In my orc post I mentioned that some of the orc tribes are matriarchal and that matriarchies don’t seem to work. At least they haven’t worked in Earth’s history. I don’t claim to be a feminist, but I don’t consider myself a sexist either (what is the antonym of feminist?). OK, so maybe I’m a bad judge of me, but what I am going to say here is a theory others have developed after doing some semi-decent research. I don’t know how true it is, but there seems to be something to it, so at the risk of offending just about everyone, here we go:
The theory is that matriarchal societies are doomed to failure because women have an instinctive trait to protect and try to better their children. Any time a woman gains power, she uses her power to advance her children, even if it is to the detriment of the “state”. So in other words, the queen wants her son to be king even if she knows he is unable to do the job.
Why do I think there is some truth to this? Well, we have some historic examples of this. In fact, the only powerful women in history that I could come up with that did not do this (put their children before the state) were those who did not have children. I’m not saying that it is true 100% of the time; but I’ve thought up about a dozen decent examples that seem to bare this theory out.
Want another stupid reason? I was watching this Chinese film recently with really bad dubbing into English. It was about some Mongolian chief, and the chief’s wife is begging her husband to kill his nephew, another chief’s son, because the nephew will eventually cause succession problems for her son. This isn’t proof, but it shows that even other cultures (in this case an Asian one) find a mother putting her children before the state as a standard trope.
This has caused me to rethink some of my cultures in Fletnern. I think I subconsciously built this in, at least in small doses. I’m not suggesting that this is a historic fact and everyone needs to establish it as the standard in their fantasy worlds, but that is what we’re building here: fantasy worlds. Believe it to be true or not, it would make for some really cool political adventures. Queen hires party to protect her son, but then explains that the only way to protect him is to kill his older cousin. Queen places son on throne, only to be the power behind the throne, to the point of rivals needing to have her removed from power, by any means necessary. You take it from here!