And those ideas led to profoundly incorrect notions about the 'nature' of men, and the 'nature' of women.
In the UK the book is available at the link below. Otherwise see Amazon USA, France, Spain, Germany or Italy.
All around the world, women experience a living hell: 'date' rape, stranger rape, gang rape, war rape, domestic violence, forced marriages, female abductions, sex slavery etc etc. Female infanticide is still commonplace, but now pre-natal gender screening has caused a genocide of potential girls and women. Believe me, I have spent years in feminist libraries and doubt there are more depressing places to be. The history of womankind is horrific, and the experience of many women today is almost as bad.
But the ideological concept that gave patriarchy its foundations has gone. The problem is that we don't know it. We, as feminists don't know it. Men don't know it. Historians don't know it. Archaeologists don't know it. Theologians don't know it. Sociologists and philosophers don't know it.
And, of course, there are many parts of the world even today where people are still living immersed in the patriarchal concept.
The feminist debate has completely overlooked reproduction theory (ideas about where babies come from) and instead moan on and on about the past. The past was inevitable. It was a mistake. The horrific experience of women had nothing to do with men being bullies, the rise of the city state, women having babies, or any other thing. It was the logical conclusion of a simple idea - women are second class, inferior beings, put on earth to provide men with children, while themselves having no reproductive rights because THEY DON'T REPRODUCE! This is not some abstract notion; this is what people said, century after century, in writing. Understanding reproduction theory is the key to understanding what happned in the past, and what is happening today.
Also, looking at history and prehistory from the perspective of reproduction theory makes it clear that any notion that men have always bullied and beaten women since the time we lived in caves is rubbish
I am the most positive and optimistic feminist I know, even though I am well aware of the sexist nightmare throughout the world today. But I don't think this horrific situation is the result of men being natural bullies and thugs, and women being too soft to fight back. I think men were allowed to get away with murder during the patriarchal era, and because we don't realise it is actually over, they are still getting away with it.
I went on a journey to arrive at this point and it started many years ago when I was with a group of people in a typical London pub talking about 'the women question'. The women were angry, the men were defensive. It was getting very heated until one of the men said:
"So why has there never been a female Bach or Bethoven then?"
The room went quiet. Nobody had the answer. I went home very depressed.
The next morning I got a reader's card for the British Library and read every book on feminism that I had not already read. I counted 17 theories of patriarchy, from 'women have babies and stay at home' to 'the growth of the city state led to war, warriors and male supremacy'. The problem with these theories is that they contradict eachother and if one held true for one culture, it didn't hold true for another. Also, they didn't explain the lack of respect of women and the misogyny. I kept looking.
Anthropology showed me that not all cultures are sexist. And the interesting thing about the non-sexist cultures is that they have theories of reproduction that give men and women an equal role in reproduction, or supremacy in reproduction to women. So then I asked myself, 'when did we know the facts of life?' - i.e. the basic facts of life, there are two parents. And here I came to a blank wall.
Now I headed for the specialist libraries including the Science Reference Library, The Wellcome Institute LIbrary, and the Natural History Museum libraries. Hidden away on dusty shelves I came across an interesting fact:
Until 1900 AD most scientists thought there was one parent - the male.
And, this idea of single-parenthood gave men the idea they were superior. We know this because they said so.
But this information was hidden in the subject area 'the history of embryology'. Looking at the more general reading material, we seem to jump over 'ignorance of reproduction' to 'the discovery of cells' to 'genetics'. The bit where they'd had the facts of life wrong for thousands of years has been quiety forgotten.
And because nobody has written about it, people are left with the general impression I hear all the time - "I thought people have always known the facts of life."
And, because people have been left with that impression, patriarchy seems to be based on some 'natural', traditional, order: men should be in charge of women. "After all", they think, "it's always been that way".
For thousands of years men explained in writing why they thought they were superior. Theirs was a 'natural' superiority, because it was (apparently) designed by God and was their 'natural' right, and it stemmed from God having (apparently) given the seed of life to men alone. Women were (apparently) given to men so men could reproduce themselves. Women were defined as 'helpers' reproductively, and in all other ways. To challenge these ideas was blasphemous - it could get you killed.
The next thing I had to do was pack my bags and go around the world to do some research (It's a hard life!) . In Papua New Guinea I caught a plane going east, towards the south Pacific Ocean, and The Trobriand Islands. There, men are thought to have nothing whatever to do with reproduction. To call a woman a virgin is an insult; promiscuous women are admired. And men do not control women in any way, shape, or form. To cut a long story short, imagine landing on a planet where every social rule and expectation is upside down, and the people have a completely different life-view.
It's been a long journey, this reproduction theory quest, and taken me to all kinds of places, where I've met many kinds of experts, seen all kinds of things, and read a whole heap of books.
At the end of it all I know this: patriarchy was limited in time; men are not by their very nature the bullies and thugs patriarchy turned them into; and there's never been a female Bach or Beethoven because women were locked in a box. Thankfully, we now have the key to unlock it.