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Unintentional Matriarchy

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Tangle Shine, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. Tangle Shine

    Tangle Shine Scribe

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    An unintended derived matriarchy, can be defined as a society being matriarchal unintentionally after a colossal event, mostly disastrous and life-changing.

    In my WIP, I came up with a concept in which was expressed in form of questions:
    - How is an isolated society be like if there is only majority of females remain when all the males are dead as conscripts fighting in a devastating war?
    - Is the chance of reproduction gone forever?
    - Can their generation survive without inheritance?
    - How they do it?
    - What obstacles could they face?

    WIP titled: The Great Inheritance

    What's your opinion? :3
     
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    It's unlikely all the men would have gone off to war. There would be those too young, disabled, ill, or too old to fight, as well as those with key skills a country would need to keep fighting. The steel workers, the miners, the ammunition workers. They would have been pulled to factories to keep the supply lines flowing.

    A man (even an older one) can have dozens of children in a year, whereas a woman can be pregnant only once a year. So in, effect with a lot of females, but only a few surviving males, the population could theoretically recover within a generation. Reverse that, few females, and many males, and the population won't recover so quickly.

    Such a catastrophic event on the population of a country would change the way its society functions. We have only to look as far back as the second world war to see how society and the roles of women changed when all the men went off to fight. Women ran and worked the farms - the land girls, worked in ammunition factories, in military support roles. Basically they filled the roles of the absent men to keep the country fed and fighting.
     
  3. gia

    gia Scribe

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    So here is a weird fact. Nature at times changes the sex of a species. AND even weirder...there's some island in the Caribbean where certain amount of girls turn into men at the age of 12...and grow the corresponding body parts. Boggles the mind!
     
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  4. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    All right, I found an article on this: The astonishing village where little girls turn into boys aged 12

    Apparently, they don't actually change from girls into boys. They are genetic males, it's just that they have a disorder that prevents them from developing normal male genitalia until they reach puberty. So, they only think that they're girls when they're actually boys.
     
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  5. gia

    gia Scribe

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    As my grandson would say....AWKWARD!
     
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  6. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

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    I think this a good point. You could also have men who are too chicken to fight so they are either ostracized or find other ways to help.

    If most men are dead and the population is mostly female, I'd imagine that polygamy becomes the norm for men in order to help the population grow.
     
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  7. Jordan R Murray

    Jordan R Murray Acolyte

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    Interesting idea. Let's choose one of your questions - possible obstacles they face. I think an interesting concept to explore in this kind of society would be how any remaining men are treated. Let's say there are 10 men amidst 1000 women just to have a few numbers out there.

    You could go in many directions with something like this from an anthropological perspective:

    The most obvious would be that those 10 men live a life of absolute leisure and pleasure, literally. Their purpose is to repopulate the culture, and making sure they are healthy, happy and well cared for would become a high priority. Would this spoil the men? Give them privileges they will abuse? Absolutely. And when male children are born, what special privileges would they enjoy? Fast forward fifty years, or a hundred. This would likely create a very patrilineal focus, but then a lot of conflict as the population re-balances.

    Another interesting way you could go would be more of an Amazonian way of life. Those 10 men could be looked down upon. Perhaps even ignored. Women could use them much in the way that captive women in our history were treated; they could be owned by a select few women who are the only ones to become pregnant and have children at all. How would the other 950 women or so react to having no chance of their own children? Interesting possibilities for a caste based system, there.

    Ahem. I could ramble for awhile on the societal possibilities, but the inheritance concept would also depend quite heavily upon the gender of your main character(s).
     
  8. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    @Jordan: There is really no scenario that is sustainable in the long run, but the most precarious is the one where only the elite women have the right to breed. That'll reduce your population growth capability by 99% in a single generation (assuming your 1000 women to 10 men number), and basically means any crisis in the next few centuries would have the chance to be a community-wiping catastrophe.
     
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  9. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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  10. Jordan R Murray

    Jordan R Murray Acolyte

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    @ KillerB's I think the lack of sustainability would be entirely the point. The cracks that would form would be almost immediate. In beginning with a completely unsustainable premise all the fun would be in ripping it apart and exploring the results. :)
     
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  11. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I am not sure this math is right. One male can keep a lot of women pregnant at any one time.
     
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  12. Jackarandajam

    Jackarandajam Troubadour

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    There are some really interesting studies on the cultural effects of matriarchal societies, or societies lacking strong or present father figures, on the male generations that follow.
    I would never swear by their accuracy, but they would be great for fantasy.

    A strong gang presence, particularly, would be an interesting result to consider.
     
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  13. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    As the first poster points out, it's highly unlikely the entire male population would be killed off in a war. Between men not fit to fight but who are fertile, men who don't see combat in their military roles, men who have important jobs on the homefront that can't be filled by this society's women, any prisoners of war who are returned after the conflict, and more, there should be at least some still alive. I don't know of any human group that endured having all of their men killed. When that happened, the women were usually taken as slaves by the victorious society.

    That's not to say the male population might not take some truly appalling casualties. In the War of the Triple Alliance, Paraguay lost 90% of its male population (which was already low). In total, they lost something like 70% of their total pre-war population to the war and associated disease and starvation. I've heard the Catholic Church actually permitted polygamy for a time after the war, to aid repopulation efforts, but can only turn up scholarly sources on that. They infer that from the fact that Paraguay only recognized sacramental marriage at the time, so any polygamous unions would've had to be approved. A similar thing supposedly occured in Germany after the Thirty Years' War, but its sources are in the same states as the other case. Anyway, any society without a strong aversion to polygamy would probably implement it to make up their casualties, so I think you're good on the world building front.

    I suppose the biggest question is how the men are treated in this new society. Do upper class women restrict access to men to themselves (as someone mentioned earlier), or are they available to everyone? Is marriage even a thing now? The fertile men might be passed around on an as needed basis to repopulate faster.

    Now, you mention wanting to think about possible obstacles. I'm assuming this society lost its war if they took such heavy casualties, so their opponent(s) may have imposed certain conditions on them. Other groups they didn't fight may try to take advantage of their momentary weakness.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  14. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    "Where only the elite women have the right to breed"
     
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  15. Tandrel

    Tandrel Dreamer

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    Thank you so much, this article had exceptional stuff for my wip regarding egalitarian societies!
     
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