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Matriarchy: The lost tribe

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), matriarchy is a "form of social organization in which the mother or oldest female is the head of the family, and descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line; government or rule by a woman or women."

It comes from the Latin meter (genitive mtris), which means "mother," and the Greek v arkhein, which means "to rule." Joseph-François Lafitau (1681–1746) coined the term "ginécocratie" to describe the concept of matriarchy. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word matriarchy was first recorded in 1885. By comparison, the term gynecocracy, which means 'women's rule,' has been in use since the 17th century.

Matriarchy could be a social organisation during which women dominate in roles like political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and property control. While those definitions apply in ordinary English, anthropology and feminism have their definitions that differ in some ways.

Matriarchies, matrilineal, matrilocal, and matrifocal societies are all terms that are used interchangeably. While some may regard any non-patriarchal system to be matriarchal, most academics don't consider those systems to be matriarchal within the literal sense.

Matriarchy has been portrayed as hopeless, in contrast to patriarchy, which has been portrayed as natural and inevitable for society.

Shanklin and Love wrote:

When we hear the word "matriarchy," we are conditioned to believe that it refers to the past in which matriarchies have not existed; that matriarchy may be a hopeless fantasy of female dominance, mothers dominating children, and ladies being cruel to men; which matriarchy could be a hopeless fantasy of female dominance, mothers dominating children, and girls being cruel to men. Patriarchs, of course, benefit by negatively conditioning us toward matriarchy. We are conditioned to believe that patriarchy is natural; as a result, we are less likely to challenge it and devote our efforts to ending it.

For a political society, the term matriarchy is employed. Many societies practice matriarchy. Women have long been loved and valued fir their ability to  bring life, as evidenced by historical records. If you open a Greek epic, you will find gods and feminine warriors who were raised with adoration and reverence.

However, over time, cultures everywhere on the planet began to shift toward a more patriarchal framework, which continues to be prevalent in most communities today. However, there are still matriarchal communities around the world where women are the first decision makers of social, political, and economic concerns. 

Find out how these six distinct communities around the world have deviated from the Western-patriarchal design that's prevalent in most of the planet. Here are 6 Matriarchal societies that have survived for hundreds of years with women at the helm:

Mosuo, China

The Mosuo ladies are China's last matriarchy to survive. In step with The Independent, there are roughly 40,000 of them who practice Tibetan Buddhism. The family's lineage is traced through the ladies. This is often also a matrilineal society, which suggests that property is passed down through the feminine line. Mosuo women don't marry either. If they need to have a partner, they do not live together and therefore, the mother is responsible for the children's upbringing.

BriBri, Costa Rica

The BriBri are an indigenous tribe with a population of 12,000-35,000 individuals. The land is passed down from the mother to her children within this society. Women are venerated and are hence the sole ones capable of preparing the magical cacao drink for religious rituals.

Umoja, Kenya

Because men are forbidden within the Umoja tribe, it's a real No Man's Land. Women who are victims of sexual or gender-based abuse call this village home. In 1990, the Umoja village, which implies "unity" in Swahili, was established. the women and children's activities include showing tourists around their community and educating people about their rights.

Minangkabau, Indonesia

As of 2017, the Minangkabau people are members of the world's largest surviving matriarchal civilization, with a population of around four million people. Within this culture, it's widely held that the mother is the most vital person within the family. The domestic sphere of existence is dominated by women. Within the Minangkabau society, marriage is feasible, but couples must have separate sleeping rooms.

Akan, Ghana

According to Mental Floss, the Akan people's scheme relies on the matriclan. Identity, inheritance, wealth, and politics are all decided within the matriclan. Matriclan founders are women as the name implies. It should be noted, however, that men do hold leadership roles within the Akan Matriclan.

Khasi, India

This matriarchal civilization includes a population of around 1 million people as of 2011. Only mothers and mothers-in-law are permitted to worry for children, and men don't seem to be permitted to attend family events, according to The Guardian. Furthermore, within the Khasi tribe, when women marry, their surname is passed down rather than their husbands'.

So why does Matriarchy fail?

While matriarchy has mostly fallen out of use for the anthropological description of existing societies, it remains currently as an idea in feminism. There are a range of causes contributed to the demise of this civilization, the foremost important of which was a shift within the position of men within the system. Marriages became stronger and more monogamous once the amount of war and strife ended and also the men returned to regular society. The upper caste men with their own culture are accused of being savage and uncivilized.

There was growing hostility toward the 'tharavad', a Matriarchal tribe of Kerala that now does not exist, and continued to refuse to divide the family's land. This made it impossible for eager male members who wanted to start new businesses to receive the money they required. The expansion of other powerful communities, like Syrian Christians, harmed the Nayar community's prosperity, and that they lost significance in many sections of the state. The men were now seen as of the proper guardians of their families. People who got an education were ready to obtain white-collar occupations and start purchasing property on their own. The relatives began to disintegrate into smaller, more manageable groupings, and also the self-acquired property was passed down to wives and youngsters.

When the system shuts down, the slew of benefits for ladies that had made their way through it vanished. Women progressively faded into the background as a result of all of those changes. the concept of a virtuous, humble wife with 'ladylike attributes' of being docile and obedient was exalted. Through the utilization of art and literature, this image was strengthened. Decades of attempts to return to patriarchal 'values' have resulted within the current state of those communities, which isn't dissimilar to the other you've seen.

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