Tiffiney Yazzie
Rosita, 2012

Tiffiney’s large-scale portraits of her mother, Rosita, serves as an exploration of the bond the two have as well the matriarchal element that runs through many Native American tribes.

Tiffiney Yazzie grew up in Chinle, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. She is from the Yucca Fruit-Strung-Out-In-A-Line Clan and is born for the Salt People Clan. She recently received her BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Tiffiney’s work focuses on the unique and complex systems connected to our existence. Yazzie’s photographs have been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions locally and nationally. Tiffiney currently lives and works in Tempe, Arizona.

Separating marriage from child rearing: The Mosuo of China.

By Jonathan Harrison, PhD

In the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China lives a small ethnic group called the Mosuo. Among the Mosuo, romantic and family life are separated into different spheres by design. Children are usually raised in the home of their maternal grandmother with the help of their mother. She may maintain a long-term, monogamous romantic relationship with the father but, unlike in the West, this is considered separate from her role as a mother.

The role of the biological father is discretionary.  There is no word in their language, in fact, for husband or father.  A father is allowed, but not required to provide financial support and he is usually permitted to visit the mother and their child(ren) only at night. They call it “Axia” or “Walking Marriage.” The children’s primary male role models are usually their uncles, who remain under the authority of the children’s grandmother as they live under her roof.

From the Mosuo point of view, separating marriage from the raising of children ensures that the vagaries of romance do not disrupt the happiness and health of the child and its mother. Nor can the father wield power over the mother by threatening to withdraw from the marriage. Meanwhile, because the family of origin is never eclipsed by a procreative family, the Mosuo system reduces the likelihood that elders will be abandoned by their families when they need support in old age.

“Think about it,” writes an expert at Mosuo Project.

Divorce is a non-issue…there are no questions over child custody (the child belongs to the mother’s family), splitting of property (property is never shared), etc. If a parent dies, there is still a large extended family to provide care.

This way of organizing families is an excellent refutation of the hegemonic view that children need the biological father to live under their roof (and by implication, to be their patriarch). You can learn more about the Mosuo in the documentaries The Women’s Kingdom and The Mosuo Sisters.

Image: A 78-year-old grandmother with her family (from Gender Across Borders).

Dr. Jonathan Harrison earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Leicester, UK. His research interests include the Holocaust, comparative religion, racism, and the history of African Americans in Florida. He teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University and Hodges University. 

mother nature: the ultimate SJW

Whenever sexist MRA douchebros start citing sketchy evopsych logic as a reason why women are fundamentally different to men and cultural/social gender roles are a fixed, binary necessity “because it’s just how nature works” I want to laugh and laugh and laugh, because actual nature is not even remotely in the business of supporting their misogynistic bullshit, and it’s beautiful.

I mean, seriously: pretty much all the most intelligent mammals, like orca, dolphins, elephants, hyenas, pigs, baboons and gibbons are matriarchal; of the brightest primates, only gorillas and chimpanzees are patriarchal - though patriarchal chimps are still less intelligent than matriarchal bonobos - and while orangutans are mostly solitary, their primary social bonds are between mothers and their offspring

And for anyone who thinks, despite the overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary, that the idea of nonbinary gender is something modern feminists and SJWs invented overnight because reasons and which has no other basis in biology, well: the freemartins, maned lionesses, female insects with penises, pregnant male seahorses and mammalian female pseudo-penises of the animal kingdom - not to mention the wide array of biological differences underpinning human concepts of gender - beg to differ. And that’s just for starters.  

Basically, gender and sexuality are fascinatingly diverse whichever way you look at them, and once you throw in the fact that humans are clearly capable of consciously altering our own cultures, the idea that we’re predeterministically slaved to a single sexist system is rendered even more absurd than ever.

  • Junior Physics Major:Women are already starting to destroy men's inalienable rights by making themselves the household heads, and policy leaders.
  • Junior Sociology Major:What? Matriarchies aren't even a real thing in American society.
  • Junior Physics Major:Matriarchies aren't fake–My Little Pony is matriarchal.

Can you describe the origins of Patriarchy?

Maria Mies, author of Patriarchy & Accumulation on a World Scale, interviewed by Jeanny Gering. For further elaboration by Mies on the subject read her work: “The Social Origins of the Sexual Division of Labor”.


“The second problem arises from the transformation of the meaning of arché from “origin” to meaning “rule, domination”. First, a “right to rule” is deduced from the fact of origin. This could mean either the power of the body of the mother, of the female (e.g., Mühlmann 1984), or mother-power (Canetti 1986), or “mother-right” as well (Bachofen 1978). But in this case there is no “rule”. Or possibly what is meant is that the maternal power, which by nature is necessary for nurturing, protecting, and accompanying new life until it is able to take care of itself, is replaced by a father’s “right to rule”. Either the father “rules” and assumes the power of the mother while she is giving birth, or the “father” makes his claim to the power because he himself is the one giving birth. This would mean a kind of “father’s power”. However, since fathers are not able to give birth and thus are not by nature “powerful” in this sense, we still have the problem of explaining which non-maternal birth and non-maternal ruling power we are talking about here. 

Things are just as difficult when we look at the word “pater”. In the discussion on patriarchy it is often not taken into account that – as far as we know – the word father did not even exist in pre-patriarchal society, and when it finally appears with patriarchy, it does not mean any of the things we usually associate with it. When the concept of father appeared in history, it did not mean the physical father who takes care of his children. The concept of father was from the beginning an abstract institutional one instead, a concept of hierarchy, rule and domination (e.g. von Braun 1990). The father appears from the beginning in connection with the concept of domination, the lawful ruler, God, something superhuman (see Freud 1974). The father concept thus did not necessarily mean physical fatherhood, and it did not originate in the sensual culture of matriarchies. Only with this in mind can we understand that the concept of father is a purely utopian concept, in the sense that the “rule” of the “father” is: a) possible; b) desirable; c) so all comprehensive that it could even include the maternal, real origin, the birth event; and/or d) no longer needs the maternal, because it has completely “replaced” it. 

This way patriarchy is basically the expression of a social utopia which states that it is the father and not the mother, in the abstract institutional form of “fatherhood”, i.e., as a supposed God or his “law”, or even a “natural law”, who creates life, or who ideally one day will be able to do so. So patriarchy is in the end an unimaginable, incomprehensible, almost inexpressible claim totally unattached to and abstracted from the concrete conditions of earthly existence, going far beyond anything as banal as some sort of “birth envy”. Its goal is nothing less than the transformation of the birth-giving female body into an all-producing and universally reproducible thing, to replace the birth-giving body with a non-bodily, non-female machinery and claim this machinery to be the goal and end of human history. The same is true for Mother Nature and the earth herself. “

- excerpt from Losing Faith in Progress: Capitalist Patriarchy as an Alchemical System” by Claudia von Werlhof


Vocabulary of Change: Angela Davis & Tim Wise in Conversation

pantieslegrandma asked:

Hello from Finland and thank you for your wonderful blog. If you don't mind me asking, you mentioned the Ashanti Empire in a recent post and noted that it was matriarchal. Could you possibly post links or more information on this since all I can find is a wikipedia page. I got curious since we were told in our anthropology classes that matriarchal societies didn't really exist despite matrilineality.

Thanks. In retrospect, I really wish I’d said “matrilineal” instead of “matriarchal” because…yeah. Huge debate. To get a groundwork on what an unbelievable mess/kettle of fish this is, probably check out this book starting on page 82 for why you were taught that. It’s another one of those problems that has to do with lack of agreement on what words mean, Victorians ruining everything for everyone, and some really intense othering of peoples and cultures. Here’s an anthropology book on the matriarchal society of the Jino people of Yunnan in China, for example. It’s my opinion that the debate over this has way more to do with society now than societies in history. Here’s a bit more on how “matriarchy” is determined by Western academics.


Okay this is some real shit right here

College humor knows what’s up

Love you guys, keep doin’ what ya do

On the island of Orango Grande, in the Bijagos Archipelago, at the coast of Guinea Bissau, there is a matriarchal society where women possess all the power, where they organise themselves into associations which manage the economy, social welfare and the law.

It is the woman who impose sanctions, direct, advise and distribute goods and is respected as the absolute owner of both the house and the land. Here it is the man who has the obligation to dress very well to attract the attention of a woman. Women hold the supreme power of divorce in marriage. Men are turned to only for the tilling of the fields, hunting monkeys and fishing.


PATRIARCHAL tactics 101:

always making it your responsibility to earn his trust; always being on the defensive position.  EXIT strategy: just, stop play to his games.  

Give up the exceptions that happiness is achievable through proving your value to him. 

Possessiveness 101

How to deal with manipulators?

How to Deal with a Narcissist?