https://science.thewire.in/society/patriarchy-origins-evolution/ 

  • Contrary to common belief, research shows that the patriarchy isn’t some kind of “natural order of things” – it hasn’t always been prevalent and may disappear eventually.
  • Hunter-gatherer communities may have been relatively egalitarian, at least compared to some of the regimes since. Female leaders and matriarchal societies have always existed.
  • Norms, attitudes and culture have a huge effect on behaviour. They can and do change over time, especially if the underlying ecology or economy changes.
  • As men and women both increasingly generate their own wealth, the old patriarchy is finding it harder to control women.

The patriarchy, having been somewhat in retreat in parts of the world, is back in our faces. In Afghanistan, the Taliban once again prowl the streets more concerned with keeping women at home and in strict dress code than with the impending collapse of the country into famine.

And on another continent, parts of the US are legislating to ensure that women can no longer have a legal abortion. In both cases, lurking patriarchal beliefs were allowed to reemerge when political leadership failed. We have an eerie feeling of travelling back through time. But how long has patriarchy dominated our societies?

The status of women has been a long-standing point of interest in anthropology. Contrary to common belief, research shows that the patriarchy isn’t some kind of “natural order of things” – it hasn’t always been prevalent and may in fact disappear eventually. Hunter-gatherer communities may have been relatively egalitarian, at least compared to some of the regimes that followed. And female leaders and matriarchal societies have always existed.

by Ruth Mace

20/10/2022

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