Tuesday, October 31, 2006


My Pay-triarchy post raised the question of what a matriarchal society might look like.

It’s easy to blame men for having screwed everything up and gotten us to this desperate point. You know, the point where the planet is a drained, dying, overheated turd trying furiously to eject us from its rancid longsuffering surface...

…After all, the men were the ones in charge, right? And with great power comes great potential for abysmal failure.

But I suspect that rule applies no matter who’s at the helm. So along those lines, here are just a few theories on what the world would be like if women had ruled history instead of men:

On statehood

Assuming there were still 6 billion of us (unlikely since birth control would probably have been invented about 10,000 years ago), and assuming the sexes were still roughly equal in number, I'd say there would be approximately 3 million separate countries in the world: one per woman. We're territorial like that.

Another way of saying that is that there probably wouldn’t be a concept of “country” like we have now. My theory on this is quite simple: the distinctly patriarchal concept of land ownership arises from a male genetic imperative to stake ownership claims, resulting from the ambiguity of biological fatherhood.


On war

This one really is simple: we wouldn’t have had the “Cold War,” we would have had the “Cold Shoulder War,” or possibly the “Icy Stare War.” All wars would be chilly, snippy, and protracted, with little or no bloodshed (we shed enough blood monthly, thank-you-very-much) but lots of hurt feelings on all sides.

On religion

The facile answer would be to say that we’d all worship a sparkly unicorn goddess of rainbows and harmonious lovey-dovity.

This one’s hardest of all to guess at…most major patriarchal religions have a secret team of professionals working around the clock to figure out new ways to subjugate women. (You didn't hear that from me.) It’s really hard to say whether that would simply be inverted in a matriarchal culture, or whether there’s some mitigating factor in our biology or natural…inclinations?...that would make a female religion different (read: I'm copping out of this one). I’ll have to plagiarise check out what E.O. Wilson thinks of that…

On technology

This is another tough one. Behind every great invention, there’s a wife nagging her husband to just make me a machine that sucks up dirt already! But admittedly it has been the men who have done the grunt work. And, okay, the thinking work too. We’re the visionaries, they’re the realizers. Okay, okay, they can be the visionaries too. But without women washing their dirty underwear and taking care of their damn kids, men wouldn't have had the luxury of time in which to do all that visualizing and realizing.

So I guess as the rulers of the world, we could’ve commanded the men to invent washing machines and microwaves shortly after Washington’s fortunate tangle with a lightning bolt.

But my theory is that the structure of society would be so different that the everyday life tasks--domesticity, if you will--that drive invention would be organized in a radically different way, so many of the inventions we’d need and use would be entirely different.

On society

Here's one for ya: I bet if women ruled, there would be no separate public and domestic realms.

I’m pretty convinced about this. The public and private worlds--like the world of family and the world of business, for example--would have been unified throughout history. My proof is that this is exactly what has happened since the sexual revolution in the latter part of this century; you know, since the pendulum started swinging for Gynotopia.

Don’t agree? Well, see “On war” above for my thoughts on that. Hmmph.


Blogger Moose said...

Cold Shoulder War - excellent.

7:23 PM  
Blogger angrycandy said...

yes! When i was thinking of the concept of countries and territories and war and stuff, i imagined a great forum where we'd basically be constantly strategizing and manipulating our way to get what we want (rather than just clonking someone on the head and taking their candy)...like survivor on a global level, or like the biggest high school girl clique ever, but rather than talking about fashion and who slept with who we'd be talking about resources and food and who slept with who...is this better than tanks and guns? well, there's less bloodshed....but i think it would be equally painfull...

5:21 PM  
Blogger Molecular Turtle said...

Great post :) Very enjoyable read. Here in Toronto there is a discussion as to what it would be like with a female mayor.

11:20 PM  
Blogger jackp said...

i think the US really needs a woman, and even a black woman president to get them into some kind of new progressive vibe. Problem is, Oprah is bigger than the Presidency, so she's out.

i think the world is growing up...connecting...yadda yadda.

but in terms of resources and money and war, so far throughout nature's / earth's history...you got winners and losers. i'm sure if everyone said 'let's all help each other' shit would get done....but countries aren't like that...they're trying to survive and provide for their own people/family. The future will be exciting. When your own family is in need...you're gonna look there first...it's called survival.

1:58 PM  

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