Big Daddy’s Myth Course: the mythology of patriarchy

Even though you may not be aware of it, we all live within a mythology—right now, in this present time. Mythology is not simply ancient stories from ancient cultures. Our lives are inundated with cultural stories. We just don’t typically classify them as social stories, much less myths.

Our most prominent and popular storytellers today show up in the various branches of media: television, film,  the internet, advertising, video games, radio, music, and “entertainment” publishing. We also read our cultural myths in novels or short stories or in the newspaper.  However, the majority of our current myths are delivered by these highly visual and auditory media. And they do it as a constant stream.

Markers of Patriarchal Stories

The myths we currently live with are indelibly linked to our social structure, which is patriarchy. Patriarchy literally means “father rule.” Put another way, patriarchy is “Big Daddy”—a generalized image of dominant and dominating male authority.

Big Daddy’s myth course naturally promotes the things that support patriarchy:

  • superiority
  • control and domination
  • force and violence
  • male authority and privilege
  • sexism, racism, and classism
  • a hierarchal status structure.
Babylonian boundary marker featuring Marduk. public domain
Babylonian boundary marker featuring Marduk. public domain

Historically, patriarchy has massively distorted ancient myths to drastically change any elements that fostered equality, community, and intimate knowledge of nature. Instead humanity’s grand myths were warped into narratives that championed heroes (and kings, warriors, and saviors) together with separation from nature, the elevation of war, and systemic constriction and denigration of women and girls.

Once you begin to look at the way our society is organized and then look further into the stories we tell, hear, and mimic, it will be evident that there are a lot of “fathers” that rule. What does “father rule” look like in our culture? As a rule of thumb, in a patriarchy, the people that wield the greatest authority and are accorded the highest status or class in our public and private lives are typically male and white.