My views on this are rather controversial, so I apologise in advance.
Please forgive me if I seem a little rude here. The big problem I have with this, Christopher
, is that from my point of view (and I'm sorry to make assumptions) you seem to be trapped in the exact ideological pattern you're supposedly challenging. It looks to me like you see the supposed and accepted "truth" that humans are male-dominated and that "men have the voice and the power" and then you say "ah, but women always had a voice, had power too". I would say that's an exercise in constructing a false history and then deconstructing it again. In other words, a variant on that same biased history (and its assumptions about what is important and where real power lies) that you're challenging. If I may be so bold, look at it from my point of view, as someone who never
accepted an ideological worldview that conformed to any standard, either from modern feminist-saturated culture or the traditional culture it was supposedly critiquing.
I never bought into the idea that men were prominent and “important” and women weren't - I didn't see the lie as you seem to see it (and as the mainstream ideology runs), in terms of men being self-centred or imposing, but rather as a means of denying men and boys the opportunity to truly challenge how society would use them. Labour, cannon fodder, even leadership and direction - it is all to serve, and by constructing an account of the supremacy of this service, it prevents anyone truly having opportunity to question things. The self-aggrandizing of patriarchy is a self-deception that, in my mind, perpetuates exploitation of male humans. So much so that men would toil down mines to support families or march into battle in their millions and suffer appallingly, or die, just because "that's what we do".
It's the old feminist lie of "his story". In school, we had the standard line about focus on women authors and women's voices to supposedly redress an imbalance. The argument is the common one that human males controlled the discourse, and thus history was the voicing of the male promoted at the expense of the female. Ignoring for a moment the obvious truth that even if that was the case only a minority of men would have their voice represented (because while women may wield power collectively men have to compete personally and individually for it, be it in politics, sexuality, etc), the fact is that - as you yourself note - much of it is just aggrandizing and denying the genuine power and influence of women. It's a lie. How is that then a true male voice? They’re just parroting deceptions. The point I would make is that men denied womens' power not out of a desire to dominate but out of a combination of how they're raised (and who's doing the raising, I wonder, as you yourself note?) and an inability to face the truth that they were the weaker party, because human society insists it MUST be otherwise, truth be damned. Humans are ideologues, they relate to their world based on what reinforces or supports their assumptions. I’d propose that because our civilization has always depended on the idea that males are responsible, resourceful, strong, it cannot acknowledge or face up to the idea that men are anything other than responsible, in control, powerful. To think otherwise is terrifying for a human, yes? We just have to look at the situation today, where many men are completely disillusioned with the demands society places on them, to see that human society has become so dependent on men being "responsible" and "strong" that it starts to break down if that isn't reinforced.
Then there's simple pride - men didn't want to acknowledge that women had more power than they did. How can we be surprised, when wielding power gains a man worth, most especially in the eyes of the females who, as nature dictates, select which males are worthy mates and which are not?
Again, I would say that the historical "male voice" is not the voice of truth but of deception. Personally, I was desperate throughout my youth for anything in literature, etc, that would lift the obvious veil and actually speak to me, a boy, as truth. But I was fed lies and indoctrination at every step. Patriarchs or feminists - what's the difference from where I'm standing? Liars all. The traditional "canonical" texts and the feminist-influenced challengers were, to me, simply allies in denying me my
voice, my true heritage. Working together to prop up a falsehood.
If I may make another point: calling formal politics as our cultures understand it a "male-centric" concept implies (please forgive once more my assumptions here) that men are disposed to work in that manner or that this is their natural way of doing things. But that's only because men have been excluded from the other aspects of our civilization (women want it so, most of the time, and men well know it), just as women have been excluded from the male sphere. And the idea that the men are responsible for all this, that they made the choice and imposed it, simply buys into another lie of our civilization - the idea that the male is responsible while the female is irresponsible. But as with sexual selection - where despite the male being supposed to make the first move he's actually responding to signals from the female - men are giving women what they believe or suppose women want. Doesn't mean they're always right, mind you.
I might go as far to say that among humans men think they lead when they don’t and women think they follow when they actually lead.
You seem (here I go again), to frame part of your conclusions in terms of learning to acknowledge the equal importance of the designated feminine sphere to the masculine. I would argue that the real way forward is to deny the idea that those aspects of society are
feminine, because that makes women hostile to any attempt by males to enter it. And a house divided against itself cannot stand. Again, look at it from my point of view. The things I instinctively value - community, family, continuity - are designated women’s concern by our cultures (hells, even intellect and academia, once considered masculine by default, are increasingly perceived as feminine). It was made quite
clear to me throughout my youth that I was to be excluded and marginalized from the community, the family, because it wasn't my place
. These things are communicated quite effectively, I assure you.
I've always been a very strong critic of traditional patriarchal societies, largely because in my mind they are propped up by self-deception and exploitation on a grand scale. But I don't see such societies as having an imbalance in favour of males but as constructing a facade to disguise the actual imbalance against them. (And, ironically, perhaps the lie becomes so powerful it starts, in some places, to truly resemble the truth). In my mind, to ensure a balance between the sexes requires dismantling the same assumptions you're acknowledging as prevalent, but also the idea that those same assumptions are the product of male responsibility and control.
I would say our modern society is the first to ever truly challenge gender roles - not because it's challenging male power (which is a construct reinforced by our feminist society just so it can go on bashing at it) but because it's challenging female
power and waking up to the fact that, yes, male-oriented history is a biased lie. One that we’re finally starting to shake ourselves free of. But we have to be truly free of it, because it’s already reeling us back in due to the feminist assertion that this biased history is a bastion of true male power and control.
I guess what I'm saying overall is that your take on this general issue seems to ignore whole swaths of the debate. But, again, please forgive if I have been rude.