminary to what we have here, which is advice not to girls who need to be integrated into the patriarchal system by postponing sex until marriage, but to womenwhose sexuality also needs to be integrated into it by marriage and the creation of families. What is the "shared responsibility" if not the responsibility for the proper  procreation and socializing of the offspring resulting from their sexual activity; and whatis the "right to say no" if not the right of the woman to deny sexual access to the malewith whom she shares the responsibility? Ms. Goodman is a skilled journalist, able tohedge and finesse around direct statements and to imply what she means rather than sayit. Let's see whether there may be a hidden message here.When does the woman give her consent? When does she have the right to say no? Eachtime there is sex? (This is the matriarchal idea, which insists on the PromiscuityPrinciple, where the woman retains the right to control her own sexuality.) Or, as in theAntioch College rules, at each stage of each sex act? Or may the woman's consent begiven once and for all by her marriage vows? This is the patriarchal rule which has untilrecently been assumed, and in consequence the law until recently was that a husbandcould not be charged with raping his wife.Ms. Goodman does not regard marriage as giving the woman's consent, for she says: "It'snot even 20 years since Oregon changed the common law that said a woman could not beraped by her husband." Perhaps the question is not whether women have the right to say
 
no, but whether they have the right to say yes to their marriage vows--or if so, what doesyes mean? One suspects that Ms. Goodman and her feminist sisters would like to have it both ways, that women should have the right to say yes to their marriage vows and expectas a quid pro quo that the husband's marriage vow to love, honor and protect and providefor her shall be and shall remain binding--even if the marriage is ended by divorce. Butthe expectation of the new Oregon law and of Ms. Goodman and the sisterhood is that if the man wants sex and the woman doesn't she is privileged to go on a sex strike and hecan do nothing about it. This will make the wife the boss--but it will deprive her, andother women, of much of the bargaining power formerly conferred by the institution of marriage. It means that marriage makes no difference in the sexual relationship between aman and a woman, that marriage is nothing but cohabitation plus a piece of paper, that asBrenda Hoggett, former English Law Commissioner, responsible for family law, says,Family law no longer makes any attempt to buttress the stability of marriage or any other union. It has adopted principles for the protection of children anddependent spouses which could be made equally applicable to the unmarried.In other words it will enforce the man's responsibilities to the woman (and the childrenwho will of course remain in her custody) but make no demands on the woman.In such circumstances [continues Ms. Hoggett], the piecemeal erosion of thedistinction between marriage and non-married cohabitation may be expected tocontinue.This is the idea, is it not?--to get rid of marriage, or make it meaningless, marriage beingthe institution which was formerly supposed to give the man the right to have a family--which feminists wish us to interpret as meaning the right to rape his wife. Getting rid of marriage (in feminese: the right to rape his wife) makes the woman sexuallyindependent--the ghetto pattern, matriarchy. She's clever: She sees how to use the horror over rape as a means not so much to prevent rape as to undermine patriarchy.Logically [continues Ms. Hoggett] we have already reached a point at which,rather than discussing which remedies should now be extended to the unmarried,we should be considering whether the legal institution of marriage continues toserve any useful purpose.1Ms. Goodman is cleverer than Ms. Hoggett, but they agree on the basic idea: a husband isno more than a boyfriend, since the wife never agrees to share her reproductive life withhim, never gives up her privilege of calling it all off. The consequence must be-- indeedis, and is intended to be--the destruction of the patriarchal system and a return tomatriarchy. This is what is at stake in the feminist/sexual revolution, one of whose banners reads "Stop the raping of wives." This destruction of patriarchy, we are becomingincreasingly aware, has been the grand goal of this revolution all along. Women hate patriarchy and its sexual regulation of them and now are demolishing the whole systemwhich originated only five thousand years ago and made civilization possible by allowingmen to share as equals in reproduction, thus creating the two-parent family and allowingchildren to have fathers. The process by which patriarchy was created has been thusdescribed by feminist Gerda Lerner:The appropriation by men of women's sexual and reproductive capacity occurred prior to the formation of private property and class society....Surpluses fromherding were appropriated by men and became private property. Once havingacquired such private property, men sought to secure it to themselves and their 
 
heirs; they did this by instituting the monogamous family. By controlling women'ssexuality through the requirement of prenuptial chastity and by the establishmentof the sexual double standard in marriage, men assured themselves of thelegitimacy of their offspring and thus secured their property interest.2On what better, more socially useful motives could men act? They sought to benefit their children (also their wives) by insisting on the Legitimacy Principle, that children musthave fathers, that women should accept sexual regulation and live in families. Thefeminist/sexual revolution, as indicated, is attempting to reverse this and return to theearlier Stone Age matriarchal arrangement, where the reproductive unit is headed by thefemale. This is evidently what Ms. Goodman means by "rewriting the sexual script.""In China," continues Ms. Goodman, "the women of the world began to rewrite thesexual script. They asked what sexual relations would look like if women had the permission and felt the power to say yes and no."The women of the world, she says--making no distinction between married andunmarried women. Marriage and the creation of a family make no difference, Ms.Goodman and Ms. Hoggett believe, in the relations of the sexes. (This is of course thereason why they want to be called "Ms.," which obfuscates the difference betweenmarried and unmarried women.) The woman does not share her reproductive life with aman. This is the ghetto pattern, the common mammalian pattern of dogs and cats and allother mammals since the dinosaurs were young two hundred million years ago. This isrewriting the sexual script indeed. The male has no importance, no role, once he has performed his minuscule sexual function--except that he must continue to perform forcedlabor for his former sexual partner, since she owns his offspring. California's Governor Wilson is on their side: "If you abandon your responsibility to your child...you forfeit thefreedoms and opportunities that come with being a responsible citizen. We cannot andwill not tolerate parents who walk away from their children."3 Also President Clinton:"Any parent who is avoiding his or her child support should listen carefully. We will findyou, we will catch you, we will make you pay."4Men's consenting to this spoliation means the death of the family and civilized life basedon the family, the death of patriarchy. This is what is now going on.This development requires the assistance of the legal system, which routinely gives theoffspring to Mom if the man and the woman split. It requires the assistance of politicianswho must proclaim the sacredness of motherhood and the obligations of fathers tosubsidize the "rewriting of the sexual script," the abolishing of patriarchy, of marriage,and of their families.This is why there is so much crime, educational failure, illegitimacy, demoralization,sexual confusion and the rest, all of it highly correlated with female headed families.Feminists and ACLU types regard this as progress. Men see it going on but are bewildered and simply stare at it like deer caught in headlights, not knowing what to do.What makes it difficult to understand and combat is the naturalness of matriarchy:

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