Before going on, I do want to address a few more of the comments that were made in response to my initial post. First, Hesed makes the assumption that matriarchy means just switching places and having women control men. I’m going to recommend that you do a little research into matriarchal theory and history, Riane Eisler’s “The Chalice and the Blade” would be a good starting place. While I like her concept of partnership thinking, it isn’t possible to have true partnership until women have equal and full footing with men, and that does require the space for women to define things for themselves. The key point here is matriarchal thinking is a different construct than partriarchal thinking. Patriarchy is based on the concept of power-over, matriarchy tends to value power from within and power from connection. Patricia Evan’s books on verbal abuse provide very good working definitions of power-over thinking.
Regarding psychiatric of abuse of women–there is a long history of classifying women as mentally ill because they don’t fit into patriarchal definitions of how they should behave. There is also a long history of abusive behavior towards women in mental institutions. In that sense this is definitely a feminist issue. However that is not to say that men aren’t abused by the mental health system, just that you have to realize that ‘mental health’ has pretty much been defined by male mental health professionals and by definition, that is going to involve bias.
Realpc’s comment that violence against women is not a capitalist plot is incorrect. Our economic structure is dependent on not valuing/undervaluing women and the work that they do. Violence is the fastest easiest way to control/put women in their place. And quite a bit of violence against women is not only legal/condoned . but also encouraged in democracies.
I understand bwong’s concerns about academic discussions versus action in real life. I have great respect for those who teach and research and I can’t see throwing out feminist research any more than I would throw out medical research. But I will share with you that the first thing I told the folks at ZMag when we discussed my doing this blog is that I place a higher priority on doing than on writing, so there may be times that the writing lags. But I have come to realize that writing is a very effective form of activism, we each have our ways to contribute, and good research and teaching is absolutely necessary.
Matthew, Jensen’s work on pornography is excellent. It is definitely a growing problem. I’m going to hold off on this topic for now with the idea of coming back to it in a great deal more depth later, thanks for bringing it iup.
As for sex selection, I’ll try to go back through my files for some material on this (it is also easily researched on the web) but what you need to realize is that in some parts of the world, selective abortions are used as a form of femicide. In countries like India and China where girls are valued far less than boys, what has happened is that the number of girls being born is much less than what population models suggest should be expected and aborting female fetus’ is very common. This isn’t a question of the rights of the mother, it is a question of misogyny.
Well, no doubt this will set off another round of comments. In the meantime, I’ll get back to writing the material I hope to post here.