Sharing Power Is Possible


January 18, 2018

Thank you for printing the guest column by Rev. Carter Heyward, “Time to Address Patriarchal Power Relations,” on Dec 7. It is very true that the root problem of sexual harassment, abuse and violence is patriarchy, not individual “evil” men. One very important point of the article is that “we are all victims of a patriarchal system that needs to be dismantled – and that it can be.”

Many people do not believe that patriarchy can be dismantled because they erroneously believe that it has always been that way. That is not true. Patriarchy only began about 9,000 - 11,000 years ago with the beginning of animal husbandry. Animal husbandry is “the breeding, feeding, and management of animals for the production of food, fiber, work and pleasure.”

Before patriarchy there was matriarchy. In a matriarchal society, mothers have power. In a patriarchal society, fathers have power. This is actually profoundly different than saying in a patriarchal society, men have power.

In a matriarchy, a woman can prove that she is a mother and entitled to power by having anyone witness her giving birth to a baby. In a patriarchy, the only way for a man to prove that he is a father and entitled to power is to control the sexuality of a woman. He has to force her to only have sex with him and defeat any other man that tries to have sex with her. Sexual coercion and violence within a society is logically inherent in the concept of patriarchy.

Genuine mutuality and sharing power equally as sisters and brothers in one family that includes all races and religions is possible.

Lisa Rodke



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