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Old November 7th, 2012, 11:59 AM   #41

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandate of Heaven View Post
Real evidence shows matrilineal societies exist. Just read my previous posts. I don't see how you can choose to disbelieve after seeing the evidence.
Your evidence comes from mythology, which I think is a doubtful source of history. We cannot infer that what is said in myths relates to real life. And in any case, the women in your myths are generally subordinate to the men in their lives, as wives etc. The real power generally belongs to men.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 03:49 PM   #42

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louise C View Post
Your evidence comes from mythology, which I think is a doubtful source of history. We cannot infer that what is said in myths relates to real life. And in any case, the women in your myths are generally subordinate to the men in their lives, as wives etc. The real power generally belongs to men.
No, my evidence comes from real life. Let me re-post it.

Matrilineality in specific ethnic groups
[edit] In America

[edit] Lenape

Main article:
Lenape Lenape
Occupied for 10,000 years by Native Americans, the land that would become New Jersey was overseen by
Clan Clan
of the
Lenape Lenape
or
Lenni_Lenape Lenni_Lenape
or
Delaware Delaware
, who farmed, fished, and hunted upon it. The pattern of their culture was that of a matrilineal agricultural and mobile hunting society that was sustained with fixed, but not permanent, settlements in their clan territories.
Villages were established and relocated as the clans farmed new sections of the land when soil fertility lessened and when they moved among their fishing and hunting grounds by seasons. The area was claimed as a part of the Dutch
New_Netherland New_Netherland
province dating from 1614, where active trading in furs took advantage of the natural pass west, but the Lenape prevented permanent settlement beyond what is now Jersey City.
"Early Europeans who first wrote about these Indians found matrilineal social organization to be unfamiliar and perplexing. ... As a result, the early records are full of 'clues' about early Lenape society, but were usually written by observers who did not fully understand what they were seeing."[20]
[edit] In Africa

[edit] Akan

Main articles:
Akan_people Akan_people
and
Abusua Abusua
Some 20 million
Akan_people Akan_people
live in Africa, particularly in
Ghana Ghana
and Cte d'Ivoire. (See as well their subgroup, the
The_Ashanti The_Ashanti
, also called Asante.) Many but not all of the Akan still (2001)[21] practice their traditional matrilineal customs, living in their traditional
Extended_family Extended_family
households, as follows. The traditional Akan economic, political and social organization is based on matrilineal lineages, which are the basis of inheritance and succession. A lineage is defined as all those related by
Matrilineal_descent Matrilineal_descent
from a particular ancestress. Several lineages are grouped into a political unit headed by a chief and a council of elders, each of whom is the elected head of a lineage which itself may include multiple extended-family households. Public offices are thus vested in the lineage, as are land tenure and other lineage property. In other words, lineage property is inherited only by matrilineal kin.[21][22]
Each lineage controls the lineage land farmed by its members, functions together in the veneration of its ancestors, supervises marriages of its members, and settles internal disputes among its members.[23]
The political units above are likewise grouped into eight larger groups called
Abusua Abusua
(similar to
Clan Clan
), named Aduana, Agona, Asakyiri, Asenie, Asona, Bretuo, Ekuona and Oyoko. The members of each abusua are united by their belief that they are all descended from the same ancient ancestress. Marriage between members of the same abusua is forbidden. One inherits or is a lifelong member of the lineage, the political unit, and the abusua of one's mother, regardless of one's gender and/or marriage. Note that members and their spouses thus belong to different abusuas, mother and children living and working in one household and their husband/father living and working in a different household.[21][22]
According to this source[24] of further information about the Akan, "A man is strongly related to his mother's brother (wɔfa) but only weakly related to his father's brother. This must be viewed in the context of a
Polygamous Polygamous
society in which the mother/child bond is likely to be much stronger than the father/child bond. As a result, in inheritance, a man's nephew (sister's son) will have priority over his own son. Uncle-nephew relationships therefore assume a dominant position."[24]
"The principles governing inheritance stress sex, generation and age that is to say, men come before women and seniors before juniors." When a womans brothers are available, a consideration of generational seniority stipulates that the line of brothers be exhausted before the right to inherit lineage property passes down to the next senior genealogical generation of sisters' sons. Finally, "it is when all possible male heirs have been exhausted that the females" may inherit.[24]
Certain other aspects of the Akan culture are determined
Patrilineally Patrilineally
rather than matrilineally. There are 12 patrilineal
Ntoro Ntoro
(which means spirit) groups, and everyone belongs to their father's Ntoro group but not to his (matrilineal) family lineage and abusua. Each patrilineal Ntoro group has its own surnames,[25] taboos, ritual purifications, and etiquette.[22]
A recent (2001) book[21] provides this update on the Akan: Some families are changing from the above abusua structure to the
Nuclear_family Nuclear_family
.[26] Housing, childcare, education, daily work, and elder care etc. are then handled by that individual family rather than by the abusua or clan, especially in the city.[27] The above taboo on marriage within one's abusua is sometimes ignored, but "clan membership" is still important,[26] with many people still living in the abusua framework presented above.[21]
[edit] Tuareg

Main article:
Tuareg_people Tuareg_people
The
Tuareg_people Tuareg_people
(Arabic:طوارق, sometimes spelled Touareg in French, or Twareg in English) are a
Berber_people Berber_people
ethnic group found across several nations in north Africa, including
Niger Niger
,
Mali Mali
and
Algeria Algeria
. The Tuareg are clan-based,[28] and are (still, in 2007) "largely matrilineal".[28][29][30] The Tuareg are
Islamic Islamic
, but mixed with a "heavy dose" of their pre-existing beliefs including matrilineality.[28][30]
Tuareg women enjoy high status within their society, compared with their
Arab Arab
counterparts and with other Berber tribes: Tuareg social status is transmitted through women, with residence often
Matrilocal Matrilocal
.[29] Most women could read and write, while most men were illiterate, concerning themselves mainly with herding livestock and other male activities.[29] The livestock and other movable property were owned by the women, whereas personal property is owned and inherited regardless of gender.[29] Remarkably, men wear veils but women do not.[28][30] This custom is discussed in more detail in the Tuareg article's clothing section, which mentions it may be the protection needed against the blowing sand while traversing the
Sahara_desert Sahara_desert
.[31]
[edit] Serer

Main article:
Serer_maternal_clans Serer_maternal_clans
The
Serer_people Serer_people
of
Senegal Senegal
, the
Gambia Gambia
and
Mauritania Mauritania
are patrilineal (simanGol in
Serer_language Serer_language
[32]) as well as matrilineal (tim [33]). There are several
Serer_maternal_clans Serer_maternal_clans
and
Category:Serer_matriarchs Category:Serer_matriarchs
. Some of these matriarchs include
Lingeer_Fatim_Beye Lingeer_Fatim_Beye
(1335) and
Lingeer_Ndoye_Demba Lingeer_Ndoye_Demba
(1367) matriarchs of the
Joos_Maternal_Dynasty Joos_Maternal_Dynasty
which also became a dynasty in
Waalo Waalo
(Senegal). Some
Matriclan Matriclan
or maternal clans form part of Serer medieval and
Category:Serer_royalty Category:Serer_royalty
history, such as the
Guelowar Guelowar
. The most revered clans tend to be rather ancient and form part of
Serer_ancient_history Serer_ancient_history
. These
Timeline_of_Serer_history Timeline_of_Serer_history
clans hold great significance in
Serer_religion Serer_religion
and
Serer_creation_myth Serer_creation_myth
. Some of these proto-Serer matriclans include the Cegandum and Kagaw, whose historical account is enshrined in Serer religion, mythology and
Traditions Traditions
.[34]
In Serer culture, inheritance is both matrilineal and patrilineal.[35] It all depends on the asset being inherited i.e. whether the asset is a paternal asset requiring paternal inheritance (kucarla [35]) or a maternal asset requiring maternal inheritance (den yaay [33] or ƭeen yaay [35]). The actual handling of these maternal assets (such as jewelry, land, livestock, equipment or furniture, etc.) is discussed in the subsection Role of the Tokoor of one of the above-listed main articles.
[edit] In Asia

[edit] China

Originally,
China China
Surnames Surnames
were derived matrilineally, although by the time of the
Shang_Dynasty Shang_Dynasty
(1600 to 1046
BCE BCE
) they had become patrilineal.[36] The
Chinese_character Chinese_character
for "surname" (姓) still contains a female radical, suggesting its matrilineal
Etymology Etymology
.
Archaeological data supports the theory that during the Neolithic period, Chinese matrilineal clans evolved into the usual patrilineal families by passing through a transitional patrilineal clan phase. Evidence includes elaborate and highly adorned burials for young women in early Neolithic
Yangshao_culture Yangshao_culture
cemeteries, but increasing elaboration of male burials toward the late Neolithic period. [2]
Relatively isolated ethnic minorities such as the
Mosuo Mosuo
(Na) in southwestern China are highly matrilineal, and use matrilineal family names, i.e.,
Matriname Matriname
. (See the General practice section of the
Mosuo Mosuo
article).
[edit] Việt Nam

Most ethnic groups classified as "Montagnards" are matrilineal.[37]
[edit] India

Main articles:
Marumakkathayam Marumakkathayam
and
Aliyasantana Aliyasantana
Several communities in South India practiced matrilineality, especially the
Nair Nair
in the state of
Kerala Kerala
and the
Bunts Bunts
in the states of Kerala and
Karnataka Karnataka
. The system of inheritance was known as
Marumakkathayam Marumakkathayam
in the Nair community or
Aliyasantana Aliyasantana
in the Bunt community, and both communities were subdivided into
Clan Clan
. This system was exceptional in the sense that it was one of the few traditional systems in western historical records of India that gave women some liberty and the right to property.
In the matrilineal system, the family lived together in a
Tharavadu Tharavadu
which was composed of a mother, her brothers and younger sisters, and her children. The oldest male member was known as the karanavar and was the head of the household, managing the family estate. Lineage was traced through the mother, and the children belonged to the mother's family. All family property was jointly owned. In the event of a partition, the shares of the children were clubbed with that of the mother. The karanavar's property was inherited by his sisters' sons rather than his own sons. For further information see the articles
Nair Nair
and
Bunts Bunts
.
The Marumakkathayam system is not very common in Kerala and Karnataka these days for many reasons. Society has become much more cosmopolitan and modern. Men seek jobs away from their hometown and take their wives and children along with them. In this scenario, a joint-family system is no longer viable. But conceivably, there might still be a few tharavads that pay homage to this system.
[edit] In Oceania

[edit] Minangkabau

Main article:
Minangkabau_people Minangkabau_people
In the
Minangs Minangs
matrilineal
Clan Clan
culture in
Indonesia Indonesia
, a person's
Clan Clan
name is important in their marriage and their other cultural-related events.[38][39][40] Two totally unrelated people who share the same clan name can never be married because they are considered to be from the same clan mother (unless they come from distant villages). Likewise, when
Minangs Minangs
meet total strangers who share the same clan name, anywhere in Indonesia, they could theoretically expect to feel that they are distant relatives.[41] Minang people do not have a family name or surname; neither is one's important clan name included in one's name; instead one's name is only one's
Given_name Given_name
.[42]
The
Minangs Minangs
are one of the world's largest matrilineal societies/cultures/ethnic groups, with a population of 4 million in their home province
West_Sumatra West_Sumatra
in Indonesia and about 4 million elsewhere, mostly in Indonesia. The Minang people are well-known within their country for their tradition of matrilineality and for their "dedication to Islam" despite Islam being "supposedly patrilineal".[38] This well-known accommodation, between their traditional complex of customs, called
Adat Adat
, and their religion, was actually worked out to help end the Minangkabau 1821-37
Padri_War Padri_War
.[38] This source is available online.[38]
As further described in the same online source, their (matrilineal) adat and their Islam religion each help the other to avoid the extremes of some modern global trends: Their strong belief in and practice of adat helps their Islam religion to not adopt a "simplistic anti-Western" version of Islam, while their strong belief in and practice of both Islam and adat helps the Minangs to limit or avoid some undesired effects of modern global capitalism.[38] (A version of this paragraph can also be found in a different context, in the Minangkabau article's Adat and religion section.)
A similar culture is present in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia ever since West Sumatrans settled there in the 14th century.
[edit] Marshallese people and other islanders

On many islands in the pacific, such as Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands (particularly in Guadalcanal, Isabel, Shortlands/Makira, and Bougainville ) and Vanuatu (Torba, Espiritu Santo, Penama, Efate),[43][44] matralineal societies exist.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 03:42 AM   #43

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Well, in matrilinear societies, as I have already remarked, and as the information you provide seems tp indicate, men still seem to be occupying positions of authority. The fact that a child's uncle is considered more important than the father still seems to indicate that a male is regarded as the main authority figure. He may be uncle rather than father, but he's still the head of the household
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Old November 8th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #44

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The earliest devotional figures found in Europe are feminine and all religions that arose there stressed a healthy sexual relationship between deities as with humans and respect for mothers, motherhood and mother-like figures.
The Abrahamic religions are all misogynist and, frankly, some of the founders quite suspect (that Paul of Tarsus never even had a regular girlfriend did he?)

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Old November 8th, 2012, 05:25 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yḥānān View Post
Thank you for the insight on Indian gods athena.

I should add to what I wrote before that the Christian God possesses male attributes as the Father and Jesus incarnated as a male. However God is beyond our comprehension so I don't think we can define a gender or lack of. Angels are also portrayed as males but according to Jesus they have no gender and neither will humans after death.

I think it wouldn't be wrong to say that Christianity seems for some reason to have driven women to a greater role though they were still under a traditional society. Think about the Desert Mothers and female Christian saints.

Desert Mothers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To the degree that Catholics adopted the goddess and child we might credit Christianity with giving women a greater role? However, this woman's power rested mostly in being virgin and chaste and was idealized during the crusades, I think.

The Quakers had divided labor, but gave women a say in democratic decision making, and were the strongest supports of giving women the vote. The Seventh Day Adventist and Christian Science were started by women. However, I think some protestant denominations went the other way, and were repressive of women, leaning more on the negative things the bible says about women as the cause of evil and temptresses, and preaching hell and damnation in general. A very good reason for women to create new denominations, and explain the bible very differently.

For sure, we are aware of the Christian push for men to be heads of the household, and if the denomination relies heavily on the old testament, the jealous, fearsome, revengeful god of the old testament is a very bad role model for men.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 05:32 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
The earliest devotional figures found in Europe are feminine and all religions that arose there stressed a healthy sexual relationship between deities as with humans and respect for mothers, motherhood and mother-like figures.
The Abrahamic religions are all misogynist and, frankly, some of the founders quite suspect (that Paul of Tarsus never even had a regular girlfriend did he?)

Click the image to open in full size.
Knowing the right word is so helpful. The word "misogynist" is a very good word for some Christian denominations, and from experience I would say the stronger force in our society. However, I would add to this that women's liberation took this a step further, and made it taboo to be feminine. We might be getting around to a positive feminism, but it is taking a rough trip through hatred of both sexes.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 05:59 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Louise C View Post
Well, in matrilinear societies, as I have already remarked, and as the information you provide seems tp indicate, men still seem to be occupying positions of authority. The fact that a child's uncle is considered more important than the father still seems to indicate that a male is regarded as the main authority figure. He may be uncle rather than father, but he's still the head of the household
I think you are missing the point. The power rest with women because they control how life is explained, and the land and have claim to the children. The men get to decide how to play ball.

We have turned our children into pets for those who can afford them, giving us a completely different understanding of the value of children. The value of children is directly related to the value of women. Anyway, it appears your ability to understand matriarchy, is like an Eskimo living in a shelter made of ice, trying to the value of the refrigerators. It is too far out of our experience to grasp. However, more information might help. Mandate's information is good and here is more of the same.

Tradiitional African Family

On the other hand if you are a Christian with a male god, it may be impossible to understand a consciousness that is not controlled by men.

I want to add, it is hard for us to imagine living a society were one's social, economic, and political position is determined by one's place in a family. This was common for us who came from Europe, but the ability to go west and homestead, starting a new life completely separate from one's childhood family, weakened this system, and since industrialization and merit hiring, it is almost completely lost from our consciousness.

Last edited by athena; November 8th, 2012 at 06:19 AM.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #48

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
The earliest devotional figures found in Europe are feminine and all religions that arose there stressed a healthy sexual relationship between deities as with humans and respect for mothers, motherhood and mother-like figures.
The Abrahamic religions are all misogynist and, frankly, some of the founders quite suspect (that Paul of Tarsus never even had a regular girlfriend did he?)

Click the image to open in full size.
Images of women don't prove that women were revered. We have no idea what these images represent. They may be goddesses, or they may not, but even if they are goddesses, that does not necessarily mean that human women were regarded with any particular reverence. Many religions have powerful goddesses, but that does not translate into any particular respect for human women. There was no particular reverence for women in ancient polytheistic societies from all that I have read on the subject. And nothing said by any christian figure is any more misogynistic than the things said about women by, for instance, Aristotle, who was a Pagan.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 08:06 AM   #49

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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
I think you are missing the point. The power rest with women because they control how life is explained, and the land and have claim to the children. The men get to decide how to play ball.

We have turned our children into pets for those who can afford them, giving us a completely different understanding of the value of children. The value of children is directly related to the value of women. Anyway, it appears your ability to understand matriarchy, is like an Eskimo living in a shelter made of ice, trying to the value of the refrigerators. It is too far out of our experience to grasp. However, more information might help. Mandate's information is good and here is more of the same.

Tradiitional African Family

On the other hand if you are a Christian with a male god, it may be impossible to understand a consciousness that is not controlled by men.

I want to add, it is hard for us to imagine living a society were one's social, economic, and political position is determined by one's place in a family. This was common for us who came from Europe, but the ability to go west and homestead, starting a new life completely separate from one's childhood family, weakened this system, and since industrialization and merit hiring, it is almost completely lost from our consciousness.
Well, the article says that the male head of the family is responsible for the children, which still seems to me to suggest a male authority figure is in charge. Matrilinear societies still seem to invest quite a lot of authority in males. Gods and goddesses are neither here nor there. And I am an agnostic, a Christian. But you still find that in most polytheistic religions, there is a supreme god who is male. This is the case in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, for example. You don't have to have a 'Christian consciousness' to br aware of the prevelance of the top deity being male in most cases.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 12:01 PM   #50

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Originally Posted by athena View Post
To the degree that Catholics adopted the goddess and child we might credit Christianity with giving women a greater role? However, this woman's power rested mostly in being virgin and chaste and was idealized during the crusades, I think.
I think chastity was already important among Roman Christians, but it doesn't matter. You say "this woman's power rested mostly in being virgin and chaste" but chastity was equally relevant to men. Think about Galahad, Perceval and Bors and their comparison to Gawian and Lancelot in the "Quest of the Holy Grail" from the Vulgate Cycle. Galahad's and Perceval's strength is related with being virgins and Bors' with celibacy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
The Quakers had divided labor, but gave women a say in democratic decision making, and were the strongest supports of giving women the vote. The Seventh Day Adventist and Christian Science were started by women. However, I think some protestant denominations went the other way, and were repressive of women, leaning more on the negative things the bible says about women as the cause of evil and temptresses, and preaching hell and damnation in general. A very good reason for women to create new denominations, and explain the bible very differently.

For sure, we are aware of the Christian push for men to be heads of the household, and if the denomination relies heavily on the old testament, the jealous, fearsome, revengeful god of the old testament is a very bad role model for men.
Like I wrote Christian women were still under a male dominated society and you see the images of Desert Mothers with their heads covered like good Christian women. However Christianity did seem to drive several women to do outsanding things, probably on top of the list would be Joan of Arc.

Last edited by Yḥānān; November 8th, 2012 at 12:45 PM.
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