All assumptions about what the female role was are now worthless, the role of females was decided by education,social laws, legal laws, and social economics: all changed since around 1980, the effects have not filtered down to street level yet, but will, then all your steriotypical comments can be shown to be void, women inferior to men? My ass
Respect for women varies from culture to culture. The main difference seems to be between Patriarchal societies (where power resides with men) and Matriarchal (where power resides with women). Almost all Judeo/Christian societies are patriarchal, where as many "primitive" cultures are Matriarchal.
Believe it or not, in some societies women own the property and pass it down to their daughters. Women are the leaders and make the important decisions. And yes, it works just fine. So there is no inherent reason why women shouldn't be treated equally.
My understanding (although I don't have any figures on hand) is that Matriarchal societies are far less violent. In pagan belief, women or should I say feminitity is worshipped (as is mother nature) since women are the ones that bring new life into the world. Paganism has always been repressed by organized religion as they fear and supress the animal we all have within.
In the '60s, women became aware of the discrimination and double standard imposed upon them by this male dominated society. This is because suddenly women became part of the workforce, but weren't treated equally. It's quite understandable since men hadn't had to compete with women before.
Feminism became a very powerful movement in America and did help liberate women from some of the stereotypes. Men were extremely defensive for awhile as it's difficult to change these ingrained patterns of thinking. (A lotta cognitive dissonance going on there)
Nowadays women do have more power and opportunities, but they still have far to go to counter centuries (or millenia) of cultural bias.
In my opinion, society would greatly benefit from a return to Matriarchy as the violence (almost entirely male in origin) has gotten out of hand. Some people say that it's men's nature to compete for women and if it takes a fist fight or a whole war, it's something we should just accept as an expression of our "animal nature". Bullshit. While there are many animals that do fight for mates, they rarely fight to the death. Only humans, the "highest species" does this, and for far less reason than mating.
On the positive side, changing roles is something not only challenging, but very enlightening. However it will take many generations before men and women can just be themselves without society dictating the roles. It's our aging social and religious institutions that are slow to accept change. Even big business and government are unwilling to share power with women as long as the "good ol' boys" are still around. Give it a couple of generations more and maybe we won't have to be discussing this anymore.
The modern world is ruled largely by men of middle age and older. Though such individuals may be qualified for leadership in business and politics by reason of their career experiences, as a group they may be the least qualified psychologically to make vital decisions on behalf of their entire species (Barbara G. Walker)
The Mosuo are a non-Chinese ethnic minority living within the boundaries of China. Their homeland lies on the borders of Yuennan and Szetchuan provinces, not far from Tibet. Anthropologist Wang Shu Wu conducted the first research on the Mosuo in 1954. Later, the feminist scholar Yan Ruxian (1980) also did fieldwork there. The Mosuo are considered by Chinese anthropologists to be matriarchal, because they are still living in accordance with the patterns of matrilinearity and matrilocality.
What makes the Mosuo so interesting for many anthropologists is their matriarchal society. The majority of the Mosuo still live according to the patterns of matrilinearity and matrilocality in big clan-houses that are built in a square. All persons within each clan-house have the clan name of the eldest woman, the clan mother. These names are, for example: "Tiger Mother," "Snake Mother," "Cougar Mother," "Tree Mother," and so on. The names, as well as the common ownership of the house and the land, are exclusively inherited through the female line.
The women of the first generation are between sixty and eighty years old.
The Women of the second generation are between forty and sixty years old. One woman of a group of sisters has been elected by the clan members to be the matriarch. With the help of her sisters, she cares for the economic and social affairs of the clan-house. She is the administrator of all possessions of the clan: the house, fields, domestic animals and food, as well as the horses, which are mostly used by the men of the clan, her brothers and sons. All goods are given into her hands: the crops of the fields, the fruits of the gardens, the fishes and hunted animals - even the goods and the money that have been earned by the men through long-distance trade by means of horse caravans. She is also the distributor of these goods, caring for the welfare of every member of the extended family. She plans the agricultural labor, acts as host for the guests, and is the priestess of the clan house during the important family ceremonies, like the initiation festival of the girls and the funeral ceremonies for the deceased. Her brother, elected to be the representative of the clan, helps her by organizing external affairs, which involves communication with the neighbors and planning the men's work.
The women of the third generation are between thirteen and forty years old. At about thirteen years of age, after the ceremony of initiation, girls are considered to be full members of the clan and are given the key to their own rooms. This young generation of women does the hard work in the fields and gardens. They are also occupied with love, pregnancy, and motherhood. Their traditional custom was to have mutual marriage between two clans, but this form has ceased to exist. Today, each woman chooses her lovers as she wishes. Love affairs are easily begun and easily broken off without problems for the young woman and her children because they are all at home in their (grand)mother's house.
A Mosuo man has his rights and duties in the house of his mother, not in the house of his love, where he is only a guest.
The children belong exclusively to the mother and her clan. The brothers of the young women take care of the nieces and nephews, who are regarded as their children, too, because they share the same clan name. The uncles of the children fulfill the role of social fatherhood, which is typical for matriarchal societies. Biological fatherhood makes no sense to the Mosuo, socially or spiritually.
You pays your money and takes your choice
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You are my opponent, but not my enemy, for your resistance gives me strength. Your will gives me courage. Your spirit ennobles me. And, although I aim to defeat you, should I succeed, I will not humiliate you, instead I will honour you..For without you, I am a lesser man.