Harsimran Kaur ON  July 11, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, THE PATRIARCHS: HOW MEN CAME TO RULE BY ANGELA SAINI-NON-FICTION

Rating: 5/5

The feather-brained impulses from men have tethered women to find recluse in the hegemony of their paradoxical life. A comeuppance a woman deserves, watched over by the toffee-nosed certitude of men in cadence to label them as a parasitic deems no gratitude. A bullish cannonade has made patriarchy a resplendent torture; self-exculpating tempers to admonish female profligacy—factitious and fermented.

Women have scorned relentlessly to this entire charade; a benign adjustment they try to make to the capricious stews fuming a storm or the distorted ‘think-tanks’ unapologetically passed on as a demand of consanguinity.

Who is a woman?—the rough edged sword of patriarchy that can be twisted and turned as per the reflective bends of culture and religious propensities, and then unceremoniously put back in the scabbard. If patriarchy is all about taming womanhood, why has prescient of life been an effrontery to the nucleus of feminity to a mere persona non grata or a bedeviling obtrusion. It makes my bone tickle to see aggrandizement only enjoyed by men when examples of inclusivity of women in poweress centuries back is a riddle left unsolved.

‘Damn the quest to sow seeds of equality’—where does this ‘quack-quack’ duck out from? The Machiavellian patriarch in fervor of his cultural predisposition talks egregiously to keep women domesticated best to prod her womb or sing a coloration to dispel the monstrosity of monotony. Or the de trop passed on boldly, ‘if she sits on the throne, the legacy would be a perpetual nod to her discretions, propelling a customary tyranny to the ‘menfolk’. She is therefore put down to slavery or slithers like a dust mite whose identity is neglected as a diffused bulb. The nonchalance creeps in, ‘what are we waiting for’? Centuries back, men tried to brush the rising woman power in a colonial spirit or through the capitalist warfare.

Women in an infra dig, a laggard in a Quế or a putrescent feminity of discordant emotions—when did this cataclysm ensue? Was she always a fish out of the water or once upon a time the ministries of happiness and aplomb whaled like a lamprey, svelte and lour, keeping men under the carapsse of its dorsal fin? Yes, of course! It did. Angela Saini conscientiously goes millions pebbles back to get close to civilizations, the earliest in fact, where women were revered as goddesses and men their incessant devotees—wow! I would relate all this to a hunting expedition where observance and reflection are bending together for a coup de grace. It’s not the daydreaming of a ceremonious hunting but collectively a way of living at that time that gave women a carte blanche which is notoriously seen as a chimera today!

Ever heard about the Khasi Clan?Ignorant I was to their cultural denominations but the author has spilled the beans that open a smorgasbord of options women experimented with. The clan held to the tradition of letting men move out of their house to live with their wives—a celebrated marital bliss devoid of any cultural regression. So what makes patriarchy a living legend today? To know the prevalence of its roots, it’s important to understand what was suppressed to make it a cotyledon in the vast swathe of female ingenuity.    

The book, ‘The Patriarchs: How Men Came to Rule’ is a cornucopia of detailed research, observations and contemplations by many prominent archeologist, one of them being James Mellaart who compounded the theory of women as cumulonimbus, lightening its poweress as a ‘goddess’ in the Neolithic settlement of ‘Catalhoyuk’ around 5000 years back. Marija Gimbutas, an anthropologist and Lithuanian archeologist invades this celebration of womanhood by her incantation of Russian Steppes battling all the way to sow the seeds of patriarchy; siphoning a cacophony of male dominion though the stigmatic revelation was impugned by the many doyens of Archeology.

Doesn’t all this beat the same drum of ‘women’ rising to their poweress and then melted down to a chastened delinquency? It is as if egalitarianism is knocked by a perpetual greed; an incursion to be the ‘devil in the dystopic rattle-trap’ pullulating its survival by disparaging women. What happens next? Let’s relate it to what the author describes as a pillage of the past. The throttle of slavery became an incumbent need and the concomitant concubine culture festered an inappropriate dimension to the purpose of being a woman. When such stereotypes emerged, feminism did pummel its own rule—incessant battlements between patriarchy and feminism took the ground by awestruck leaping frogs in fisticuffs enshrining what suits each the best; the reserved fatalism to uncanny symbolisms.

Angela Saini goes back and forth to provide a distinctive analogy through voices of the cognoscentis’ in the field of archeology, anthropology and psychology; their words festooned in line to excavations, cultural shifts, burial rituals and religious propensities of how men came to rule, and the simultaneous ineluctable warfare by women to stage a comeback to the fait accompli. Another thing to note discreetly is that not all patriarchy is abominable and not all feminism is isolated. The cultural and religious ‘tap-meter’ gloriously flows the rigid-puritanical beliefs from the ‘Troglodyte era’ that still seeks no digression from the de rigueur. Probably, we all work on ideologies that suit our mind and also reflect the idiosyncrasies’ that form a palimpsest of gaining or sustaining self-divulgence supremacy. 

TAKE AWAY

The book walks you around the effects of colonialism and capitalism on the emergence of patriarchy; the inherent need to control property and gain inheritance is some of the decoded reasons.  During the Cold War, If Soviet Union under the socialist structure gave women the freedom to chalk their own dust, the Americans painted a chiaroscuro of domesticity and inequities. The rest is history considering women from all blocks have a battle to field; the recent enforcement of anti-abortion laws in the United States in 2022 is still a blemished cloud in the horizon.

The book presents indisputable evidence of the genesis of patriarchy—ineluctable and bedeviling….

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