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ANAHITA  January 2000

ANAHITA January 2000

Subject:

Re: matriarchy?

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 2 Jan 2000 16:44:55 EST

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Quoting from myself, coyly:

<< I don't think the search for a Matriarchy is a very rewarding line of
endeavor. >>

    A coincidence: I just bought Sheila Rowbotham's new collection, _Threads
Through Time_ & found her 1979 essay, "The Trouble with Patriarchy".
    She is marvelous as always, of course; but it is difficult to deliver a
quote from the matrix of her argument.
    Noting Marx's insistence on regarding "every historically developed
social form as in fluid motion" <....> "...'patriarchy' offers no such
prospect. <....> A word which fails to convey movement is not much help...."

    This then is a problem if we are trying to find matriarchies: we are
looking for fixed systems when no human system is fixed.  We are looking for
a hypothetical society structured exactly like "patriarchy", but with women
in men's roles.

    Rowbotham proposes, "If we could develop a historical concept of
sex-gender relationships, this would encompass changing patterns of male
control & its congruence or incongruence with various aspects of women's
power <....>without submerging the experiences of women in those of men, or
vice versa."

    I think that is what we have been trying to do; so the search for
matriarchies probably is a red herring.
Sheila Shiki y Michaels

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