Saturday, January 26, 2008

A long answer to "The Muse"

This is an analytical reply based upon a long comment by the individual known as “The Muse” on Stephen Parrish’s blog. Her comment is part of the discussion to Stephen’s post, “Elect a Girl, Prevent a War”. In her comment, “The Muse” is attempting to demonstrate that matriarchal societies were once “the” social order and that somehow, “evil male-dominated societies” moved in and took over…resulting in today’s male dominated societies. Ok, that is a bit of a simplification of her position, but a decent one sentence summary. I commend any who have not read the post to read it in its entirety and draw your own conclusions.

Her logic is flawed on face value, but worse, there seems to be a great deal of feminist revisionism in play for explaining the development of human society. So, rather than ramble on and take up Stephen’s blogging space with my lengthy answer, I provide my answer here.


Yours was an interesting anthropological analysis, but like any theory about what transpired before writing, speculative. Nor is it “mainstream” anthropological theory. Not that the “mainstream” is necessarily correct either. In both cases, we are developing hypotheses based on incomplete information. The theory you put forth is fundamentally flawed in that it ignores many aspects of human social development.

Beginning with this comment: If you study the oldest relics of art that have survived the ages you will find archeological evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people were not likely involved in warfare. (I know that this is a debatable subject because this predates writing and much that is told about this period of time is speculation.) However, the oldest work of art that is known to man is a small limestone statue of “The Venus of Willendorf” which is a fertility goddess that dates back to 25,000 B.C. and was found in Austria. You lay out the reasoning for a supposed dominance of matriarchal societies at one time.

Let us begin with some fundamental facts. The city states of ancient Greece existed in the Bronze Age, as did ancient Egypt and the city states in Mesopotamia. To argue that they did not know warfare, or that it was a rarity, flies in the face of all archeological and written evidence. (There was writing in the Bronze Age and the most common surviving stories are about warfare.)

Looking at Neolithic cultures, the archeological evidence of weapons whose purpose is fighting and killing other humans is overwhelming. While spears, bows and arrows, knives and hatchets can be assumed to have had first a function in hunting game and were later adapted for warfare; clubs, swords and sword-like weapons would have had as a primary purpose from the beginning, fighting other humans. Even the adaptations of Neolithic tools like axes, show clear use for warfare as opposed to peaceful purposes. Combine this with the forensic evidence in human remains which have clearly suffered traumatic injuries from such weapons and any doubt about existence of warfare at a very early time in human history is removed. Assuming from feminine deities in clay that the society did not know warfare is a ludicrous leap in logic, given the other artifacts found in the same strata as your figurine.

However, let us assume that during the period you cite warfare was at least infrequent. Logically one should assume that the majority of societies in existence from 25,000 B.C.E. to around 2,500 B.C.E. would have infrequent experience with warfare for the simple reason that the human species was so widely dispersed and not very numerous in terms of available territory. Chances for collisions of cultures or competition for resources would have been rare, except on the fringes of those societies, whether the society was patriarchal or matriarchal. In areas like the Fertile Crescent, with greater population density, frequent warfare would have developed earlier. Therefore making an assumption of matriarchy on the basis of “no evidence of warfare” is a wild leap and seems driven more by a fanciful revisionist feminist view on relative merits of systems than on evidence.

As population density increased, so did competition for resources. It comes down to basic economics. In other words, I am not about to “share” my hunting grounds and risk having my tribe die of starvation, therefore I will fight you if you are on my territory. It is the most basic of reasons…survival. The dynamic and frequency would have developed first in areas of higher human population density. We see this dynamic among other species too, but the key difference is that we hominids have the ability, due to superior brains, to organize and fight as groups rather than just individuals.

This dynamic is being witnessed among chimpanzees in the wild as they are getting squeezed by human activity. Chimpanzee communities are starting to “wage war” with one another over the reduced available territory and they have been observed using crude weapons. Even more startling is that they even attack and defend using ruses, feints and other basic tactics as if they somehow are communicating a “plan”. How many supreme male god figures are involved in this development?

The very nature of hunting large prey forced hierarchy and organization on early human males. Hand in hand with hierarchy and organization, is development of requisite aggression necessary for successful hunting in the first place. It has nothing to do with any sense of god hierarchies or some domineering male god entity. That may have evolved later as a crude social explanation of the dynamic. Societies tend to “create” gods that reflect their society as an explanation for why things are ordered the way they are.

In order to be successful on the hunt, organization was imperative. War bands grew out of hunting bands as competition for territory increased. In order to be successful in a fight against other humans, hierarchy and organization are even more important than when hunting. Given that survival of the tribe depended upon the success of the males hunting and fighting, it is far more likely that this is what drove elevating the importance of the male as the assumed leader of human societies.

If we assume your model of peaceful matriarchal groups, such groups slow to make this transition would have been ill-suited to survive against those that made the transition earlier. Again, the root is competition for scarce resources. (If indeed there was any such transition in the first place.)

Pagan Celtic tribes worshiped a wide variety of “gods and goddesses”, but the most powerful was the “Earth Mother” and yet their warlike nature can’t be disputed. Worshiping a female deity does not necessarily imply primacy of female leadership in the society or “peacefulness”. Celtic society even allowed females to train for war and accompany the war bands as warriors if the female was so inclined…which they often did. Queen Boadicea of the Iceni in Britain led a revolt of tribes against the Romans in 60 – 61 C.E, obliterating London (then Londinium), Colchester (then Camulodunum), and St. Albans (then Verulamium) and slaughtering every man, woman and child in all three cities, a number totaling between 70,000 and 80,000 people. Her two daughters were “generals” in her army and all three died in the Battle of Watling in 61. C.E. where the rebellious Britons were defeated by Suetonius.

Passing rights to the eldest son, primogeniture, was predominantly a Germanic custom that gained prominence with the ascendancy of German culture in Europe. Again, even this development was most likely driven by the scarcity of resources and was a solution of how to distribute property without diluting the political/social power of a family in the process. This then led to more aggressive war bands of “dispossessed” males seeking new territories, but it was not just kings who did this, nor was it driven by worshipping some evil male deity bent on dominance of females. It was all about resource allocation and acquiring more resources for growing populations.

In Celtic culture, social position inheritance came through the maternal line…after all; you can always be sure who your mother is. But the principle is the same, preservation of social status for the family through conservation of resources by a scheme of distribution that favored an individual over their siblings. A drawback of ancient Celtic culture was that they allowed for equal division of property inheritance, which diluted political strength and created a myriad of social problems that left those societies vulnerable to outside enemies and contributed to their demise.

Additionally, even into the 1700’s in Ireland and Scotland, becoming clan chief had nothing to do with being oldest. The clan selected the “best qualified” to be the chief which could even be someone other than any of the existing chief’s sons.

In other primitive societies that exist today, many of which are not particularly warlike due to their isolation from competition, the operating dynamic seems to be balance, not primacy of female over male, or visa versa. It seems they “play to the strengths” of each sex in ordering and maintaining the society.

Bottom line is that all cultural adaptations have at their root survival of the group. They are adaptations developed and settled upon based on what the group deems is the best way to assure its survival as an entity vis a vis other groups, and through the group its individual members. For most of recorded history, survival of the group has been dependent upon the primacy of the males and their ability to protect the group against threats and provide food and shelter.

We can argue about whether or not continued male dominance is good or bad given the fact that human society has evolved. Or, we can speculate on whether putting females “in charge” will somehow fundamentally alter patterns of warfare to the good. However, simply saying that more aggressive males equals more warfare vs nurturing females equals less warfare is overly simplistic and ignores factors that lead to warfare in the first place. It also ignores that males and females have each evolved in a certain way to advance survival, first and foremost of the species and second of the groups to which we, as individuals, belong.


The Muse said...


I really enjoyed reading your thoughtful response to my comment from Stephen’s blog. (I wanted to quickly answer your post and I will write more later.) It may surprise you; but I agree with many of the points that you have made here. In my essay about matriarchies the first line was “Are matriarchal societies simply a myth?” My analysis that I put forth was a postulation of the distinct possibility that there were matriarchal societies. My comment was motivated by the subject of Stephen’s blog and by my original joke about “a return to a Matriarchal Society”. I know very well that this is not mainstream anthropology; in my essay I said, “Some scholars believe…” But sometimes myth is more powerful than facts. Although I do think that perhaps our definition of what constitutes a matriarchy is part of the problem. Oftentimes you and I argue about semantics. I equate the term “matriarchal” not necessarily with female dominance but with egalitarian and family oriented societies.

Do you think that as a species that the human animal is biologically predisposed for violence and war? Interestingly, this sort of relates to my question a few posts back about whether or not you believed that there was such a thing as pure evil? Furthermore, do you maintain that this concept of an egalitarian, peaceful society is just a Utopian ideal somewhat like the Garden of Eden? If you dismiss the concept of a matriarchal society ever having existed, then are you saying that males are genetically coded for dominance and better suited for positions of authority than females? Moreover do you realize that this patriarchal paradigm of aggression sets up a perpetuating world view of the inevitability of war?

The Muse said...

“A Matriarchy is a type of society, which is distinguished from all other types of societies by the absence of power structures and institutionalized hierarchies. The means of production are commonly owned and set of rules prevents the accumulation of possessions or power. Compared to socialist or communist systems, they are characterized by the absence of a centralized administration and ruling authority. Decisions concerning every area of life are made by consensus including all genders and generations.” -Anon

The Muse said...


I do believe that during that speculative time that you speak of in your post between 25,000 B.C.E. and 2,500 B.C.E. when “the human species was so widely dispersed and not very numerous in terms of available territory” that there were quite possibly
matriarchal/egalitarian societies that were family oriented and family ruled. The main aspect of matriarchy is being that all belongings were communal property of the family.

I wanted to clarify one point with you though, that I never said that during this time that there was not violence and that prehistoric man did not hunt for survival. (That would be simply naïve.) But rather, I think that the concept of "war" and the development of more sophisticated weapons came about later in our evolution as a species, when the population grew, communities collided, and resources became scarcer. Perhaps it is because of my spiritual views that I have trouble fully accepting mainstream anthropology, which describes prehistory as a time of perpetual anarchy, battling, and danger. I don’t believe that humans are inherently bad and innately war-like, aggressive, and barbaric. Although I do agree that it is human nature to be defensive of our families and ourselves. Nonetheless, I contend that the truth about our past is probably somewhere in the middle between these two conflicting theories of evolution..

J. L. Krueger said...


I believe we both got off track on the matriarchal society bit. As I re-read your comment on Stephen's blog and your comments here; I'm getting the sense that I interpreted your comments as saying that there was a "universal" matriarchal construct that was displaced by the patriarchal model. Whereas it seems, at least initially, that you interpreted my initial comments as saying that there were never any matriarchal societies.

We may have been talking past each other on that point, but we actually don't really seem to be that far apart.

For my part, I believe that the best system is one of balance that recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of each sex and recognizes how they compliment one another for the benefit of the species and our society. I find the constant male/female conflict to be unhelpful.

The Muse said...

An interesting note:

I remember reading some of Jane Goodall’s research about chimpanzees. Because we share 98% of the same DNA structure to apes it is fascinating to study the documented observations of these primates. Primatologists believe that they provide a glimpse into the origins of patriarchy and a deeper understanding of human social organization. Jane had concluded that although there were definitely alpha-males within the colonies of apes that exhibited aggressive behavior that there were also characteristics of both patriarchal AND matriarchal societies exhibited in their behavior. Incidentally, there was a recent discovery by Amy Parish, a renowned primatologist, that the bonobos, a pigmy chimp that is a distant human ancestor, exhibits distinct characteristics of a matriarchal society. Amy Parish contends in her research of bonobos that there is such a thing as the “alpha-female”.

“Meanwhile, only since the mid-1980s has the closely related bonobo come to serve as an evolutionary counterpoint to chimpanzees. They may look very much like chimpanzees (their former English name, pygmy chimpanzee, was a misnomer based on their relatively slender proportions), but bonobos are an ape of a different flavor. In sharp contrast to hierarchical chimpanzee society, studies of bonobo behavior have revealed a society molded by cooperation, recreational sex, social communication, and alliance formation rather than wars and aggression. As primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University puts it, “The high points of bonobo intellectual life are found not in cooperative hunting or strategies to achieve dominance but in conflict resolution and sensitivity to others.” Female bonobos band together in coalitions, avoiding the sexual coercion that male chimpanzees; in the latter, males are sociable and supportive among themselves, and their bonds are both the cause and consequence of everything from communal hunting to the fierce defense of their territorial borders. Female bonobos even tend to dominate in some circumstances. Primatologist Amy Parish of the University of Southern California studied female bonobos at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and found that females routinely displaced males over feeding opportunities, often through coalitions that also prevented harassment by males.”

-Craig Stanford

J. L. Krueger said...


Do you think that as a species that the human animal is biologically predisposed for violence and war?

Yes, in the sense that it is a survival tool. I believe in that regard we are not unlike other animal species which will fight to defend territory, resources, and breeding access. All these things are necessary for the survival of the species and as such are hardwired. At the lower level, human tribes, dog packs, lion prides will fight to protect the territory and resources that support the survival of the group. I do NOT believe that that is evil per se.

Furthermore, do you maintain that this concept of an egalitarian, peaceful society is just a Utopian ideal somewhat like the Garden of Eden?

Yes, it is a Utopian ideal. Because resources are finite, conflict is inevitable. How we moderate that conflict or find better ways to allocate resources to everyone’s benefit is the real issue. If the reallocation of resources process causes a society enough pain, then that society will fight (wage war) to regain/gain the resources. It all boils down to economics, resources and group survival.

…are you saying that males are genetically coded for dominance and better suited for positions of authority than females?

No. Males are genetically coded for violence, which makes them better suited to hunt and fight for the protection of the group. Additionally, they are physiologically bigger, faster and stronger, as a rule, than females. As those two elements, hunting and fighting, were so closely tied to group survival, it was inevitable that male importance got elevated in most societies. Eventually we, the males, believed our own press and took more active measures to suppress females in many societies.

As a case in point, take Christianity. Jesus never could have succeeded in his ministry without the active financial support of a number of women. Most of the apostles and Paul were financially supported by women. Up until early in the 4th century, women actually had a very active and visible role in the early Church. Along the way the message got perverted and bishops started working to exclude women from Church business. Jesus’ message was one of inclusion, but the Church twisted it to one of exclusion, specifically in regards to women.

Moreover do you realize that this patriarchal paradigm of aggression sets up a perpetuating world view of the inevitability of war?

No, it does not. Conflict is inevitable due to resource limitations, but conflict does not necessarily have to be resolved by war. However, war is a pretty definitive arbiter in the final analysis. For example, I suspect that you would not give up food required to keep your child alive in order to feed someone else’s child. You will FIGHT to preserve the food for your child. That is not evil. That is simply fighting for survival which we are ALL hardwired to do. It is not the patriarchal or matriarchal nature of a society that dictates the presence or absence of war, but the availability of resources. Ultimately, all conflicts on the scale that create war are about resources. We often disguise them in other “high-sounding” moral principle, but more often than not, it’s about getting or keeping “stuff” for my group.

A Matriarchy is a type of society, which is distinguished from all other types of societies by the absence of power structures and institutionalized hierarchies.

Says who? The Amazons had a matriarchal society and they had power structures and institutionalized hierarchies. You can’t have an ordered organized society without power structures or hierarchies. How are conflicts arbitrated? What authority sets the rules for peaceful coexistence and enforces those rules? Such a society as described above would be impossible to defend from outside threats.

I just love “Anon”! That guy, or gal, is the source of so much definitive wisdom throughout the ages that can’t be debated because we have no idea what Anon’s qualifications are!

J. L. Krueger said...


Interesting chimp/bonobo bit. Of course note that the female bonobos have to form alliances in order to ward off the stronger males. I’d say they are just more clever than their chimp cousins and perhaps more advanced on that level. But note that there is still dominance/aggression and a hierarchy of some form. And note that the cause of conflict where females would displace males was resources – food. They also will “fiercely defend” their territory. They are still evolving…assuming humans give them the opportunity to continue evolving. Of course, we are still evolving as well.

The Muse said...

Art reflects life:

It is interesting to make a correlation between the language of art and culture. Recently when I was at a ballroom dance class my teacher (who is getting me ready for a competition) instructed me that when we go compete on the dance floor that it is etiquette that I will walk on his right side when entering or exiting the dance floor...Why?

Historically in painting, an object that is placed on the right hand side of a picture carries more visual weight than an object that is placed on the left side. This is the dominant position of the picture plane. There is a very long, complex explanation for this; but to simplify this reasoning it is because we read from left to right our brains have set a hierarchy of natural order of elements. Each hemisphere of our brain serves a different purpose which influences how we perceive the world. An object that is placed on the right hand side of a picture will carry more visual weight than if it this same object is placed on the left. I started thinking about this simple instruction from my Czechoslovakian dance teacher…He said to me with his thick accent, “But of course, my dear… this is the position of dominance. When you get married the bride’s family sits on the left and the groom's family sits on the right. But after the ceremony when the bride and groom turn to face the congregation, the bride is now elevated to the right position and leaves the church on the groom’s right side.” Thus the status of the bride is elevated and she assumes the position of dominance. There is much to be learned from this simple gesture of ritual. Why has this simple, yet profound gesture evolved?

In my thesis in college I wrote extensively about the language of symbols and the psycho-physiological aspects of visual communication. Contrary to popular belief, our visual field is NOT symmetrical. To achieve balance and harmony in a painting an artist must compensate for this asymmetry of our brains. If you take any well-composed and balanced painting and flop it so that the image is reversed the flopped picture will always, I repeat always, seem heavily weighted to the right. Although the right hand side of the visual field carries more visual weight, this is also a more tenuous and less stable area the picture plane. For example, when you are watching a play, an insightful director will make the villain enter from right hand side of the stage to call attention to him. When designing a picture, an artist can place more elements on the left side of the picture and less on the right side to make it appear balanced… What does this practice tell us symbolically about our relationships? Composition and design concepts are an intriguing mirror of society. Don’t you agree?

Perhaps the natural order of things is not symmetry and equality, but rather harmony and balance. If you take for instance the natural design of the universe of matter vs/ anti-matter there also exists this asymmetry. I believe that there is a natural order of things and an intelligent design to all elements in the universe. The eastern cultures refer to the yin-yang concept of balancing two primal opposing but complementary principles or cosmic forces. The return of the sacred feminine, is not about women ruling society, as that would create imbalance. But rather it is about the return to nature and the family unit, balanced restored, the yin/yang united - both hemispheres of the brain working in balance. Perhaps "Matriarchal Societies" are really just a metaphor for living in peace and harmony with nature and the return to a higher consciousness...

P.S. I must now return to my subjects. My matriarchal duties are waiting. Take Care.

J. L. Krueger said...


Excellent point on balance. I think too often we equate balance with symetry or equality and as you showed, not isn't necessarily so.

"Balance" in nature does not mean that two species have equal footing or numbers in a given system. For example, wildebeasts and lions share the same environment. Wildebeasts are more numerous, but lions are stronger and they eat the wildebeasts. But within their environment, they balance one another.

The other issue that sort of imposes this desire for symetry is that Western thought in particular is linear...beginnings and ends. Many Eastern cultures and indeed our more ancient pagan ancestors think/thought in terms of cycles NOT lines.

Now I am off to attend my Patriarchal in cooking dinner for the females! ;)

The Muse said...

Matriarchy vs/Patriarchy:

On my honeymoon my darling husband decided that he was going to lay down the law to me...

He handed me a pair of his jeans and asked me to put them on...

I fumbled to step into them and they were MUCH too big, falling off of me...

I was confused... "I can't POSSIBLY wear these pants? They are much TOO big!"

In his Southern drawl he replied, "Your damn right! I'm the MAN of this house and I wear the PANTS in this family! And don't you forget it!"

I then threw a pair of my little bikini undies at him and asked him to put them on!

He said, "Don't be ridiculous... I can't get into your panties!"

And with that response I said "Your DAMN right! And with that attitude, you NEVER will!"

J. L. Krueger said...


Cute joke...I remember it.

Well, I think the bottom line is that you need both halves to make the whole.

In my first book, which is a fantasy, a female character explains to my protagonist that it takes BOTH halves (male and female) of their power in order to accomplish certain things. Even the combination of two very powerful individuals of the same sex was not as powerful as the union of the male and female halves of their power.

I our real world, it takes both to achieve the proper social balance.

The Muse said...

As I said before:

"Throughout history males have used power to resolve issues of sex; and females have used sex to resolve issues of power."

Darn, I wasn't sure if you had already heard it. I know Stephen had because I had written it for Tena's blog. BTW I'm surprised that Stephen didn't join in on the conversation....He probably thinks I'm a Bible thumper now because of my post about Christianity.

P.S. I just checked out your books on Amazon. How cool! You really ARE an author and a scholar. Now I'm intimidated by you though...

Stephen Parrish said...

I believe that the best system is one of balance that recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of each sex and recognizes how they compliment one another for the benefit of the species and our society.

This seems to suggest there are appropriate (traditional?) roles for men and women.

J. L. Krueger said...


This seems to suggest there are appropriate (traditional?) roles for men and women.

No such suggestion intended. In the context of discussing the relative merits of matriarchy vs patriarchy, the comment is meant to convey that balance is more important that choosing one over the other as a method of ordering society.

However, there are things that males are better suited for in general than females, and there are things that females are better suited for in general than males. There are things for which both sexes are equally suited. And there are exceptions in both sexes for so-called “traditional” rolls. For example, there are some females who make better soldiers than some males, but very few who make better infantrymen. There are some males who are better parents than some females, but very few who make better mothers.

If, as you argued in your blog, men are more innately aggressive than females, then roles where aggression contributes to success would be more suitable for males instead of females. If females are more innately nurturing, as you argued, then roles in which that strength comes to the fore are more suitable for females. Neither should rule out exceptions. In theory, we want the individual best qualified for whatever the role is.


Now I'm intimidated by you though...

Don't be. I still put my pants on the regular way and I need coffee to get going in the morning. I am also never satisfied that my work is "perfect"...even after publication. ;)

The Muse said...

Have you heard the saying, "That if Mamma ain't happy, nobody's happy?"

We may live in an imbalanced, patriarchal society, but as my story about the ritual of standing on the right hand side as we leave the church illustrates, the male must give REVERANCE to the female in order to achieve balance. This is an aspect of all healthy marriages.

Honoring our differences:

In many ways the ritual of dance is a metaphor for life and the traditional roles of men and women that have evolved over the centuries. To continue with my illustration of how dance parallels life, another interesting concept is that in ballroom dance the gentleman always leads... Conversely, the female is usually dancing backwards, blindly, and having to trust that her partner is guiding her safely around the dance floor. I am often scolded to not look back or behind me when I am learning a new step. I had a lot of trouble with this when I first started dancing. I wanted to lead my husband. (I am an alpha-female.) This creates conflict as you can imagine; and for years we did not dance. To dance well, the woman must learn to TRUST her partner and allow him to maneuver their way around dance floor. The lady is taught to always look off to her left side in the distance, with an elegant and poised posture. In ballroom dance not only do you see traditional sex roles being acted out, but you also see courting rituals. But although the male always leads the female, the man is simply seen as a BACKDROP to the woman. The gentleman traditionally dresses in all black attire while the lady is colorful, glittering, and flamboyant. The female is the star and really the DOMINANT figure. She is the temptress and by far the more intriguing to watch. There are times when I am dancing that I am not holding hands with my partner and I am able to twirl or sway or seductively walk away from the gentleman; and he will follow me, or chase me. There is a whole dialog that occurs in dance. Some dances such as the Tango or the Pasa Doble are passionate and volatile with the rigid frame and quick stomping of the feet. It is as though the two dancers are acting out an argument on the dance floor. For example, the Tango is an unspoken language of the fire and passion of love. Sometimes the rigidity and the quarrels of marriage are symbolized in the steps. Many dances demonstrate that give and take that occurs in relationships. The coming together and sometimes the much needed walking or pulling way. Although, the female often has opportunities for independent expression within the closed structure of ballroom. As I become a better dancer I am able to have more freedom from my partner. By allowing the female to have more space she is really able to perform and dazzle her partner, and the audience.

Another curious gesture of body language is that the woman's hand is nearly always palm down when she is dancing. While the gentleman's hand is nearly always palm up. Why has this gesture evolved? And why is it that the palms down and a limp wrist are universally seen as a submissive, feminine gesture and used to mock gays? In many religious paintings Jesus is usually depicted with mortals as having his palms also face down. This is a very nurturing and maternal expression and is profoundly symbolic. In religion when our hands are palm up we are open, receptive, and asking to be received. The palms down gesture suggests the act of not simply giving, but also of letting go, while receiving. Females are the giver of life. This is one of the symbols that represent the Divine Mother. When a gentleman raises the hand of a woman to kiss the back of her hand, palms down, this a chivalrous act of honoring the Sacred Feminine. Paradoxically, it is in giving that we in turn receive. Traditional dance is a fascinating language that also reflects some of our spiritual beliefs...

It is interesting to note the return of popularity of ballroom dance recently. What does this say about our culture? Perhaps as a society we are longing for a return to the age of chivalry and some of our traditional sex roles? Hmmmmm.

J. L. Krueger said...


It is interesting to note the return of popularity of ballroom dance recently. What does this say about our culture? Perhaps as a society we are longing for a return to the age of chivalry and some of our traditional sex roles?

You realize of course that when Stephen reads this he will have a seizure. Is not such sentiment “treason” to the “Femi-Nazi Movement”, a movement to which all “right thinking”, or is it “left thinking”, females and neutered males subscribe? (Hopefully you recognize a joke when you see it.)

Maybe all the gender confusion in our society is part and parcel to our many social problems? Is it not odd that we strive for “diversity” and yet strive for “sameness” in the sexes? What a boring existence if men and women were “the same” except for our procreation roles.

The Muse said...

I like to see Stephen's reaction and occasionally stir things up.

We as a society need to redefine what the Feminist movement is all about. What truly is a return to the Sacred Feminine? Is a Matriarchy simply a metaphor? How do we level the playing field for both sexes? That does not mean that I am advocating a return to the way that things used to be prior to the Feminist movement. Just because I posed this question, please don't misunderstand me. Art and cultural movements always reflect our deeper longings and I like to study them.

To paraphrase one of my favorite sayings of all times by Gandhi, "If you want to change the world you must first change yourself." If we cannot achieve balance and harmony in our own homes, is as witnessed by the skyrocketing divorce rates, then how can we possibly hope to achieve world peace? Biology being what it is, what is the solution? To be perfectly honest with you, I have spent many years of my life being career oriented and trying to balance out my family and my work. It has been incredibly difficult. There still exists a great imbalance in power within my own family structure. Because now I not only have one job, but I have two! While my husband really only has primarily one job. When I return home from work I am starting my second shift job. Whereas when my husband returns home he relaxes and unwinds. The only compromise that we have made is to have a housekeeper but there are still many, many hours a week that I spend being the camp director.

J. L. Krueger said...


How do we level the playing field for both sexes?

I’m all in favor of selecting best qualified. Sex, race, orientation, whatever, should not enter into it. That aspect of the Feminist Movement was certainly good, however along the way some “leaders” in the movement then also started denigrating the women who chose to stay home. It should be about choice and opportunity, right?

As you so aptly pointed out, women who want a career actually wind up with two jobs…being expected to come home from work AND then do dinner etc. Personally, I think that in a case where both work outside the home, both need to do the house job when they get home. In my situation, it depends upon who is home first. First home, starts the dinner prep. The other ram-rods the urchins with homework and stuff…cleaning up their messes, etc. In the past two years I’ve been doing work from home, so I get the laundry, dinner and intercepting kids coming home from school jobs. When I’m on contract to do “normal” work, then we work out who does what when based upon availability. To me it has always been about partnership with my spouse. Stuff has to get done around here and we have to divvy up the chores. Now that the kids are teenagers, if I am going to be away for a while, we sit them down and go over their responsibilities to take up the slack while I am away.