Fear of the mother - patriarchy enforced by schools

(20 Posts)
RibinaPet Sat 19-Mar-16 09:08:03

Wow just read this amazing article and it has blown my mind
https://sophiechristophy.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/fear-of-women-attachment-to-schooling/
Especially how we remove children from their mothers for their own good.

And the fear of a child being at home with the mother and not in the school system.

What are your thoughts?

quencher Sat 19-Mar-16 10:11:25

What a lot of crap. I understand where the writer is coming from but please let me put my thoughts together and I will come back to this. Wish I had an emoji for screaming !

Lanark2 Sat 19-Mar-16 10:29:16

The first bit is interesting, and can also be transposed to management as well..though its important to keep reminding that the 'patriarchal' model ie an authoritative model, can be promulgated and led by women too. Many 'patriarchal' ideas of management and schooling now overlap with what is actually bullying, and named as such. This is distinct from hard management, and the blog may be assuming that bullies operating in a patriarchal system of schooling is the intention of the system which isn't (necessarily) true.

The striking thing about this post is the self-experience of the author being used to complain about existing models of schooling, which sounds like a time-shift error.

The second part, of reading this as a way to remove children from mother, is odd as it still assumes that parenting is female only, but perhaps there is an argument that the mother was not seen as appropriate influence to move children towards adulthood, however I don't think this fits the history(which of course varies by class, country, dominant industries, economics etc) . Am very interested in seeing what quencher says, and anyone else about this.

As an idea to base a debate on, its a great little post!

Lweji Sat 19-Mar-16 10:42:03

A few thoughts on it.

It may not be obvious, but if we all homeschooled, it would be one parent out of the workforce. Mostly, it would be women, thereby reinforcing the role of women as being at home and removing them from other roles in society. Anyone opting out would be poorly regarded.

Another thing is that school gives more equal opportunities to pupils. Homeschooling is limited by what the schooling mother is capable of, in terms of teaching and subject competence. And I understand that homeschooling is very child led. But it still remains constrained by what the mother does.
I could probably home school my child better than most of his teachers. But then I wouldn't be teaching MSc or PhD students. I can't see them being homeschooled too. Or would I leave it to my male colleagues?

All very well for some individual choices, but not as a system.

Lanark2 Sat 19-Mar-16 11:55:54

I agree, it could magnify social inequality, but also some of the people I have met who are into home schooling are quite scarily controlling mothers, who are never seen out without a cowed daughter in tow. One(couple) came into a charity shop I used to work in regularly, and if i served the (16 year old) direct her mother would answer for her from wherever she was in the shop, push her aside and start a conversation about home schooling. They still walk around together, with daufhter silent, and its six years later.

I know home schooling is not necessarily this, but infantilising mothers are very dangerous. At least mass schooling dissolves the individual influence.

quencher Sat 19-Mar-16 12:18:48

A School is a formal setting that society or community uses to educate and socialise its members especially the young. The school will massively be influenced by society it's set up in. What you learn from school will be a product of the doctrine that society dictates. Every now and then you will have people who will think outside the box and have courage to rebel and change things.

In today's world (which is a product of industrial revolution) in order for the economy to grow you need a good number of skilled work force. The schools are meant to provide this and that is its purpose. Pre industrial revolution it was ok for parents to teach their children how to farm and look after livestock. Was society better then than now op when looking a patriarchy?
Take for example the uk and France in pre industrial revolution period. A few kingdoms with lots of men as kings and a few female queens as rulers. . Males seems to have been favoured for Kingship and other important roles as knights and lords. You had a system that was patriarchal that favoured men in general. I don't it was any different within the family setting as in you had the father, mother and the children who were never listened to. The men were always called upon to go to war.

Sometimes, I think that because women bore the children they became the default child minders while men went to war and concurring the new world. By doing this men thought that they were better because they have learned and experience new things that the women didn't. I would assume the people internalised this and it became a social norm and what is accepted that men do this and women do that. Stereotyping and so on.

I agree that it was the industrial revolution that led to mass migration within the uk and the introduction of the nuclear family. This is the bedrock for patriarchy that we had pre 1950s. The loss of extended families who relied on each other and the men going away to look for appropriate work and earn money to feed his family. The women automatically the parent who would have to stay and look after the children with the assumed assumption that they are the bearer / nurturers and the men are the gatherers.

To get to your point op. We don't remove children from their mothers. The parents have the obligation to instil moral code of conduct and how to be good citizens in a given society. The schools has a duty to socialise and teach children things that a lot of parents are not cable of. If you want a child to be an engineer and you are a doctor, as a parent, a good school would be best. They would be taught and tested to make sure that the child is cable of that discipline. However, the schooling system is not great when you are poor and can't choose which way you would like your child to be taught. The government goes with what would apply to most children because it's cheap. There will be those that will need a different approach or they are above the rest and being held back. (This is where the home schooling parents would come in and say that they can do better with their children and also control outside influence)

We as parents have the right to take our children out of the school setting and teach them from home with values that we think is appropriate. But when you are lacking In certain skills then you would be doing your child a disservice by failing them. (The school fails some pupils but a dedicated parent should be able to help and make sure that their child is getting adequate education) .

I also agree with the lweji and Lanark that yes the school has a system in the way that it operates. Yes, you do have the head, followed by teachers and then prefects/pupils and students. This can easily be Seen as away of controlling those with less power.
However, this falls flat because you do have a lot of female headteachers and teachers nowadays.
Most nursery schools are filled up with female teachers and An increasing number of stay at home dads.

To be continued....

quencher Sat 19-Mar-16 22:03:10

I agree that we should bring up children who have the ability to think freely and be able to question society's Values and norms. This is how we can become a better civilised society that improves what is right for its people.

However op, I would also question the motive of the writer on her proposal, and whether it actually benefits feminism at all. If the children are being taken away from mothers (that's what she says) it means that she expects mothers to be the nurturer who will bring up these children. It's like she is using reverse psychology. Telling women too take control of their children's learning when in actual fact it's hindering the advancement of women. Bringing women back to the home and under the control of men again or another dominant female partner. We do have women who can freely choose to be stay at home mothers but not all can do that. If it becomes the norm again we will be back to square one. To teach a child to upstanding level it takes work, dedication and patience. For a single mother on low income, this is not possible. It's like she is thinking from a middle class point of view. Where the husband or partner works or she has employed an equivalence of governess to look after the child or children.

What you agreed on op is
*Especially how we remove children from their mothers for their own good.
And the fear of a child being at home with the mother and not in the school system.*
How long would it be ok for the child to be with the mother?
If we decide to abolish the school system completely and left the mothers to do all of the socialisation and teaching. Imagine the mother being responsible for the children to the age of 18. What makes me wonder is whether the writer was thinking of the Danish schooling system. (But it has issues too).

What also puzzles me is the fact that the writer forgot to mention the children who are increasingly being adopted by gay male parents. I wonder what her thoughts on this would be. Would she advice them to hire a female to look after their child when in actual fact they are capable parents?

The school system is not perfect. I agree that the structure is a reflection of our society. But we now have groups of women who have started to break barriers more than ever. If anyone wants change, it should be fought from within the system.

Anyway, would be nice if we could have a teacher like Socrates teaching and philosophising with Plato but that's not ideal for everyone in today's society nor was it then.

RibinaPet Tue 29-Mar-16 23:36:45

Hmm lots of interesting points... To respond to your lates post quencher it is important to say at this point that I came to this article from a motherhood feminism page of Facebook. I can't remember the name, but it's premise was the fact that a popular wave of feminism is negating women's important role as mothers. Their point was that while it used to be 'a mother's place was in the home', now it is the case that a 'mother's place is in the workplace.' But how does that value the massive job we do as mothers?

But back to the article, I certainly don't think we should all homeschool our children. Mainly because our society is not set up that way, and to do homeschooling would be incredibly isolating for mother and child.

What resonated with me in the article was society's fear of the mother. How we are recommended to remove our babies from us at every opportunity 'for their own good' as though in every case mentioned, the worst thing for the child would be to actually be with her mother. Extended breast feeding, co sleeping etc are not socially acceptable norms, but why are people so frightened of it? We have state-funded pre-school at age 3, but why is it better for a child to be prised from her mother crying, than just to do something when she's ready?

The other point that got me thinking was about schools imposing patriarchal norms on society. My eldest has just started school, and I've recently retrained as a teacher. We spend a lot of time studying the way we learn, in order to improve it. And this means coming up with loads of new gizmos to try in the classroom. But there doesn't seem to be much debate about the structure of schools themselves. And what we seem to be fighting the whole time is how boring and passive an experience it is for students.

There is an awful lot of punishment and reward to keep the students in line. And what I also felt uncomfortable about is the way I'm taught to Lord it over them, and encouraged to dole out punishment and reward as I see fit. (Very patriarchal)

I'm certainly not proposing any alternative, as you say, the school system as it is, does meet a need in society. And I can't begin to fathom how that would all be restructured.

BUT you rightly mention that there are lots of female teachers and heads... So how can that be the patriarchy. What you see is the feminisation of education. But the structure itself is still a patriarchy. For example, the medieval queen you mentioned is simply a female figurehead at the top of a patriarchal system.

However, a related point about the feminisation of education, is that a teacher is no longer a highly respectable professional role as it would have been 100 years ago for example. When teachers were men it was a comparable job to a solicitor or doctor. Now teachers are predominantly women, the 'value' of the work has greatly diminished, as evidenced by the low pay.

Lweji Tue 29-Mar-16 23:40:35

encouraged to dole out punishment and reward as I see fit. (Very patriarchal)

Why is that patriarchal?
Don't mothers/women dole out punishment and reward as they see fit as they parent their children too? How would a matriarchal system be different?

RibinaPet Tue 29-Mar-16 23:52:25

Well what do you think a matriarchal system would be like? I haven't heard much talk of what a matriarchy would actually be like.

But I think the punishment and reward is the command and control style of leadership where you need everyone to toe the line.

Referring back to the article, I think an alternative way of learning is when you are side by side and learning by experiencing. For example, I'm sure the author's home-school isn't full of punishments and rewards.

It is basically saying - I've got the power - and I'm going to wield it over you. I'm sure that's not what utopian visions of a matriarchy are like?

Lweji Tue 29-Mar-16 23:55:15

I don't know.
But if you classify a system as patriarchy, surely you will have an idea about what it would be as matriarchy. I'm interested to know.

SomeDyke Wed 30-Mar-16 09:55:07

A load of nonsense, frankly! During the industrial revolution, factory owners had to be compelled to not employ very young children and to allow some schooling (see 1833 factory act). So the drive here was getting the very young out of factories and into school, not out of the home and into school. Given the long struggle to get girls an education, rather than staying at home and learning housewifery from their mothers, this is also just plain insulting to their struggles. The supposed 'feminist' slant here is just a smokescreen to hide the anti-state, individualist agenda.

Lweji Wed 30-Mar-16 13:59:38

I think I figured it out what was my main problem with the mention of "patriarchy" here.
It's not so much used in the sense of having men as holding the power, which is the definition of patriarchy in relation to matriarchy for example, but as there being a power structure, which I don't think it's particularly gender specific.
The post reinforces gender stereotypes of men as preferring hierarchy and women as preferring equal relationships. Gender stereotyping, AFAIK, is not exactly feminist.

merrymouse Wed 30-Mar-16 14:10:52

I think it's still putting women in the role of home maker and nurturer. Few men give up their jobs to homeschool. Whether lentil weavy unschoolers or young earth bible bashers, or just perfectly normal people who choose to homeschool, the reality is that most of the time homeschooling will be managed at home by women - just as most mother and baby groups are attended by mothers.

Meanwhile there are some pretty good schools around.

lorelei9here Wed 30-Mar-16 15:48:37

I have to be honest, I think it's a load of rubbish but my worry is the opposite of yours OP. you say "What resonated with me in the article was society's fear of the mother. How we are recommended to remove our babies from us at every opportunity 'for their own good' as though in every case mentioned, the worst thing for the child would be to actually be with her mother. Extended breast feeding, co sleeping etc are not socially acceptable norms, but why are people so frightened of it? We have state-funded pre-school at age 3, but why is it better for a child to be prised from her mother crying, than just to do something when she's ready?"

I actually think it's the other way round - if anything I think patriarchal structures are desperate to have women glued to their kids for as long as possible. For example, my feeling - no evidence i admit - is that while there was a period of formula feeding being okay, now there's all the pressure to breastfeed.

If a woman goes back to work within a couple of weeks of having a baby, some people are still astonished.

if you are not interacting with your baby 100% of the time you are a bad parent.

I don't think society has a fear of the mother. If anything, I think society views women as walking wombs and gets annoyed when we dare to be anything else.

lorelei9here Wed 30-Mar-16 15:50:41

OP "When teachers were men it was a comparable job to a solicitor or doctor. Now teachers are predominantly women, the 'value' of the work has greatly diminished, as evidenced by the low pay."

is this correct? I seem to recall teachers' pay - and police pay - being targeted for increases, in the late 90s/early 00s when they had recruitment issues. I also don't see any evidence of the value of the work having diminished?

MorrisZapp Wed 30-Mar-16 15:53:50

I agree with lorelei, fear of the mother my arse. Fear of women being anything but mothers, more like.

lorelei9here Wed 30-Mar-16 16:30:18

actually I should add - a pp made the point about mass schooling offsetting parental influence and that's really important. I think it would be quite scary to grow up in such narrow margins.

Yes some parents will ensure their kids are exposed to a wide variety of ideas but many will not.

goldengatebridge Fri 03-Jun-16 01:25:56

Found this elsewhere - looks like there's a follow up
sophiechristophy.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/patriarchy-penis-not-required/

quencher Thu 30-Jun-16 17:24:10

Golden thanks for that update. Sorry, but the blogger does not understand what patriarchy is.
She needs to learn and understand what patriarch and patriarchy means. Also, she should google matriarch and matriarchal.

Patriarchy is a system where the male holds the power or the system benefits men and it's designed to benefit men. To say that patriarchy does not men male is just out right stupid. Patriarch is the male head. Duh!

I hope that she rewrites her blog after understanding what the terminology is so that we can understand what she is trying to put forward and stipulate.

*Patriarchal behaviour diminishes the experience, voice and agency of the other person. It renders them as less of a person than the person behaving patriarchally.
A person behaving patriarchally acts as if their opinion matters more, that they are entitled to do things to the other person/people without their consent. They believe themselves to be a fundamentally more important person, to be superior to the others. Their behaviour diminishes the autonomy and status of the people they in relationship with.* The highlighted section from her blog misses the whole point.
Superiority is not gender specific. Anyone can hold power. The problem is at the moment it's benefiting men and those men who cannot cope with standards required are told to man-up because there is an expectation of what men should be like and archive. The women are oppress and their freedom suppressed while men are free to do whatever they want as long as they can. Good or bad. They sometimes get way with things because they are boys or men.

Now, patriarchy is not owned by men. It is a power game that can be played regardless of gender. Take Miss Trunchbull for example. It’s the action of oppression that identifies patriarchy, not whether someone has a penis or not. So, regardless of any perceived progress in terms of gender equality or any other social equality, the dynamic of ‘power over’ – patriarchy – remains, and continues to be normalised and perpetuated across society from birth, into infinity and beyond. No! No! No! She misses the point here again. Behaviour is not gender specific. It's learned. Patriarchy is also does not mean behaviour. It's who is in charge. Men and women in general have been assigned gender roles. All respectable women to behave like ladies while men gentlemen. As I have discussed on another thread, all qualities that constitute being a lady suppresses the female. It's controlling and keeps women in their place.

Society socialises its citizens into what they want them to become. One of the main form of socialisation is the family. You also have schools, religious institutions etc.

I don't think people on Mn missed her point. She is the one who has got things muddled up.

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