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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Khatun (Mongolian: ᠬᠠᠲᠤᠨ, khatun, хатан khatan; Persian: خاتون‎‎ khātūn; Urdu: خاتون‎ khātūn, plural خواتين khavātīn; Turkish: hatun)

A ruler's wife or more simply any woman, Khatun is a title of respect used prior to Islam in many cultures. Some archeological evidence demonstrates that women were not only revered in many places in the ancient world but also worshiped as goddesses. In Mongol culture, women at times fought side by side with men in wars and were thus esteemed. Often, artifacts accentuate the reproduction and nurturing of life associated with women. At times these artifacts seem to depict the subservience of men to these women. It is not truly known what the intent was in producing these pieces, but some have taken the liberty of expounding upon what the meaning may be; speculating that entire cultures were dominated by women. In modern tribal systems where women have a measure of authority in a Matriarchy, men are participants in governing the tribe in every case, so it is highly unlikely that any ancient tribal systems were entirely ruled by women alone. Certainly there are records throughout history of Queens and other women whom were benevolent capable rulers.

Cynthia Eller's book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future confirms this:
Eller sets out to refute what she describes as feminist matriarchalism as an "ennobling lie."[1]
She argues that the feminist archaeology of Marija Gimbutas had a large part in constructing a late twentieth-century feminist myth of matriarchal prehistory. She questions whether Gimbutas's archaeological findings adequately support the claim that these societies were matriarchal or matrifocal. She says that we know of no cultures in which paternity is ignored and that the sacred status of goddesses does not automatically increase female social status. Eller concludes that inventing prehistoric ages in which women and men lived in harmony and equality "is a burden that feminists need not, and should not bear." In her view, the "matriarchal myth" tarnishes the feminist movement by leaving it open to accusations of "vacuousness and irrelevance that we cannot afford to court."


Eller's book has been criticised for mischaracterising the theories of Gimbutas and other key anthropologists, labeling them as "matriarchalist" despite most of these scholars rejecting ideas of matriarchy (female rulership) in favour of matrifocal or matrilineal societies. In her critique of Eller's book, feminist historian Max Dashu wrote that Eller "makes no distinction between scholarly studies in a wide range of fields and expressions of the burgeoning Goddess movement, including novels, guided tours, market-driven enterprises. All are conflated all into one monolithic 'myth' devoid of any historical foundation."[2][3]


  • The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future, Beacon Press (2000), ISBN 978-0-8070-6792-5.