Friday, December 7, 2012

NANCY & DENNIS: TWILIGHT OF THE PATRIARCHY



"Well, then, it's unanimous."
This is in response to a comment by Mr. Clare (on “Learning to Walk in Her Shoes”) who is disappointed in the durability of the patriarchy after all these years of feminist advance. We hope, Mr. Clare, that you find our own follow-on comments below inspirational in terms of the prospects for a more matriarchal society.

You express many of the frustrations that women, and many men, have concerning patriarchy.  It is a strong force that has driven gender roles for thousands of years, so it is difficult to change; but it is being challenged, and challenged successfully. Yes, some women seem to “actually prefer patriarchy” and having men in charge, but we maintain that what looks like acceptance is that many women have simply learned to work successfully within its constraints. Listen in on conversations between women and you'll see that women despise patriarchy, not support it. When given the opportunity to support women candidates for political office, women do not demonstrate a preference for patriarchy; they exhibit strong support for change.  We see this in our local elections; it's why we work to give women options. 

Despite what you may perceive, all of us can be encouraged that patriarchy is being severely undermined by changes to the economic landscape and by legislation and programs that have been put in place by the diligent work of feminists. All this will have a HUGE impact on women's, and men's, roles, opportunities, and influences.  Consider the following:

Men Are Increasingly at a Disadvantage -- In times past women were at a disadvantage, not only due to patriarchy, but due to the fact that we were in an industrial society largely based on physical work.  In the industrial age men's strength was just what was needed to participate economically in society. Men got the high-paying jobs while women were largely confined to caregiver roles. Paid little by comparison, women were at an economic disadvantage, one that forced them to rely on men. Men have always been good working at things that are “below the neck”--that is, physical labor that requires little in the way of intellect or education. Men still are good at these things; unfortunately, they have the wrong set of skills for what is coming.

Women Hold All the Cards -- But this is the 21st century! We are a post-industrialized society, one where economic power has little to do with physical labor and everything to do with intellect and education. Women, often excluded from the industrial economy, responded by pursuing education; they have done this at the right time. Education will greatly accelerate both the demise of patriarchy and the ascent of women. Women have the education and innate skills to participate in a post-industrial society. Women are a majority of college students; they are getting a larger percentage of advanced and professional degrees; they work collaboratively, are inclusive of others, and respect diversity. In other words, women have all the tools to participate in and take leadership roles in a global, information-driven economy.  There is a huge influx of women into the professional and managerial ranks that is forever changing the business and economic landscape. Progressive gentlemen (like you, Mr. Clare) have not only accepted this reality, but are excited about its prospects!

Broad Support for Women – Feminists have driven programs for the benefit of women in business and in the workplace as a means of mitigating the impacts of patriarchal thinking.

Promote Hiring Women -- In many places, including the predecessor to the woman-run company I work for, even the most qualified women had very limited opportunities (if they could get hired at all, due to a good-old-boy network that kept them below a glass ceiling). No more!  Under affirmative action programs, all other things being equal, preference is given to female candidates. In most cases, however, “equal” never comes into play; the woman often is the superior candidate – period!

Contracts for Women-Owned Businesses – Looking to correct past exclusionary practices, many government agencies mandate that a percentage of their contracts be placed with women-owned businesses. Private sector companies may not be required to do so, but, seeing the trends, more and more strongly desire to work with women-owned businesses. Such approaches negate the advantages of patriarchy and of the good-old-boy network.

Groups and Organizations -- There is a plethora of women-only organizations and support groups aimed at helping women succeed in the workplace. These social, technical, and business organizations exist with the sole purpose of networking, sharing information, and assisting women in the business world. In special situations, men may be invited as speakers but rarely as members, and rightly so; women want to control the agenda of these groups and solely benefit from them. Men have other venues. In company with my wife, Nancy, I was privileged to address such a support group, this one for women engineers. We spoke about programs for women in our respective companies, our roles as mentors to women, as well as about our Feminist activities. 

Public Attitudes – Public attitudes strongly support women. Consider that in the last election, women's issues and the women's vote were of major concern; women are a major voting block that is impacting elections and legislation. No one seems to care about men's attitudes, which, by comparison, seem irrelevant. Woman-only groups, scholarships, programs, mentoring, and so on are widely accepted and lauded; suggested 'male-only' programs are despised for what they are – sexist. 

Things to Think About  -- With women poised to play a dominant role in business and government, we can expect an exciting time that will fundamentally change gender roles. 

More Women in the Workplace -- Consider the following trends:

  • Significantly more women assuming professional and managerial positions in the workplace as well as in government
  • Significantly more men in clerical, administrative, and secretarial positions
  • Men, in many cases lacking the skills of their female counterparts, confined to lower-paying jobs
  • More men in positions where they will work with, and be managed by, women
  • Elimination of the gender gap in pay as women assume information age careers and managerial positions, and as companies accommodate the needs of women in the workplace
  • Legislation and policy aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap
  • More women having careers that take precedence over that of their husband
  • Homemaking as a viable occupation for a man whether or not he works outside the home
  • Women increasingly driving the political and legislative agenda; a trend that will continue from past elections
  • Women's economic power slanting products and their promotion to their needs
  • More and stronger women-only groups as a means of women holding on to and availing themselves of the advantages provided

To conclude, we are in for a significant change in gender roles, one that we are excited about; one that will benefit women and men.

14 comments:

Mr. Beth said...

To add if I may, I written on my blog that recently that My Wife has decided to make me eventually a househusband even though I have a pretty successful career. Hers just is a bit more successful and wants to continue working. And I cannot wait, so exicted!

I truly believe that as the century goes on and Women continue Their take over, men will become truly 2nd class citizens and be very similiar to 1950's style houseWives. This is of course the way it should be so I suspect that this century will be one eventually of harmony and wonder!

Mr. Beth

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy and Dennis:

Many have noticed and written about the gender-quake we are in the midst of. Thank you for weighing in on this. To me a big question comes whether younger men in subordinate positions in the workplace will feel an undertone of resentment or embrace a supportive mindset, one which will lead to admiring women and being willing to follow their leadership.

Here's an article in the Wall Street Journal about young men adopting a domestic role and women accepting that.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/truce-chore-wars-233900135.html

LS

Anonymous said...

Nancy and Dennis, you write about the public attitudes and trends in the gender policy. According to the postulate of female superiority, do you consider worthy to take some governmental-level measures that would secure the women the status they deserve?
For example, financial policy providing the women with much lower tax rates and higher welfare subsidies, etc. Even maybe juridical norms stating the women’s privilege before the law such as overwhelming priority in the heirship and property division or the women’s innocence presumption in the women-man court proceedings?

Kammi said...

As noted in the blog "All Mine" the governor of NH as well as all federal representatives and senators are women.I am proud to say I voted for all but one of them. Yes, "the times they are a changing".

Anonymous said...

Just a reversal of the current patriarchal state of affairs will not bring about real harmony and peace.A matriarchal system meant justice and peace for all for thousands of years at the very least.To just adopt practices that wee flawed and just change the gender is wrong and only fro sexual fantasy purposes.

Femsup

Anonymous said...

This is the most sexist blog I've ever read. Do you really not want your sons to have the same opportunities in life as your daughters?

I have known many men who would lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead, but I've also known many women who would do so, with the biggest backstabbers being women.

Don't get me wrong, I am a supporter of feminism, in that I am a huge proponent of equality and of womens rights. However female superiority is an idea created by horny men to describe a fetish, and when taken to an extreme it would actually be detrimental to society. Blanket matriarchy wouldn't be a utopia, any more than blanket patriarchy was (absolute power corrupts absolutely) rather it would be swapping one form of descrimination for another. I understand it is a fun fantasy, but in reality it wouldn't be so fun. While it is true that girls are excelling and out pacing boys in school and higher education, but this is a result of our education system being turned on its head in the 1980's in reaction to feminism, and now caters more to female learning styles than male.

It is a fact that boys and girls learn differently, and we should be striving to teach both equally, not giving up on one gender in preference to another. I have a daughter and a son, and I want the best for both of them, equally, as feminism originally preached. If a man CHOOSES to defer to his woman in their personal relationship, more power to him. If a woman CHOOSES to defer to her man in their personal relationship, more power to her. And if a couple chooses to try and share power in their relationship equally, more power to them. What is important is that they all have the freedom to make those choices and and the opportunities in life to make the most of themselves. There are many women that are smarter than many men, just like there are many men that are smarter than many women. It would be a fallacy to make a blanket statement that all women are smarter or superior to all men. All that matters is that everyone find someone who they sync with, thAt shares their life goals and that balances them out, be that someone who is more OR less intelligent/successful than they are, or superior or inferior (or posterior or whatever) or someone who Is their equal that they can simply make it through this life with.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now.

Nancy and Dennis said...

kammi - Yes, the times are changing and for the better. We are active in our support for women in the political process. While we still have a long way to go before we have appropriate proportional representation of women in political office, we may not need a majority of women in office to drive a woman's agenda. Consider how much impact women have as a voting block; no one can ignore their inputs and concerns. Thanks for your response.

Nancy and Dennis said...

Mr. Beth,

Thank you for your reply. I have to say that I too would love to be a full-time homemaker but, alas, Nancy forbids it since she likes the use of my earnings and, of course, it's her choice.

Trends in education and employment that we are seeing now are definitely pointing to a role reversal with men being much the same as were the wives in the 1950s. Soon no doubt there will be many men listing their occupation as 'homemaker' -- all of us waiting for our wives to come home so that we can wait on them and serve dinner. There was an article in a 1950s woman's magazine that advised women on how to treat their husband when he came home - I think I'll try and find this and 'edit' it for the new reality of WOMAN IN CHARGE.

Anonymous said...

A man of quality will never fear a Woman of equality.

Femsup

Anonymous said...

I totally love your post, Ms. Nancy! I loved all the practical guides and I think this culture needs to be promoted. What I loved most, though, is that I hope to come with some guidelines to make marriages FLR friendly. I think we need a whole culture of men pushing towards moving their marriages centered on their wives, at the level she desires.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

I do not want to live in a equal society. If I had sons I would want them to be subserviant to women and teach them to live happily in a matriarchal society. Call me sexist if you want but I don't care. Men are not fit to lead. They are born to be subserviant to women. This is what I believe and I think if others believed this too we would have much less problems as a society. Men commit the majoriry of violence in this society, is this not true? When someone guns down a school is it not always a male? Men need to learn to serve and be less aggressive then these things won't happen like they do now.

Anonymous said...

The violence we saw re3cently at that school is only a microcosm of the sick patriarchal world that has war and this sort of atrocity at its heart.

Its high time that we had a world safe for all of us under the careful benign guidance of Womyn.

Femsup

Nancy and Dennis said...

To Anonymous ("I totally love your post..."):

There is a saying, 'think global - act local' that I am fond of quoting. Changes can take place, one relationship at a time, when men start supporting their wives and putting women's needs ahead of their own. When one man listens to his wife, others can learn from her, see the possibilities, and make changes in their own marriages.

As for making "guidelines to make marriages FLR friendly," why not try asking her what she wants and start doing it? She's likely to want something simple like your regularly cleaning the house. No big thing here, just start doing it! Do what she says! And don't be ashamed about it; in fact, tell your friends that you do housework and that you listen to your wife; over time this will result in a positive change. Imagine housework moving from being 'woman's work' to being a 'guy thing'! Yes!

Edward said...

This posting gives me alot of reason to look toward the future with optimism. I am not, and will never be in favor of equality. I only support female superiority, as this is what will always be best for the society I live in. On a personal basis, I know my marriage has improved dramatically now that I have exchanged a briefcase in my right hand for the floor mop. I now only handle a briefcase when I am carrying my wife's to her car daily, as she leaves for work.

Men should not fight this positive change. But instead only accept, encourage, and fully support it.