It is no easy option, having power. Responsibility is a burden, at least if you have a conscience. It involves hard work and public scrutiny, and buckets of stress. It ages you; it takes the life out of life. There are a few people who thrive on it, but they have the character of addicts, driven to embrace what destroys them. They are outnumbered a hundred-fold by people who would enjoy the fruits of labour without labouring themselves.
Society tacitly recognises the burdens of responsibility, and cleverly bribes those who are prepared to accept it. We pay them more, yes, but more than that, we give them status. Everybody chases status, and this disguises how unattractive power is in itself. Sometimes we even imagine we want power ourselves, until we try it.
But there is more to it than that. Historically, power has been desired because it gives you a chance to advance the interests of your group – your family, your tribe – even (it is sometimes claimed) your sex. i’m not so sure about this last one. The difficulty with it is that men have Daughters and generally wish Them well. i don’t think patriarchy is a mechanism used by men to repress Women. i think it is an attitude whereby men decide to ‘understand’ Women in a certain way, or imagine we know what Women want. (we know what we would like Women to want, but that’s another story).
i’m getting off the point. The implication of all this is that power is only attractive if it is to be abused. You would fight to come out on top of the pile, and once there, you expend your efforts trying to cement your position, in pursuit of a level of security that is unattainable. It is like scooping sand only to watch it drain through your fingers.
But imagine a different model, established to serve the interests of Women. Firstly, status is inherent in being Female. No point fighting for it. If Gynarchy ran through the DNA of a society there would be no impulse for Women to hoard power to Themselves because Their interests would be served whether They had personal power or not. Which is to say, Gynarchy would not necessarily need to deny men the ability to exercise influence, if men could be trusted to value the interests of their Mistresses above all else. In fact the best way an able man might serve the Gynarchy could well be to run things – or to keep them working, at least. Take on responsibility, but not the material rewards. Only the spiritual rewards of service to the Superior Sex.
It is understandable though that the most common trope for expressing a Gynarchic vision is the removal of the power of the male. The Gynarchy would hardly feel secure if it stood only on the foundations of continuing male goodwill. We do not trust ourselves to maintain perfection.
What would Women want, if we had a society where everyone collaborated for Their benefit? Would They wish to keep the reigns of Their society to themselves, or would They rather have the males do the legwork? Who controls the carriage; the driver or the horse?
i don’t know the answer.
[cover image: cabanel’s Cleopatra testing Poison on her Slaves]