The Bonobo Factor: Sexy Feminism

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Read the introduction to this series of posts here.

Bonobo Love Secret 02 - Feminism Can Be Very Sexy

“Sex At Dawn” co-author Christopher Ryan writes:

When females are in charge, everyone lives better (including the males). While male chimps run the show, among bonobos, it’s the females who are in charge, with much better quality of life for everyone involved (see #1 -- more sex = less conflict).

What does this mean for us?

Well, first off, it means we have things seriously backwards.

Today our world is almost completely patriarchal in nature. It wasn’t always this way. Human beings, after all, have been around for a very long time. A common number that archaeologists use for the existence of “modern humans” is about 200,000 years. By our current measurement of time, we call it 2013. Hmm... so that means we’ve been around for almost 1,000 times as long as the period from Christ’s existence to the present. Yes, we’ve been here a very long time.

In her book, “When God Was A Woman”, Merlin Stone looks beyond our 2000 years of Christianity to find lots of evidence of Goddess worship throughout pre-history. While some of her findings have been hotly debated, she shows that female divinity was recognized, worshipped and integrated into societal structures throughout pre-history.

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Ryan and Metha in “Sex At Dawn” cite work by early anthropologists, who described the lifestyles of newly discovered indigenous peoples and tribes as Europeans spread across the globe, which supports this. Many of these peoples, absent of any influence for multiple millennia, were discovered to be matriarchal in worship and social structure, fostering a peaceful, prosperous and egalitarian way of life guided by the wise intuition of the women.

In a recent conversation with a Deputy Chief of a First Nations tribe in British Columbia, Willow and I were moved to hear about their peaceful matriarchal ways that lasted until the government intervened in the middle of the last century.

Indeed, Heide Gottner-Abendroth, in her seminal work “Matriarchal Societies”, describes in detail many peaceful and prosperous matriarchal societies that still exist to present day. Ironically, they are almost completely ignored by social scientists exploring human social behavior. Her extensive work identifies the many benefits these societies enjoy with women in charge.

What is interesting is that ‘women in charge’ looks very different from ‘men in charge’. In other words, matriarchal social organization is not just patriarchy with women at the top instead of men. It takes on a completely new type of power structure that is based on collaboration, egalitarianism and prosperity for all.

While our current patriarchal societies have proven to disempower women, matriarchal societies not only empower women to utilize their nurturing wisdom, they also empower men. We hope to touch on many of the reasons why this is so in future posts.

What does this mean for us? The bonobos urge us to look more closely at matriarchal societies throughout history and begin to explore how matriarchal community living might help us shift stale male-centric social paradigms.

Read Part Four HERE