Under Patriarchy, or the rule of fathers, women are defined in relation to men as their wives and mothers of their babies.
The problematic issue here is that as a part of the patriarchal ideology, the idea of affiliation through blood ties, at the expense of the reality of child care, colonizes the relationship between the mother, the baby, and the father, and then, their relation with other social groups and institutions.
Blood ties are rendered normal and conventional by the name of the father in a paternal lineage. So, the mother’s, the baby’s and the father’s bodies are seen as merely biological matters. As a result, the relationship between them is rendered natural and controlled by laws that echo and emphasize the notion that blood or nature is more significant than social relationships or nurture.
From this biological standpoint, the father’s body, at the expense of the mother’s, is displayed as the actual source of life, the fertilizer that creates babies. So, the mother’s body and the baby's body within it serve as a vehicle for exhibiting the father’s fertility, thus justifying the man’s power and control over his wife's and child’s bodies.
This social reality is equally experienced by lesbian mothers. An example of a lesbian couple who chooses to have a baby is the following: One of the women gets pregnant by using the sperm of a homosexual friend who is completely "out." When the baby's second mother decides to have the baby circumcised, the sperm-donor interrupts the ritual and addresses this woman by saying, "I’m the biological father; I have more rights than you.” Here, the sperm donor calls upon a social space by which the father exercises power and control over the bodies inside the space of the house. This case shows that even "alternative" families, are controlled by the power and the image of the biological father. It also shows that the patriarchal ideology as well as the identity of mothers are partially produced through the space of the house.
In the Western societies of the 21st century, although the connection of woman and house has survived, the control of women in the house appears unlikely. So, how is patriarchal ideology produced as a right in the private space of today’s house?
In the above case, 1) the embodied mother dismantles the idea of a rigid and limited body identity, and 2) the presence of two mothers and the absence of the father, indicates that the space of parenting is ruled by different priorities. Here, we need to consider how patriarchy positions itself within the private space of this type of house.
It is important to remember that whenever sexuality and social space are examined, the house is usually ignored, as if it is devoid of violence it contains. To explain how patriarchal ideology overlaps with the space of the house, we can think of the house as a spider's web: all the threads spread out in rays, each of them has its basis at the center. The father of a family operates the same way. He arranges his affairs and places them so that all look up to him alone as the head; he directs all and attaches all to secure bases.
In this comparison, generally and regarding the above case, whether the father is present or absent, the space of the house, the bodies in the house, and the biological father are always interwoven in an elaborate system of surveillance and control. They are also interwoven in the process of inflicting the spaces of mothering with patriarchal ideology.
An example that demonstrates the social construction of the identity of mother and father under patriarchy is the following: Two co-workers, a homosexual male and a heterosexual female get stoned one day and have sex. They fight the next day over their sexual contact and stop speaking to each other. Later on, the woman finds out that she is pregnant. She assumes that the biological father is her gay co-worker. So, the two decide to raise the child together. They live together for eight years and care for the child. After eight years, the woman falls in love with a heterosexual man and leaves the house with the child to live with her new boyfriend. As a result, the gay co-worker decides to fight in court for the child he believes is his. However, a series of blood tests proves that the biological father is the woman’s former boy-friend . On this basis, the possibility of the homosexual man gaining custody of the child greatly diminishes. What is crucial is not his being gay, but his not being the biological father, therefore not the “real” father, that causes the court’s decision to grant custody of the child to the mother. Ultimately, the homosexual father is not even allowed to visit the child.
In this case, while the maternal tie is based on the nurturing and raising of a child, the patriarchal tie is the blood tie, a genetic tie, a connection by sperm. The patriarchal ideology wins out the power that controls parenting and the social construction of the mother and the father. In other words, the established perception and images of social space of parenting assigned to the sperm, has priority over the social space of lived experiences and insights and parental labours that is occupied by the gay man, the mother and their child.
Because of the cultural weight of patriarchal ideology, the significance of the space of parenting as a social relationship is rejected in favour of a genetic connection. Biological fathers and mothers are believed to be the real parents based on the idea that their sperm and egg are more worthy than affective and social relationships that have been cultivated over the years in people’s lives.
Also, the public space of the street is opposed to the private space of the house the homosexual man and the heterosexual woman shared as common law husband and wife, and as father and mother, for eight years.
In the introduction, we saw how the division between public and private space affects the identity of women and men. The above example demonstrates how another social group, homosexual men, is excluded from the public sphere. The homosexual man could exercise his patriarchal rights only within the private space of the house. The division between public and private space essentially endorses the biological father as a social space, while the relationships that are developed in the private space of the house are removed from view, therefore from "existence.”
Consequently, to guarantee the efficiency of patriarchal ideology, the sperm of the biological father must dominate the corporeal space of motherhood as well as the baby's body. Together with this, the revered space of the house secures male power and control over the woman as mother, and the baby’s body. Under patriarchal ideology, the social spaces that women’s, men’s and babies’ bodies inhabit are colonized by the sperm, a social space that brings their relationship into existence as a biological component. The space of the house, even when inhabited by another man or another woman, as in the two cases above, is ruled by the biological father. This operation of the house maintains it as a male heterosexual space.
In male-dominated societies, men's control over women and children is not grounded on their sperm alone, but also on their economic superiority, which determines the production of motherhood through the technocratic and capitalist ideologies as well.
Continued in Part 2
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