Just sent this to my friend Jan:
Jan! There's a film you can watch if you go to the site I just sent you. Brought tears to my eyes. This may be one of the world's last living matriarchies, almost utopia, and the patriarchal world is invading and destroying it. But at least it's been found, and we can see a model of what life could be! The Chinese (Han) are coming in droves to see these Mosuo, because they (the Mosuo) have "free love." Even the Han women come, because the matriarchal men are so "handsome, and manly," etc. (And of course our patriarchal myth is that in a matriarchy, men would be downtrodden, weak, Mama's boys....)
I think the entire human species used to live like this.
(In a few months Jan's traveling to China to lead an American tour group there with her brother.)
Go HERE to see this fabulous 20-minute film. Because so many people are trying to watch it, it's hard to pull in at times. Probably the best times to watch would be weekday mornings. I saw it this morning before 10 am, and several times it froze, and I had to sit and twiddle my thumbs until it started up again.
The word used to be that matriarchies did not exist -- now, then, or ever. The closest you could get to matriarchies were the "matrifocals", i.e., people who -- like the Mosuo -- didn't have marriage. And there didn't seem to be a whole lot of them.
Instead of getting married, the Mosuo live with their extended families on their mother's side, and a man comes and spends the night in the room of the woman he loves -- if he's lucky and she loves him too, and lets him into her room. In the morning, he ambles on back to his own mother's house to do childcare for his sister's kids.
I think there's a dazzling beauty in this (aside from the fact that the men do the childcare). For your entire life, you live with people who adore you. As do your children. You live forever in the warm-and-fuzzies of your family of origin. Compare that to the patriarchy: We're shoved out of the nest at incubator age, into the arms of strangers (spouses from families sometimes 180 degrees backwards from ours).
Now, to many of us, living an entire lifetime with Mom, Dad & Sibs sounds like Living in Hell. But that's because we're god people, and god's done a number on us. Few of us in the god world enjoy 100% mental health. For starters, gobs of god kids are sexually abused by brothers, fathers and uncles -- last I heard, the stat hovered around the 50% mark, for women. I don't know what it is for boys.
But in a matrilocal world, your family of origin would be healthy.
By the way, although the Mosuo were at one point converted against their will to Buddhism, they nevertheless still worship their old Goddesses (see Wikipedia).
I'd like to read more to see why the Mosuo are considered a matriarchy instead of just a plain old matrifocal group. Also, do they have Goddesses only? Wikipedia mentioned nothing about gods for them.
Thnx to Frontline for the photo of the Mosuo family.