In The Chalice and the Blade, Eisler cites historical accounts and archeological findings that point to many ancient societies being partnership-oriented, meaning women and men worked together as equal halves of humanity to build and maintain more peaceful societies than the ones we have today.
One thing I like about Eisler’s writing is she doesn’t idealize these societies, or give a two-dimensional diatribe against “dominator” societies, the term she uses for male-dominated societies founded on conquest that idealize war and heroics while downplaying peace and negotiation, and which institutionalize violence by making it into entertainment and by linking brutality with sexuality in pornography that focuses on domination and submission rather than on equal pleasuring. She points out that even if we had a partnership-oriented society, it wouldn’t be perfect and completely free of violence or foolishness, because those traits are natural to humanity too.
In Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body—New Paths to Power and Love, Eisler asserts that both these extremes—partnership and domination—as well as everything in between are all part of human potential, and thus are natural to humanity. That being said, just as we acknowledge that certain tendencies which come naturally to us are weaknesses, everything that is natural to humans is not equally beneficial or condonable.
So the question is, why on earth did society ever switch from a more humane, peaceful model of society to one which causes so many problems for not only women, but for men, since it does no good for men to force them to suppress half their range of human expression?
As you can see, modern efforts to reclaim gender equity, Goddess-centered religions, and more stereotypically feminine methods of conflict resolution are about a lot more than women’s rights.
Now, if you’ve never heard about these ancient partnership societies, or about Riane Eisler’s and David Loye’s work, you’re probably wondering why. The answer lies in who funds and is responsible for conducting archeological work and for disseminating its findings. Many archeological digs and other scholarly research have uncovered non-male-dominant, sexually liberal, Goddess-worshiping societies around the world that contradict the claims of men in power today, who think that that the aggressive, male-dominant, Euro-American model of government, religion, and social order is the best, most evolved, and most democratic.
On that note, I’ll leave you with a quote from Booker T. Washington: “There are two ways to exert one’s strength—One is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”