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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Patriarchy

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What is Big Man culture?

Smash the patriarchy! That's a common cry these days in our efforts to create a more compassionate, egalitarian, inclusive world.

In the Tribe, we've talked about "the patriarchy" for a long time. But eventually we decided that wasn't the most accurate term for the issues we face today.

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Great article!
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thanks! I thought it was time to spread this phrase beyond our private groups.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Not a Review of Matthew Lopez's Red, White, and Royal Blue


The son of the American President and the Prince of England—already in love—are coming out to one another.

“I'm bi,” says the American.

“I'm gay as a maypole,” says the Prince.


Back in the 70s, I can remember reading a profoundly essentialist article by a Jungian analyst contrasting the values of matriarchal and patriarchal societies.

The article consisted largely of three side-by-side columns:

Category      Patriarchy     Matriarchy

(That, according to the article itself, patriarchal thinking favors polarized dichotomies while matriarchies prefer to think holistically, was an irony that seems utterly to have escaped the author. Oh well, it was the 70s; I suppose a little self-awareness would be too much to expect.)

At this remove of time, I can remember only one other specific: under the category Major Sexual Taboo, Patriarchy's was listed as Homosexuality, Matriarchy's as Incest.

As a youth figuring out his own sexual identity at the time, it was pretty clear to me on which side of the hedge my ideological sympathies lay.


This is certainly the case in Lopez's new film (based on a novel, which I have yet to read) Red, White, and Royal Blue, set in the New Matriarchy of the fantasy near-future. The US President and the Prime Minister of the UK are both women; so are pretty much all of their functionaries—at least, the ones with any power.

Unsurprisingly, the only push-back against the prince and the president's son comes from the quote-unquote “wrinkled old men” of the Monarchy.

Ho hum. There are plenty of other creaking stereotypes to be found in RWRB as well. The gay guy bottoms, of course. The boorish—or maybe it's ignorant—American's response to the Prince's maypole comment is: “What's a maypole?” Seriously?

Still, it's a romp, if a corny and wholly over-the-top one. The boys are cute (actor Nicholas Galitzine sure looks a lot like Bonny Prince Billy did back in his glory days); the sex (though very delicately handled: the graphically realistic penetration scene is shot entirely facially) is hot, hot, hot.

(No way I am ever going to forgive them, though, for making Minnesota a Red state during the Election Eve scenes. Effing Hollywood: they think Midwest/Flyover Country = Rust Belt. Get a clue, folks; Minnesota is Bluer than California.)

Of course, there's a happy ending, shooting star and all.



Would matriarchy be any kinder to male-male love than patriarchy? With so little (if any) historical information to draw on, I can see little reason—essentialist presumptions aside (v. supra)—for thinking so.

Still, that's not the point here. None of the -archies (including an-) are going to solve the problems of human society. At the corner of thirteenth and last—now there's a sign-post for you—we're all in this together, men, women, and everyone else; working together is what we've got to figure out.

As for the film, this is rom-com: fantasy, folks.

Don't overthink, don't ask the larger questions.

Just laugh, and ride along.


My favorite part of the film remains the maypole comment, which (be warned) I henceforth intend to use at every possible opportunity.

Here too, though, I find myself not entirely sure of what's actually being said. What's so gay about a maypole?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Not Your Grandfather's Patriarchy


I'm first to the door when we get to the restaurant after my mother's funeral, so naturally I open and hold it as the rest enter. This means that I'm the last to the table. By the time I get there, one seat is left.

“We thought we'd put you at the head,” my sister says, “since you're the patriarch now.”

That crackling sound you're hearing? That's the sound of my toes curling up backwards.


Ah, patriarchy. For decades now, the term has been synonymous with unjust societal power structure.

I sincerely hope that by now we've all managed to get past the simplistic old matriarchy/patriarchy dualisms of the 80s. As pagans, we really should be smart enough to understand that the world is never quite that simple.

Best not to take our patriarchies too literally; best to remember that, like “Nature,” “patriarchy” is a term of convenience, a way of conceptualizing and talking: a semantic shorthand, no more.

Which isn't, of course, to deny that systematic injustices exist. (Look at the pay gap, if you don't believe me.) Still, we've come a long way since those days of comforting, simplistic dichotomies.

Maybe it's time to start thinking about the shape of what comes next.


In my family, we talk about food a lot. (Hey, it beats fighting over politics.) Over meals at family gatherings like weddings and funerals, we usually discuss where to go for the next meal.

Then, after weighing the various possibilities, everyone turns to the current family patriarch to cast the deciding vote.

For years, this was my Uncle Milton: a benevolent patriarch, if ever there was one. My father has admitted to me to having felt a moment of panic when, for the first time after Milton's death, people turned to him.

“I don't want to be patriarch!” he, too, thought. “I'm the clown!” Given the nature of birth-order politics, younger sons often become the family trickster.

Still, some social imperatives outweigh others.


Like my father, I'm a clown too, though for different reasons. Many, if not most, of my own stories lead up to a punchline.

Like other outsiders—think of Jewish humor—gay men often play the trickster in public. It's a social strategy, and an effective one.

We learn early that humor—especially self-deprecating humor—disarms, perhaps by making us seem less threatening.

Still, in these latter days, perhaps of all men, it's the fool who is best suited to be king.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My family talked about food as well. My brother-in-law Marty said it was a nice change from his parents talking about their illne

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Be the Crone You Want to See

I apologise to Anne and the wonderfuls of Pagan Square for an absence of nearly two months. But it really has been a wild ride since the August eclipses. If you think that those living outside the US are not interested in the country's politics, prepare to rearrange your throughts.

My sister-in-law, who is living with 'no further treatment' cancer was glued to the Kavanaugh hearings in Northern Ireland. A friend in Birmingham, England apologised for not being able to PM, because she watching them on BBC Live. Basically, the women of the world were triggered by all the news emanating from the land of my birth in September and early October. So, too, were many men, who came out admitting their own sexual assaults on Facebook.On so many levels people experienced every single stage of grief.

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Looking Deeper: Kavanaugh, women, culture war, and us.


The controversy over appointing a ruthless political operative, perjurer, and probable sexual predator to the Supreme Court has led many people to put the blame on old White males and their culture of privilege. While there is some truth to this argument, it does not go nearly deep enough to shed adequate light on these crimes against the constitution. Going more deeply also sheds light on the rise of NeoPagan religion in this country.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Dude, I'll say it for the record. I didn't like Hillary Clinton, but you were right. By the Goddesses and Gods, there was voting
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. diZerega, We haven't always agreed in the past. But I enjoyed reading your post, and I think that your analysis is fundamenta
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you Jamie. Sadly we agree on a reality we both wish was different.
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    There are some more PC-than-Thou folks out there who seem to run on self-righteousness and denouncing others. But if you are refe
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Did you actually read my piece? If you are referring to my article, I suggest re-reading it without preconceptions. There is nothi
What Is “Egalitarian Matriarchy” and Why Is It So Often Misunderstood? by Carol P. Christ

In their purest form, “egalitarian matriarchies” place the mother principle at the center of culture and society. Their highest values are the love, care, and generosity they associate with motherhood. These values are not limited to women and girls. Boys and men are also encouraged to honor mothers above all, to practice the traits of love, care, and generosity, and to value them in others.

“Egalitarian matriarchal” societies are matrilineal which means that family membership and descent are passed through the female line. They are also usually matrilocal, which means that women live in their maternal home all of their lives. Family groups are usually extended rather than nuclear. Often there is a “big house” in which groups of sisters, brothers, and cousins live together with mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and great-aunts. In what I imagine to have been the original form of the system (still practiced by the Mosuo of the Himalayas), men also live in their maternal house, visiting their lovers at night, and returning home in the morning.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Carol, for this thought-provoking explanation of terms. From my own experience as a 70 year-old male who was put on te
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thanks Ted. Currently I am re-reading Women at the Center. The egalitarian matriarchal Minangkabau people believe that without (re

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Deeper Meaning of “#MeToo”


Accounts of men of power harassing women are as old as history.  Aristotle describes Greek rulers getting into trouble for abusing women, but in terms of invading already existing male dominated relationships. The women are booty. The Old Testament was no better, and I would argue, worse. 

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Excellent, excellent article!

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