Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 97

SPECIAL : BEYOND PATRIARCHY A S SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING academic debates on gender and religion for close to two decades (and publishing on them for over a decade), especially in relation to the Islamic tradition but also as a husband, father, and a concerned citizen of the world and concerned about what the future holds, I have come to the conclusion that there are three main pillars in which patri- archy and its worldview are rooted. Namely, 1. Traditional masculinity, 2. ‘Gender oppositionality,’ and 3. Patriarchal honour. In my considered view, it is these three con- cepts and the various assumptions that under- pin them, that are responsible for the con- struction of beliefs, values, and practices that have resulted in various forms of exploitative and highly asymmetrical power relationships in general and systematic marginalisation of women’s rights, experiences, and voices in the construction of (religious) knowledge and the formation of (religious) ethics in particular. The aim of this article is to explain the world- view and the ‘logic’ behind these concepts. It is important at the very outset to state that the theories and the concepts that underpin the patriarchal worldview manifest themselves in traditionalist approaches to many major religious traditions. However, the discussion pertaining to the theory of gender opposition- ality and patriarchal honour discussed below is primarily informed by my research and read- ings into the premodern Islamic interpretative tradition and its contemporary articulations in particular and should be taken as such. In the final part of the article I provide brief thoughts on how to go beyond the three pillars of pa- triarchy in order to overcome the patriarchal ideals and the worldview with which they are intricately associated. VOL. 34, NO. 1 Capitalist ethos and social order is lethal on an individual and collective level. PATRIARCHY AND TRADITIONAL MASCULINITY In what follows I wish to examine the concept of patriarchy through a particular lens, namely that of traditional masculinity as theorised by Kilmartin. 1 Traditional masculinity is the ultimate source of the values and norms of patriarchy. These values and norms include, among others, power, competition, aggression/ domination, and sexual conquest. Patriarchy is a dual system of domination of a small percentage of powerful men over other men and the domination of men in general over women and children. Patriarchy, as a system of domination, is based upon a certain worldview that manifests itself in all aspects of human existence, both at the level of society and at the level of the individual. It affects the way people think, behave, and feel. Patriarchy is anchored in the ethos of tradi- tional masculinity that is upheld as an ideal and norm for many men and women. It is founded on competition and creation of hierar- chies that can have devastating consequences. Capitalism is based on the same characteris- tics of domination and power over. This com- bination is lethal both on an individual and © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 97