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Patriarchy or Male Supremacy?

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Patriarchy or Male Supremacy?
ABOUT by Editors • July 10, 2017 • 0 Comments
Words from Action
From the Past
by Carol Hanisch

EDITORS NOTE: Patriarchy has all but replaced male supremacy and sexism as the preferred word for the
system of discrimination and multi-faceted oppression that women face. The term patriarchy wasn’t used
SEARCH by most 1960s pioneers of the Women’s Liberation Movement and only came into popular usage as those
founders were disappeared from view. The liberal and academic takeover of women’s liberation by women
Search… with access to the press and money led to the dropping of “liberation” from the name of our movement and
to the rise of the word patriarchy to describe what is wrong with “the system” or “society”. Some claim it
more accurately blames the system rather than individual men. We think it lets the class of men off the
RECENT POSTS hook and is not applicable to current late capitalist conditions. The short piece reprinted here is an earlier
argument against blaming a patriarchy for women’s oppression.
The “Burial of Traditional
Womanhood” • January Originally published in the Hudson Valley Woman, October, 1993

15, 1968 January 15,
2018 • • •
Chilean Feminists
Respond to “Birth Do we live in a patriarchy? Listening to many feminists today, one would think so. After 25 years of
Regret” October 9, 2017 consciousness raising, the fact that women are treated as second class citizens, discriminated against, violated
A Challenge to the (Still) in numerous ways, and still generally oppressed—socially, politically, economically, sexually—is beyond debate.
Male-Dominated Left But are we, in the United States in 1993 living in “a state of social development characterized by the supremacy
August 1, 2017 of the father in the clan or family?” I think not.
Patriarchy or Male
Supremacy? July 10, We are not liberated, but we no longer live in a patriarchy (though remnants still remain). The form—and to
2017 some degree, the source—of our oppression has changed. To not be clear about this gets us fighting the ghosts
Stunning Rise in of the past rather than the realities of the present.
Maternal Deaths in U.S.
May 23, 2017 The great sweep of feminism—along with the end of feudal slavery in the South and the industrial revolution—
which began in the middle of the last century and more or less ended with women’s winning the vote in 1920,
gave patriarchy its final shove into its grave. Under patriarchy, women had few if any rights and did not exist as
PAST POSTS a person under the law. Often she had no choice of a husband, and was sold to the highest bidder, covertly if
not overtly. As the old folksong put it:
January 2018 (1)
October 2017 (1) Sad is the fortune of all womankind.
August 2017 (1)
She’s always controlled and she’s always confined
July 2017 (1)
May 2017 (2) Page 1 of 3

If you should have trouble posting. email your comments to: MeetingGroundOnLine@verizon. her husband. More freedom of choice. October 2015 (1) September 2015 (1) Today only about 20 per cent of women in the U. it was more like moving from total slavery under feudalism to wage slavery under November 2015 (2) capitalism. and therefore in a position to wield that kind of Page 2 of 3 . sloppy thinking that Register characterizes much of what passes for feminist theory and fills the bookstores and media today. He owned it ### Join the conversation by using the comment section below. Whether matriarchies where women actually ruled society ever September 2014 (2) existed in some Golden Age or not is another question. it was how she earned her right to live and she had no legal expectation to more August 2016 (4) than subsistence. June 2016 (4) May 2016 (4) The Property Rights Acts. she belonged to him legally much as a slave belonged to July 2016 (5) his/her master. May 2014 (3) April 2014 (2) One of the reasons why consciousness raising in the Women’s Liberation Movement was once so dynamic. In overthrowing the patriarchy. February 2015 (1) December 2014 (1) The other side of the coin is the equally loose use of the word “matriarchy. Log in Entries RSS Women who say we live in a patriarchy.Patriarchy or Male Supremacy? | MEETING GROUND OnLine 26/02/2018.” There is. in a boss or mate. If she turned raw September 2016 (4) produce into consumable food. Where the personal law of one man April 2015 (2) once circumscribed her life. women June 2015 (1) entered into a Like 11 Tweet Share 11 submit ← Stunning Rise in Maternal Deaths in U. A Challenge to the (Still) Male-Dominated Left → Leave a Reply You must be logged in to post a comment. did February 2016 (4) not bring liberation. January 2017 (2) Her father (or brother) and later. live in a family with a father at the head. should examine their own lives and see how the word fits or doesn’t fit Comments RSS our current objective conditions. no matter what. It seems ironic to me that many women who most favor a matriarchal future are not July 2014 (3) interested in being mothers and often put down women who have children as “yielding to the patriarchy. To confuse this with patriarchy can be a serious mistake. of course. she now must deal with many men bringing their (often conflicting) demands upon March 2015 (1) her.]. laid the groundwork for April 2016 (5) women’s independence from this slavish arrangement. which women began to win in the 1830s [in the U. We used our own experience to challenge all assumptions and attitudes.S. There was no November 2016 (3) October 2016 (2) acknowledgment or legal recourse for retaining any of what her labor in the home had earned. proof of November 2014 (1) matrilineal society which fits the definition. held claim to any money she earned.S. including our own. WordPress. Difficult as it was at times.” I’m not June 2014 (2) sure where the next generation of the society they wish to rule are supposed to come from. Whether women really want to command total power is August 2014 (3) a more relevant question.S. She could not divorce her husband. Her husband could divorce December 2016 (1) her. March 2014 (1) productive and compelling was that we used our own lives as the basis for our analysis and understanding of our current situation. Such professionals SITE ACTIONS often have a big stake in the status quo. but more anarchistic state of relationship with men. The right to divorce was landmark because it meant a March 2016 (3) woman was no longer bound to a man for life. taking everything from their children to the clothes on her back. social science theories about women. in recorded history. psychological. 15*49 April 2017 (1) Controlled by her father until she’s a wife March 2017 (1) February 2017 (2) A slave to her husband for the rest of her life. bringing home the August 2015 (1) bacon alone. We were more often on target then those who get caught in the quicksand of existing academic (women’s studies included). it saved us from the rote. http://meetinggroundonline.

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