One of my most annoying hobbies (according to friends and my husband) is my interest in gender issues- especially in relation to religion. In the past week, I've come across two different articles that take two (somewhat extreme) views on who's really running things- or who will soon be running things- man or woman. As the mama of three sons and one daughter, I want the world to be a peaceful, balanced place for them to grow up in. Is it really man or woman? Patriarchy or Matriarchy? Can my daughter become a doctor (hey! It could happen!) without someone complaining she is stealing a job from a man? Will my sons be able to thrive in a world that seems to cater to female traits over male traits?
Take a look at these two positions. (These are secular articles written mainly from an evolutionary standpoint. However- both make excellent arguments.)
1. The extreme conservative crowds (fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist Muslims) are breeding like rabbits (my case in point- though I'm probably not enough of a fundamentalist to be called a fundamentalist by fundamentalists if that makes any sense) while moderate and liberal families are stopping after one to two or choosing not to have any children at all.
Soon, the overwhelming population of patriarchal-minded conservatives will overtake the postmodern mindset, and we will be living a world similar to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. No, not really. But just maybe...
Check out this video- "How to Beat Your Wife." Favorite quote, "If he beats her, the beatings must be light and he must not make her face ugly." Well. At least there's that.
Longman argues that patriarchy is the reason the human face has not yet become extinct- and why as population is declining across the globe, it will most certainly make a comeback.
What does a patriarchal society entail?
1) Men marrying women of a proper station.
2) Great involvement of family in children's lives.
3) Stigmitization of illegitimate children and single mothers.
4) The idea that the children belong to the father's family, and not the mother's.
5) Families reproducing until they have at least one son.
6) Children are representatives of their father's rank and honor.
7) Suppression of individualism and full submission to the father.
The Return of Patriarchy by Philip Longman
Introductory quote to article:
“Throughout the broad sweep of human history, there are many examples of people, or classes of people, who chose to avoid the costs of parenthood. Indeed, falling fertility is a recurring tendency of human civilization. Why then did humans not become extinct long ago? The short answer is patriarchy.
Patriarchy does not simply mean that men rule. Indeed, it is a particular value system that not only requires men to marry but to marry a woman of proper station. It competes with many other male visions of the good life, and for that reason alone is prone to come in cycles. Yet before it degenerates, it is a cultural regime that serves to keep birthrates high among the affluent, while also maximizing parents' investments in their children. No advanced civilization has yet learned how to endure without it.”
2) Women are taking over, leaving men in the dust, and stripping them of their dignity and manhood.
The End of Men by Hanna Rosin
A scenario in which the all-sufficient woman is taking over not only traditional, nurturing-type jobs suited for women (teaching, nursing, etc.) but white-collar management positions that once went to men. On top of that, (women) are mad at men for not earning enough money to support their dreams of a white picket fence. AND studies point out that the learning styles in schools are geared toward females, not males- office structures are also female-oriented. Men seem to be at a severe disadvantage and women seem a) unsympathetic and b) annoyed that men aren't providing as they should. Are men becoming "the new ball and chain?"
Check out the commercial Rosin refers to narrated by none other than Michael C. Hall, aka Dexter, a man who balances work, family, and his lust for killing really bad people.
Two key quotes from the article:
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now hold 51.4 percent of managerial and professional jobs—up from 26.1 percent in 1980. They make up 54 percent of all accountants and hold about half of all banking and insurance jobs. About a third of America’s physicians are now women, as are 45 percent of associates in law firms—and both those percentages are rising fast. A white-collar economy values raw intellectual horsepower, which men and women have in equal amounts. It also requires communication skills and social intelligence, areas in which women, according to many studies, have a slight edge. Perhaps most important—for better or worse—it increasingly requires formal education credentials, which women are more prone to acquire, particularly early in adulthood”
“Throughout the ’90s, various authors and researchers agonized over why boys seemed to be failing at every level of education, from elementary school on up, and identified various culprits: a misguided feminism that treated normal boys as incipient harassers (Christina Hoff Sommers); different brain chemistry (Michael Gurian); a demanding, verbally focused curriculum that ignored boys’ interests (Richard Whitmire). But again, it’s not all that clear that boys have become more dysfunctional—or have changed in any way. What’s clear is that schools, like the economy, now value the self-control, focus, and verbal aptitude that seem to come more easily to young girls.”
Do either of these scenarios concern you? Why or why not?