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The Creation of Patriarchy

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
A major new work by a leading historian and pioneer in women's studies, The Creation of Patriarchy is a radical reconceptualization of Western civilization that makes gender central to its analysis. Gerda Lerner argues that male dominance over women is not "natural" or biological, but the product of an historical development begun in the second millennium B.C. in the Ancie ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published October 22nd 1987 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1986)
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Dec 27, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing
Getting five stars because I read it in high school (in "Contemporary Women's Spirituality" at my Catholic school) when I was still a Republican and it raised my consciousness more (relatively) than anything I've read since. Thanks, Sr. Debbie.
 SaЯRah Muhammad
Mar 24, 2015 SaЯRah Muhammad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-rights
Gerda Lerner constructs an historical framework for understanding why women of the 21st century still fight to emancipate themselves from male subordination and misogynistic attitudes. She adeptly takes us on a journey through history starting in the second millennium B.C. Lerner makes a persuasive case for women's reproductive capacities and economics as being central to the rise of male power, female subordination, and dominance hierarchies as a system of organizing society. She contends that ...more
Nancy Brumback
May 09, 2014 Nancy Brumback rated it it was amazing
Read 10 or 15 years ago, this is a very scholarly treatment of how male dominance and female subservience are determined not by biology, but by social development.
Chanel Earl
Mar 30, 2011 Chanel Earl rated it it was ok
Recommended to Chanel by: Kimberly Tuai
This seems like a pretty good history of patriarchy. I can't argue with most of the facts presented (women sold into slavery, turned out of their homes after being raped, stoned, children considered property of their fathers instead of mothers, basically the fact that women have been oppressed for as long as recorded history). I read several chapters in this book, including the last which summarizes the book, and I think I get the point. My problems with it are mostly threefold:

1. Some of the sc
Kate Pittman
Dec 31, 2014 Kate Pittman rated it it was amazing
This book answered a lot of my "but why is it like this?" questions regarding the position of women.

A few quotes from the final chapter that capture some of the main conclusions:

"...the enslavement of women, combining both racism and sexism, preceded the formation of classes and class oppression. Class differences were, at their very beginnings, expressed and constituted in terms of patriarchal relations. Class is not a separate construct from gender, rather class is expressed in gendereic terms
Aseem Kaul
Mar 17, 2013 Aseem Kaul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gender
"Women's History is indispensable and essential to the emancipation of women" Gerda Lerner writes in the introduction to this book, a conviction she says "rests on my observation of the profound changes in consciousness which students of Women's History experience. Women's History changes their lives."

Reading Lerner's thought-provoking and essential book, it's not hard to see why. The Creation of Patriarchy offers fascinating insight into the roots of gender relations so basic to social organiza
Donovon Ceaser
Apr 13, 2008 Donovon Ceaser rated it really liked it
Great book. I learned a lot about how men came to rule the world. and that the origin of slavery begins with the subjegagtion of women.

Unfortunately, Lerner is not an anti-civilizationist as I am, and she give a few apologies for civilization as she explains her history of the creation of patriarchy, even though she repeatedly acknoledgs that the creations of civilization (or I would say, the subjegation of nature) is the beginnings of the patriarchal power structure.
Aug 03, 2013 Jason rated it it was ok
Let me get straight to the heart of my issues with this book:

1. The narrow focus and even narrower interpretive methodology which is presented as something much wider in scope and implication than what it really is. Ms. Lerner rarely departs from a 2,000 year period in Mesopotamia, almost entirely ignoring other cultures around the world. All of her interpretation is divorced from the original languages in question, and those interpretations are entirely filtered through a Marxist (read: materia
Aug 28, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women's Historians, Feminists, Anthropologists
Recommended to Michael by: Karen Hagemann
After establishing herself as one of the pre-eminent Women's Historians (and, in the process, helping to establish Women's History), Gerda Lerner turned to one of the major questions of feminist history: why, throughout the world, are women apparently universally subjected to men? She chose to answer this question using historical understanding, although she had to expand her methodology to include fields which study PRE-history in order to properly address it. This was a bold undertaking, for s ...more
Jennifer Taw
Jan 04, 2017 Jennifer Taw rated it really liked it
I have long wondered how it is that half the world's population can be oppressed/repressed/suppressed, with some variations with respect to societal norms and religion, but with remarkable consistency and, apparently, women's own (to me, inexplicable) compliance, if not active complicity. I've wondered where the roots of such disparity in power and authority lie and if they're biological or historical, not least because they seem universal and reified while being wholly counterintuitive (bad not ...more
Ghadeer Mansour
Jul 23, 2015 Ghadeer Mansour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هذا الكتاب عظيم جدًا، هو مبحث في تاريخ الهيمنة الذكورية وخضوع النساء، وأعتبره مرجع غني. الجميل أن غيردا لينر قدّمت العديد من النظريات، وتناولت الموضوع من عدة جوانب وكذلك كل ما يتعلق به، وفي حقب زمنية مختلفة، فما ألزمت القارئ بفكرة وحيدة هي مقتنعة بها.
لفتني في أحد فصول الكتاب (المرأة العبدة) أصل العبودية، ومن أين أتت. سأورده باختصار: خمّن المؤرخون والباحثون، أن العبودية بدأت حين بدأ الإنسان يشن الحروب، فقد كان رجال المنطقة المهزومين يُبادون عن آخرهم، أما النساء فيؤسرن هن وأطفالهن عادةً. كان قد عر
مبارك الهاجري
بخلاف الفروق الحيوية " البيولوجية " التي ما زلتُ مقتنعاً أنَّ لها دوراً أكبر في الهيمنة الذكورية، إلا أني معجبٌ جداً بما طرحته الباحثة النسوية " غيردا لينر " في الغوص العميق في السيرورة التاريخية التي وضحت أرجح الأسباب في نشوء العبودية، وتشيئ النساء إلى كائن نفعه محدود بالمصلحة الذكورية. أكثر ما لفت انتباهي في عرض " لينر " العلمي الرزين إلى درجة معقولة الرغبة الكبير في خلق وعي نسوي وجمعي أيضاً بضرورة التعبير عن أنفسهن عبر الفكر النسوي، لا الفكر الذكري الذي رأى نصف الحقيقة فاعتمدها في أفكار المجت ...more
Sara M.
ترى الكاتبة أنه ينبغي أن نُشبع تاريخ النساء دراسة وتحليلاً حتى نتمكن من فهم السيرورة التاريخية التي جعلت من النظام الأبوي يفرض وجوده بهذه الطريقة الكاسحة وأن يجعل من خضوعهن وإقصائهن أمراً حتمياً على مدى ألفيّات؛ فتاريخ النساء هو الأداة الجوهرية لإبداع وعي نسوي لدى النساء حسب تعبيرها. إذ أن الفهم المعمق لبداية نشأة هذا النظام، ستمكننا من فهم الطريقة التي تطور فيها أو بناءه التاريخي ومن ثم نشوء وعي وإدراك حول كيفية و مدى تسلّط ممارسات هذا النظام على حياة نصف السلالة البشرية، وماهي العوامل التي عز ...more
Reading Lerner's book after bell hooks made me acutely aware of the very 'whiteness' of the history that she was presenting.

I do not agree with all of her conclusions, nor all of her connections, but she certainly paints a depressing picture of the subordination of women.

The dictionary of terms in the back are enlightening and useful for anyone thinking about issues of female empowerment.
Fahad Alqurain
كتاب جيد ولكن الترجمة سيئة
Sara Murphy
Apr 23, 2015 Sara Murphy rated it really liked it
The Creation of Patriarchy was written by Gerda Lerner and published in 1986, making it slightly outdated but nonetheless, relevant and though-provoking. Lerner writes in a sophisticated and academic kind of way which really appealed to me in particular. It was rich with history, presented in a scholarly fashion which only served to enhance its readability.
Lerner did her homework and cited many useful sources where she retrieved her own information and she carefully details her conclusions and
Dec 03, 2012 Chuck rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gerda Lerner’s analysis of human history and culture in The Creation of Patriarchy seems spot on in many places. Lerner persuasively argues that patriarchy was a historic creation; and how androcentric thinking has perpetuated a system of patriarchal dominance over time and across cultures. Hopefully, the time for “the system of patriarchy” has nearly run its course. At Lerner observed, “It no longer serves the needs of men and women;” and its linkage with militarism and racism “threatens the ve ...more
Elena (Books & Reviews)
Dec 07, 2014 Elena (Books & Reviews) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
In The Creation of Patriarchy, the information is organised both chronologically and according to Lerner’s study of gender relationships. Because Lerner’s organisation is simply perfect, I will present some of the very basic ideas from each chapter:

Chapter I starts with myths and Lerner makes a rotund statement regarding matriarchy, a social organisation long-believed to have existed: “It may be noted that I am defining matriarchy as the mirror image of patriarchy. Using that definition, I would
Apr 27, 2016 J.P. rated it really liked it
Very solid book on the historical roots of Patriarchy. Goes back to the time of our species as hunters & gatherers, tribes & clans up to where we are currently. She traces how these systems changed over time & produced in various ways the many issues we see today. It shows the far reaching consequences of decisions & functions in society & how, even if inadvertent, they produce things that can be beneficial to those in power without them choosing a specific action with the th ...more
Ryan Mishap
Mar 23, 2016 Ryan Mishap rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
"Patriarchy is a historic creation formed by men and women in a process which took nearly 2500 years to its completion. In its earliest form, patriarchy appeared as the archaic state."

A brilliant, straight-forward history that defines its terms, tells us what she is going to show, and then proceeds to outline what happened in those 2500 years as relative egalitarianism gave way to sedentary lifestyles, hierarchy, and, importantly, the first domination, that of men over women. While first publish
Jul 27, 2014 Linnea added it
This month I read The creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner. In this book, she looks at the origins of patriarchy and found that it was not one event at one time, but many events across the world over a long period of time. She discussed events that happened in Paleolithic and Neolithic times that fueled patriarchy. Women were trained even then to submit to men. She also searched for a matriarchal society and said, "It may be noted that I am defining matriarchy as the mirror image of patriarchy ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Dorotea rated it it was amazing
Awesome insight. Gerda, you rock!

One of my favorite ideas, from the Appendix of Definitions: "Woman's Culture is the ground upon which women stand in their resistance to patriarchal domination and their assertion of their own creativity in shaping society. The term implies an assertion of equality and awareness of sisterhood...."

Also, Gerda's intro to Appendix: "In undertaking this work I am part of a group effort by feminist rectify the neglect of women...exclusion as participant
Jamie Eastling
Feb 03, 2014 Jamie Eastling rated it liked it
This is a fascinating and detailed articulation of how possibly innocuous actions that made logical sense at the time became codified misogyny and thus into the patriarchy.

One major problem I had with this is that she incorrectly places blame on Judaism. The Western world was not shaped by Judaism. It was shaped by Christianity and a distinctly Christian interpretation of the Torah that neglects to include anything from the Talmud.
May 28, 2008 Roy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A critically important study of "the contradiction between women's central role in creating society and their marginality in the meaning-giving process of definition and interpretation." copyright 1986...and yet so little known, let alone attended to...
Along this 'track,' Marilyn French's 1985 "Beyond Power: On Women, Men, and Morality." Her chapter on the establishment, formation, and stratification/hierarachy control-mechanism of Patriarchy is credible, readable, and brilliant.
Aug 22, 2016 Dana rated it it was amazing
Throughout the reading of this book, I've been depressed, angry, uplifted, in tears.. and I just can't understand how I've read it only now. It should have been compulsory reading in primary schools (simplified, of course). Just as Lerner says: we are all functioning under the erroneous idea that half means whole (the history of males being the only history we learn). I can't wait to start reading the other tome: The Creation of Feminist Consciousness.
Jun 24, 2016 Jenne rated it it was ok
To be honest, the biggest reason for my rating The Creation of Patriarchy so low is due to its age. In the last 30 years, significant historical and archaeological facts have emerged that will fundamentally alter the hypothesis, assumptions and conclusions of this book. I am on the lookout for a more updated synthesis of the historical, anthropological and archeological record in relation to women's roles throughout cultures and histories.
Aug 25, 2013 Jesse rated it did not like it
From a Marxist point of view you would like it it. I love the fact that people from other cultures tend to know how others feel. Totally written from her point of view without care as to others thoughts, especially other women. As a communist sympathizer I can't accept anything she has to say! Her academia work speaks for itself, a self imposed elitist who created her own path to self righteousness.
الهنوف فهد
Dec 23, 2014 الهنوف فهد rated it it was amazing
نشأة النظام الأبوي ( عنوان الكتاب المترجم )
انهيت الكتاب وأنا في إعجاب شديد للطرح الذي أفادتنا به المؤرخه و الباحثة النسوية غيردا ليرنر ( والشكر قبل كل شيء للمترجم أسامة إسبر و المنظمة العربية للترجمة )

الفصل الذي أنهت به كتابها
اعتبره رسالة للنساء المفكرات

أهم شيء لا نصدق
"أسطورة هامشية النساء في إبداع الحضارة
فالمرأة لها تاريخ "

بحث عميق و مهم و عجيب
Apr 06, 2007 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Andrea Dworkin may have fired me up and clued me into the injustices and inequality I was experiencing, but Creation of Patriarchy created a colder, deeper sense within me that is with me even when I'm too tired or beat down to keep the rage going. This book is extremely enlightening, and educational. It changed my life, and my approach to my relationship with all men in my life.
Susan Bremer O'Neill
I read this book some time ago, but it was pivotal in my understanding of how women evolved to be the "lesser sex." Most of what I learned in this book is never discussed at all and most definitely never discussed in religious settings.
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Gerda Lerner (April 30, 1920 – January 2, 2013) was a historian, author and teacher. She was a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a visiting scholar at Duke University.

Lerner was one of the founders of the field of women's history, and was a former president of the Organization of American Historians. She played a key role in the development of women's history
More about Gerda Lerner...

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