The Difference Between Androcentrism, Gynocentrism, Patriarchy, And Matriarchy
Androcentrism (Ancient Greek, ἀνήρ, "man, male") is the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing a masculine point of view at the center of one's world view, culture, and history, thereby culturally marginalized femininity. The related adjective is androcentric, while the practice of placing the feminine point of view at the center is gynocentric.
Basically, this means that everything (the Gods, the infrastructure, Viagra, Urban planning, medical research, the temperature in the office, Space Suits, pornography, entertainment, media, the internet, etc) has been created by men for men, never taking into account the female experience. Men have been the creators of what society considers the “norm” and they move through life benefiting from an experience designed just for them i.e. Male Privilege
Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.
Essentially, the patriarchy is an ideology used by men (and women - hello Stockholm Syndrome) to rationalize and excuse male dominance. This is based on the belief that women are biologically incapable of not just leadership, scholarship, professionalism but also of personal autonomy.
Gynocentrism (Ancient Greek, γυνή and κέντρον. Γυνή can be translated as woman or female, but also as wife. Gynocentrism refers to a dominant or exclusive focus on women in theory or practice; or to the advocacy of this. Anything can be considered gynocentric when it is concerned exclusively with a female (or feminist) point of view.
I want to say that gynocentrism is the opposite of androcentrism, but as it’s never existed there’s no way to be sure. Though I am fairly certain that in a gynocentric world you wouldn’t have to take Women’s History as an elective.
Matriarchy is a social system in which females (most notably in mammals) hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of males — at least to a large degree. Most anthropologists hold that there are no known anthropological societies that are unambiguously matriarchal.
I can’t even begin to imagine what this would look like or how it would work. Every movie made (by men for the male gaze) about a matriarchal society is categorized as dystopian, sci-fi, or fantasy. Not a head scratcher.
So nobody gets pissed off I want to be clear. I am not advocating for matriarchy. I’m fighting for equality.
Article by VERVE Founder & CFO (Chief Feminist Operative) Anna Quick-Palmer