Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 40

Partnerships Instead: Deconstructing the Domination RIANE EISLER H roles and relations not only shapes our per- sonal life options; it directly impacts whether our social institutions—from the family, education, and religion to politics and economics—are equitable or inequitable, authoritarian or democratic, violent or nonvio- lent. These connections have been thoroughly documented. Yet they are still rarely acknowl- edged, and this failure is perpetuated by popu- lar and scholarly narratives, as well as by our language. As linguistic psychologist Robert Ornstein points out, “. . . language provides an almost unconsciously agreed on set of catego- ries for experience, and allows the speakers of that language to ignore experiences excluded by the common category system.” 1 40 OW A SOCIETY STRUCTURES GENDER W W W .T I K K U N . O R G The only categories in our language that de- scribe gender relations are patriarchy and matriarchy. But patriarchy is not an accurate term, since male-dominance is not only con- trol by fathers. Moreover, patriarchy implies that the alternative is matriarchy, or control by mothers rather than fathers. Semantically, neither matriarchy nor patriarchy describes egalitarian gender relations: their message is that our only alternatives are either men or women ruling. Our language’s other social categories, such as Eastern/Western, religious/secular, rightist/ leftist, technologically developed/undevel- oped, pay scant or no attention to the relations between the male and female forms of human- WINTER 2019