‘Mama’s Place’ – Visiting Matriarchal Societies

Most of the world is patriarchal. Men dominate the social and business spheres of life. Men are in charge of the politics, they are in charge of the business, you see them as police officers, they are in the army, they run the businesses. In essence we live in a male dominated world. India is a male dominated country. In virtually all of the country, you will only be having contact with men. Men run the businesses, so in restaurants and hotels, it is all men that you are talking too. Also India is a conservative society when compared with other Western countries, hell, even other Asian countries. Women are not so much repressed or hidden away, just, well, not as prolific as men.

Asia as a whole has a very male orientated view of society, and let us be honest, a very male orientated society. So it comes as a great surprise that I have encountered a matriarchy twice. Once in China and once in India, two of the more male dominated countries on Earth.

Now, we in the UK have quite a comical view of matriarchal societies (the link is the classic ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch). A wishy-washy place where the locals flee whenever spider turns up, and where everything is squeaky clean but nothing ever works properly. You know what I mean, ‘the birds have ruined it’.

Well, my experience of matriarchal societies are quite different. They are, well, firstly, they are interesting. Interesting as it can be a shock to the senses to see women out and about in society, usually after so long traveling in male dominated areas. Refreshing too, as it is nice to see women on the streets. Come on, they are far more beautiful than men. Also, there is a chance to talk to women. Not in a ‘pick-up’ way, but just normally, like you would talk to women in the UK. In fact, there is less hassle than even talking to women in the UK. Matriarchies are, well they are pretty relaxed places.

My first matriarchy was in Xinjiang, in the North West of China. I kind of got an inkling of how women dominated the area when I saw one woman belt a man (presumably her husband) with her shoe while traveling on a bus. I saw more evidence of husband battery on the streets of Xinjiang during my travels to this area. It was clear to see that other men passing by, did not interfere and the man getting beaten did not even put up a fight.

Women did not just dominate the boxing bouts, but more visibly, dominated the businesses. Everywhere you went, women were running the businesses, particularly in the countryside, which was entirely female dominated. The men were nowhere to be seen. No joke, it was the men that were hidden away. More importantly, it was women who handled the cash. In a restaurant, if there were both men and women working, it was the woman dealing with the finances, while men were running about like headless chickens. By the way, the Uighurs of Xinjiang are Muslim.

But anyway, my second cliche buster happened in Meghalaya…who ever said that India was a male dominated society…


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Filed under asia, places, political, travel

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