Prior to the advent of agriculture when most humans existed in small bands that shared everything, including co-raising all children, paternity was irrelevant, and monogamy was non-existent. The onset of patriarchy coincided with the onset of monogamy for women; ergo, marriage is a patriarchal construct. Monogamy has never been expected of men until very recently.

Today, most anthropologists would agree, regardless of their stance on issues such as the universality of male dominance, that an entirely different order of male dominance became associated with the rise of the large and populous agricultural states organized in terms of classes. The patriarchal systems that emerged brought women for the first time under the direct control of fathers and husbands with few cross-cutting sources of support. Women as wives under this system were not social adults, and women’s lives were defined in terms of being a wife. Women’s mothering and women’s sexuality came to be seen as requiring protection by fathers and husbands. Protecting unmarried women’s virginity appears to go along with the idea of the domestication of women and an emphasis on a radical dichtomy between the public and the private sphere. The private sphere is watched over and protected by men, and women are excluded from the public domain. These agrarian societies that give power over women and sons to fathers should properly be called “patriarchal.”

It’s my assertion that people/women who are marginalized in some way (poverty, lack of education, etc.) tend to care less about mainstream mores. They are just trying to survive. And yes, better off, better educated women are oppressing themselves. It’s called internalized misogyny — buying into societal scripts that don’t necessarily serve them because there is strong disapproval of those who don’t. Women initiate 70% of all divorces. An even higher rate of 90% of all divorces are initiated by college-educated women.”

Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford University analyzed data from 2009–2015 from a nationally representative survey consisting of over 2000 adults, ages 19–94 who were in a heterosexual marriage. Rosenfeld found that nearly 70% of women initiated a divorce, but this figure did not translate to break-ups in dating relationships. The author explains the difference in results between breakups in dating relationships as due to the baggage that comes with marriage, particularly for women. Non-marital relationships tend to be more flexible and adaptable. Rosenfeld argues that for women, marriage itself is burdened by outdated expectations and hasn’t evolved to fit current expectations for gender equality. For instance, the women who reported more dissatisfaction in this study also reported that loss of independence and controlling husbands were the primary cause of their unhappiness (American Sociological Association, 2016).

The division of household labor and chores is one area in heterosexual marriages that has changed somewhat, but not evolved to fit modern expectations.

As someone who is polyamorous, I can say from first hand experience that one of the primary tenets of ethical no-monogamy is that one person cannot be expected to meet all of your needs and so different partners meet different ones, with some overlap. People (like Peterson) who try to overlay monogamy mindsets and standards overtop of a fundamentally different system come up with meaningless and erroneous conclusions. Monogamy (as originally designed) was about control; about limiting sexual access and freedom for women, and to large extent this is still true. Modern non-monogamy is about the complete opposite -freedom, individuality, honesty, co-creating relationships with no inherent rules or roles, etc. If we had no more social mores around monogamy, all women would not mate with only the “top” 10% of men. That’s just idiotic and completely uninformed, because a hierarchical model around mating and a partnership oriented one operate in very different ways.

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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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