Matriarchy it is a social system in which women hold the primary positions of power in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and property control. Although it is not the same but similar, matrilineal societies trace kinship across the female line. It can also be related to a social system in which each person identifies with their own matrilines – the lineage of the mother – and which may involve the inheritance of ownership and / or titles.
One might think that this social system has only been seen in history and mythology, but there are some societies that exist today that could be considered matriarchies. Here just a few.
Mosuo, China – Living near the border with Tibet in the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, the Mosuo are perhaps the most famous matrilineal society. The Chinese government officially classifies them as part of another ethnic minority known as the Naxi, but the two are distinct in both culture and language.
The Mosuo live with the extended family in large families; at the head of each is a matriarch. The lineage is traced through the female side of the family and the property is passed down along the same matrilineal. Mosuo women usually handle business decisions and men handle politics. The children are raised in their mother’s families and are named after her.
The Mosuo have so-called “walking marriages”. There is no institution of marriage; rather, women choose their partners by literally going to the man’s house, and couples never live together. Since children always remain in the care of the mother, the father sometimes plays little role in education. In some cases, the father’s identity is not even known. Instead, the education responsibilities of the male’s children remain in his matrilineal family.
Historically the Mosuo lived in a feudal system where a larger peasant population was controlled by a small nobility. The nobility were afraid that the peasant class would gain power. Since the leadership was hereditary, the peasant class was given a matriarchal system. This prevented threats to the power of the nobility by causing the peasant class to trace lineage across the female line. This system has led to several distinct traits in the Mosuo society.
Akan, Ghana – The Akan people are the majority in Ghana, where they mostly reside. Akan social organization is fundamentally built around matriclan, where identity, heritage, wealth and politics are all determined.
All matriclan founders are women, but men traditionally hold leadership positions within the company. These inherited roles, however, are passed on through the matrilineal way, that is, through a man’s mothers and sisters (and their children). A man is often expected to support not only his own family but also that of his female relatives.
Akan culture is one of the many traditional matrilineal cultures of Africa. matrilinearity it is the trace of kinship through the female lineage described above.
Garo, India – Just like their Khasi neighbors in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, the Tibetan-Burmese-speaking Garo pass ownership and political succession from mother to daughter – typically, the youngest daughter inherits her mother’s estate. Just like the Akan, however, society is matrilineal but not matriarchal: men rule society and manage property.
Often, the wedding of the youngest daughter is arranged for her. But for non-hereditary daughters, the process can be much more complex. In the Garo tradition, the groom-to-be is expected to run away from a marriage proposal, requiring the bride-to-be’s family to “capture” him and bring him back to his potential bride’s village.
This back and forth is repeated until the bride gives up or the groom accepts her proposal (often after she has made many promises to serve and obey him). Once married, the husband lives in his wife’s house. If it doesn’t work, the union is dissolved without social stigma, as the marriage is not a binding contract.
Minangkabau, Indonesia – With four million people, the Minangkabau of West Sumatra, Indonesia is the largest matrilineal society known today.
In addition to the tribal law requiring all clan property to be held and bequeathed by mother to daughter, Minangkabau firmly believes that the mother is the most important person in society. In Minangkabau society, women usually rule the home kingdom while men take on the roles of political and spiritual leadership. However, both genders feel that the separation of powers keeps them on an equal footing. After marriage, each woman acquires her own dormitory.
Her husband can sleep with her but he has to leave early in the morning to have breakfast at his mother’s house. At the age of 10, the boys leave their mother’s home to stay in the men’s quarters and learn practical skills and religious teachings. While the clan leader is always male, women choose the leader and can remove him from office if they feel he has not fulfilled his duties.
While these are the most commonly known, there are a few other matriarchal or matrilineal systems that still exist today – see a list here.
When looking at this list of these matriarchal or matrilineal societies, one might think that these societies are third world and relics of the past that will eventually disappear. Consider matrilinearity in Judaism or matrilineal ancestry in Judaism which traces Jewish ancestry across the maternal line. Some Jewish communities have partially practiced matrilineal ancestry at least from the early Tannaitic times (c. 10-70 AD) until modern times. So consider the following that is happening in Western society today.
- A record number of women serve in the 117th United States Congress – see here.
- In 2016, we nearly had a female president in the United States, and we currently have a female vice president.
- The number of countries where the highest executive power position was held by a woman each year from 1960 to 2021 has steadily increased – see here.
- The gender gap in wealth is steadily declining – see here.
- Many believe that today’s justice systems tend to favor women in terms of divorce and child custody – see here. More and more inheritances are passed on to women through high-profile divorces.
- Not universal, but a feature of matrilineal or matrilineal societies is that they tend to have sexual partners who are not necessarily fixed, led by women. Isn’t traditional monogamous marriage becoming something of the past in today’s society?
- Another feature of matrix or matrilineal societies is that they tend to have collective structures. The rise of socialism in Western democracies is driving the idea that it takes a village, not a family, to raise the next generation – a hallmark of matrilineal or matrilineal societies.
Is Western society slowly turning into a matrilineal or matrilineal society?
One could say yes, at least in terms of trends. But is society getting better for it? Can it be successful? This is debatable. Of course, wealth and technology in the modern world are flourishing, but this may be temporary, and not all technological advances come without some negative trade-offs. Some might even argue that Western civilization is in decline due to demographics and increasing social distress – cohesion that could end badly.
Many have already claimed the death of the patriarchy. Social ideology is based on the domination of men in the social order. Characterized by many as the order in which women are considered “sub-par” members of society, who do not really contribute to society and politics, simply left alone as rulers and breeders. They say they have lived in this social order since our history books date back. This social order has wreaked more chaos than peace, so it may be time to finally stop it. They are right?
One thing that material or matrilineal societies will have to do in order to thrive is to destroy Christianity or at least heavily distort it. Biblical text like the following (more here) becomes highly problematic.
- Ephesians 5:23: “Because the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, her body, and he himself is her Savior.“
- 1 Peter 3: 5: “Because this is how holy women who hoped in God adorned themselves, submitting to their husbands.“
Islamic culture, which is highly patriarchal, will become a dominant force in the coming decades due to demographics and its expansive nature. Many other growing patriarchal societies, stemming from tyrannical rule, could also become problematic for matrilineal or matrilineal societies. Strong patriarchs can invade matriculate or matrilineal societies over time.
So modern matrix or matrilineal societies will have strong headwinds. Please give us your views on this topic in the comments section. Is it too early to call for the end of patriarchy and the rise of matrix or matrilineal societies?
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Syndication source for the original RWR article.
[ https://rightwirereport.com/2021/10/10/sunday-thoughts-matriarchal-societies-that-exist-today-a-model-for-the-future/ https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf