I have decided to blog excerpts from my upcoming book (now titled “Strong Girls,” but I think I should really call it “Girls Interrupted” ). Here is one powerful peice:
In her book Dance of the Dissident Daughter bestselling author Sue Monk Kidd describes how in her search for finding her authentic voice she came face to face with patriarchy. She urges us to see p atriarchy as a system and not simply male or masculinity
at its worst. It is “a system of social governance, a vast complex pattern and attitudes within culture, religion and the family.” It must be named and seen for what it is: “a social organization marked by the authority or supremacy of men and fathers. Western civilization has been organized this way since its prehistory, though patriarchy is now showing signs of real demise.” (Monk Kidd p 60)
The damage of this type of system does not just come from having men in the lead. It comes from the de-valuing and pushing down of everything below men to maintain this lead. The hierarchy that is at its core goes like this: God (a man) is at the top, then women, then children, then animals, plants and minerals. As described by Monk Kidd, “Embedded in the human psyche, this hierarchical view has been passed on as the natural and “divinely created” order of life … With men at the top (or at least with a sense of entitlement about being at the top) and women below (or at least with a sense of belonging below) a way of relating was put in place based on dominance and dependence. The role, of the one above was to dominate and oversee the ones below. The role of the ones below was to answer to and depend on the one above. In addition, the one above learned how to protect his prestigious place on the top. He learned to stay up by keeping her down, that is, by insisting that she be content with the way things are.” (Monk Kidd p 61) Wow!