I grew up in a traditional family of quiet, stubborn, reading people. My dad is an academic, my mum is a housewife, and I have two brothers and two sisters. As kids my brothers played ice hockey--like almost every other Canadian boy whose parents could afford it--but they were musicians, not jocks. My sisters and I also played ice hockey; I think the youngest one enjoyed it. The boys went to all-boys school from the age of 8; the girls went to all-girls school from the age of 14. We all went to church on Sunday. We said grace before dinner. We had family dinner every night, and except once in a blue moon, it did not begin until my father had reached the table.
But that's about it for the patriarchy. The male authority in my life was my dad, and never my brothers. We siblings were all brought up as equals. The boys had the same curfew as the girls, simply because my mother couldn't bear to apply a double standard. There were already more opportunities for boys than for girls in our little world, and my parents tried to be fair to the girls without denying the opportunities to the boys.
When your dad is so clearly the head of the household, I guess a girl can go two ways. She can either emulate her dad and strive for kingship, or she can subconsciously look for a king to serve as a loyal Prime Minister. (I always thought of my dad as an absolute monarch who left the running of the kingdom to his trusty Prime Minister, my mum.)
Actually, I suppose there are a lot of other ways a girl can go and a lot of other metaphors to describe it. I am sure many women aim for a Biumvirate or have a completely anarchistic approach where there are no leaders in a family or relationship. However, despite working really, really hard not to become one, I discovered that I'm the Prime Minister type.
But I'll tell you something. Just because I grew up with my dad as the Supreme Authority of the house and now I treat my husband as the Supreme Authority of the Historical House does not mean I think men in general, or any man other than B.A., can tell me what to do.
This fact can not be too widely known.
As a freelance writer, I have very polite interactions with editors. They give me deadlines, I give them articles. They occasionally make suggestions, and I either accept them or reject them. So I don't even have a boss telling me what to do, which is great although a rather impecunious way to live life.
As a Catholic, I do occasionally go and seek instructions from men. Jesuit confessors in Canada usually ask if I am okay with the penance they have assigned. Confessors in Scotland do not, but I've never been given a penance I found onerous.
As a student, I had a lot of male professors, and because I am so easily influenced, I became very careful about whom I chose to teach me. If I had found any professor in my PhD program whom I would have happily risked becoming, I might have stayed. But I hadn't, so I didn't. I was Single then, and I just couldn't risk having the wrong man (or wrong woman) become the boss of me.
The whole concept of female subordination is so unpopular, so misunderstood and so abused, that it is difficult to discuss it at all. I imagine many woman would blush with shame at the idea that another woman might just instinctively obey her husband because not to obey him would just feel icky. But that's how I feel.
The amusing thing about this, though, is that for some men it is a litmus test of female goodness. It gives me the freedom to say "Only my HUSBAND can tell me what to do. YOU can go jump in the LAKE" without being accused of being a feminist battle-ax. If Single readers want to adopt this weapon yourselves, I suggest you cite your fathers. You battle fish with fishhooks, bears with guns, traditionalists with tradition.
I'm thinking about this because new men have come trolling by in recent weeks to comment on our female conversation. Obviously our poor Swashbuckling Protector is too tired to protect us any longer, so I'll have to post a new one. Of course I have no problem with such old friends as Hip 2 B Square--one of my oldest readers--coming by, but random astronauts from the manosphere landing briefly to say "Bad, bad women! Read your Bibles!" or "Why shouldn't I dump my girlfriend for not being a virgin?" very much annoy me.