Πέμπτη, 10 Μαρτίου 2011


A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society.

There are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal,[1][2][3][4][5][6] although there are attested matrilinear, matrilocal, and avunculocal societies, especially among indigenous peoples of Asia and Africa,[7] such as those of the Minangkabau, E De (Rhade), Mosuo, Berbers and Tuareg and, in Europe, Basques and Sardinian people.[8][9] Strongly matrilocal societies sometimes are referred to as matrifocal, and there is some debate concerning the terminological delineation between matrifocality and matriarchy. Even in patriarchical systems of male-preference primogeniture, there may occasionally be queens regnant, as in the case of Elizabeth I of England.
In 19th century Western scholarship, the hypothesis of matriarchy representing an early stage of human development—now mostly lost in prehistory, with the exception of some "primitive" societies—enjoyed popularity. The hypothesis survived into the 20th century and was notably advanced in the context of feminism and especially second wave feminism, but this hypothesis of matriarchy as having been an early stage of human development is mostly discredited today, most experts saying that it never existed.[10]



Definitions and etymology

The word matriarchy is coined as the opposite of patriarchy, from Greek matēr 'mother' and archein 'to rule'. Margot Adler wrote, "[l]iterally, ... ["matriarchy"] means government by mothers, or more broadly, government and power in the hands of women."[11] "'Matriarchy' can be thought of ... as a shorthand description for any society in which women's power is equal or superior to men's and in which the culture centers around values and life events described as 'feminine.'"[12] In the Marxist tradition, it usually refers to a preclass society "where women and men share equally in production and power."[13] Some consider the term as not being parallel to patriarchy, because it is not always defined in the same fashion differing only for gender.
Matriarchy is also the public formation in which the woman occupies the ruling position in a family (a primary cell of society). Some authors depart from the premise of a mother-child dyad as the core of a human group where the grandmother was the central ancestress with her children and grandchildren clustered around her in an extended family.[14]
According to journalist Margot Adler, "[a] number of feminists note that few definitions of the word ["matriarchy"], despite its literal meaning, include any concept of power, and they suggest that centuries of oppression have made it impossible for women to conceive of themselves with such power."[15]
Etymologically, according to the OED, the word matriarchy is first attested in 1885, building on an earlier matriarch, formed in analogy to patriarch, already in use in the early 17th century. By contrast, gynæcocracy, meaning 'rule of women', has been in use since the 17th century, building on the Greek word γυναικοκρατία found in Aristotle and Plutarch.[16][17]
The Matriarchal Studies school led by Heide Göttner-Abendroth calls for a more inclusive redefinition of the term: Göttner-Abendroth defines Modern Matriarchal Studies as the "investigation and presentation of non-patriarchal societies", effectively defining matriarchy as "non-patriarchy".[18] She has also defined matriarchy as characterized by the sharing of power equally between the two genders.[19] Similarly, Peggy Reeves Sanday (2004) favors redefining and reintroducing the word matriarchy, especially in reference to contemporary matrilineal societies such as the Minangkabau.

Related concepts

Gynecocracy, gynaecocracy, gynocracy, gyneocracy, and gynarchy

Gynecocracy, gynaecocracy, gynocracy, gyneocracy, and gynarchy generally mean 'government by women over women and men'.[20][21][22][23] All of these words are synonyms in their most important definitions. While these words all share that principal meaning, they differ a little in their additional meanings, so that gynecocracy also means 'women's social supremacy',[24] gynaecocracy also means 'government by one woman', 'female dominance', and, derogatorily, 'petticoat government',[25] and gynocracy also means 'women as the ruling class'.[26] Gyneocracy is rarely used in modern times.[27] None of these definitions are limited to mothers.
Some matriarchies have been described by historian Helen Diner as "a strong gynocracy"[28] and "women monopolizing government"[29] and she described matriarchal Amazons as "an extreme, feminist wing"[30] of humanity and that North African women "ruled the country politically,"[28] and, according to Margot Adler, Helen Diner "envision[ed] a dominance matriarchy".[31]


Gynocentrism (simplified by using the reduced prefix gyno- for gynæco-) is the 'dominant or exclusive focus on women', and is opposed to androcentrism.

Matrifocality and matricentrism

Due to a lack of a clear and consistent definition of the word matriarchy, several anthropologists have begun to use the term matrifocality. The terms matrifocal and matricentric, 'having a mother as head of the family or household', were first used in the mid 20th century.
Matrifocal societies are those in which women, especially mothers, occupy a central position. The term does not necessarily imply domination by women or mothers.[32] Anthropologist R. L. Smith (2002) refers to matrifocality as the kinship structure of a social system where the mothers assume structural prominence.[32] The Nair community in Kerala and the Bunt community in Tulunadu in South India are prime examples of matrifocality. This can be attributed to the fact that a community, if males were largely warriors by profession, was bound to lose male members at youth, leading to a situation where the females assumed the role of running the family.


Feminist scholars and archeologists such as Marija Gimbutas, Gerda Lerner, and Riane Eisler[33] describe their notion of a "woman-centered" society surrounding Mother Goddess worship throughout prehistory (Paleolithic and Neolithic Europe) and ancient civilizations, by using the term matristic rather than matriarchal.


Matrilineality is sometimes confused with historical matriarchy.[34]


Societies in which a couple resides close to the bride's family rather than the bridegroom's family are termed "matrilocal" by anthropologists.


18th century

The Iroquois Confederacy or League, combining five to six American Indian nations or tribes before the U.S. became a nation, operated by The Great Binding Law of Peace, a constitution by which women participated in the League's political decision-making, including deciding whether to proceed to war,[35] through what may have been a matriarchy[36] or "'gyneocracy'".[37] The dates of this constitution's operation are unknown; until written in "about 1880",[38] it was oral[38] and the League formed centuries earlier, approximately 10001450;[38] it still exists.

19th century

The notion of matriarchy was defined by Joseph-Francois Lafitau (1681–1746), who first named it "ginecocratie".
The controversy surrounding prehistoric or "primal" matriarchy began in reaction to the book by Johann Jakob Bachofen Mother Right: An Investigation of the Religious and Juridical Character of Matriarchy in the Ancient World in 1861. Several generations of ethnologists were inspired by his pseudo-evolutionary theory of archaic matriarchy. Following him and Jane Ellen Harrison, several generations of scholars, usually arguing from known myths or oral traditions and examination of Neolithic female cult-figures, suggested that many ancient societies might have been matriarchal, or even that there existed a wide-ranging matriarchal society prior to the ancient cultures of which we are aware.
The concept was further investigated by Lewis H. Morgan, LL. D.[39] Many researchers studied the phenomenon of matriarchy afterward, but the basis was laid by the classics of sociology. In their works Bachofen and Lewis Morgan used such terms and expressions as mother-right, female rule, gyneocracy, and female authority. All these terms meant the same: the rule by females (mother or wife).
The notion of a "woman-centered" society was developed by J. J. Bachofen, whose three-volume Myth, religion, and mother right (1861) impacted the way classicists such as Jane Harrison, Sir Arthur Evans, Walter Burkert, and James Mellaart[40] looked at the evidence of matriarchal religion in pre-Hellenic societies.[41]
A claim of "matriarchy" in the ancient Near East is also found in The Cambridge ancient history (1975):[42] "the predominance of a supreme goddess is probably a reflection from the practice of matriarchy which at all times characterized Elamite civilization to a greater or lesser degree".
The following excerpts from Lewis Morgan's "Ancient Society" will explain the use of the terms: "In a work of vast research, Bachofen has collected and discussed the evidence of female authority, mother-right, and of female rule, gynecocracy."
"Common lands and joint tillage would lead to joint-tenant houses and communism in living; so that gyneocracy seems to require for its creation, descent in the female line. Women thus entrenched in large households, supplied from common stores, in which their own gens so largely predominated in numbers, would produce the phenomena of mother right and gyneocracy, which Bachofen has detected and traced with the aid of fragments of history and of tradition."
Although Bachofen and Lewis Morgan confined the "mother right" inside households, it was the basis of female influence upon the whole society. The authors of the classics never thought that gyneocracy could mean 'female government' in politics. They were aware of the fact that the sexual structure of government had no relation to domestic rule and to roles of both sexes.
Friedrich Engels, among others studying historical groups, formed the notion that some contemporary primitive peoples did not grasp the link between sexual intercourse and pregnancy.[citation needed] Research indicated that sexual intercourse occurred from early ages and pregnancy only occurred much later, seemingly unrelated to the sexual activity. He proposed that these cultures had no clear notion of paternity, according to this hypothesis; women produced children mysteriously, without necessary links to the man or men with whom they had sex. When realization of paternity occurred, according to the hypothesis, men acted to claim a power to monopolize women and claim their offspring as possessions and patriarchy began.

20th century

Ethnographer Bronisław Malinowski, from the London School of Economics, lived among aborigines of the Trobriand Islands (Western Melanesia) and studied their society in 1914-1918. In his book Argonauts Of The Western Pacific,[43] B. Malinowski pointed at a matrilineal construction of the islanders' societies and at a high female position:
"Their system of kinship is matrilineal, and women hold a very good position, and wield great influence."[44]
"The Trobrianders are matrilineal, that is, in tracing descent and settling inheritance, they follow the maternal line. A child belongs to the clan and village community of its mother, and wealth, as well as social position, are inherited, not from father to son, but from maternal uncle to nephew."[45]
"As regards kinship, the main thing to be remembered is that the natives are matrilineal, and that the succession of rank, membership in all the social groups, and the inheritance of possessions descend in the maternal line."[45]
Property was succeeded inside the mother-line: "The ownership of trees in the village grove and ownership in garden plots is ceded by the father to his son during the lifetime of the former. At his death, it often has to be returned to the man's rightful heirs, that is, his sister's children."[45]
A man had a life-long obligation to work for women and their relatives in that society: "They entail a life-long obligation of every man to work for his kinswomen and their families. When a boy begins to garden, he does it for his mother. When his sisters grow up and marry, he works for them. If he has neither mother nor sisters, his nearest female blood relation will claim the proceeds of his labour".[46]
By studying several different tribes of the Western Pacific (employing the method of comparison, popular in ethnography), Malinowski gave confirmations of Lewis Morgan's idea that matriarchy (gyneocracy)[47] was a common feature of primitive societies at early stages, and that female rule needed matrilineality for its existence. He also confirmed that matrilineality often goes hand in hand with promiscuous free love (a fact that was discovered[citation needed] by Bachofen).
According to B. Malinowski:
"As a rule, amongst natives, a high position of women is associated with sex laxity."[48]
"The sexual life of these natives [the Southern Massim tribe] is extremely lax. Even when we remember the very free standard of sex morals in the Melanesian tribes of New Guinea, such as the Motu or the Mailu, we still find these natives exceedingly loose in such matters. Certain reserves and appearances which are usually kept up in other tribes, are here completely abandoned. As is probably the case in many communities where sex morals are lax, there is a complete absence of unnatural practices and sex perversions. Marriage is concluded as the natural end of a long and lasting liaison."[48]
"[The Trobrianders'] sexual life starts long before puberty arrives, and gradually shapes and develops as the organism matures... Chastity is an unknown virtue among these natives. At an incredibly early age they become initiated into sexual life... As they grow up, they live in promiscuous free-love, which gradually develops into more permanent attachments... Marriage is associated with hardly any public or private rite or ceremony. The woman simply joins her husband in his house... In her married life, the woman is supposed to remain faithful to her husband, but this rule is neither very strictly kept nor enforced. In all other ways, she retains a great measure of independence."[43]
Austrian writer Bertha Diener, also known as Helen Diner, wrote Mothers and Amazons (1930), which was the first work to focus on women's cultural history. Hers is regarded as a classic of feminist matriarchal study.[49] Her view is that in the past all human societies were matriarchal; then, at some point, most shifted to patriarchal and degenerated.
The controversy was reinforced further by the publication of The White Goddess by Robert Graves (1948) and his later analysis of classical Greek mythology and the vestiges of earlier myths that had been rewritten after a profound change in the religion of Greek civilization that occurred within its very early historical times.
From the 1950s, Marija Gimbutas developed a theory of an Old European culture in neolithic Europe which had matriarchal traits, replaced by the patriarchal system of the Proto-Indo-Europeans with the spread of Indo-European languages beginning in the Bronze Age.
From the 1970s, these ideas were taken up by popular writers of second-wave feminism and expanded with the speculations of Margaret Murray on witchcraft, by the Goddess movement, and in feminist Wicca, as well as in works by Elizabeth Gould Davis, Riane Eisler, and Merlin Stone.
The concept of a matriarchal golden age in the Neolithic Age has been denounced as feminist wishful thinking in The Inevitability of Patriarchy, in Why Men Rule, more recently by Philip G. Davis in Goddess Unmasked (1998), and by Cynthia Eller, professor at Montclair State University, in The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000). According to Eller, Gimbutas had a large part in constructing a myth of historical matriarchy by examining Eastern Europe cultures that she asserts, by and large, never really bore any resemblance in character to the alleged universal matriarchy suggested by Gimbutas and Graves. She asserts that in "actually documented primitive societies" of recent (historical) times, paternity is never ignored and that the sacred status of goddesses does not automatically increase female social status, and believes that this affirms that utopian matriarchy is simply an inversion of antifeminism. The feminist scenarios of Neolithic matriarchy have been called into question and are not emphasized in third-wave feminism.
The original evidence recognized by Gimbutas, however, of Neolithic societies being more egalitarian than the Bronze Age Indo-European and Semitic patriarchies remains valid. Gimbutas herself has not described these societies as "matriarchal", preferring the term "woman-centered" or "matristic". Del Giorgio, in The Oldest Europeans (2006), insists on a matrifocal, matrilocal, matrilineal Paleolithic society.
While the existence of numerous matrilineal or avuncular societies is undisputed, it has been recognized since the 1970s that there are no societies which are matriarchal in the strong sense that some societies are patriarchal. Joan Bamberger in her 1974 The Myth of Matriarchy argued that the historical record contains no reliable evidence of any society in which women dominated. Although in 1977 cultural anthropologist Jules de Leeuwe argued that some societies were "mainly gynecocratic"[50] (others being "mainly androcratic"),[50] he did not identify any in his short response.[50] Anthropologist Donald Brown's list of "human cultural universals" (i.e., features shared by all current human societies) includes men being the "dominant element" in public political affairs (Brown 1991, p. 137), which he asserts is the contemporary opinion of mainstream anthropology.
Kurt Derungs is a non-academic author advocating an "anthropology of landscape" based on allegedly matriarchal traces in toponymy and folklore.

21st Century

According to Adovasio, Soffer, and Page, no true matriarchy is known actually to have existed,[34] although there is evidence of Amazons and an Amazonian society having existed and some matrifocal societies do exist.


Greece and Rome

A legendary matriarchy related by classical Greek writers was the Amazon society. Herodotus reported that the Sarmatians were descendants of Amazons and Scythians, and that their females observed their ancient maternal customs, "frequently hunting on horseback with their husbands; in war taking the field; and wearing the very same dress as the men". Moreover, said Herodotus, "[n]o girl shall wed till she has killed a man in battle". Amazons came to play a role in Roman historiography. Julius Caesar spoke of the conquest of large parts of Asia by Semiramis and the Amazons. Although Strabo was sceptical about their historicity, the Amazons were taken as historical throughout late Antiquity.[51] Several Church Fathers spoke of the Amazons as a real people. Medieval authors continued a tradition of locating the Amazons in the North, Adam of Bremen placing them at the Baltic Sea and Paulus Diaconus in the heart of Germania.[52]
Historian Ronald Hutton has argued that there is no necessary correlation between the worship of female deities and relative levels of social or legal egalitarianism, noting the late classical Greek and Roman religions, in which goddesses played important roles. The changes from the earlier mythology are not considered in her analysis, however, and the late classical myths were dominated by male deities. Hutton has also pointed out that, in more recent European history, in 17th century Spain, there were many religious institutions staffed exclusively by women.
In Greek mythology, Zeus is said to have swallowed his pregnant wife, the goddess Metis, who was carrying their daughter, Athena. The mother and child created havoc inside Zeus. Either Hermes or Hephaestus split Zeus's head, allowing Athena, in full battle armour, to burst forth from his forehead. Athena was thus described as being "born" from Zeus. Zeus was pleased with the outcome a prophecy that his son would surpass him had not been fulfilled. Robert Graves suggested that this myth displaced earlier myths that had to change when a major cultural change brought patriarchy to replace a matriarchy.

Celtic myth and society

"[T]here is plenty of evidence of ancient societies where women held greater power than in many societies today. For example, Jean Markale's studies of Celtic societies show that the power of women was reflected not only in myth and legend but in legal codes pertaining to marriage, divorce, property ownership, and the right to rule."[53]

South America

Bamberger (1974) examines several matriarchal myths from South American cultures and concludes that portraying the women from this matriarchal period as evil often serves to restrain contemporary women.[clarification needed]

Feminist ideology

While matriarchy has mostly fallen out of use for the anthropological description of existing societies, it remains current as a concept in feminism.[54][55]
In feminist literature, matriarchy and patriarchy are not conceived as simple mirrors of each other.[56] While matriarchy sometimes means "the political rule of women",[57] that meaning is often rejected, on the ground that matriarchy is not a mirroring of patriarchy.[58] Patriarchy is held to be about power over others while matriarchy is held to be about power from within,[56] Starhawk having written on that distinction[56][59] and Margot Adler having argued that matriarchal power is not possessive and not controlling, but is harmonious with nature.[60]

Advocacy of matriarchy

A minority of feminists, generally radical or lesbian,[54][55] have argued that women should govern societies of women and men. In all of these advocacies, the governing women are not limited to mothers. Andrea Dworkin raised the question of women's sovereignty[61] and argued that women should fight to create their own country, Womenland, comparable to Israel[62] and a "state"[63] in which "females rule supreme above males"[63] if gender equality is not imposed.[63] Phyllis Chesler wrote[64][65] that feminist women must "dominate public and social institutions",[66][67] that women fare better when controlling the means of production,[68] and that equality with men, being "spurious",[67] should not be supported,[69][67] resulting in women being "superior",[67] even if female domination is no more "'just'"[69] than male domination.[69] Monique Wittig authored, as fiction, Les Guérillères,[70] describing a "female State",[71] and scholarly interpretations of it include that women win a war against men,[72][73] "reconcil[e]"[74] with "those men of good will who come to join them",[74] exercise feminist autonomy[75] through polyandry,[76] decide how to govern,[75] and rule the men;[77] another interpretation is that the author created an "'open structure' of freedom".[78] Mary Daly wrote of hag-ocracy, "the place we ["[w]omen traveling into feminist time/space"] govern",[79] and of reversing phallocratic rule[80] in the 1990s (i.e., when published);[81] she considered equal rights as tokenism that works against sisterhood, even as she supported abortion being legal and other reforms;[82] she considered her book female and anti-male.[83]
Some such advocacies are informed by work on past matriarchy. According to Prof. Linda M. G. Zerilli, "an ancient matriarchy ... [was "in early second-wave feminism"] the lost object of women's freedom."[84] Prof. Cynthia Eller found widespread acceptance of matriarchal myth during feminism's second wave.[85] Jill Johnston envisioned a "return to the former glory and wise equanimity of the matriarchies"[86] in the future[86] and "imagined lesbians as constituting an imaginary radical state, and invoked 'the return to the harmony of statehood and biology....'";[87] her work inspired efforts at implementation by the Lesbian Organization of Toronto (LOOT) in 19761980[88] and in Los Angeles.[89] One organization that was named The Feminists was interested in matriarchy[90] and was one of the largest of the radical feminist women's liberation groups of the 1960s;[91] two members wanted "'the restoration of female rule'",[92] but the organization's founder, Ti-Grace Atkinson, would have objected had she remained in the organization, because, according to a historian, "[she] had always doubted that women would wield power differently from men."[93] Robin Morgan wrote of women fighting for and creating a "gynocratic world".[94] Margot Adler wrote, "[t]he idea of matriarchy is powerful for women in itself";[95] "'the whole question [of "matriarchy", however defined,] challenges women to imagine themselves with power. It is an idea about what society would be like where women are truly free.'"[96] Margot Adler reported, "[i]f feminists have diverse views on the matriarchies of the past, they also are of several minds on the goals for the future. A woman in the coven of Ursa Maior told me, '[r]ight now I am pushing for women's power in any way I can, but I don't know whether my ultimate aim is a society where all human beings are equal, regardless of the bodies they were born into, or whether I would rather see a society where women had institutional authority.'"[97]
On egalitarian matriarchy,[98] Heide Göttner-Abendroth's International Academy for Modern Matriarchal Studies and Matriarchal Spirituality (HAGIA) organized conferences in Luxembourg in 2003[99] and Texas in 2005.[100][101] While perhaps not using the word matriarchy, Victoria Woodhull, in 1871, called for men to open the U.S. government to women or a new constitution and government would be formed in a year;[102] and, on a basis of equality, she ran to be elected President in 1872.[103][104]
"[A] deep distrust of men's ability to adhere to"[105] future matriarchal requirements may invoke a need "to retain at least some degree of female hegemony to insure against a return to patriarchal control",[105] "feminists ... [having] the understanding that female dominance is better for society—and better for men—than the present world order",[106] as is equalitarianism. On the other hand, if men can be trusted to accept equality, probably most feminists seeking future matriarchy would accept an equalitarian model.[106]
"Demographic[ally]",[107] "feminist matriarchalists run the gamut"[107] but primarily are "in white, well-educated, middle-class circles";[107] many of the adherents are "religiously inclined"[107] while others are "quite secular".[107]


Biology as a ground for holding either males or females superior over the other has been criticized as invalid, such as by Andrea Dworkin[108] and by Robin Morgan, in The Demon Lover. On the other hand, not all advocates base their arguments on biology.
A criticism of choosing who governs according to gender or sex is that the best qualified people should be chosen, regardless of gender or sex.[109] On the other hand, merit was considered insufficient for office, because a legal right granted by a sovereign (e.g., a king), was more important than merit.[110]
Diversity within a proposed community can make it especially challenging to complete forming the community.[111] However, some advocacy includes diversity.[112]
Prof. Christine Stansell, a feminist, wrote that, for feminists to achieve state power, women must democratically cooperate with men. "[W]omen must take their place with a new generation of brothers in a struggle for the world's fortunes. Herland, whether of virtuous matrons or daring sisters, is not an option.... [T]he well-being and liberty of women cannot be separated from democracy's survival."[113] (Herland was feminist utopian fiction by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, featuring a community entirely of women except for three men who seek it out,[114] although Charlotte Perkins Gilman was herself[115] a feminist advocate of society being gender-integrated and of women's freedom.)
Pursuing a future matriarchy would tend to risk sacrificing feminists' position in present social arrangements, and many feminists are not willing to take that chance.[105]
Other criticisms of superiority are that it is reverse sexism or discriminatory against men, it is opposed by most people including most feminists, women do not want such a position,[109] it is not traditional,[109] it is impractical because of a shortage of women with the ability to govern at that level of difficulty,[109] including the desire and ability to wage war,[109] it is contradicted by current science on genderal differences,[109] it is unnatural,[116][117] and theology[118] and theocracy limit or forbid women from being in civil government or public leadership.
Some nations have specific bans. In Iran at times, women have been forbidden to fill some political offices because of law or because of judgments made under the Islamic religion.[119] As to Saudi Arabia, "Saudi women ... are ... not allowed to enter parliament as anything more than advisors; they cannot vote, much less serve as representatives".[120]
Apparently as criticism, about 2,400 years ago, in 390 BCE, Aristophanes wrote a play, Ecclesiazusae, about women gaining legislative power and governing Athens, Greece, on a limited principle of equality. In the play, Praxagora, a character, argues that women should rule because they are superior to men, not equal, and yet she declines to assert publicly her right to rule, although elected and although acting in office.[121] The play also suggests that women would rule by not allowing politics, in order to prevent disappointment, and that affirmative action would be applied to heterosexual relationships.[121] In the play, written when Athens was a male-only democracy where women could not vote or rule, women were presented as unassertive and unrealistic, and thus not qualified to govern.[121]


Feminist thealogy conceptualized humanity as beginning with "female-ruled or equalitarian societies",[122] until displaced by patriarchies,[123] and that in the millennial future "'gynocentric,' life-loving values"[123] will return to prominence.[123] This produces "a virtually infinite number of years of female equality or superiority coming both at the beginning and end of historical time."[124]
Among criticisms is that a future matriarchy, as a reflection of spirituality, is conceived as timeless and ahistorical,[125] and thus may be unrealistic or even meaningless as a goal to secular feminists. Many of what are labeled as matriarchies may be more accurately labeled as matrifocal, matristic, or gynocentric instead, thus lowering the number of true or narrowly-defined matriarches that existed in the past[126] as models for the future. Parts of a thealogical history of matriarchy may be unsupported by secular modern historical scholarship.

See also



  1. ^ Steven Goldberg, The Inevitability of Patriarchy, (William Morrow & Company, 1973).
  2. ^ Joan Bamberger,'The Myth of Matriarchy: Why Men Rule in Primitive Society', in M Rosaldo and L Lamphere, Women, Culture, and Society, (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1974), pp. 263-280.
  3. ^ Donald E. Brown, Human Universals (Philadelphia: Temple University Press), 1991.
  4. ^ Cynthia Eller, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001).
  5. ^ Jonathan Marks, 'Essay 8: Primate Behavior', in The Un-Textbook of Biological Anthropology, (Unpublished, 2007), p. 11.
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica describes this view as "consensus", listing matriarchy as a hypothetical social system. 'Matriarchy' Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007."
  7. ^ Modern Matriarchal Studies Definitions, Scope and Topicality - Heide Goettner-Abendroth
  8. ^ LA FAMIGLIA E LA DONNA IN SARDEGNA ANNOTAZIONI DI STUDIO 2005, vol. 71, no3, pp. 487-498 [12 page(s) (article)] (dissem.)
  9. ^ Sardegna matriarcale (in italian)
  10. ^ "The view of matriarchy as constituting a stage of cultural development now is generally discredited. Furthermore, the consensus among modern anthropologists and sociologists is that a strictly matriarchal society never existed." 'Matriarchy', Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007.
  11. ^ Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America (N.Y.: Penguin Books, 2006 (ISBN 0 14 30.3819 2)), p. 193 (previous editions in 1979, 1986, & 1997) (italics so in original) (author then N.Y. Bureau Chief for National Public Radio).
  12. ^ Eller, Cynthia, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 2000 (ISBN 0-8070-6792-X)), pp. 12–13.
  13. ^ Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon (2006), op. cit., p. 194.
  14. ^ Goddesses and the divine feminine: a Western religious history, Rosemary Radford Ruether, p. 18
  15. ^ Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon (2006), op. cit., p. 194.
  16. ^ γυναικοκρατία Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon
  17. ^ γυ^ναικο-κρα^τέομαι Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon
  18. ^ Introduction to the "Second World Congress on Matriarchal Studies".
  19. ^ DeMott, Tom, The Investigator (review of Bennholdt-Thomsen, Veronika, Cornelia Giebeler, Brigitte Holzer, & Marina Meneses, Juchitán, City of Women (Mexico: Consejo Editorial, 1994)), as accessed Feb. 6, 2011.
  20. ^ The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, [4th] ed. 1993 (ISBN 0-19-861271-0)), entries gynaecocracy, gynocracy, gynarchy, & gyneocracy.
  21. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam (Merriam-Webster), 1966), entries gynecocracy, gynocracy, & gynarchy.
  22. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 3d ed. 1992 (ISBN 0-395-44895-6)), entries gynecocracy, gynocracy, & gynarchy.
  23. ^ Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (N.Y.: Random House, 2d ed. 2001 (ISBN 0-375-42566-7)), entries gynecocracy & gynarchy.
  24. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, op. cit., entry gynecocracy.
  25. ^ The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, op. cit., entry gynaecocracy.
  26. ^ The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, op. cit., entry gynocracy.
  27. ^ The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, op. cit., entry gyneocracy.
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  30. ^ Diner, Helen, Mothers and Amazons (trans. 1965 (original 1930s)), op. cit., p. 123 and see p. 122.
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  54. ^ a b Weisberg, D. Kelly, ed., Applications of Feminist Legal Theory to Women's Lives: Sex, Violence, Work, and Reproduction (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1996 (ISBN 1-56639-423-6)), p. 9 ("women must organize against patriarchy as a class") but see p. 11 ("[s]ome radical feminists ... opt ... for anarchistic, violent methods").
  55. ^ a b Dale, Jennifer, & Peggy Foster, Feminists and State Welfare (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986 (ISBN 0-7102-0278-4)), p. 52 ("[r]adical feminist theory .... could, indeed, be said to point in the direction of 'matriarchy'") and see pp. 52–53 (political separatism).
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  58. ^ Eller, Cynthia, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000), op. cit., p. 12 (quoting also Mary Daly ("matriarchy 'was not patriarchy spelled with an "m."'", probably (per id., p. 12 n. 3) in Daly, Mary, Beyond God the Father, p. 94)).
  59. ^ Starhawk, Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 15th Anniversary ed. 1997 (original 1982) (ISBN 0-8070-1037-5)), ch. 1 (original 1982 ed. cited in Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 287 n. 17).
  60. ^ Margot Adler wrote a matriarchy is "a realm where female things are valued and where power is exerted in non-possessive, non-controlling, and organic ways that are harmonious with nature." Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, and Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (Boston: Beacon, 1979), p. 187, as quoted in Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 287 & n. 18.
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  65. ^ Douglas, Carol Anne, Women and Madness, in off our backs, vol. 36, no. 2, Jul. 1, 2006, p. 71, col. 1 (Review) (ISSN 00300071).
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  71. ^ Wittig, Monique, trans. David Le Vay, Les Guérillères (1985, © 1969), op. cit., pp. 114–115 (probably equivalent to pp. 164–165 in French original, per Porter, Laurence M., Feminist Fantasy and Open Structure in Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, in Morse, Donald E., Marshall B. Tymn, & Csilla Bertha, eds., The Celebration of the Fantastic: Selected Papers from the Tenth Anniversary International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992 (ISBN 0-313-27814-8)), p. 267 (author prof. Fr. & comparative lit., Mich. State Univ.)).
  72. ^ Moi, Toril, Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory (London: Routledge, 2d ed., 2002 (ISBN 0-415-28012-5)), p. 78 (author prof. lit. & romance studies, Duke Univ., N. Car.).
  73. ^ Auerbach, Nina, Communities of Women: An Idea in Fiction (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1978 (ISBN 0-674-15168-2)), p. 186.
  74. ^ a b Porter, Laurence M., Feminist Fantasy and Open Structure in Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, op. cit., p. 267 (citing pp. 176–208 in the French ed.).
  75. ^ a b Porter, Laurence M., Feminist Fantasy and Open Structure in Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, op. cit., p. 267.
  76. ^ Wittig, Monique, trans. David Le Vay, Les Guérillères (1985, © 1969), op. cit., p. 112 (probably equivalent to pp. 160–161 in French original, per Porter, Laurence M., Feminist Fantasy and Open Structure in Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, op. cit., p. 267).
  77. ^ Zerilli, Linda M. G., Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2005 (ISBN 0-226-98133-9)), p. 80 n. 51, quoting Porter, Laurence M., Feminist Fantasy and Open Structure in Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, op. cit., p. [261].
  78. ^ Zerilli, Linda M. G., Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom, op. cit., p. 80, purportedly quoting within the quotation Laurence M. Porter, Feminist Fantasy and Open Structure in Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, in Morse, Donald E., et al., eds., The Celebration of the Fantastic, op. cit. (not The Celebration of the Fantastic, id., p. [261], a misquotation or misattribution of Linda Zerilli's, but possibly inferrable from The Celebration of the Fantastic, id., pp. [261] & 268) (for meaning in literary criticism of a structure or system being open or closed, see The Celebration of the Fantastic, id., p. 268).
  79. ^ Daly, Mary, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, pbk. 1978 & 1990 (prob. all content except New Intergalactic Introduction 1978 & prob. New Intergalactic Introduction 1990) (ISBN 0-8070-1413-3)), p. 15 (New Intergalactic Introduction separate from Introduction: The Metapatriarchal Journey of Exorcism and Ecstasy). For another definition of hag by Mary Daly, see Daly, Mary, with Jane Caputi, Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language (London, Great Britain: Women's Press, 1988 (ISBN 0-7043-4114-X)), p. 137 (author then assoc. prof. Boston College, Mass.).
  80. ^ Daly, Mary, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, op. cit., p. xxvi (New Intergalactic Introduction).
  81. ^ Daly, Mary, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, op. cit., p. xxxiii (New Intergalactic Introduction).
  82. ^ Daly, Mary, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, op. cit., p. 375 & fnn. and see p. 384.
  83. ^ Daly, Mary, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, op. cit., p. 29.
  84. ^ Zerilli, Linda M. G., Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom, op. cit., p. 101.
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  86. ^ a b Johnston, Jill, Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1973 (SBN (not ISBN) 671-21433-0)), p. 248 and see pp. 248–249.
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  88. ^ Ross, Becki L., The House That Jill Built: A Lesbian Nation in Formation (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, pbk. 1995 (ISBN 0-8020-7479-0)), passim, esp. pp. 8 & 15–16 & also pp. 19, 71, 111, 204, 205, 212, 219, & 231 (author asst. prof. sociology/anthropology & women's studies, Univ. of British Columbia).
  89. ^ Ross, Becki L., The House That Jill Built, op. cit., p. 204 & n. 18, citing McCoy, Sherry, & Maureen Hicks, A Psychological Retrospective on Power in the Contemporary Lesbian-Feminist Community, in Frontiers, vol. 4, no. 3 (1979), p. 67.
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  91. ^ Tong, Rosemarie Putnam, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2d ed. 1998 (ISBN 0-8133-3295-8)), p. 23.
  92. ^ Echols, Alice, Daring to Be Bad, op. cit., p. 184 (quoting Barbara Mehrhof and Pam Kearon (full names per id., pp. 409 & 407 (Index) & memberships per id., p. 388, 383, & 382)).
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  94. ^ Morgan, Robin, Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist (N.Y.: Random House, 1st ed. 1977 (ISBN 0394482271)), p. 187 (italics so in original).
  95. ^ Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon (2006), op. cit., p. 193 (italics so in original).
  96. ^ Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon (2006), op. cit., p. 193 (p. 193 n. 17 citing Webster, Paula, and Esther Newton, Matriarchy: Puzzle and Paradigm (1972) (presented at annual meeting, American Anthropological Ass'n (Toronto)), & later published elsewhere).
  97. ^ Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon (2006), op. cit., p. 198 ("Maior" so in original) (same quotation also in Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, and Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979), op. cit., p. 191, as quoted in Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 289 & n. 24).
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  99. ^ 1st World Congress on Matriarchal Studies, also known as Societies in Balance, both as accessed Jan. 29, 2011.
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  101. ^ For a review of the conferences, esp. that of 2005, by a participant, see Mukhim, Patricia, Khasi Matriliny Has Many Parallels, Oct. 15, 2005, as accessed Feb. 6, 2011 (also published in The Statesman (India), Oct. 15, 2005).
  102. ^ A Lecture on Constitutional Equality, also known as The Great Secession Speech, speech to Woman's Suffrage Convention, New York, May 11, 1871, excerpt quoted in Gabriel, Mary, Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored (Chapel Hill, N.Car.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1st ed. 1998 (ISBN 1-56512-132-5)), pp. 86–87 & n. [13] (author Mary Gabriel journalist, Reuters News Service). Also excerpted, differently, in Underhill, Lois Beachy, The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull (Bridgehampton, N.Y.: Bridge Works, 1st ed. 1995 (ISBN 1-882593-10-3)), pp. 125–126 & unnumbered n.
  103. ^ Gabriel, Mary, Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored, op. cit., passim, esp. pp. 54–57 & nn.
  104. ^ Underhill, Lois Beachy, The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull, op. cit., passim, esp. ch. 8.
  105. ^ a b c Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 290.
  106. ^ a b Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 291 n. 27.
  107. ^ a b c d e Eller, Cynthia, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000), op. cit., p. 10 (whether author's data global unspecified).
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  111. ^ Ross, Becki L., The House That Jill Built, op. cit., p. 208.
  112. ^ A case is Andrea Dworkin's advocacy, on which see her comments in Take No Prisoners, in The Guardian, op. cit.
  113. ^ Stansell, Christine, The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present (N.Y.; Modern Library (Random House), 1st ed. 2010 (ISBN 978-0-679-64314-2)), p. 394 (author prof. history, Univ. of Chicago & feminist).
  114. ^ Bartkowski, Frances, Feminist Utopias (Lincoln: Univ. of Neb. Press, 1989 (ISBN 0-8032-1205-4)), ch. 1.
  115. ^ Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, What is "Feminism"?, in The Sunday Herald, Sep. 3, 1916, [§] Magazine, p. [7] [of §], of The Boston Herald (Boston, Mass.).
  116. ^ Mansfield, Harvey C., Manliness, op. cit., pp. 205–206.
  117. ^ Editorial (title unknown) ("Mrs. Woodhull offers herself in apparent good faith as a candidate, and perhaps she has a remote impression, or rather hope, that she may be elected, but it seems that she is rather in advance of her time. The public mind is not yet educated to the pitch of universal woman's rights" and "At present man, in his affection for and kindness toward the weaker sex, is disposed to accord her any reasonable number of privileges. Beyond that stage he pauses, because there seems to him to be something which is unnatural in permitting her to share the turmoil, the excitement, the risks of competition for the glory of governing."), in New York Herald, May 27, 1870, p. 6, as quoted in Gabriel, Mary, Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored (Chapel Hill, N.Car.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1st ed. 1998 (ISBN 1-56512-132-5)), pp. 56–57 & n. [8] (author Mary Gabriel journalist, Reuters News Service).
  118. ^ "'Holy Scripture inculcates for women a sphere higher than and apart from that of public life; because as women they find a full measure of duties, cares and responsibilities and are unwilling to bear additional burdens unsuited to their physical organization.'", a "signed ... petition against female suffrage" (Jan., 1871), in Gabriel, Mary, Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored, op. cit., p. 83 & n. [9], citing The Press—Philadelphia, Jan. 14, 1871, p. 8 (author Mary Gabriel journalist, Reuters News Service).
  119. ^ Rostami Povey, Elaheh, Feminist Contestations of Institutional Domains in Iran, in Feminist Review, no. 69, pp. 49 & 53 (Winter, 2001).
  120. ^ Al-Mohamed, Asmaa, Saudi Women's Rights: Stuck at a Red Light (Arab Insight (World Security Institute), Jan. 8, 2008), p. 46, as accessed Dec. 28, 2010 (author online editor, Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabia, journalist, & women's rights activist).
  121. ^ a b c Mansfield, Harvey C., Manliness, op. cit., pp. 73–74 & n. 37, citing Strauss, Leo, Socrates and Aristophanes (N.Y.: Basic Books, 1966), ch. 9, and Saxonhouse, Arlene W., Fear of Diversity (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1992), ch. 1.
  122. ^ Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 281 and see pp. 282 & 287.
  123. ^ a b c Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 281.
  124. ^ Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 282.
  125. ^ Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 291.
  126. ^ Eller, Cynthia, Relativizing the Patriarchy, op. cit., p. 283, esp. 1st parenthetical comment.


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