Women and Men in “Egalitarian Matriarchy” by Carol P. Christ

When the word “matriarchy” is spoken, the first question that comes up is: what about men? Most people imagine that matriarchy must oppress men—just as patriarchy oppresses women. Sadly, concern about the oppression of women in patriarchy is less automatic.

In the classical dualisms (stemming from Plato) that structure much of western thought up to the present day, nature is associated with finitude and death, which are viewed as limitations. Men are said to be able to transcend finitude and death through their rational capacities, while women are said to be tied to the body and less capable of transcending it. This becomes a justification for the subordination and domination of women.

While western thought disparages nature, the egalitarian matriarchalMinangkabau people of western Sumatra, base their worldview on the principle of growth in nature. The Minangkabau say that they “take the good in nature” and “throw away the…

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