“Matriarchy has often been presented as negative, in contrast to Patriarchy as natural and inevitable for society, thus that matriarchy is hopeless. Love and Shanklin wrote:
When we hear the word “matriarchy”, we are conditioned to a number of responses: that matriarchy refers to the past and that matriarchies have never existed; that matriarchy is a hopeless fantasy of female domination, of mothers dominating children, of women being cruel to men. Conditioning us negatively to matriarchy is, of course, in the interests of patriarchs. We are made to feel that patriarchy is natural; we are less likely to question it, and less likely to direct our energies to ending it.”
This quote is from a much deeper exploration of the word, matriarchy, and may be found here:
I have attempted to read through the entire article, several times, but most often end by throwing my hands in the air in confusion, or some level of disgust and depression. But the article proves the quote over and over again. We have been led to believe that a Matriarchal society (if it ever existed at all) was, and is wrong and bad, even though many indigenous societies followed a Matralineal practice of defining descent through the mother figure. A practice that also, at some time in the past, included the tradition that the home and its contents were the property of the female head of that residence, and could not be used for any purpose without her express permission and approval.
In her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker has an excellent article about Matrilineal Inheritance (p.620 – 624), in which she details how that right of inheritance was bludgeoned by the Patriarchy for centuries, using religion and the Church as a righteous authority, to finally obliterate its reality, ultimately leaving the female of the species, legally unable to own any property at all, including the writing of a will without her husband‘s consent. This Matrilineal descent, and the Patriarchal obsession to wipe it out, is a strong point toward the existence of a Matriarchal society in the time of prehistory. (You don’t work that hard to destroy what is not a threat to continued existence).
Break down the word prehistory, and it might sound something like this: Prior to his story, nothing of real importance existed. Nothing that was note worthy. At best, it is shrouded in darkness and mystery. What might be deduced can only be conjecture and thus, questionable to the highest degree.
I went to College in the 1980’s and early 90’s. One of the most important lessons I learned, early on, is that every writer has a bias, a personal set of views that will form and color her/his writing. That would include my own. I am a female, both old and tired. What I write here will definitely include my personal bias, no matter how hard I attempt to curb that reality. It is not my intent to persuade any individual to believe as I do. But rather, to open a dialogue concerning the constant and ever-prevalent abuse and dismissal of half of the human race.
I will try to do that with the use of myths and symbolism. Those are the things I have studied, as well as writing and History. It is my intention to explore the three major myths concerning Lilith. In order to do that, we must first explore how myths are made, and the manner in which they are used to define both morals and behavior, within society.
Myths are stories. Stories are one of the oldest teaching tools known to humankind. Even before the advent of Language, clans and tribes would gather around a communal fire and act out those behaviors which would best allow the group to survive. A strong warrior would act out his/her actions in battle, so the rest of the clan could learn from them. With language, the stories were told, as well as acted out. And those stories were passed down from one generation to the next, becoming oral traditions. And they continue into the present moment. Go into any library and ask for the Biography section. We still learn from one another’s stories.
And just as a writer can not escape her/his personal bias, it is the same with the Storyteller. A slight inflection of tone, a pointed glance, or the wave of a hand lends more weight to any part of the story being told. And that tone, or added movement, will have an affect on the listener. It will lodge that aspect of the story, more clearly in memory.
Think back to childhood, when someone might have read you a story from a book. The best ones were those that were infused with the sounds and looks of the feelings and attitudes portrayed within the story. Those are the ones you remember, because those actions brought the story to life. They also served to teach you the proper responses to certain life experiences.
When the ‘bad’ guy looks to be winning, we are shocked and surprised. We are also taught to fight back, or to call out for help and protection. And nowhere, has that response failed more drastically than in the experience of sexual abuse and assault, perpetrated against women and children.
March is Women’s History Month. The #MeToo Movement has brought the battle against silence to a public and worldwide forefront. It is so very long overdue. And it is only a first step against the bias toward silencing the acknowledgement of any and all human reality.
I have a question with which to open this discussion: When and how did you learn that it is best not to speak out against unwanted and inappropriate behavior?
My answer to that question can be found, again, in this prior post:
Elizabeth Crawford 3/19/2018
Notes: Image is a line weave drawing (doodle) done in colored inks.