The myth of matriarchal prehistory and the new feminist methodology

Gender and the Interpretation of Power in Archaeology. While the study of gender has led to radical analyses of socially constructed differences between women and men, a primary anthropological question continues to be asked: This same birthday for patriarchy, five thousand years in the past, was mentioned several times in a lecture I attended in in New York City.

Sure, there is little evidence for a matriarchal prehistory. But her most important point is the very last paragraph, "Feminist matriarchal myth does not actually recount the history of sexism, as it purports to do.

Who needs the Nature Conservancy when mothers rule?

Collision of Cultures Major social and economic changes took place in Europe within the 4th and 3rd millennia BC resulting in the establishment of Bronze Age societies.

Please do us all a favor and keep discourse civil. The Resurgence of the Real: It was a reversal that had a sweet taste of power and revenge. If the sacred is embodied, then our bodies carry with them a sacred authority.

Eller admits that "the idea that [prehistoric imagery] had a religious or magical function is relatively well supported. From the Realm of the Ancestors: Although she admits in her conclusion that "the whole scheme is a construct of culture rather than a fact of nature," the task of "elevating" women to a level equal with men is described as exceedingly difficult due to the reality of female biology and the perceived universality of male dominance.

The sophistication of this theory is lost when it is rendered simply as a cartoon of "evil warriors on horseback" sweeping through Old Europe, destroying the "good Goddess cultures. Clinging to shopworn notions of gender and promoting a demonstrably fictional past can only hurt us over the long run as we work to create a future that helps all women, children, and men flourish.

Rosaldo, Michelle Zimbalist, and Louise Lamphere, eds. Gradually, the idea of male ownership of children took hold Gynocracy also suffered from the periodic invasions of nomadic tribes Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments carved into two stone tablets?

Instead of attempting to transcend and control the body, women began to seek liberation from oppression by embracing and redefining femaleness on their own terms and by personally investigating internalized oppression, rather than focusing primarily on external factors.

More positively, it allowed me to imagine myself and other women as people whose biological sex did not immediately make the idea of their leadership, creativity, or autonomy either ridiculous or suspect. However, recently I stumbled over a pretty interesting article about another feminist shtick - the idea that in the days gone by, there was a glorious past age where everybody lived in harmony with everybody, which was presided over by wise and benevolent matriarchs.

Indeed, the myth of matriarchal prehistory is not a feminist creation, in spite of the aggressively feminist spin it has carried over the past twenty-five years.

This "mother-right" was conceived by analogy with "father-right" rather than from ethnographic studies of female-oriented social forms. All interpretations are based upon assumptions which influence the range and direction of interpretive possibilities. The vision of women that feminist matriarchalists have is very, very narrow.

September 17 (goddess)

For instance, in Siberia where the ice-shield melted slowest in Eurasia, a continuity of Palaeolithic socioeconomic patterns endured in local populations.

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: I left that interaction thinking, "Matriarchal?

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future

For me, though, she did not go into enough detail, and left me scratching my head on some of the "core" words and how they were used to determine how language spread. There is a theory of sex and gender embedded in the myth of matriarchal prehistory, and it is neither original nor revolutionary.

These egalitarian people, studied by Peggy Reeves Sanday for over two decades, express many of the elements described by Gimbutas as Old European. Nevertheless, Eller argues that such women are dangerous: Her new book, alas, exhibits no such good humour.

As the matriarchalists see it, the lost paradise of female power was a paradise because women are so wonderful. It is to this descriptive task that the next two chapters are devoted.

The derisive laughter that followed from the other students left her with the attitude that pervades this book: For a perceptive overview of the development of feminist thought and gender studies see GilchristShe writes, "'matriarchal' can be thought of as a shorthand description of any society in which women's power is equal to or superior to men's, and in which the culture centers around values and life events described as 'feminine'" (12/13).

Now one feminist who felt indebted to the scientific method, Cynthia Eller, poked holes into the construct of that mythical feminist past and ultimately rejected it due to its dubious veracity, not without writing her extensive take on it entitled " The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory.

Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future".


The Myth of Universal Patriarchy: A Critical Response to Cynthia Eller’s Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory Joan Marler the so-called myth of matriarchal prehistory posits, in its simplest terms, that women were honoured at the center of early Feminist Matriarchy.

The myth of a matriarchal prehistory is not new, nor is it always flack copy for females. Many traditional cultures tell stories of dark distant days when women ruled, and made a harrowing mess of things.

The main thesis of The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory is stated in the concluding sentence of Joan Bamberger's article, "The Myth of Matriarchy," from the same volume: "The myth of matriarchy is but the tool used to keep woman bound to her place.

To free her, we need to destroy the myth.". Cynthia Eller is Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Religious Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey; she has also written Gentlemen and Amazons: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, and Living In The Lap of Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America.

She explains in the first chapter of this .

The myth of matriarchal prehistory and the new feminist methodology
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