Even regarding religion and patriarchy, why do you think these religions became so successful and dominant? The religions of non-patriarchal societies usually didn’t survive very long and those societies generally did not create prosperous civilizations. If we look at Judaism* and Christianity we see that they came from very patriarchal societies. They were born from civilizations that were patriarchal. Once the Hebrews (literally: “wanderers”) had a land of their own they were very prosperous, for a time anyways. They have a long history of building and destroying powerful civilizations. And, of course, Christianity has similar origins. Islam was born out of a land that was originally matrilineal and was turned very patriarchal. There is overwhelming evidence coming out that gender role reversal isn’t working (such as health problems in women who have high-stress jobs and high-earning careers and, of course, the rate of infant deaths at the hands of male caretakers while the mothers are off at work).
It is theorized that science might be changing the reality of gender, or at least might in the future. But, in all honesty I just don’t see this happening anytime soon. Women are still needed to bear children. We are the ONLY ones who can do this. There are plenty of experiments that worked well on lab rats but failed to live up to expectations for humans. I don’t really see there ever being a time where our child bearing abilities or men’s physical and mental abilities will be obsolete. I mean, what are we going to do? Require that all infant females undergo massive invasive surgery at birth so their eggs can be removed and frozen so that the future generation can grow in some artificial womb? What would we do have warehouses all around the world (taking up massive amounts of natural resources) housing these unborn infants? It is super simple to extract sperm from a man but even then artificial insemination is costly and can be quite ineffective.
So, let’s just rule out that science is going to change our lives that much. I doubt any of us will be alive if that day ever comes in the future.
Now, theoretically I believe the best environment for children is one that is stable. I believe that is the most important thing. A child that constantly goes back in forth between two different families (who often hate each other and are at war with each other) is not living in a stable environment. That is what gender equality and feminism has brought us. It treats illegitimate births the same as legitimate. It gives unwed fathers (who may only learn about the child’s existence many years in the future or may know but be unconcerned with the mother and the child) the same rights as a married father with legitimate children that has always lived with and support both mother and child. The biggest problem is that the unwed father often causes problems with the stability of the child’s life. Our society loves to pour criticism on “welfare mothers” (which are a problem in a class of their own) but never will you hear anyone mention what harm an unwed father causes. He may discover that he fathered a child only when the child is several years old and walk into that child’s life completely ripping apart the only reality the child has ever known. Or, he may refuse to marry the mother and instead assert his rights causing the child to have to be torn between the two parents. These men of course will not support the mother leaving her free to devote her time to her child because they do not have to. Instead, many deny all responsibility until it is convenient for them. Also, unwed fathers who do not live with the mother during pregnancy do not breathe in her pheromones and thus do not have their testosterone levels drop any to prepare them for settling down with the mother and child. Our modern court system does not care a man’s marital status or whether he has ever lived with the mother or child. He donates a sperm, they give him rights. I think Justices Burger and Blackmun made a perfect case against granting unwed fathers the same rights as married fathers (or for that matter, the same rights as mothers) in their dissenting opinion in Stanley v. Illionis in 1972 and why this is not a good environment for children. And, of course, our society today also faces another problem that making Unconstitutional to distinguish between unwed mothers and unwed fathers causes and doing away with the death penalty for rape: rapists are getting custody and visitation.
Now, we do have another option. Many societies have not recognized fatherhood at all. Today we have societies such as the Tuareg in Africa, the Moso in China and the Minangkabau in Indonesia. These societies practice matrilineal descent. The Moso, for instance, know no concept of paternity and the words “father” and “fatherhood” do not appear in their dictionaries (neither does the word “rape”). Generally in matrilineal societies it is the woman’s uncle who is the primary male authority figure within the family. Children belong to their mother’s family (who have sole rights and responsibility for their children) and paternity is never an issue.
Of course, many societies have survived like this. But, matrilineal societies are generally more primitive. They generally can’t compete with patriarchal societies and are usually conquered by them. Patriarchy serves to bring fathers into the family and maximize investment in children. An important aspect of patriarchy is that paternity does matter. The father will only invest in the children if they are legitimate (born to the woman he is married to). The father will only have rights and responsibilities to the child if it is legitimate. Illegitimacy is scorned and for obvious reasons. When a man has a wife and children that are “his” he has incentive to work hard for their support and protect them. Men then have incentive to build civilization and invest in their children. Thus the society becomes prosperous and civilized.
Ultimately other living arrangements could work as long as there is stability and strict gender roles. No society can withstand anarchy or an acceptance of every kind of living arrangement. I find it humorous how feminists point out these matrilineal societies and then act as if all the women in the society are “feminist” or that the society has adopted “feminist” values. Um, no, actually these societies still have strict rights, roles and responsibilities between the sexes. Feminism does not give this to society. Feminism breaks down gender roles and gives rights and responsibilities indiscriminately. This is not a sustainable practice and actually serves to do more injustice to women and children.
Personally, I prefer patriarchy. It is better for women in many ways. When a woman stays close to one man who has the legal responsibility for her support and protection then she is ultimately a lot safer. She is safer from being harassed, raped or hurt by other men as she sticks close to her husband who takes care of her. While no system is without its faults, the patriarchal system ultimately works best towards the protection of women and children. A woman is certainly much safer with a husband than with casual encounters with other men and children are certainly better off when there is a stable home life. The evidence is simply irrefutable; the damage broken homes have on children negatively effects their life span and their mental and physical health. Divorce has a domino effect. It affects not only your children but your grandchildren as well. And of course, women today are suffering from depression, anxiety and other potentially fatal medical conditions in record numbers due to the breakdown of families and gender roles.
Patriarchy works.It builds civilization and works towards the best interest of women and children.
*There are some small traces in the Bible of Jewish decent being matrilineal. However, this is not widespread in the Bible. Overwhelmingly, the monotheistic religions have always been overwhelmingly patrilineal and strongly patriarchal.
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