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patriarchy

On the traditional roles of men and women in Industrial Society

I have found that I and people I know are increasingly working longer and longer hours. And this with ever increasing demands on the job, as the demands for perfection increase, and the support to achieve it decreases. Especially the large organisations in which we are working appear as despotic, in that one has no say over what happens or what might happen, but instead is faced with a stream of orders and new demands being delivered constantly, yet randomly, through the impersonal medium of email. There is no discussing with this new invisible master - often the sender is not even a person with whom you can engage in conversation, but some impersonal departmental (i.e do-not-reply) email address. Then one finds that travel to anywhere is time consuming, and extremely stressful, as conditions are crowded and arrival on time is far less than certain - whether it be by train or car. With people arriving home late, exhausted we must prepare meals, often reply to a few still-unanswered work emails. All of which leaves us little spare time - and in such a state of mental exhaustion that we could not enjoy it anyway. Necessarily our weekends are often consumed with the other chores of life, maintaining houses, shopping, and preparing food and clothing for the next hectic week. This sad condition of modern people led me to reflect as to how we got into this state, and what has changed to make modern life so difficult. I wondered how we used to cope, and I recall as a child how the weekends were quiet, the shops were closed after midday Saturday, and there was hardly any traffic. Now, the busiest traffic times are on weekends, as is the busiest trading. And a major reason, I think is the fact that now both partners work, there is no-one with time to do shopping in the day, prepare meals for 6.00 pm (we often eat much later, even if we feed the children earlier, either my wife or I may find it is 9.00 pm before we have time for dinner). So why is modern life so crazy?

Patriarchal values are not male values.

Feminists may say that the prevailing attitude of men has always been that women’s place is in the home. Well the truth is that until the industrial revolution, everyone’s place was in the home. Home was where families worked – together. Men did not go off to work in offices and factories until there were factories and offices to go to. For most of western history they worked on the farm or in the shop with their wives and children. It was only the industrial revolution that rendered families and communities asunder, culminating in the stereo-typical 1950’s housewife – at home, isolated and alone – in a way, and on a scale, never seen before in human history. This article asserts that neo-liberal values may rule more men but that they are not natural male values and that Christianity, for instance, although dominated by male figures, endorsed values opposite to liberalism. Comments welcome. Editor, Candobetter.net.

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