Robert Važan

Patriarchy is a feminist conspiracy theory

Absent any written records or other detailed information about prehistory, historians use the concept of patriarchy (and its counterpart, matriarchy) to give us a glimpse of life in prehistory. But patriarchy as presented by feminists has nothing to do with actual history of mankind. In feminist context, patriarchy is a theory of worldwide conspiracy of men against women that spans millenia and cultures across the world.

When spelled out like this, it is rather obvious that the concept of patriarchy is absurd. Just think about it — all men around the world somehow conspiring for centuries to keep women out. It's ridiculous. The concept of patriarchy is actually rather similar to other conspiracy theories like the ones about Jews. It is also used to similar ends — mobilize one group for fight against another group, fuel hatred, and justify discrimination, marginalization, and persecution of the target group, in this case men.

Feminist concept of patriarchy is completely divorced from historical reality. Patriarchy describes family and small community in prehistory. Application of the concept to written history and modern civilization is crude and misleading. Centuries ago, most people were serfs or slaves. Even nobility wasn't really free. Only sovereign monarchs and other rulers had something resembling modern concept of individual freedom. Quite a few of those rulers were women, which makes the whole idea of patriarchy ridiculous.

Women didn't stay home because men didn't want them to be free. It was a practical necessity. Couples had to have six children to compensate for infant mortality and nursing was a cost-effective source of nutrition for little children. World was much more dangerous back then. Men were much safer outside the house than women and more disposable when something happened to them, because children depended mostly on mothers for everyday care.

Since ancient Greece, freedom was closely tied to one's ability to fight (for the freedom, besides other things). This also meant more freedom for those with higher military rank (which largely determined overall social rank). Fighting was about muscle and bravery back then, not crowds of shouting protesters like it is today.

Feminists like to portray themselves as the brave fighters who brought freedom to women. But that freedom was trickling down social hierarchies (mostly aligned with military rank) for centuries, largely thanks to generations of men who were fighting for it and often dying for it. Child care responsibilities did not get smaller thanks to feminists, but rather thanks to hygiene, medicine, and economic progress. Voting rights were granted to women by parliaments full of men, the same men who were supposedly conspiring against women, without much effort from suffragettes, simply because these men and their voters (all men back then) thought it would be right or useful.

Sure, it took some time, but it always does. Social changes lag for decades or even centuries behind technological changes that determine them. Movements like feminism are not the source of changes. They merely mediate effect of underlying technological and economic development.