Some Notes on Gender and Power (Part 2)

Picking up from where we left off last week, here are some more notes on gender and power. First, a refresher on where we started:

1. There is a lot of bad theorizing out there about gender and power relations

Primordial matriarchies, evo-psych patriarchies — all bunk.

2. Patriarchy is not inherent in human societies.

Patriarchy is a historical development, not a biological imperative.

Carrying on now:

3. There are many different kinds of patriarchy

150713VictoriaAs I explained last week, patriarchy is not a universal of human societies but rather a product of specific historical circumstances. As a result, there are as many different varieties of patriarchy as there are cultures that practice it. There is no “the patriarchy” any more than there is “the democracy” or “the music.” Some democracies have parliaments, some have electoral colleges, and some just have town meetings. Some music has violins, some has taiko drums, and some has beatboxing. Patriarchies are just as variable.

Consider, if you will, Victorian Britain and the Roman empire. Both were unquestionably patriarchal, but that doesn’t mean they worked the same way.

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Some Notes on Gender and Power (Part 1)

150629BoudiccaGender and power are two very big and complicated topics. Put them together and you get something even bigger and complicateder. (Yes, I said “complicateder.” Deal with it.) They are also two topics that have become very important in a lot of contemporary speculative fiction. I’m not going to try to take on the whole subject here, but I would like to offer a few points that can be useful for thinking about gender, power, and how they fit both into the world we live in and into the worlds we write about.

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