Patriarchy Has Failed Us: Put Women in Charge!

Recently, Andrew Yang’s podcast (“Andrew & Zach”) had him and Zach Graumann discussing questions that should be of interest to everyone. They asked “Why are boys and men failing? Why so many weak men? Has women’s liberation unwittingly rendered males insignificant? And if so, what to do about it?”

Well, I thought, I for one know what to do about it.

Simply admit the obvious. Men have failed through their own inadequacy. Their “leadership” at all levels has been a disaster. Let’s face it: they’ve proven to be the weaker sex. In the aggregate, women and simply smarter and morally superior to men. So, as Keb Mo puts it, it’s well past time to “Put A Woman in Charge.” 

Let me try to make that case here by applauding the points made by Yang and Graumann about recent revelations concerning the changed situation between the sexes. The podcast hosts got that part right. Their description of the diminished status of men and masculinity is also undeniable. It’s simply a 21st century fact. Finally, I’ll suggest why I think Yang and Graumann’s approach doesn’t go far enough. Their concern to rehabilitate boys and men is misplaced. Instead, it’s time for all of us to work openly towards a Great Reversal where women are actually in charge of our country and world.

Women’s Superiority

To begin with, as Zach Graumann put it, women are proving smarter than men “across the board.” He said, “Men and women are so different, and the numbers are screaming off the page.” For instance:

  • Girls do better than boys all the way through school not only in the United States but throughout the world.
  • 58% of college graduates are women; 42% are men for whom admission standards are often “adjusted” to correct gender balance.
  • Currently, there are more women graduating from STEM programs than ever before, as well as more women succeeding in sports.
  • Their superior performance in those venues already equips them to replace men in leadership positions.
  • Significantly in the context of the worldwide COVID pandemic, women also deal with “free time” (idleness?) more creatively than men. Men who are idle typically start gambling, drinking, and doing drugs. Generally, they become anti-social. “There’s some part of each man,” Graumann pointed out, “that simply wants to go down into the basement, play video games and avoid the world.”
  • Women, on the other hand, prove “more adaptable than men” as job circumstances change. When unemployed, they are more likely, for example to return to school, go to church, or volunteer at a non-profit.
  • Women also show more wisdom in their tendencies to resist male corporate culture that places profits ahead of family welfare. Women are the ones most strongly pushing for generous programs of family leave. More than men, they also shy away from aberrations such as 80-hour workweeks as well as phone calls, texts, and e-mails outside of business hours because such practices interfere with family pursuits.
  • As Yang pointed out, women also make men live longer. Statistically, unmarried men will die about a decade sooner than their married counterparts. But marriage has no effect at all on women’s life spans.
  • And finally (I would add) let’s remember women don’t do mass shootings and are far less likely to rape (Ghislaine Maxwell notwithstanding), or to torture or commit atrocities in war.

Despite those blaring facts, men continue to dominate world politics. Industries, governments, police forces, and the military nonetheless remain male dominated in their leadership.

Women, of course, are aware of this and point out the need for “more female CEOs, partners and board members.”

Yang and Graumann agreed. But they also spent most of their discussion accounting for men’s fall from grace and wondering about saving men from reduction to second class status.

Men’s Failure Explained

As for explaining men’s decline, the podcast hosts offered predominantly economic explanations. They pointed out that:

  • Five million manufacturing jobs have been eliminated over the last 15-20 years.
  • Three quarters of those jobs were held by men.
  • According to Yahoo statistics, fully one-third of the male workforce is currently out of work or unemployed.
  • Job loss of this magnitude has led to massive increases in alcoholism, substance abuse, suicides, and overall despair.
  • Meanwhile women’s ascendancy has reduced men’s chances of assuming family leadership. Very often that’s because, disparity in college graduation rates means that an increasing number of college- educated women have difficulty finding similarly prepared marriage partners. So, many female graduates choose not to marry at all. And if they decide to have children, they frequently do so out-of-wedlock. The resulting female headed households often leave their growing boys without strong male role models. This causes the vicious cycle to continue.
  • Looking for explanations, disempowered men become susceptible to those offered by politicians and others who blame those with no responsibility at all such as immigrants, Muslims, liberals, and feminists.
  • All of this has had political consequences. Vote totals from 2020 show that Donald Trump won the votes of 66% of non-college-educated male voters who constitute 31% of voters in general. (This group represents the core of Trump’s base.)

A Pseudo-Solution

Despite their good intentions, the discussion between Yang and Graumann ended up sounding like many among liberal members of privileged classes whose hopelessly illusory goal is a “win/win” outcome where the oppressed class (in this case women) is able to advance without the privileged class (males) losing status or power.

The two hosts of “Andrew and Zach” even seemed to suggest that (while they considered themselves feminists) perhaps women should back off a little out of respect for men’s hurt feelings. 

As Graumann put it, while “the patriarchy has gone a little too far,” and “alpha men have gone a little too far,” the women’s movement seems to ignore the struggling and failures of male figures – unfairly blaming men (and not globalization) as the source of the problem.

This has the effect of sidelining men and boys is creating weak males out of touch with their masculinity. And with weak men we start to see more apathy and hatred, more destruction, more pornography, more alcohol, more “Me Too” incidents, more domestic violence, suicides, and drug overdoses. In primary schools and education where girls are dominating boys – “shellacking” them actually – there tragically remains the attitude that we have to do more for girls. And this even though boys are more likely to get suspended, more likely to drop out of school.

No, the two bro-discussants seemed to agree, balance needs to be restored; men need some affirmative action too – again in consideration for their hurt feelings and diminished status.

Hmm.

Conclusion

But what if patriarchy and alpha males have not gone “a little too far,” but A LOT TOO FAR – for thousands of years? Even more basically, what if the real problem is men themselves and their natural inferiority to women? Then, it would be a good thing that men are losing power – or in Graumann’s description, becoming “weaker?”

Once again, men have had their turn at leadership in the family, in politics, and in the world of work. And they’ve failed miserably. They’ve proven themselves weaker than women in fact. They’ve set the planet ablaze. They and the few women they allow to join them in imitating their ways actually see war and the risk of nuclear conflict as somehow acceptable solutions even to minor problems such as border disputes (e.g., in Ukraine) and economic competition (e.g., with China).

(By the way, that normalization of atomic warfare and planetary destruction, is proof enough of the general failure and stupidity of the male-dominated order. It’s unarguably criminal.)

What if it’s time to recognize thankfully (as Yang and Graumann showed) that girls and women usually don’t act like men? They have more of what our planet needs now. They’re generally smarter than men. They’re more empathetic. They’re more family oriented. They typically resist corporate culture with its emphasis on overwork. They’re naturally more in tune with the cycles of nature. They’re more generous with their free time. They’re less prone to resort to violence as a solution to problems.

In other words, it’s time for restitution. Except in some spiritual sense, win/win is impossible here. It’s time for men to recognize the truth and humbly assume subordinate positions. That’s because in the real world, reparations to women (or non-whites, indigenous peoples, or Mother Earth Herself) necessarily entail surrender by the privileged of their unearned status and benefits.

For men, this will often mean restitution and even subordination in the home and workplace, as well as in school, politics, church, and elsewhere. Put otherwise, restitution necessarily involves return of ill-gotten gains including in the realms of power, prestige, and profit.

As I said at the outset, and as Keb Mo put it so eloquently in his prophetic song, it’s time to “Put A Woman in Charge!”

Published by

Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

8 thoughts on “Patriarchy Has Failed Us: Put Women in Charge!”

  1. Dear Mike,

    This is a great post. It’s true that the inferiority complex of men has been pervasive in every corner of the globe now; it may be the root cause of many problems, big or small, in the world.

    Having been back to Asia for more than 10 years, I witnessed young generations of women staying away from marriages due to men’s weaknesses and incompetence. I can’t help laughing at some of your observations as they are so true.

    I wish you and your family all the best and hope to see you again soon one day, Mike. You are a great mentor at Berea college.

    Love from Vietnam,
    Ha

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    1. So good to hear from you, Ha. Peggy and I were just talking about you last week. She was communicating with Stella Lawson, whom I remember as being in your first year class. (Am I right?) I told Peggy what an extraordinary class Stella’s was. I said, “Ha was in that class too. And I remember telling them the first day that they had a “look” — meaning they seemed extraordinarily sharp..” That got the two of us singing your praises, Ha — and you gave me many reasons to do that. I have such fond memories. And I’m so proud of what you’ve become. Keep up the good work. And thanks for reading the blog. I appreciated your words of encouragement. I too hope our paths will cross again.

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      1. Yes, I do remember Stella who was so outspoken. I do miss our precious time in Berea and still keep two books – Living Buddha, Living Christ and The World’s Religions for my reference and reflection. Thich Nhat Hanh just passed away peacefully at 96 in January in Vietnam.

        Thanks for your encouragement as always and please send my kind regards to Peggy. Please take care.

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  2. Delegate power to people who are responsible.

    Physical bodies can be distracting; it is character and wisdom that make all the difference. Not body characteristics.

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    1. The point was not about body characteristics but about power and spirit and the way that masculine power has throttled the feminine in those with both sets of body characteristics. The fact is one set has and continues to rule the world to the exclusion of the other. The results have been disastrous.

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      1. When I was growing up in the 1960s, i remember seeing references to “The War Between the Sexes” and being baffled. We don’t see that particular phrase anymore, but the theme still seems to hold sway in the imaginations of so many unhappily misguided people.

        Why should human beings war with each other because of their physical characteristics? instead of cooperating with each other to produce the best possible outcomes?

        The Gender Wars are pernicious, destructive, and unfortunately, ongoing.

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      2. You’re absolutely right, Mary. That’s what I was trying to say in the article. It’s amazing that the patriarchy has marginalized fully one half of the human race because of the physical characteristics you reference — but also because women tend to think differently than men about family, children, food, nature, war, health, God, and women’s role in politics . . ..

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      3. If the point is not about physical characteristics, why does the extreme emphasis on physical characteristics continue?

        Why would we not focus instead on content of character, and the value of contributions from all manner of people — masculine, feminine, young, old, etc Instead, the emphasis remains steadfastly focused on physical attributes?

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