It seems to me like, ever since Men’s Rights Activists were revealed to be an actual thing, I’ve seen frequent accusations of people being MRAs. The way I see it, you can be misogynistic without being an MRA. That particular label is for people who not only think it’s okay to marginalize women, but who hold the conspiracy theory that women secretly ARE the ones with all the power and men the ones who are downtrodden. It’s like how most people with antisemitic viewpoints probably don’t believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I don’t say this to defend bigots, but out of respect for definitions, and as sort of a Know Thy Enemy thing. While MRAs have come out of the woodwork as a dangerous force in some cases, as with the Santa Barbara shooting and GamerGate, they’re really in the minority compared to more subtle sexism, as I mentioned here.
I’ve also been thinking about the idea of matriarchy, as touted by L. Frank Baum and William Moulton Marston in their fiction.
I believe Marston claimed that the ideal government would be Loving Authority, and Baum incorporated many of the ideas of his mother-in-law in his depiction of Ozma and Glinda as loving matriarchs.
Baum wrote an editorial claiming that women were better suited for governing than men, as they were more refined, logical, moral, and honest. It puts me in mind of the Frogman’s comment in The Lost Princess of Oz that women make better soldiers because “[t]hey are more brave than men and they have better nerves.” As a blog I just discovered puts it, “Of course the idea that women will make better rulers (or aviators) than men owing to their innate feminine virtues is an essentialist notion that few modern feminists will greet with favour; and the very notion that anybody, whether male or female, should “rule” is arguably a notion inextricably entangled with patriarchy, and wrong for much the same reasons.” It’s basically a stereotype that, while positive, is also misleading and potentially harmful, like thinking all Asians are good at math. We all know there are plenty of women who aren’t honest or moral. For that matter, Baum’s fiction more or less reflects this in that we first see the Munchkin and Winkie Countries under the control of female tyrants.
I can’t help thinking back to the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, when one of the main reasons I supported Obama over Hillary Clinton was that she seemed more hawkish. I don’t think she’d be a bad president, but I also don’t think she’d lead with loving authority. All too often, I hear about someone asking a woman in a position of power how she feels about something as a mother, but you never seem to hear the same questions directed at men who are fathers. Is it really fair to expect a matriarchy to be motherly when the patriarchy isn’t particularly fatherly? Some would probably say that women have to think and act like men in order to obtain positions typically held by males. I’d say there’s some truth to this, but it’s put in a sexist manner. To me, it’s more that the corrupting influence of power is gender-neutral. I’m definitely in favor of more women in power in politics and business, but I might be even more in favor of people in power who don’t behave like politicians or businesspeople.