Digital Patriarchy?

Andrew Sweeny
7 min readDec 18, 2020

The word patriarchy has come to mean an oppressive power structure run by men and the systematic abuse and exclusion of women. It describes the ignoble sins of men throughout history and the plight of women who have always been victims of men; patriarchy is a word synonymous with ‘injustice’ and seen exclusively through a social justice lense. Of course, beyond the historical exclusion of women in public life, even today women who are rape victims are stoned to death for adultery or burned alive as witches for possessing an ‘evil eye’. In the face of such past and present horrors it is hard to argue with the evils of tyrannical patriarchy. The historical and present mistreatment of women does not need to be enumerated: it is now quite obvious to most sensitive and educated people.

However, what is not obvious to the modern mind is the potential virtue of a noble, even a virtuous patriarchy. (Note: when I say ‘noble’ I am not referring to class nobility, but rather the noble qualities of character and leadership.) What if patriarchy is not essentially evil? Patriarchy literally means ‘the rule of the father’, which doesn’t necessarily discount ‘the rule of the mother’ or an equally powerful matriarchy. Throughout history there have always been men who ruled through self sacrifice, wisdom, and dedication to the protection and advancement of women. And certainly there have always been women leaders-even if the matriarchs were not always present in the public sphere and are absent from our history books.

Of course, while we justly cherish the equality of the sexes, let us stop pretending that ‘equality of outcome’ of the sexes were possible or desirable or anything else but a totalitarian concept. Women and men should be allowed to occupy different realms through their own choice, cultural history, and biological imperative. Women today, for example, on average, are more interested in being doctors and lawyers than engineers or policemen-even if progress has allowed for both sexes to freely choose to be present in both realms. We should celebrate such freedom of choice, even if it means men will continue to dominate the tech world and women the caring professions. Let us celebrate our differences rather than try to create a bland society of sameness.

Describing the history of humanity exclusively through the lenses of male domination and…

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Andrew Sweeny

Compressed scraps of angel melody, stories, essays, rants against reductionism, commands from the deep.