In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the emergence of the new matriarchy – how women are taking over – and what that signifies for men, women, relationships and families.
First a quick update:
“Spirituality versus Religion”
This week I am appearing in a taped debate for a TV special on The Catholic Channel. Watch the video.
“4 Reasons Men Fear Commitment”
There are 4 primary reasons men fear or avoid commitment. Women often comment to me that they are confused about the reasons that men they have encountered are commitment-phobic and why so many more men are refusing to commit to relationships or marriage. Click here to view.
Now, let’s talk about the emergence of the new matriarchy and how women are taking over.
In the province of Yunnan in China, the Mor Soue people who inhabit the Lugu Lake region, live within a matriarchal system. The head of the family is the mother or grandmother and she controls the family’s financial situation. Marriage does not exist. Instead, they practice “walking marriage” – a woman may invite a man into her hut to spend a “sweet night,” but by daybreak, he must be gone. If the woman becomes pregnant from this union, the child will be raised by the woman and her family, and the child will adopt the mother’s last name.
The patriarchal system is marked by the supremacy of the father, the legal dependence of wives and children, and descent and inheritance in the male line.
This is dramatically and rapidly changing with the global phenomenon of female empowerment.
For the first time in US history, there are more women than men in the workforce; women make up 51% of managerial and professional jobs, 54% of accountants, 50% of all banking and insurance jobs, 30% of physicians, 45% of associates in law firms and 20% of the armed forces (it was 2% in 1972.) Women also dominate 13 of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade. The single exception is that only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, but in 2 – 3 decades that will likely change as more women are graduating from college than men.
Women are becoming more educated than men as women surpass men in attendance and graduation rates – for every two men who get a college degree, three women will also. This is the same pattern in the Australia and the UK. In fact, women are even outperforming men in academic results.
In the 1950s, it was common for the husband to arrive home from work and surprise the entire family with the new car in the driveway; he rarely consulted the wife. Today, women are making the decisions. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care (91% of new homes and 92% of vacations.) One car salesman told me that he attributes his success to a simple strategy – when a couple is hunting for a car, he always appeals to the woman.
Today, there are more female politicians and judges than ever before. In the US, Sara Palin has become an influential force in politics; the once macho country Australia, now has a female Prime Minister; Iceland elected a cabinet dominated by women and elected the world’s first openly lesbian head of government who vowed to end the “age of testosterone” campaigning against the male elite she blamed for destroying the nation’s banking system.
Religion and the economy
Construction is down and society is becoming progressively less industrialized which means less jobs for men. Four out of every five jobs lost in the US over the past two years were held by men. In 2010, in the era of communicating, thinking and information, the economy is no longer driven by jobs that require physical strength and stamina; instead the focus is on jobs that require social intelligence, multitasking, open communication, and the ability to focus (women win out here.)
As divorce continues to become commonplace, many men are left financially ruined – the woman often keeps the house and the kids, and the man moves into a smaller apartment and continues paying alimony. One male client expressed to me frustration and dismay over his girlfriend who doesn’t want to remarry so she can continue to receive payments from her ex-husband and maintain her independence.
More churches are opening up to allow women to lead, preach and teach as ministers, pastors and reverends. And as more people stray from religion, morality is becoming an individual choice and definition; what was once socially deplorable – unmarried mothers and women as single mothers – has now become socially acceptable. This, in turn, means more women become independent decision makers. And with more single mothers and more fatherless families, the emphasis has shifted to feminine qualities.
Men are progressively being viewed as unnecessary as more women opt to raise children without a father; “Women are realizing more and more that you don’t have to settle, they don’t have to fiddle with a man to have that child …They are realizing if it’s that time in their life and they want this part they can do it with or without that.” – Jennifer Aniston.
The media and gender roles
Morality and the portrayal of men and women have dramatically changed – some for the better, most for the worse. The epitomes of 1950s TV were “The Honeymooners” and “I Love Lucy.” In almost every episode of the Honeymooners, Ralph, who represented the working class man, would physically threaten his wife, Alice. With his fist clenched and waving and punching the air, Ralph would threaten to punch Alice and send her to the moon: “One of these days, Alice, one of these days, pow, right in the kisser.” And if Alice wasn’t obeying him, Ralph would set her straight: “I give the orders. Now go to the stove and fix me my dinner!”
Meanwhile, Lucille Ball portrayed the sweet, charming, naïve and ditzy wife who lacked showbiz ability, was careless with money, but was a devoted housewife and attentive mother. Her antics often tested her successful and intelligent husband. In the 1970s, Mary Tyler Moore’s TV character would open the door to reveal the single, independent, career woman who wasn’t seeking a man to support her. Concurrently, the number 1 TV show in the US for 5 years was “All in the family” featuring Archie Bunker, an outspoken, stubborn, ignorant bigot who often called his wife a dingbat.
But in the 21st century, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. In commercials and TV shows (“The Simpsons”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Family Guy”, etc.) men are being portrayed as buffoons, simpletons and weak, helpless idiots who cannot survive without the wife who now is smarter, more grounded and the boss. In “Everybody Loves Raymond”, Ray fears his wife, rarely answers back; Debra, his wife often calls Ray an idiot and she only fears Marie, Ray’s wife and the matriarch of the family.
In the 1990s, the TV show “Sex and the City”, helped shape the modern woman with its portrayal and idealization of the independent, free, successful, sexually open woman who seeks a purpose greater than serving a man. However, the 2010 movie “Sex and the City 2” emasculates men as it demonstrates how extreme the concept of the modern woman has evolved or devolved: Carrie is married and adored by her husband but she is bored and wants to go out to bars and clubs; Charlotte, is unsatisfied with raising children; Miranda, the successful working woman feels unappreciated at work and; Samantha, the sexpot is also unsatisfied. So what do they do? Go on a vacation and go shopping. The message is that women are selfish, never really happy, can’t be satisfied – particularly not by men.
Simultaneously, women are gaining celebrity power as the media and society glorify and reward women who now take on the previously acceptable male bad behavior; Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian became famous for their sex tapes; MTV’s Snooki for behavior a judge called “rude and self-indulgent” and “a Lindsay Lohan wannabe.”
As women have become more confused about their role and identity, so too, have men and to a greater degree than women. The New Matriarchy means that gender roles and identities have become blurred and confused. Society is vastly feminized as competition is downplayed, feminine emotions are rewarded and masculine emotions are condemned.
Accordingly, men are confused about their value, role and contribution as women become more ambitious, more powerful, more independent and better educated; many children are being raised with emphasis on the positive feminine qualities (empathy, tenderness, nurturing) but not enough emphasis on the positive masculine qualities (discipline, strength, reason.)
As women become progressively more powerful, more successful and more independent, they are also expressing frustration at not being able to find a suitable partner, complaining that men find them threatening, intimidating and unappealing.
Men need to adapt and focus on what else they have to offer women other than being a provider i.e. offering women emotional and moral support and still retaining their masculinity (assertiveness, confidence, energy, incisiveness, determination, strength of mind and body, stamina, nobility, self sacrifice, leadership.)
Couples need to discuss, reevaluate and agree on the roles in the relationship. The key is to separate areas of dominion – choose who will take the lead in decision making in each area while still consulting and respecting each other.
Single mothers need to ensure that there is still a male role model for their children. And yes, the same applies to single fathers (a female role model for the children.)
Listen to my interview about why a father is so critical to the success and mental and emotional health of daughters, “The negative impact fathers have on daughters”
End of men?
In the US, the CDC reveals that men die six years earlier than women and are less likely than women to be insured; men are 15 times more likely than women to go to prison, more likely to be obese, alcoholic and unemployed. In the UK, teenage boys are more likely to take drugs, drink, commit crime and exhibit antisocial behavior.
In Italy, a microtrend is emerging whereby fathers are granting their business to their daughters and not their sons because the sons are proving to be irresponsible. But beyond Italy, women are proving to be more responsible than men as many men continue to abandon their families or shirk their responsibility in many areas. Men have lost ambition both as a cause and effect of the new matriarchy.
Given that men are highly resistant to change, maybe what we are seeing is not so much about women taking over as it is about men laying down and giving up.
And when reviewing the antics of female celebrities such as Paris Hilton as well as the females portrayed in Sex and the City, it appears that maybe both genders have lost not only their identity but more importantly meaning and purpose in life.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.