The greatest impact of the establishment of a modern matriarchy and a revolutionary aviacracy will be the restoration of the institution of the family as the main link in our social fabric. The family has long been one of the most important social values in Quebec. It has probably played a big role in the very survival of our people at the cultural level. In recent decades, however, the Quebec family as an institution has experienced a deterioration that is closer to agony than any resurrection.
It cannot be ignored that the nuclear family model has been a fundamental foundation for the recent economic development of Western societies, especially in North America. In the second half of the last century, the North American overconsumption model found an extremely fertile land by multiplying single-family homes. It continues even today, taking advantage today of the dismantling of these families in uniparental households. But this growth-based economy has reached its viability limit today. Fortunately, there is another model of the family that will facilitate the gradual transformation of our economy.
Matriarchies present a proven family model, quite different from our traditional family, which however ensured the stability of these societies for centuries, even millennia. It is the matrilocal and matrilineal family model. Matrilocality means that the main place of residence of a mother's children remains the same as that of their mother, for the life of individuals. Matrilineality means that names, property titles, and inheritances are passed from mothers to daughters.
The clan families of a matriarchy usually groups between 10 and 100 people. The family is a strong symbol to which children identify themselves all their lives. As they all live in the same place for most of their lives, the bonds that unite family members really last a lifetime. It should not be thought, however, that members of the matrilocal family lose their freedom or privacy. At the architectural level, for example, a typical matrilocal family residence resembles a large motel, to which several community spaces are grafted.
Every adult has a room with an outside door and thus keeping privacy. Each member of the family also benefits from the community life of their large extended family. This enlargement takes shape horizontally, living in the same place as one’s brothers, sisters, and cousins. The vertical dimension of the matrilocal family must also be emphasized, as it usually includes 4 or 5 generations under the same roof.
The fundamental difference with our traditional family is at the level of the role granted to the biological father of children, in the family universe. In a matriarchy, being a parent is not considered a right, granted because of a genetic affiliation. Rather, it is a responsibility that is naturally fulfilled by the mother of the child. And this parental responsibility is then shared within the immediate family of the child's mother. That is to say, it is also expected that maternal uncles and aunts of the children, as well as their grandmother and other members of the maternal line, to play an active daily role in their education. Obviously, this is made simpler because all the kin lives in the same residence.
The large matrilocal family is an ideal environment for the children's development. They have the opportunity to interact daily with several adults. Because several generations are gathered under the same roof, we usually find 4 or 5 adults for each child. They also do not have to fear the breakup of their family unit, as is the case today with our Western families. The children are safe thanks to the great stability of the matrilocal family.
Moreover, since she can rely on the daily support of her family, the mother is not isolated, as is too often the case in our Western nuclear families. She can even count on her family if she must be away for a long time. The child will continue to be surrounded by other adults in the family who are relatives. The shock of the absence of the mother can be more easily absorbed by the child because his vast entourage is preserved.
From the matrilocal family's child's point of view, the biological mother's specific identity ends up not really having importance any more1 . It is both men and women of the matrilineal lineage who fulfill the roles usually assigned to fathers and mothers in our Western societies.
In a matriarchy, the fair sharing of parental responsibilities within a large group makes parenting seen as something normal and widespread. It is not at all a "sacrifice" that brings additional responsibilities and calls for special recognition. All men and women of all families are, each in their own way, the fathers and mothers of all children!
Our patriarchist society has given for centuries, and particularly since the middle of the twentieth century, disproportionate importance to the father-child relationship. For the child, the paternal figure's role may very well be the responsibility of other men in the family, with absolutely no shortcomings from the child's point of view. From the biological father's point of view, the emotional bond developed with a child of whom ones take the responsibility, is equally valid and rewarding, whatever the biological link shared with him 2 .
Incidentally, the chaos and improvisation that usually follows the nuclear families' separation has indeed allowed many men to realize this fact. Many separated fathers know that a man can develop an emotional responsibility that is completely equivalent, with a child of whom he is not the biological father. In the case of the matrilocal family, even if it is not direct, the blood link is still present, since it is usually the child of his sister, or the child of the daughter of his sister.
In a matrilocal family, it is expected that every man is present and responsible within his clan, playing the role of paternal figure for the children of his sisters, nieces or even aunts, according to the composition of his family. Thus among the Minangkabau of South-East Asia, a man attracts the respect of his community by following these instructions: Raise your nephews and nieces so that they become worthy representatives of your family, and make sure that your offspring lacks nothing3 .
The biological father is thus usually faded from the family universe in a matriarchy. The possibility for him to play a key role is of course not excluded. But he has no rights over the children he is the parent. It could be said that it is more about the services that he can offer, or the privileges granted to him by the mother of the child and by his family, if he so desires and if it is appropriate.
In known matrarchies, cases of father-mother cohabitation are rather rare. But they are of course possible. For example, it is easy to imagine that for couples who will get along very well until delivery and want to, the biological father of the child comes to live temporarily in the family of the mother. He will be able to help her take care of the newborn and recover from childbirth. The day when the mother will no longer be comfortable with the father's presence in her family environment, or that he will no longer feel belonging there, he will have to leave peacefully, usually to return to live in his own matrilocal family. Nothing will prevent him from getting along with the child's mother, to continue playing a role with the child afterwards.
And if ever the father and the mother get along so well that they want to continue to live together, nobody will stop them. They will even be able to freely leave their respective matrilocal family and contract a marriage, for example. The matriarchy, with its practical experience of thousands of years of fair and harmonious functioning, offers a basic family environment that is suitable for the vast majority of the population. It is not intended to force members of the community to limit themselves to this way of life.
It is very important to note that the matrilocal and matrilineal family offers men and women who compose it a complete sexual freedom. Among Iroquois, sexual activity was considered a therapeutic practice and even essential for maintaining social cohesion 4 . This is a fundamental aspect that distinguishes the matrilocal family from the nuclear family. The experience of the matriarchies shows unequivocally that this total sexual freedom is a guarantee of stability for the families, while allowing their members to emancipate themselves.
Whereas, on the other hand, it is clear that laying the foundations of our families on the couple of parents, who are also usually exclusive sexual partners, is rather a synonym for fragility, improvisation, crises and tragedies for families. Marriage, once a safe bet for the family in Quebec, has been abandoned by the majority of young couples as a legal framework for the family5 .
We believe it is time to offer an alternative to the institution of marriage, which excludes the reference to the couple of parents, in order to restore a strong and lasting legal foundation for families in Quebec. We propose the establishment of a new basic legal regime for families in Quebec: matriage. Here is a general definition:
- Matriage is the institution by which mothers and their children, women and men, united by matrilineal descent, or by adoption within existing matriage, live together and form a family.
- Matriage is the default legal scheme that binds all members of a matrilineal lineage residing in the same home.
- It is possible to leave a matriage at any time, simply by residing elsewhere than in the habitual residence of the members of the matriage.
- Note: The notion of residence is already fairly well defined legally. It will probably need to be adjusted somewhat to conform to the concept of "matriage".
- Adherence to an existing matriage is done simply by electing domicile to the usual residence of the existing members of the matriage, subject to their unanimous agreement.
This regime of matriage will go back over the basic notions of marriage. Thus the obligations of the members of a matriage (that is to say of a matrilocal family) will be practically the same as those of the spouses in the current regime:
- Choose together their family residence;
- Note: for most matrilocal families, this obligation will be the responsibility of the first generations. For one of the benefits of the matrilocal family is to ensure to its members, and to all future generations of the matrilineal lineage, the same residence.
- Contribute to household expenses according to their respective means;
- Owe each other respect, fidelity, help and assistance;
- Note: the duty of fidelity has of course no sexual connotation within the matrilocal family. It is obviously the opposite that is presumed, since incest is a criminal offense in Canada.
- Assume jointly the debts contracted for the current needs of the family.
We propose that matriage offers the advantage of splitting their income on all the members of the family, when filing their tax returns. This measure of household income splitting, although disputed by many when it comes to couples, will have the great advantage of strengthening economic ties within matrilocal families.
This matriage settlement will be the default regime, as soon as at least one mother will live in the same place as one of her children or if members of a sibling, for example a brother and a sister, will live in the same place. It is understood that every citizen will have the opportunity to enter into another form of family cohabitation (such as marriage or common-law relationship) or of course, to choose to live alone. Once the matrilocal family is well established in the society’s habits, matrilineality will set in place thanks to the propagation of the family name by the mothers, and the transfer of property titles from generation to generation by the matrilineal lineage .
Chou Wah Shan, Tisese: A Documentary on Three Mosuo Women
Ying E Chi, 2001 (visited May 12th, 2019)
Originale quote: « Un consensus assez clair s’est développé quant au fait que le lien biologique n’est ni nécessaire ni suffisant pour faire d’un individu un parent. » (p. 5)
Françoise-RomaineOuellette, Qu’est-ce qu’un père? Qu’est-ce qu’une mère?
INRS-Culture et société, 1999 (visited June 21st, 2018)
Peggy Reeves Sanday, Women at the Center : Life in a Modern Matriarchy
Cornell University Press, 2003
Barbara Alice Mann, Iroquoian Women : The Gantowisas
Peter Lang Publishing, 2004
« En 2011, il est en effet plus fréquent de vivre en union libre que d’être marié avec son conjoint chez les femmes âgées de moins de 35 ans et chez les hommes de moins de 40 ans. » (p.101)
Le bilan démographique du Québec, Édition 2012%%%Gouvernement du Québec, Institut de la statistique du Québec, 2012 (visited June 22nd, 2018)