Here — see if you can wrap your poor little brain around this one that further explains the subtext of what he was describing. Here are some of the highlights:

“Patriarchy as a pervasive social system is only about 6–9 thousand years old. The prevailing hypothesis is that it came about as a result of warlike, Proto-Indo-European Northern tribes overtaking the settlements of “Old Europe.” Prior to that time, most humans lived in peaceful, largely egalitarian communities that were matrilinear (heredity passed through the female line). Both archeology and anthropology indicate that Middle and Upper Paleolithic tribes were overwhelmingly like this, although this same way of life also continued into the Neolithic and early Chalcolithic eras (copper age).

In other words, for most of human history, men were not looked upon as the head of the household, the leader of the tribe, or more important than women. Women were revered as the givers of life, and men did not have primacy or power over them. In fact, in Çatalhöyük, a settlement of about 10,000 from the Neolithic era, where extensive archeological artifacts have been discovered, giving great insight into the way the society functioned, it is clear that the inhabitants were both egalitarian, non-hierarchical, and largely peaceful.

So, let’s review: For most of human history, lineage went through the mother and men and women had fairly egalitarian relationships. They lived in relative peace and harmony, both within their communities and with their neighbors. This does not mean that early societies were Utopian, but warfare was not prevalent and the coercive control of women was not a part of the social fabric. In some early societies women were actually the heads of the household, as in ancient Egypt. Herodotus of Greece wrote that in Egypt, “Women go in the marketplace, transact affairs and occupy themselves with business, while the husbands stay home and weave.” This was the case until around the 4th century BC. (1)

Class stratification also did not exist in any significant manner. Cultures kept evolving to have greater technologies, finer art, better tools, and refinements to their social systems. Patriarchy brought domination-based systems and a focus on technologies of war. It may have eventually led to palaces and great edifices as well as greater industry, but are we truly better off?

We live longer and have better medical care than in ancient times, but we also live more isolated lives, devoid of the kind of community and social connection that human beings are designed for. Loneliness in our culture is at an epidemic level that cuts lives short. We have all types of stratification and the discord and violence that arise out of a system of social hierarchy. Dominance based hierarchies produce, but they also largely benefit those at the top of the hierarchy in ways that the rest of the society doesn’t benefit from in the same ways.

There was plenty of “civilization” before patriarchy became a common social system. The belief that patriarchy = civilization is a fantasy perpetuated by men who feel threatened at the thought that it could have ever been otherwise.”

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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