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Stephen C. Rose

Stephen C. Rose

Posted: December 6, 2008 07:46 AM

Is Patriarchy The Root of All Evil?


By Stephen C. Rose

I moved my blog to WordPress recently and, in the process of building a list of sources and links, found I Blame The Patriarchy which says it's a "patriarchy-blaming blog that advances the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster, a gentleman farmer and spinster aunt eating dinner in Austin, Texas."

What is a radical feminist view?

I went to the site's FAQ page and found exactly what I was looking for:

The Twisty Weltanschauung

I Blame The Patriarchy exists to advance the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster. These views revolve around evidence that patriarchy is a violently tyrannical but nearly invisible social order based on an oppressive paradigm of class and status fetishizing dominance and submission. Patriarchy's benefits are accrued according to a rigid hierarchy at the top of which are rich honky adult males and at the bottom of which are poor female children of color. The Twisty Revolution envisions a post-patriarchal order free of theocracy, corporatocracy, gender, race, deity worship, marriage, discrimination, prostitution, exploitation, the nuclear family, reproduction, caste, violence, the oppression of children, pornography, rape, and government interference, particularly with respect to private uteruses, non-abusive domestic arrangements, drug habits, lives, and deaths.

I commented on it and then thought that I had not really justified my approval. Here is an effort in that direction.


Free of Theocracy

Who in light of these times, when from Prop 8 to the exertions of global terrorists, will not assent to this goal? But is theocracy inherently patriarchal? Let's put it this way, when we have to eviscerate the lyrics of all hymns that refer to the deity to make them gender-free, what do you think?

Corporatocracy

I assume this would refer to the fact that we venerate AIG and other corporate entities to the extent that we will give them the farm without question, while not giving a dime to help folk who are out on the street. We are hopeful that an enlightened Obama administration will at least mute the imbalance some. If you think corporations are not patriarchal (which includes sexism), look to the boards of directors.

Race

We might assume that we are moving beyond race. But as Twisty (along with UNICEF) observes, poor female children of color (and their mothers) remain at the bottom globally.

Deity Worship

I have already alluded to the inherent gender problem in most religion. Even though I am a seminary graduate, I agree with the prophet Amos who suggests that the deity hates and despises our feast days and solemn assemblies, and even our songs when they are laden with hypocrisy and theological pretension. Jesus suggested that prayer be private and agreed with Amos that justice was key.

Marriage

I believe in civil unions without reference to gender. I think marriage is a subjective, religious notion which has changed over time. Ministers and priests who act as agents for the state when performing marriages are helping to create confusion. Separation of church and state is entirely ignored in these transactions. If people want to be married in a church or some other place of worship, they should go to a town hall and do the civil deed and then have whatever sort of service they want to bless their legal union.

Discrimination

There are some encouraging pockets of hope, but the dominant reality remains highly discriminatory, as witness widespread pay differentials. Not to mention layoff discrimination.

Prostitution

In a sense this is the nub of the problem. The seminal victimization. Moving beyond it would mean neither de-criminalizing it, nor setting up legal houses of prostitution, but becoming a society where the option does not exist. No one said this would be easy.

The Nuclear Family

The nuclear family is used in this context as code for normalcy. It lies at the base of religious suppositions that are often at variance with the "sacred" texts, where the idea of a mother and father and 2.5 kids is trumped by everything from concubinage to an antipathy toward the very idea of family. The ultimate put-down of this cultural construct, the very basis of our culture of single homes in an automotive matrix, is Jesus asking who his brothers and sisters actually are.

There is a libertarian bent to this. And I fully agree that government should have no right to interfere "particularly with respect to private uteruses, non-abusive domestic arrangements, drug habits, lives, and deaths."

They say feminism has atrophied since the heady Robin Morgan days. Perhaps so. But there is a rhythm to change and to progress. And words matter more than we might think. So there is merit in reflecting now on the prevalence of patriarchy and how we might diminish its deleterious results.

I could start by helping more around the house.

I use sources and links daily to create up to five brief posts that I feel are relevant to the forthcoming Obama time -- either as prods or interpretations of what's happening. Please visit and bookmark Stephen C. Rose.