Entry for the Ironic Username award.
Anyway, joking aside, the page in question has a few problems. While the main Matriarchy page describes the details of the concept as 'wholly up to the author to invent', Matriarchy In Name Only reads like a treatise for someone's personal and specific views of what a matriarchy should be, decorated with opinions about sexism and authorial ignorance. The criteria for inclusion are apparently 'elements of a patriarchy', but most of these seem to be arbitrary. The whole slant also leaves it ambiguous: the description makes provisions for societies which are marketed as equal but have a male bias, but not for those billed as matriarchies which have no bias.
These issues could be eliminated by simply making it a page for what the title suggests: nominal matriarchies which actually have no bias towards either sex, or which have a male-biased government structure. An unbiased description which doesn't run mostly on opinions, and a request that people don't use real examples to support an unbiased relaunch, could shore the page up.
Here's the problem I have with this page, examples like this:
The Drow in Dungeons & Dragons worship a spider goddess and keep men for sex purposes, but Drow women are all gorgeous babes in Chainmail Bikini-like clothes, with Drow men dressing much more conservatively.
Let's see how well that logic actually works:
In Saudi Arabia, men are the leaders, with women being forced to stay at home, but men dress in attractive clothing, with women dressing much more conservatively.
Obviously, this means that Saudi Arabia is only pretending to be a patriarchy.
There are good examples on the page. The ones that are just whining about objectifaction of women are only making the rest of the page look bad.
I wondered about the Drow example, actually, and thought about removing it. Loosely speaking, there is a point to it, but it's weak at best. But if I'm not the only one who thinks so, it's probably not an example. I'm removing it.
Anyway, people wanting to flaunt their bodies don't really count towards or against this trope, in my opinion.
The point was rather that there are no major problems with the trope that needs TRS attention. Small misuse can be deleted anyway, with a proper edit reason.
Put it back. To my knowlege, the drows are the go to example for discussing false matriarchies. For god's sake, you're not actually comapring fictional characters written by and for a male audience for the purpose of titillation with a real society, are you?
Who wrote it, for whom, and for what purpose has no relevance to the trope.
I'm not opposed to it being on the page, but it needs to be written as a proper example, explaining why the males have more or equal power compared to the females. As it was written, it didn't fit the trope. If the males have some power and the females have significantly more power, it's still a matriarchy.
I don't think the drow are an example. Certainly as written above they're not. If they're a false matriarchy, then explain why (and no, the fact that the most famous drow character is male is not sufficient).
Their view of the drow seems based on pictures of them and the very highest class of female drow and then all drow males. Not the actual material in the book. It seems like they mostly wrote it based on a couple of things they found reading Google.
Never mind that they don't seem to have a great grasp on how patriarchies work in the real world. They seem to think closing any route to a woman means it's not a real matriarchy when patriarchies in the real world often close out possibilities to men.
It also ignores the fact that drow men are just as sexualized as drow women.
Also, the end note about D&D at the end of the second one ignores the fact that Sune has more BDSM subtext than the drow do despite being good aligned and having a female based clergy. (Their weapon of choice is a whip.)
It's basically a very narrow view from someone who only looked at the surface of something and judged it in it's entirety based on first impressions.
edited 17th Sep '12 2:37:29 PM by shimaspawn
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
-Philip K. Dick
The argument seems to be whether the trope is "a matriarchy that isn't really one" ex:Quest for Glory 3 where Tarna is ruled by a council of women ... who answer to a male king. They literally lay on the ground in front of his elevated throne. And "a matriarchy that isn't feminist" such as the Drow example where Drow society is most certainly a true matriarchy but it presents a very negative image of female rule. A lot of Sci Fi and Fantasy matriarchies would fit into this catagory. It might be a good idea to split the concepts and have this trope for the former and another trope like "Sexist Matriarchy" for the later.
The Quest for Glory 3 example is also wrong, it is never mentioned that the King is supposed to be "a powerless figurehead", only that he does not handle most day-to-day decisions that come with ruling Tarna, but his word remains law second only to Sekmet their goddess. In fact, it's kind of a plot point that Rajah can declare war whenever he damn well wants if he decides to ignore the council.
The Dragon Age example is also wrong, The Qunari are led by a Triumvirate. One of whom is explicitly male since he's seen in game, and one who can be inferred to be always female.
The Dragon Age example is less straightforward than that. What matters isn't just what we're told, but what we see. We only see the Qunari army, which is exclusively male.
Mind you, it's not really referred to as a matriarchy, so I guess it would be wrong for that reason instead. I think someone got the idea because the female Qunari are the ones who handle the actual governing.
I think there's probably going to be a fair amount of confusion over this trope with examples like this and the drow, though for differing reasons in both cases.
I'm not going to bother much more with this, just whatever you do, don't write these authors off as incompetent, ok? The border house is a blog dedicated to intersectional gaming and both authors make accurate references to extisting research on gender, so I'm pretty sure that they understand patriarchy as well as anyone here, and assuming they don't know anything about dungeons and dragons because they make this interpretation is more than a little disturbing.
Very few blogs are about presenting correct facts. They tend to be about raising opinions, or make you think about the subjects they bring up. That one was heavily skewed towards (but not all the way) "matriarchys are completely and utterly wrong the way they're presented in most stories". They do have several good points, but the specific examples are only presented from one view.
The authors' are certainly not incompetent. It does take some brains to figure out how to write it and deliver the message they want. The research, however, is more wide than deep. Also, very few issues worth talking about are simple enough that they can be described in a single blog post. You're going to have to cut a few corners.
I would also question the Pern example. There's no indication in the books that the Weyr culture is patriarchal or matriarchal. Rather there's a division of responsibility along gender lines, with the women tending to the day-to-day running of the Weyrs, and the men being policy-makers and the warleaders. But there's no indication of routine female subordination ("I'm the man, so I'm in charge" thinking) in the Weyrs. Other groups, like the Lilcamps and some of the Holds (Half-Circle Seahold during Menolly's childhood there is a prime example) are clearly patriarchal. But not the Weyrs.
edited 19th Sep '12 1:23:48 PM by Madrugada
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Which really isn't any different from "Patriarchies are BAD" which some feminists (the kind I'm not) are spouting, though from that side it's somehow not a sexist way of thinking. According to them, anyway. Not relevant to the trope, though.
True. And? That doesn't make "Author writes a matriarchy solely to make the point that matriarchies are BAD" any less of a trope. Patriarchies are rarely treated the same way; <This patriarch> may be a bad man, bad leader, bad father, but it's not usually extended to "And therefore Patriarchy is a flawed system that cannot work well."
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
I assume you're talking about the Matriarchy trope? As the writer of it, I feel like I should clarify.
Sexist Matriarchy refers specifically to the type of matriarchy used as an example of why women are unfit to hold any power. As such, it is the most sexist type of matriarchy. It's not so much that other types aren't sexist, just that this one is the most blatantly so. Which is why it's a Dead Horse Trope.
The page even admits that an Enlightened Matriarchy is extremely sexist, just in the opposite way.
Page Action: Matriarchy In Name Only
10th Jan '13 1:22:44 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
Matriarchy In Name Only suffers from an insufficiently clear definition and was becoming "complaining about social structures you don't like".
12 (yeas:15 nays:3) 5.00 : 1
4 (yeas:9 nays:5) 1.80 : 1
Redefine to "The society is clearly called or identified as a matriarchy within the work, but actually has no bias towards either sex, or has a government structure, social structure, or both, biased in favor of males."
-5 (yeas:3 nays:8)
Redefine to "Women are stated within the work to be in power but no women are seen making decisions (Informed Ability)." Oblige each example to quote the canon as to women being in power, and give the evidence that this is not what happens.