M is for Matriarch

Me: Why is it that people consistently require to be made to feel important? It’s not awards or public recognition, its just being important enough to be listened to and understood, even if subsequently, if not immediately, whatever is said or proposed is rejected or altogether ignored.
He: Try being a man.
Me: Yeah its strange how the guy is by default made the deciding factor even if he is clueless.
He: Well a true matriarchal society doesn’t exist.

Once his eyebrows were extinguished, he backs off to matriarchal societies not being viable.

He has admitted to being dogmatic, but the broad sweeping proclamations of “widely acknowledged fact” and verbiage like “the vast majority” elicit eye rolls. So I threaten a few feisty facts.
A full google investigation of matriarchal societies and their viability, so as to shed some light (some very feisty light).

Lets start off with a definition. Matriarchy being defined thus:

Matriarchy . ma·tri·ar·chy
1 : a family, group, or state governed by a matriarch

a matriarch:
: a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state; specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants

In this case I will be referring to matriarchal societies, as in, governed by women. Not to be confused with matrilineal societies, where the family line is traced through the female.

The question of whether or not some cultures in the early historical period were, if not matriarchal, then at least matrilineal, is today a controversial one. The consensus among most anthropologists and sociologists is that a strictly matriarchal society never existed.

Found here.

Well they are talking about it alot, but not much here…

From Wikipedia

Feminist Joan Bamberger notes that the historical record contains no reliable evidence of any society in which women dominated (Bamberger 1974),

Whether matriarchal societies might have existed at some time in the distant past is controversial.

Then Wikipedia lists ome actual Matriarchal Societies, but upon closer scrutiny

General Introduction to Mosuo Culture…

The Mosuo culture is most frequently described as a matriarchal culture; in fact, the Mosuo themselves frequently use this description, to attract tourism and interest in their culture. Sometimes, the Mosuo will be described instead as “matrilineal,” which is probably more accurate, but still doesn’t reflect the full truth.
The fact is, the Mosuo culture defies categorization within traditional definitions. It is true that they have aspects of a matriarchal culture, in that women are the head of the house, property is passed through the female line, and women tend to make the business decisions. But political power tends to be in the hands of males, which disqualifies them as a true matriarchy.

I know Wikipedia isn’t the last word on any subject, but it is a nod… and the Matsuo are more matrilineal than matriarchal from what I am reading.

But the news gets excited about them here, and here,and one blogger here.


Protohistoric Liburnians included the last European society where a partial matriarchate was documented both by ancient chroniclers, and also by the matriarchal Liburnian songs inherited in medieval poetry of northeastern Adriatic. Before Roman conquest, the independent Liburnian society had been mostly ruled by authoritative females leading their family and settlements, and the female captains directed also their renowned ships. Due to this feminine social organisation, the culinar arts in Liburnians was very developed

Matriarchal and good cooks! I found won, I mean one!

So these Liburnians lived/live in what is now Croatia on the Adriatic.

Harumph. What happened to the Amazons? I thought they were supposed to kick booty? Well I found this, which seems mostly like crap, because of their sensationalistic angle, and because the anthropologist said the curved leg bones were due to a life on horseback, but couldn’t it also be rickets?

And on a side note, if you google images matriarh what you find is a bunch of old ladies, mostly with their families and one sci-fi image with a woman with a white tiger.

But if you google images patriarch, one sees men in positions of authority and power, though outside the family.

So there it is. I am officially wrong. No matter how right I thought I was.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Margaret says:

    I really don’t want you to be wrong on this one, so I’m going to posit that there are many matriarchal societies that are miss labeled a patriarchal because men need the recognition.

  2. Mrs. T says:

    Yay, Margaret!

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