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The Creation of Patriarchy

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  377 ratings  ·  37 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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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
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
Chanel Earl
Mar 30, 2011 Chanel Earl rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
Nancy Brumback
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.
Aseem Kaul
"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
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.
Kate Pittman
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
Aug 28, 2013 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Ashraf Nazih
"إن كتاب نشأة النظام الأبوي يعد إنجازا ضخما في حقل دراسات المرأة. فهو إعادة بناء جذرية للمفاهيم في الحضارة الغربية، ويجعل من الجنس، من حيث الذكورة والأنوثة، أساسا لتحليله. يذهب إلى أن هيمنة الرجال على النساء ليست ((طبيعية)) أو بيولوجية، وإنما هي نتاج تطور تاريخي بدأ في الألفية الثانية قبل ميلاد المسيح في الشرق الأدنى القديم. وبما أن النظام الأبوي كنظام، ينظم المجتمع تأسس تاريخيا، فإنه يمكن أن ينتهي بسيرورة تاريخية.
يركز الكتاب على التناقض بين دور النساء المحوري في إنشاء المجتمع ودورهن الهامشي في
Sara Murphy
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
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)
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
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
Jamie Eastling
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.
الهنوف فهد
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
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.
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
Rachel Gammons
It took me a while to get through this one, but it was one of those books where you want to underline every sentence because the words are so powerful and awesome. Props, Gerda. You done good.
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.
Very insightful book.
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.
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.
Jul 20, 2009 Garrett.k rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Garrett.k by: Olivia
Really great read. The first few chapters are a little dense and hard to get through, but Lerner does a great job of building each chapter on top of the by the time you get to the "Patriachs" & "The Covenant" the text reads like cannon fire.
A must-read if you want to understand our roots... Lerner makes you understand patriarchy from the inside-out and it is amazing how much we are out of touch with a social institution that still has such a huge influence on us all.
This is an interesting history, but I don't feel that it did an adequate job explaining the origins of patriarchy. Its scope is too limited. I suppose we can't know truly know how patriarchy was created without a time machine.
Stephie Jane Rexroth
"As long as both men and women regard the subordination of half the human race to the other as 'natural,' it is impossible to envision a society in which differences do not connote either dominance or subordination."
"the creation of patriarchy" is profound. it's a really academic text, but if you can get through it, i promise that it will be among the most important pieces for any feminist/womanist practitioner to read.
This book is my new bible and Gerda Lerner is my Jesus....seriously, thats how important this book is to anyone who calls themselves a feminist.......
I loved this when I was about 18. Then I read critiques of it by other historians who said it was all poo. Still, it fit a piece of the puzzle fairly well...
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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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