Thanks for your comments, Dave. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with hierarchy of competence. But most of patriarchal power isn’t built on that — it’s built on historical power and most of it is done without conscious thought. It’s just the ocean we’ve been swimming in. As I know you are aware, up until very recently, we had laws that kept women and Blacks from having an opportunity to compete for a place based on competence and achievement. Sandra Day O’Connor graduated third in her law school class from Stanford and had to beg the over-worked county attorney to let her work for him for free in order to get her first job because at that time law firms did not even interview women. But through her hard work and effort, she did eventually get hired for pay, and of course, became a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Sexual harassment and racism are both unconscious attempts to maintain that time where “those people” knew their place in the hierarchy. I think this quote explains it pretty succinctly:

For the worst of these dominance obsessed men, the successful suppression of other’s interpersonal boundaries eventually leads to acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. This explains why #MeToo is so widespread and spans so many levels of abusive behavior. Men who embrace the man box culture of dominance are testing boundaries at every level with every woman in their orbit, modulating those tests from micro to macro-aggressions depending on the context and relative power of their targets. If their micro-aggressions are challenged in an relatively equal power relationship, say in the workplace, these men will quickly back pedal, throwing up their hands, saying “I was only joking.”

Hierarchies of actualization (which are the antithesis of hierarchies of dominance) mean that those with authority and who are in leadership positions are tasked with making sure that their team (family, job, state) has what they need to do their best work/effort. It’s a bit like the idea of “servant leadership” that some churches employ. Respect goes both ways. I definitely need to write up something more about this, because more than once I’ve been asked, “What’s the alternative to dominance-based hierarchy?” The answer is not an entirely flat system with no hierarchy at all. As you pointed out, some have more skill, expertise, hard work or whatever and that is needed and should be affirmed. A domination-based system looks like a pyramid, while a partnership-based system looks more like a dodecahedron.

More on this to come. Thanks for sparking my thought processes.

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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