Saturday, September 20, 2008

Proof you say?

One of the problems with feminist patriarchy theory is that it's so dismal. If you accept it, you're committed to the idea that men have acted throughout the centuries to oppress women.

Feminists who follow patriarchy theory are going to take innocent aspects of male and female relationships and find brutal proof of male ownership and control of women.

I gave an example of this a few months ago. A feminist took the word "chatelaine", which is occasionally used in literature to describe a widow, and claimed that it derives from the word "chattel", meaning moveable property. She asserted that this was proof that women were treated in marriage as a man's property.

This word origin, though, is a fabrication: chatelaine is not derived from the word "chattel" but is simply the feminine form of a word meaning keeper of a castle or country house.

I've just recently read a further feminist attempt to prove male ownership of women through word origins.

At the feministing website, there was a discussion of a change in the marriage laws in California. The acceptance of gay marriage in that state means that marriage licenses must now be gender neutral. Therefore, instead of signing yourself as the bride or the groom, you have to sign as Partner A or Partner B. One heterosexual couple simply crossed out the new terms and wrote in bride and groom, but this was disallowed.

One of the feminist commenters argued that the heterosexual couple should have rejected the terms bride and groom as a matter of principle:

They do know those terms mean owner/master & property right? I'm always shocked anyone wants to be called a wife or bride

(The meaning of bride is cook, the meaning of wife is property; the meaning of groom is householder, the meaning of husband is master.)

So according to this feminist, the traditional terms relate to men being the owners of women. Therefore, it is better for women to accept being a degendered Partner A or B, rather than a bride or a wife.

My advice here: always check such feminist claims. As it happens, this is yet another fabrication.

English is a Germanic language, and in these languages the term for husband and wife is usually simply the same word as man and woman. So a woman introducing her husband is effectively saying "this is my man" and vice versa.

In Old English, a man was a "wer" (as in "werwolf" = "manwolf") and a woman a "wife" (as in "midwife" or "fishwife"). The original terms for husband and wife were therefore "wer" and "wife". There is no connection here to ownership or property.

We took the word for husband from the Scandinavians. The original meaning was something like "householder". The word groom comes from on older word "brydguma" (a suitor) meaning literally a bride's man. The word bride has always in the Germanic languages meant bride.

So there is no reason for women to think that the traditional terms denote ownership of women by men. There are reasons, though, to question the modern terms.

Do women grow up dreaming of becoming Partner B and living happily with a Partner A? The terms sound ridiculous because marriage can't be disconnected from the heterosexual instincts and drives of men and women. A newly married man doesn't look on his bride as a gender neutral entity, but very much as a woman and wife.

I hope that we don't follow the Californian example here in Australia. Even if you marry in a church in Australia, you sign the register just after making your vows.

Would we be forced to sign as Partner A and Partner B at the culmination of the marriage service in church? If so, we would be forced to tell a lie, at this most significant moment, about who we are and what we have just done. Is this really the time, when you have just made the most serious vows before family and friends, to have your sense of integrity challenged by the state?

It's worth the effort, I think, to defend the traditional terms rather than be forced to sign on to the modern ones.


  1. My girlfriend actually ridiculed the terms "Partner A" and "Partner B" at wedding we were at last month. She said something to the table which we sat to the effect of, "Isn't she the most beautiful 'partner B' you've ever seen?"

    I do have to wonder how long it will be before the egalitarians demand a stop to this terminology. "A" and "B" have, at least here in America, a completely non-egalitarian connotation. In sports, the "A-team" is the better team and the "B-team" is the team full of scrubs and bums--the lesser team.

  2. Mark, you might be interested in this article proving that traditionalist men earn the most:

  3. You've gotta love the feminists and their attempts to hijack the language.

    I once had a woman try and tell me that the Jews and Christians had hijacked the original Goddess-worship.

    She knew this because in the bible, in the original Hebrew, the word for God has a feminine root.

    Needless to say, I pointed out that the original bible was in Greek and Aramaic as far as I knew, not Hebrew, so she can forget trying that rubbish about being oppressed.

    Needless to say the topic changed shortly thereafter.

    And this was someone I've known for donkey's years! She should have known better than to talk such rubbish to me.