I will begin this post by saying that in no way am I knocking patriarchal intelligence. And if you don’t know what I mean by patriarchal intelligence, I’ll explain below. Please know that I believe there are all kinds of intelligences, and I think that all of them are valuable. And this article is more to express my frustration about the fact that patriarchal intelligence has historically received (and still receives) WAY more respect, throughout the entire globe, than most other kinds of intelligences. And it pisses me off.
I’m not gonna lie. I was on the train this morning, thinking about my ex. And remembering one of the fucked up things he said to me, in addition to abruptly breaking up with me. At one point, to justify his decision, he told me point blank that I wasn’t intellectually challenging enough for him. This was after being together for three and a half years, and living together for two.
Let me just back up and say that if he and I were watching a movie together, featuring a boyfriend breaking up with a girlfriend. And that boyfriend made that same remark to his girlfriend, I guarantee you, my ex would have been like, “Um, that guy’s a dick!” Anyway, when he told me that, at the time, I didn’t even dignify it with a response. And I might be processing that remark for years to come. Because, um, seriously, dude, what the fucking shit?!
WHAT I MEAN BY PATRIARCHAL INTELLIGENCE
I know my ex fancied himself an incredibly intelligent person. And I’m not saying he wasn’t. However, there was never a point in the entire three and half years of us conversing, where my mind was totally blown by his mind. There was never a time when something he was saying wasn’t computing for me. Or a moment when he was talking about something that I couldn’t comprehend. In fact, quite often (when I wasn’t reprimanding him for condescendingly mansplaining), when he would go off on certain intellectual tangents, I would ask him why he didn’t talk more about those things to me. Because I enjoyed seeing him get so passionate about certain topics.
Anyway, I mention this because
I’m still pissed about what an ass he was I know he valued a very specific kind of intelligence. And he absolutely, 100% looked down upon other kinds of intelligences, such as the ones I often specialize in. But, more on that later.
PATRIARCHAL INTELLIGENCE INVOLVES THE LOGICAL MIND
Patriarchal intelligence involves the logical mind, and values facts, data, analysis, and practical application. This kind of intelligence supports fields of science, math, history, medicine, philosophy, technology, and the like. And again, I do believe that the world would be nowhere without these kinds of intelligences. They are valuable and worthy of respect. Also, just because they are “patriarchal” doesn’t mean this is a genetically male-specific aptitude. Obviously, if you are reading this blog, you know by now that women kick just as much ass as men do, in so many ways. And if you don’t know that, then wake up. And watch the movie Hidden Figures.
These types of intelligences are patriarchal because in general, the male gender has taken ownership of these kinds of aptitudes. And patriarchal societies do whatever they can to keep men in power. So, that might look something like only calling on male students in class. So they feel more supported, and gain more confidence. The female students in class might be following along just fine. But, if the teacher is not giving them the same kind of support as their male counterparts, their confidence and understanding will suffer. Also, women receive all kinds of discouraging behavior in intellectual environments, to keep them from growing. These behaviors include sexual harassment, objectification, dismissiveness, condescension, wow the list goes fucking on.
Women and men both know how to think brilliantly, and logically, and all of that other shit. And women and men are both good at science, and math, and technology, etc. But women have had to work hard to prove this fact. And are still working, every day, to make our patriarchal society take them seriously. And in all honesty, I believe the patriarchy often does realize that women are equal. It just doesn’t like it, and it feels threatened.
ORGANIZED RELIGION WAS THE VEHICLE THAT DESTROYED THE MATRIARCHY
I’m going to share anecdotally about this, and I don’t claim to be an expert. So, if you’re hungry for more facts, please do your own research.
Also, I am mostly talking about the history of the European continent. And because I’m an American woman, our understanding of history in this country is almost exclusively that of the European variety. In terms of what was taught in grade school, middle school, and high school.
The American education system is GRAVELY ignorant and racist in my opinion. And rarely touches on the history of other parts of the world, if at all. At least, this was the case when I was in school. We were basically taught that Europe and the US are the only important places in the world. And that all other places are subsidiary. Even if this teaching was indirect. The fact that 90%+ of lessons involved European and/or American history, and 10% MAY have been devoted to other parts of the world, sent a powerful message. But, this is a whole other topic that I shan’t expand upon now.
If you’ve read any book on feminism, or have had any understanding of the history of women, this comes as no surprise. But, as a refresher, before organized religion as we know it today, Paganism reined supreme, at least in Europe. And Christianity was essentially a smear campaign against Paganism. Just as a reminder, Christianity in general does not allow for female leadership in any capacity. It’s a patriarchal animal. Period. And Paganism was much more matriarchally-friendly. It honored nature, and multiple gods and goddesses, among other things.
“Pagans worship the divine in many different forms, through feminine as well as masculine imagery and also as without gender. The most important and widely recognised of these are the God and Goddess (or pantheons of God and Goddesses) whose annual cycle of procreation, giving birth and dying defines the Pagan year. Paganism strongly emphasises equality of the sexes. Women play a prominent role in the modern Pagan movement, and Goddess worship features in most Pagan ceremonies.”–BBC
OTHER KINDS OF INTELLIGENCES BESIDES PATRIARCHAL INTELLIGENCE
Okay, now that I’ve ripped on the patriarchy and offended practicing Christians (apologies, that wasn’t my intent), let me turn to my main point. And say that there are SO many other beautiful kinds of intelligences. That both women and men possess. And it kills me how they are so often overlooked, dismissed, and disrespected, by both men and women.
It’s also frustrating, because my interests often lie within the realm of these other kinds of intelligences. And by the way, I got A’s in science, math, and history. But, those topics just never interested me. And even if people don’t do well in these subjects, who gives a fuck?! As you’ll see below, there are so many valuable intelligences other than patriarchal intelligence. However, many of them are often characterized as more “feminine,” and therefore, by default, considered less substantial.
Howard Gardner proposes there are eight or nine kinds of intelligences, in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. And below, I will expand upon a few of these. Mostly the ones that I feel aligned with and drawn to. However, I do think Gardner’s list is limited in scope. Although it seems to be evolving over time, as more intelligences are considered, which I appreciate.
Someone can be a whiz at science. However, they might be absolutely terrible when it comes to communicating with another human being. Emotional intelligence involves empathy, sensitivity, self-regulation, and self-awareness, among other things. And these qualities can be developed, but are often very difficult to teach. An emotionally intelligent human being is a gift to the world.
Obviously, as an artist, I’m partial to this one. This is a complex intelligence that not only involves beauty and aesthetics. But also things like navigation, engineering, and interior and landscape design. Imagine what the world would be like without art, or gardens, or beautiful buildings. Or maps, compasses, clocks, and pattern-based algorithms.
Do you have that one friend who just always says the wrong thing at parties? Or, maybe that’s you! Either way, there are actually people who are very skilled in social situations. And these people have the ability to meet whomever they speak to at their level. They can easily shift from small talk to deep talk. And they have the ability to make those around them feel comfortable, enabling people to relax and to open up and share in ways they wouldn’t normally. Socially intelligent people can “read the room” and can steer the conversation in a different direction for the greater good of the group. And they are also incredibly aware of everyone’s feelings, all at the same time. They are charming and generally always say things that feel appropriate. They are such rock stars!
This intelligence caters to the writers, the bloggers, the public speakers, the comedians, the lawyers, the teachers, and the debaters. People with verbal intelligence have a way with words. And can affect serious change through their brilliant use of language.
A SUPER IMPORTANT INTELLIGENCE THAT MANY LAUGH AT
I feel very passionately about this one. Maybe more than any of the others. Because I have such a strong connection to this one, and have also received the most shit for it.
I don’t really know if this is an accurate description of this kind of intelligence. I could perhaps also say Intuitive Intelligence. But, it involves the skills of seeing and perceiving beyond the five senses. Someone with spiritual intelligence, at a very basic level, is very good at deciphering their intuition or gut feelings. Whether or not they follow those feelings is another story. They might also have a dream that comes true in waking life. Or, they may receive very clear ideas, inspiration, and wisdom from within, rather than from an external source.
As I describe these examples, you can see right now how these are very every day kinds of things. Intuition is a tool that every human being can utilize. And yet, when people (most often females), go with their gut feelings, even if they can’t logically explain why, they might get an eye roll. Or a dismissive laugh from someone else.
I say “most often females,” not because females are necessarily more intuitive. But because males suffer the same discriminations as females at times, but in reverse. Males in modern society are rarely encouraged to cultivate non-logical skills. And any boy or man paying attention to his intuition or inner feelings, receives all kinds of harmful ridicule. Women must push up hill to be taken seriously in the logical world. And men must do the same when it comes to honoring their intuitive aptitudes.
PATRIARCHAL INTELLIGENCE NEEDS TO BACK OFF
Something that breaks my heart, so very deeply, is when I think about our Native American indigenous culture. This culture fights every day within the US to keep their traditions alive. And their traditions are those of the more stereotypically feminine brand. This culture honors nature and story-telling, among many other things. And their traditions are often passed down orally, rather than through the more patriarchal written word. Sadly, if there are no Native Americans left to pass on their traditions, this beautiful culture will be lost to all. And unfortunately, in addition to being incredibly patriarchal, our society is also incredibly racist. Again, another topic for another time.
However, please know that the Native American tribes are alive and well in the United States. And there are so many ways to support the local tribes indigenous to your area. The first thing to do is to educate yourself about the tribe(s) indigenous to the ground you walk on every day. And humble yourself to the fact that Native Americans and their ancestors were here before any Europeans arrived, shepherding the land we take for granted every day.
There is absolutely a place for patriarchal intelligence in the world. We get it. You win! We hear you, and we appreciate you. Now, can others have a turn? That’s all I’m saying. And when I say “have a turn,” I mean can these other aptitudes thrive and enter the spotlight, just as science, math, medicine, and technology do? When someone opens their mouth to talk about the beauty of a painting, or their feelings, can those words be considered as equally as important as those of a doctor, or a scientist, or a philosopher? And if no, then why not?
THANK YOU FOR READING!
Wow, this was a whopper of a post, and I could’ve kept going. But, it really makes my blood boil, and I had to stop. So, what are your thoughts on patriarchal intelligence? Do you identify with this kind of smart? If so, that’s awesome! And are you able to honor other kinds as well? Or even cultivate them within yourself? Have you ever felt slighted for not possessing, or even being interested in, stereotypically patriarchal intelligences?
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Featured photo by Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash
Female scientist photo by CDC on Unsplash
Moon photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
Female speaker photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash