How Many of Us Drink from the Patriarchal Cup?

Have you ever found yourself in a relationship where you are living in someone else’s shadow? Were you raised in a home where a male played the central role of the family. He made the decisions dictating the lives of everyone in the home. There are plenty of family units around the world that remain loyal to this structure. However, this can restrain women’s individuality. Sometimes leaving us resentful, angry, frustrated or sad. Mostly, it can prevent all of us from living to our full potential.

I came from a matriarchal family where the head of our tribe was my mother. We were three girls and a boy. My father allowed her to lead which made it all more easy to take the reigns of the home. Others would say he didn’t have a choice in the matter. She has always been strong, opinionated and confident truly believing that she is our protector and knows what is best for her loved ones. It was tough because once in a while my parents’ tug of war made things complicated. They argued often, rarely agreeing on how or when things should be done. I was brought up unsure which was the “right” way due to the constant back and forth. As an adult, I tended to go the opposite route allowing my partners to take charge. Ironically, my sisters went in a different direction. They took command of their families. It worked for them, I never truly felt it was my nature to take the lead. Today, I’m older and more assertive which gives me a certain amount of self-confidence. I’m happiest in my relationship when my partner and I share the balance. We both contribute to making decisions which gives me autonomy.  Exerting power or control over me wouldn’t work.

It isn’t uncommon in the US to see the male as head of a home. Many times they are the main breadwinners providing for his unit. It’s almost an unspoken right to do so, if you bring in the bacon. Whether the norm or conforming to society’s rules, it’s worse in other parts of the world.

Today, I received a wonderful message from a woman in Africa. Her words not only touched my heart. They were humbling, as she spoke of her refusal to settle for someone who is not suitable or deserving of her. Despite the views of the society she lives in, she insists on being herself even if others saw her poorly. Sadly, there will be those who try to strip women of their worth. It happens on a global scales but is our job not to allow it to happen. Succumbing to a way of life where males reinforce their status as patriarch is a disservice, as it diminishes the strengths women can contribute to society.  We commend places like Tibet, Indonesia, Ghana and Costa Rica which have societies where women rule their world. What does that picture look like? There are 6 societies of the modern world that are actually ruled by women.

We can hope to one day reach equality for men and women. Experience a place in time when we’re not treated as less than because of our gender, color or financial status. The day has not yet arrived but we slowly begin to open a window of progress. We see women in the corporate boardroom, politics, leading in industries known to be male dominated. There is room for both genders to lead. The insurmountable amount of work society needs to do would be made easier with a collaboration.

Let’s open our minds to the possibilities. We don’t all have to drink from the same cup. Individually men and women can play important roles in society. The difference in ideas, solutions and efforts can build society up to a better, stronger future.

Do you have a healthy balance of power in your home?

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