There never was a patriarchy, and there isn’t one now. In related news, Mr. JB can’t do shit without running it by me first.

14 Apr

Following on the heels of the absolutely terrible article by Lindy West that all the injustice faced by men (past and present) is the result of the “patriarchy” and that only feminism can address these issues, I thought I would spend some time today looking at the idea of “patriarchy” a little more closely.

A reader named Sherlock sent me a link to an article, written by a woman named Susan Carol Rogers, called Female Forms of Power and the Myth of Male Dominance: A Model of Female/Male Interaction in Peasant Society. Here is the link:


It’s a fairly long slog, at 29 pages, but I’m going to give you the quick and dirty summary.

Susan starts by noting that anthropology as a discipline makes a couple of sweeping generalizations and assumptions that directly affects how they understand and investigate power and authority. Anthropologists typically assume that the only forms of power that matter are those that are codified and formalized: things like rules and laws and positions in political institutions. There is no room in their observations for informal power. The mayor has power. The mayor’s wife has none.


This focus on only formal aspects of power and authority makes it seem as if male dominance is virtually universal across human societies. To make matters even more complicated, both men and women behave as if men are dominant, when in reality, the situation is much more nuanced.

Susan writes, “although peasant males monopolize positions of authority and are shown public deference by women, thus superficially appearing to be dominant, they wield relatively little real power” (p.728).

In the peasant societies Susan explores, women control a major portion of the resources and make most of the decisions regarding how those resources are used, in effect, wielding the greater power.


Why would they do that? Why act like men have all the power, when in reality, it’s women who have most of it?

This is the absolute kicker in Susan’s article. She gets this 100% right, if you ask me. She starts by defining a myth as a belief that one can see is factually untrue. Take the idea that black men have bigger penis sizes than any other racial group. It’s a myth that’s been repeated so often, even black MEN, who are most likely to have seen a black penis (their own, for starters) tend to believe it. But it’s not true. It’s part of a racist narrative to define black men as animals, and it has its roots in the history of American slavery.

We’re going to come back to that idea, and talk about how myths can be productive, but also incredibly destructive when society no longer perceives the myth as a myth.

In the groups that Susan is looking at, neither men nor women believe the myth that men are dominant, but both men and women behave as if that is, in fact, true.


Both groups want to think of themselves as having distinct advantages, values and prestige relative to one another, and they want those attributes to be distributed fairly, and in such a way that neither group feels like they’re getting the shaft. They want to seem like “winners” to one another. Furthermore, both men and women see themselves as mutually dependent upon one another, which, when you come right down to the very basic reality of reproduction is absolutely, unequivocally true.


Technology, driven by the dominant ideology of female supremacy, is working furiously to eliminate men from the reproductive process, creating embryos that are genetically identical to the mother, by triggering a process called parthenogenesis. I’ve had fun with that one before.

The end of genetic diversity. How clever. And how sad is it that most of the specialists working in human fertility are actually male? Working to eradicate themselves.

Dr. Soules

Let’s get back to Susan. She observes that men and women in peasant societies understand perfectly that they are dependent upon one another, and seek to create a social structure that makes both men and women feel valued and that they are being treated respectfully and fairly.

What resources do women control?

In peasant societies, the key unit of economic and social production is the nuclear family. Husband, wife, children, and perhaps extended members of the family in the form of grandparents. Jill Dubisch, also trying to evaluate the power that women hold in peasant societies, came up with four criteria to evaluate how evenly power is distributed between husbands and wives:

  1. How respectfully did the spouses treat one another, both privately and publicly?
  2. How often or much did the spouses interfere with one another’s domains?
  3. How were family resources allocated?
  4. How were decisions regarding plans for children made?

Here is an example of how that works: in Greek villages, women control all the family finances, because they take principal responsibility for producing the food/goods that will be sold at the local market. The women make the bread, churn the butter, weave the cloth, collect the eggs, raise the goats, make the cheese, etc. They attend the markets, set the prices, and collect the payment.


So far, they are the primary drivers of the family’s prosperity and comfort. A man without a hard-working wife like this is well and truly fucked. This kind of scenario has been in effect since the beginning of written culture.

One of the my favorite passages from the Bible is Proverbs 31, commonly called, the Virtuous Woman. And because I am an atheist, I absolutely want scripture read at my funeral! I also want to be buried in my Star Trek uniform, but that’s another story.


Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.

She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms.

She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night.

She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She stretches out her hand to the poor; yea, she reaches forth her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles unto the merchant.

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel beyond them all.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31: 10-31


Let her own works praise her in the gates. So lovely.

Look carefully at what our virtuous woman’s husband is doing. He praises her, basks in how her hard work improves his reputation and he sits with the elders.

Now, the typical feminist response to this is wahhhhhh… look at how hard that poor woman works…wahhhhh… her husband just sits on his ass doing nothing…. wahhhhh… she’s so abused and exploited….


Which ignore two realities completely: first of all, this woman and her family are clearly very affluent. Not everyone is. That’s life. The only thing that matters is that any family that works hard has a CHANCE to be affluent. She may consider a field and decide to plant an olive grove, but you can be damn sure she ain’t out in the fields doing the work herself.

men working

Who does the backbreaking labor in peasant society, or any society for that matter?

Yeah, that would be men. Generally poor men, struggling to get a foot on the ladder and pull their whole family up.


Secondly, the affluent men are not sitting on their asses doing nothing: they are creating the political and social structures that make it possible for their economies to work. They set the terms of economic exchange, they mediate disputes, they enact laws and enforce them.

In other words, they formalize power and authority and create the political context that governs how the whole society works. And when ONLY the formal structures of power are examined, they appear to be completely and utterly dominant.

But they’re not. So Virtuous spends the day managing her male workforce out toiling in the olive grove, she gets the new linen ready for market, she makes sure her maidens and children are taken care of, she packs up a basket for the local poor folks, she does all the work her day requires.


Then Mr. Virtuous comes home, cracks her in the face for backtalk, takes her money, decides he doesn’t like what the kids are up to, complains about her new tapestry and then demands dinner?

angry god

My fucking ass he does.

But that’s what the myth of patriarchy wants us to believe, isn’t it? That men are exploitive and abusive and violent and controlling and they hold all the reins of power and won’t hesitate to use them to harm and confine and limit the lives of women. Their wives, their sisters, their daughters, their mothers.

And in doing so, destroy the whole society.

The only solution to this terrible problem of male abusiveness and exploitation is to take all the public, formal power away from them while still retaining all the control over family resources. That’s feminism in a nutshell. Remove men from power, while still maintaining all of women’s traditional power.

Abortion laws, reproductive rights (for women only), the rise of single motherhood, divorce, custody and division of property laws are all ways to enshrine women’s absolute control over family resources. And all the while, women are exhorted to “lean in”, fight for more power and influence and control of formal power structures.

woman power

More women in corporate board rooms.

More women in government.

More women in the judiciary.

More women at the top of every formal power structure we have.

Traditional peasant societies could see that women produced and controlled most of the actual, finite resources in society, including the labor of less affluent men. And they could see how that might make men feel a bit vulnerable and defensive. Who wants to be treated like a utility? Like oxen, good for labor and then the soup pot?


So both men and women agreed to allow men to control most of the formal power structures, none of which can exist without the labor of women and poor men. And to make certain that both men and women felt equally valued and appreciated, they created a myth of male dominance, all the while knowing that the true balance of power swayed heavily in favor of women.

Everybody understood that the idea of male dominance was a MYTH. A story designed to engender respect and mutual prosperity. And for thousands of years, it worked perfectly.

In traditional families like my own, that myth is alive and well. Technically, Mr. JB has all the power. The formal power. He earns all the money, and he handles all the bills. He makes all the financial decisions, without input or interference from me. I am completely dependent upon him for survival. And when his Boss calls up and asks if Mr.JB can take on an extra project, the first thing he says is, “I’ll have to check with the boss”.

That would be me.

Because at the end of the day, if I’m not happy, and I don’t feel respected or valued or appreciated, his life is going to be very unpleasant. And it works both ways. Can he take on the extra project? Does he want to? How important is this to him? Will it make him happy? That’s how I make my decision.


That’s how we make decisions together.

Remember the whole myth of the black male penis thing? I’m going to link to a post at The Good Men Project, although I generally don’t like that site. It’s worth a read because the writer talks about the origins of that particular myth and how it has come to harm black men in particular.


It harms them because the myth is no longer seen as a myth, but as an incontrovertible truth.

And that’s what happened with the myth of male dominance. At some point our culture has forgotten that this is a STORY, with a very commendable purpose: it’s a story that assures mutual respect and admiration. A group of angry women decided that shutting women out of formal power structures was a problem that needed to be fixed.


And you know, fair enough. Okay. Let’s get more women into formal power structures, even though they show little inclination or desire to be there.

BUT, in exchange for that access, women will have to give up access to traditional female power structures.

And that isn’t happening. Women want both male and female powers. Preferably ALL the power. The right to control men by controlling the most precious resource any culture has: children, and the right to hold the reins of formal, institutionalized power that governs all our lives.


That reduces men, and poor men in particular, to mere social utilities, with little value and correspondingly little respect. And that is just what is happening. Men are belittled in the media and their concerns scoffed.

The rates at which they take their own lives are ignored, or worse, they get blamed for the very real despair of knowing you are nothing but a tool, easily discarded when your usefulness has run its course.

Feminists continually point to the fact that men continue to dominate formal power structures as evidence for patriarchy. Their suggested redress is to wrest formal power from men and give it to women, while still holding on to their own traditional advantages and informal powers.

We have a word to describe the society that will eventually evolve if such an effort is successful. It’s not patriarchy.


It’s matriarchy.

It’s quite an impressive inversion, isn’t it? When feminists use the word “patriarchy” what they are opposing is respect and the equal attribution of power and control between the sexes. When feminists identify the “patriarchy” as a problem, they are in effect saying that valuing the contributions of men and women equally, and in a way that is designed to make both men and women feel as if they are being treated fairly is a problem.

The reality is that power skews to women. That’s easy to ignore or even outright deny, because that power is informal. The balance is restored when formal power rests in the hands of men. And despite 70 years of shrieking and protesting and gnashing of teeth, formal power DOES reside mostly in the hands of men.

Patriarchy has never existed in the form that feminism insists. And it has never been the problem.

On the contrary. It’s the solution.

Let’s bring back patriarchy. And let our own works praise us in the gates.


Lots of love,


156 Responses to “There never was a patriarchy, and there isn’t one now. In related news, Mr. JB can’t do shit without running it by me first.”

  1. Z April 16, 2013 at 04:58 #

    Yes. Dude I LIKE Patriarchy. The patriarchal structure was created to protect the women and children. Not to oppress them. And I’d rather have the traditionally female power… it’s in my DNA how to handle/use that power. And it’s a power that feels comfortable, like a well-fitted glove. The day I realized the house was “my domain” and that my power was there, was the last day I felt doing laundry was “demeaning”. (In my early twenties I was briefly influenced by some angry feminists, but quickly realized that women had it pretty good… until the feminists came along and screwed that up. Never content to let any woman be happy if THEY aren’t happy.)


    • Z April 16, 2013 at 05:00 #

      Oh, just remembered something else I was going to say… was watching some old movies lately, and I think anybody who thinks women in the 50s were in ANY way oppressed… should watch a lot of old movies. It becomes extremely clear who wields the real power at home, and it isn’t the man. Sure, Hollywood isn’t and never has been an accurate reflection of real life, but entertainment reflects real life attitudes.


  2. Luke April 16, 2013 at 13:25 #


    Vaguely related:

    How Many Cats Should I Have?
    (version for women)

    start at 2
    Did you have a pet cat as a child? (add 1)
    Did you grow up in a single mom family? (add 1)
    Did you lose your virginity while a minor? (add 2)
    Were you sodomized while a minor? (add 2)
    Are you over 40 years old? (add 1)
    Are you post menopausal? (add 1)
    Have you ever pulled a train? (add 3)
    Have you ever been married? (subtract 1)
    Do any of your children live with you? (reset to 2)
    Do you cohabitate with a man? (reset to 1)
    Are you married? (ask your husband for the answer)

    How Many Cats Should I Have?
    (version for men)

    start at 0
    Do you want a cat? (add 1)


    • judgybitch April 16, 2013 at 13:51 #

      Pulled a train?

      What does that mean?


      • LostSailor April 16, 2013 at 17:11 #

        A woman having sex with multiple men, one after another…


        • judgybitch April 17, 2013 at 10:40 #


          I had an image of some barrel-chested woman hitched to a steam engine pulling it down the tracks using sheer brute strength.

          Thanks for the clarification.


  3. David M. Green April 17, 2013 at 05:00 #

    Judy I see it only took about as long as the average feminist for you to show your true colors. I will add your name to my growing list of two faced bloggers who prefer to silence those who disagree with them as opposed to rising to the challenge of an honest debate.


    • judgybitch April 17, 2013 at 10:24 #

      Be my guest.

      And I will add you to the list of assholes who think they have some sort of inherent right to decide how my blog runs.


      • David M. Green April 18, 2013 at 23:02 #

        Re: And I will add you to the list of assholes who think they have some sort of inherent right to decide how my blog runs.

        Judy this claim is patently false and you know it. Just like the countless feminists I’ve debated down through the years you can’t stand being criticized and called out on your penchant to engage in intellectual tyranny as so many MRA’s do these days. I personally don’t care how you run your blog however as long as MRA’s, such as yourself, continue to verbally bully, use dishonest arguments, and delete comments simply because the commentor dared to disagree with them. I will not and can not support the Men’s Human Rights Movement with a clear conscience since that would only be exchanging one form of intellectually tyranny for another.

        In fact your reaction to my comments has aptly demonstrated just how intellectually and morally bankrupt the average todays’s MRA’s have become. As well as just how closely they are following in the footsteps of the leading lights of the Civil Rights Movement – Jessie Jackson comes to mind – as they retreat from the moral high ground and blindly descend into absolute intellectual dishonesty.


        • Troy September 18, 2013 at 21:37 #

          172 words of what you stand against and not a single word of what you stand for….. sigh…. Professionally Outraged Troll appears to be outraged.


        • Keevo March 25, 2014 at 23:43 #

          Not one single, solitary example given of this “intellectual tyranny” of course.


  4. Daniel Reeves August 15, 2013 at 03:24 #

    Awesome, this’ll be my go to resource on Patriarchy!


  5. Daniel Reeves August 15, 2013 at 04:05 #

    Great article!


  6. Cut September 12, 2013 at 01:19 #

    So in an ideal society women wield the real power and allow the men to delude themselves into thinking they have any say at all.

    That, if anything, is the biggest argument for bachelorhood I have ever read. The only way a man can be truly independent, prioritise his own happiness and make his own decisions is by remaining single.

    Marriage is for idiots.


  7. Troy September 18, 2013 at 21:28 #

    I think this is a fascinating thesis re: the formal and informal manifestations of power. Nowadays it seems as if women still have the informal power and have made significant strides in the last 40 years in areas that could be considered formal power : i.e. divorce laws, child support, physical custody presumptions, Title IX, sexual harassment, quotas, etc.

    So how are men going to react? How is this going to impact our culture? Are they just gonna accept it? Go MGTOW? Go on strike?


    • jabrwok September 19, 2013 at 13:49 #

      Look to the ghettos for your answer. The black inner-cities in the U.S., with their 70%+ illegitimacy rates, and the comparable stats in the UK’s white, dolist population. Male/Female relations are returning to those that applied in a state of nature, when a man had no assurance that any given child was *his*, and hence no significant emotional investment in any particular woman or child. Without that investment, then why should men bother to put their lives on the line, or work more than necessary for survival? Women become occasional bed-buddies and are otherwise largely ignored. Kids grow up without good role-models, while their putative “fathers” don’t work any more than they must to get by.

      This is not a recipe for a functional civilization.


  8. Kristin Maillard October 16, 2013 at 14:05 #

    Reblogged this on Rambling, Rhymes and Rants and commented:
    Thank you for having the courage to speak up.


  9. caprizchka March 5, 2014 at 01:09 #

    Yeah, I kind of figured you to be a Dominant, Ms. Judgy Bitch. Cheers! We can’t all be married to alphas however and some of us are just fine with being “abused” in relative squalor by men who take everything we have to say with a grain of salt. It takes all kinds and it is never too late to have a happy childhood. Thank you so much for the great link, I passed it on to since clearly he could use a citation or two ;)


  10. K September 5, 2014 at 18:53 #

    This entire article hit the nail square on the head. I’m tired of some women telling me I want dominance and power. I’m just a man who wants to work and provide, to feel important and respected. To love and be loved.

    My parents had the relationship you described, with my father working in a “powerful” job while my mother stayed at home (but had real power). They recognized it and had no problem with it, both feeling needed and happy, and loving each other for it. It seems like nowadays, people resent each other for the exact same thing.


  11. judgybitch April 17, 2013 at 00:23 #

    Or I have a husband and three kids and a life and I’m not interested in dealing with this shit !


  12. David M. Green April 17, 2013 at 00:45 #

    In that case Judy I suggest that you tend to your family and let those of us who do indeed care take care of it.


  13. princesspixiepointless April 17, 2013 at 07:18 #

    really, David. JB is not interested in the piffle paffle debates on what goes on our blog. That’s normally my job. You suggest she just tends to her family, because we choose to moderate our comments? and you call yourself a humanist? fucking hell, I’ve read thru all your comment threads and you are one bitchier judge than judgybitch herself, PPP.

    I delete what fucking annoys me.


  14. princesspixiepointless April 17, 2013 at 07:20 #

    and her name is Judgy not Judy.


  15. Liz April 17, 2013 at 13:45 #

    JB’s site has grown very quickly, and any place with so many comments and commentators quickly develops into a nonconstructive flame-fest without moderation. Then they become echo chambers. It’s the opposite of what you are asserting.

    Case in point, look at the sheer number of responses and redirection completely off the topic in response to your posts alone at the tail end of this thread which prvoked a longwinded completely off-topic discussion between numerous commentators. If there were only a few participants, this isn’t a problem…but it becomes a large problem with the number of participants on that site (and growing, which would seem to indicate she is doing something right).

    This place is not intended to be a sounding board for any and every ideolog who might want to visit, it’s her site and she chooses the direction.


  16. David M. Green April 18, 2013 at 23:41 #

    I’ve had enough of the intellectual tyranny and dishonest arguments:

    conservatives engage in when discussing the economy

    Christian’s use when mixing their religion with politics

    Liberals insist on using in regards to abortion, gun control,
    homosexuality and same sex marriage

    Feminists use to promote misandy which btw makes it all the easier to discredit them

    Civil Rights Leaders make in regard to affirmative actions polices

    More and more today’s MRA’s engage in on their forums

    That I no longer hesitate to point out intellectual tyranny and dishonest arguments when I come across them.


  17. David M. Green April 19, 2013 at 05:50 #

    Liz Judy has freely admitted that she has posted no rules for her blog and has no intention of doing so. Like all tyrants Judy makes up the rules as she goes and changes them on a whim just like the feminists she opposes.

    Whenever one’s actions fails to match up with their words it is called hypocrisy and unfortunately, while Judy’s words show that she opposes feminism her actions justify the tactics the feminists use against MRA’s who dare to disagree with them on their blogs.

    Those who defend this form of hypocrisy have chosen to be willfully dishonest, disgrace themselves as well as dishonor and betray the Men’s Human Rights Movement they claim to defend and promote.


  18. judgybitch April 19, 2013 at 09:21 #

    Who the fuck died and made you god?

    YOU get to decide what does and does not constitute tyranny? Hypocrisy? Honor? Loyalty?



  19. princesspixiepointless April 19, 2013 at 12:23 #

    That’s it, into moderation you go, until you can learn that the bitch’s name be Judgy.


  20. LostSailor April 19, 2013 at 12:58 #

    This is why I could never identify with the “MRA” movement. Too many whiny assholes…


  21. Jack Strawb October 14, 2014 at 14:31 #

    And here I’m thinking it’s because far too many identify as right-wing or libertarian. The right has always about abridging rights to achieve social aims. I was surprised to see so much left bashing in MRM comments sections.



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