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lead and body edits[edit]

I'm redoing the article, to solve a few problems, such as that the lead should be a summary of the body but had (until my last edit) content not in the body. While discussing subjects allied with matriarchy is appropriate where they overlap or contrast, they should otherwise not be in the article, and I plan to move or delete content that is on other than matriarchy and not about comparison. I plan to look at the content on genderally equal treatment where it is not considered by a source as a form of matriarchy; where it is that, then it is probably within scope because of the sourcing being on matriarchy, but otherwise it probably does not belong. I plan to consider whether some of the content is well enough written and formatted or overlinked and to format citations for consistency. While in the past I had added content mainly to some sections, I typically left the rest of the article as other editors had written it; and responded to concerns largely on the basis of my work on the article, when other portions had other content to which I may not have paid enough attention. This seems to have led to misunderstanding (partly my fault) best resolved with fresh editing. This probably won't take me more than a week or two, and I'll probably do it not all at once but in stages, including overlapping stages. Nick Levinson (talk) 16:55, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

I've done a variety of edits to the article.
  • Where I clarified that (sometimes) occupations are not matriarchies even if women predominate, I gave as an example prostitution but not midwifery because I could imagine that the latter, in that historically it was a system of health care provided by women without men (not so much in modern times when midwives are likelier to be attached to hospitals and supervised by men), may have been characterized in some sources as historically matriarchal, but prostitution is reputedly so often controlled by pimps who are almost always men even if assisted by women as middle managers that an argument that prostitution is matriarchal is much less likely to be raised in sources and such a claim is much more likely to be disputed by academics than is a midwifery claim.
  • To support moving a link from the See Also section into the body, I treated Ruby Rohrlich as a feminist anthropologist in accord with her self-statement at Rohrlich, Ruby, Feminist Anthropologist Annointed Foremther!, in Women & Therapy, vol. 17, issue 3–4 (1995), (First page preview), as accessed November 1, 2013 (doi:10.1300/J015v17n03_13), p. 391.
  • I deleted the following, which probably should be moved, with editing, into articles indicated therein, or to the talk pages associated with those articles, but it would have to be divided according to each article and I may not know enough to do so for each of the cultures listed so I may simply post to talk pages with those articles: "There are also matrilinear, matrilocal, and avunculocal societies, especially among indigenous peoples of the Americas, Asia, and Africa,<ref>Other than avunculocality: [ Goettner-Abendroth, Heide, trans. Jutta Ried & Karen P. Smith, Modern Matriarchal Studies. Definitions, Scope and Topicality (Societies of Peace, ca. or ante 2005)], as accessed October 27, 2013.</ref> such as those of the Minangkabau, E De (Rhade), Mosuo, Berbers, and Tuareg, and, in Europe, e.g., traditionally among Sardinian people.<ref>[ La Famiglia e La Donna in Sardegna Annotazioni di Studio, vol. 71, no. 3 (2005)], pp. 487–498 (article) (dissem.).</ref><ref>[ Sardegna matriarcale] (in Italian).</ref>"
  • I described certain relevant words as beginning with matri- (or matro- is possible), but not matr-, in accordance with Partridge, Eric, Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (New York: Greenwich House (of Arlington House), [printing designated as "a"?] 1966/1983 (ISBN 0-517-414252)), p. 914, col. 1. The element gyn- is in id., at p. 900, cols. 1–2.
  • Much of the chronological history included content that seemed to be there only because sources were written in past centuries. That looks like a too-flimsy ground for organizing this article. Instead, I reserved the chronological history sections for societies and phenomena occurring in the indicated time periods and I moved other content to other sections.
  • The Amazons almost have to be included because it is widely believed that, whether the society was real or mythical, women ran that society, but this article's content is weak in making the connection. Any addition of sourcing to that effect would be helpful.
  • The myth of Athena and Zeus seems relevant only because Robert Graves suggested it is. That's adequate, but the statement of the myth itself is unclear as to its relevance. If anyone can clarify it in a way that is consistent with what Graves wrote or per another source, please do.
  • On matrifocality, a citation was to "pp. 9416", which is ambivalent. Either that was for a single page only or it was for a sequence of pages starting at the stated page. I chose to interpret it as the latter as the more cautious choice and so I added "ff." The citation is now to Smith, R.T., Matrifocality, in Smelser & Baltes, eds., International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2002), vol. 14, p. 9416 & ff. It might be possible to search inside the volume at but it was taking too long to open on two days, so I gave up, I couldn't search in it in Google Books, and a library online offsite search only yielded a snippet and a page range of pp. 9416–9418, but I have not confirmed that p. 9418 itself supports the content, so, if someone knows, please clarify the citation.
The Trưng Sisters, from the Vietnamese viewpoint if not from the Chinese side, looks interesting as an example of a possible matriarchy, one of the sisters being a queen who led a mostly-women army against the Chinese and founded a kingdom, provided that's either true as history or told in sourceable mythology. I don't know if I'll have the time to research this; but anyone who has sourcing is free to edit accordingly.
Otherwise, what's left to do is to reformat ref elements, mainly for consistency, and I plan to do over the next week or two.
Nick Levinson (talk) 17:22, 14 November 2013 (UTC) (Corrected wording & italicization markup & parentheticized: 17:33, 14 November 2013 (UTC)) (In my last edit, also corrected lack of quotation marks: 17:38, 14 November 2013 (UTC))
My error: The edit with respect to p. 9416 was a prospective edit, but it is now done, and the reformatted ref element does not (because it should not) have an ampersand before the "ff." Nick Levinson (talk) 16:39, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
Done regarding this article, including the reformatting of ref elements. Nick Levinson (talk) 18:26, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

main definitions besides feminist[edit]

My fault: I had assumed that the main definition (not necessarily the wider ones from feminist sources) was sourceable to the Oxford English Dictionary and that the lack of a citation was simply an oversight, so I added the citation/s. I should not have done that without correcting what the article said. Now I've corrected that. But the new issue is that the definition sourceable to the OED is more encompassing than we had been discussing and that I had been assuming.

  • The OED definition applies to organizations. So, generally, a women's auxiliary is a matriarchy even though it is guided by the main organization to which it is auxiliary and which is likely run by men. It probably does not apply to unorganized prostitution but it does to a woman-owned brothel or outside prostitution service, including a sole proprietorship.
  • The OED definition of matriarchy accepts an overlap with matrilineality.
  • The OED definition may even include, say, the United Kingdom when Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher ruled together and perhaps when the Queen is the only woman at that level, Pakistan under Mrs. Bhutto, and the U.S. if Hillary Rodham Clinton is inaugurated as President. This is widely disputed and I join the dispute, but we may need to find sourcing on both sides of whether one woman at the top of an almost entirely male governing structure is enough to constitute a matriarchy, so that the dispute is not answered only by Wikipedia editors.

Further, comparing the OED‍‍ '​‍s definitions of patriarchy and of matriarchy shows they're not parallel, not even close to it. Sources, I think mainly feminist, criticized the thesis of parallelism for these two words, and that thesis is popular in the general public and among Wikipedia's readers, as some remind us from time to time, but we may need sourcing to support parallelism if we aim to report that claim other than to critique it.

The OED is a dictionary of the general language as understood by the general public and editors of major media but it is not mainly a dictionary of exclusively academic terminology. Useful would be more definitions from academic sources (e.g., treatises, journals, and glossaries) about their respective fields, including for different definitions that are credible or to show that an already known definition is a consensus view in a field.

Nick Levinson (talk) 17:45, 4 November 2013 (UTC) (Rephrased: 17:53, 4 November 2013 (UTC)) (Rephrased: 17:57, 4 November 2013 (UTC))

Unfortunately, your personal method of dictionary triangulation is problematic. Dictionaries can be handy for providing a minimally-controversial summary of the basic meaning of a word, but comparing and contrasting and micro-parsing with a fine-tooth comb various dictionary entries in order to decide which topics should get a separate Wikipedia article, and which should be combined, is not likely to give good results, and is not an approved Wikipedia method... AnonMoos (talk) 02:22, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
I have accurately represented all of these sources I've cited. I don't want to cherrypick.
The kind of dictionaries you're describing (those that are "handy for providing a minimally-controversial summary of the basic meaning of a word"), sounds like derivative dictionaries, such as collegiates and those for younger audiences, which are widely used. I use and cite more authoritative dictionaries, which linguists generally describe as primary (and which are secondary sources for Wikipedia). It is likely that in a well-studied field there are specialized sources that have even more precise definitions and they should be added to the article, other than those already cited; I just don't have them, but if anyone does, please add them.
If a reliable dictionary has different definitions for different words, then it's unlikely we should say they have the same meaning. In this article's case, the relevant words share something semantically in common, but that's not a ground for ignoring relevant differences.
An article may include closely allied areas of discussion. Those that warrant separate articles should be linked to, but in the absence of separate articles they can be discussed more fully in this one.
You may be giving me credit for more than I did. Several editors have contributed in this field.
This topic was a solicitation for additional definitions, especially from academic sources. That's still of interest. We can use more sources that define or distinguish. They can be from any relevant discipline.
Nick Levinson (talk) 17:31, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree with AnonMoos. The OED isn't a useful definition here. The dictionary is doing a separate thing from the encyclopedia. The dictionary has to account for everyday, common and loose ways in which a term is used. A novelist can write, "Mrs Smith, the white-haired matriarch". If a sociology undergraduate tried the same thing, they would lose a lot of marks. Matriarchy is a concept from anthropology which was more or less superseded when it was picked up by one school of 1970s feminist writers. In both modes, it belongs to the social sciences and we should be using good scholarly sources from the social sciences. We will be laughed at if we claim that a sorority is a matriarchy, and you will not find a respectable source describing the UK, Pakistan or the USA as matriarchies. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:53, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
We are using scholarly sources, but Wikipedia does report in accord with the range of reliable secondary sources and the OED is scholarly but not specialized. I've avoided saying that a sorority is a matriarchy (I haven't looked for that kind of source and many of them would be unreliable) but we need to deal with how the word is understood, for which the OED is a very good source, and we can use sources that say that a sorority and nations like those we named are not matriarchies, thus reporting both sides of the dispute on what matriarchy includes or doesn't include, while retaining the distinction between lay and specialized meanings. Sources showing what is excluded (the largely-male-led nations, etc.) should be added. Nick Levinson (talk) 18:30, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Nick Levinson -- I'm sure you're incredibly earnest and sincere in your wish to improve the article, but other people are questioning whether the article has really in fact improved under your predominant stewardship (it certainly has deteriorated with respect to focus, or including only truly relevant material), and are pointing out that your personal method of dictionary triangulation is not an approved Wikipedia procedure. It would be good for you to step back for a while and rethink things, because if you double down and continue doing exactly what you've been doing, it's likely to result in some kind of Wikipedia process being invoked sooner or later... AnonMoos (talk) 22:54, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

I appreciate the thought. I have spent much time thinking about it and allied subjects. In this case, I'm doing separate edits as a series rather than together in one step because of the way issues were raised. I have some more to do (and indicated that in the talk topic/section Lead and Body Edits). Hopefully, the result will be agreeable all around. If you think another article would be an appropriate destination, please suggest one. In fact, some of my recent and new edits do the job of deleting or moving content that does belong elsewhere, so we agree on the principle. Relying on sources is what we should do, not on Wikipedia editors' views of what the sources ought to say, nor should we delete content because we disagree with source authors (or not much would be left anywhere in Wikipedia). That is why I point out gaps in our sourced knowledge and request sources on those, since I may well have missed some and perhaps you or anyone else may know of them and can add them. Nick Levinson (talk) 16:46, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I've finished today's edits. I try to work on it each night offline so that the article's issues are resolved as soon as they can be, given concerns raised. I'll probably have more edits soon. Several editors have contributed over the years and I often left their contributions intact, and now I'm being blamed for having not been an owner. While you have made a point about dictionaries, I replied and, if the reply was not satisfactory, please state how, because simply repeating a rebutted charge is not helpful. Some statements left by various editors are unsourced; rather than delete, I tagged them so editors can see what needs attention. Quite a bit of material was in inappropriate sections and I moved it so that content makes more sense; I think more of that needs to be done. But not much content is left that does not belong in the article; I've already deleted much of what should not have been here and may be adding it to other articles or Wiktionary. I wish I could be faster, but I'm doing what I can. Nick Levinson (talk) 18:32, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Don't mean to snap at you, but unfortunately I still have painful memories of when you decided to merge "gynarchy" with "matrifocal" -- in direct contradiction to the discussions which led to the creation of "matrifocal" -- based solely on your idiosyncratic personal method of comparing dictionary entries and micro-parsing their wording. When I tried to discuss the matter with you, you turned out to be a lot more interested in bureaucratic details of where such a discussion should take place, rather than actually discussing the matter. It certainly caused me to lose all interest in the "matrifocal" article (which previously had a promising beginning). AnonMoos (talk) 19:05, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
When I've diverged from a policy or a guideline, more often early in my editing years, I've heard about it a good percentage of the times, often accusatorily. Wikipedia's method is to learn as we go rather than to have an entry exam, and I try to stay ahead of the policies and guidelines I'm going to need to comply with (if an exception is warranted I should be ready to explain why). In the case of merging Gynarchy, it wasn't a big deal that you asked at my talk page, but article transparency favored the discussion being at the article talk page so other editors would know of it, so I copied the discussion there and steered it there, where it was continued. And the discussion, including by you, was substantive. The merger was into matrifocal family, which discusses ggynarchy essentially in terms of matrifocality. Generally, the pre-merger content of the gynarchy article and the pre-merger content of the matrifocal family article have been preserved in the live matrifocal family article, and both the Gynarchy pre-merger and live revisions include nondictionary sourcing, which I think I supplied, and if more is available to illuminate the subject I hope it'll be added. Nick Levinson (talk) 17:44, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
"Gynarchy" is another somewhat vague term for overall female predominance in society formed from classical roots -- in fact, exactly the first stem of "gynocracy"/"gynecocracy" and the second stem of "matriarchy" -- while "matrifocal family" is a highly-specific and well-defined anthropological term which refers to a kinship system in which the basic family nucleus usually consists of a woman and her grown up daughters and their young children, with various transient men coming and going. It means that adult men relatively infrequently have a strong enduring exclusive role in families, but it does not necessarily mean that women commonly have positions of power or influence outside of individual families, or an overall predominant role in society. Only as a result of your problematic personal method of dictionary triangulation could "gynarchy" and "matrifocal family" be merged... AnonMoos (talk) 20:55, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
The reason the matrifocal family article discusses gynarchy is that an academic source gave a definition of gynarchy as 'the creation of short-term family structures dominated by women'. That differed from dictionaries but that's what the source says. The meaning that we so far have of matrifocal is this: "a family or domestic group is matrifocal when it is centred on a woman and her children", which is sourced in the matrifocal family article to another academic author. So, because of relevance of meaning, the matrifocal family article, in the history section, includes gynarchy. Etymons contribute to modern meanings but do not freeze them; meanings often diverge from origins, and efforts to forbid a larger community from diverging are usually futile. The definition of matrifocal family you gave is somewhat larger than that article indicates; if you know of a source for it, please add it. Nick Levinson (talk) 17:09, 8 November 2013 (UTC) (Added missing space: 17:14, 8 November 2013 (UTC)))
Whatever -- the fact that one translator of a centuries-old Chinese manuscript chose to translate a Chinese expression into English as "gynarchy", even though in modern terms it appears to refer mainly to matrifocality, is not much of a reason to merge the Gynarchy and Matrifocality articles. The only other motivation for merging the two articles comes from your problematic personal method of dictionary triangulation (or comparative micro-parsing of the text of dictionary entries, which probably won't hold up too well in a discussion at an Admin Noticeboard, or other suitable Wikipedia forum... AnonMoos (talk) 03:17, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
There's not a lot of sourcing available about gynarchy separately from other subjects. If you think the translator was wrong, please source the opinion of someone who disagrees. If you think there's enough about gynarchy for its own article, please write one and change the present redirect. Gynarchy so much overlaps other phenomena that, so far, in the absence of more content, it seems best treated with one of them, and that is done with quite a few subjects in Wikipedia, and that is what was done in this case. I don't object to a separate article. If you would like consensus to change, open a discussion to that end or simply create the article you'd like (that's a way of developing consensus) and we'll work from there. Articles are usually cross-linked and that will be satisfactory. For example, I've been deleting content from the matriarchy article that belongs in another article or project, while leaving relationships between subjects intact. I have no objection to that method. Parsing my motivation seems not to be working too well for you, as it doesn't for most people, so I sympathize, but, to find out my motivation, reading what I post would generally work well. What you call micro-parsing suggests that the result is one with which you disagree; if a view deserving of weight is missing from any article, please add it with appropriate sourcing. Nick Levinson (talk) 17:44, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Maybe there's not much separate info about "Gynarchy" because it's basically a now lesser-used synonym of "Matriarchy"??? If examined according to its literal etymology, the word "Matriarchy" suggests that women would predominate in society by predominating in individual families. Those who have other conceptions of a female-dominant society may therefore prefer words such as "Gynarchy" and "Gyn(ec)ocracy". This really doesn't do much to suggest that Gynarchy is a suitable synonym for Matrifocal, and the quasi-idiosyncratic translation choices of one translator don't necessarily do anything to change that. Furthermore, anthropologists are the ones who most directly define the meaning of Matrifocal, and they don't use Gynarchy as a synonym for Matrifocal... AnonMoos (talk) 10:17, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Gynarchy as a near-synonym of matriarchy is already in one matriarchy article section; and I agree it's less often used. I agree that etymology suggests a modern meaning; but etymology shouldn't be treated as binding on today's speakers, because the English-speaking community is far too unwieldy to be restrained much by such. No committee officially rejects meanings for inconsistency with etymology. Many words have acquired multiple meanings; e.g., modern technology comes with a slew of repurposed words and the OED lists large numbers of meanings for the words the and set, so it is reasonable that gynarchy has at least two meanings. Smith in defining gynarchy as related to matrifocality may diverge from the mainstream on the latter, as many scholars do on many issues, but the matrifocal family article gives both appropriate weights, a mainstream definition by stating it in the Definition section and Smith's definition relative to a 14th-century view by stating it the History section. Anthropologists may define it and Laura Hobson Herlihy may be an anthropologist (I don't have access to Proquest Dissertations and Theses where I'm sitting), but other disciplines may also use the term and define it, that being common across the language. While we report according to weight and sourcing, we may distinguish between the disciplines for clarity. Anthropologists may happen to be silent regarding gynarchy as a synonym for an anthropological term but that's probably not reportable until a source observes it or disputes anthropological use of the word. Perhaps that's a research project someone would like to take up, but I'll probably pass on it; for that, Googling the two words together could be a start.
People who conceive of female-dominant societies can prefer various gyn- labels or not; the choice of labeling by the people in question is not up to us editors to assign. The extent they do so prefer or not is only reportable as suggested by sources and we don't have a better research tool now.
Nick Levinson (talk) 19:02, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
We're not a dictionary. If there is a good source that is clearly commenting on matriarchy, but calls it gynarchy, then it can be included here. Equally, if there is a good source commenting on matrifocality that calls it gynarchy, then it can be included in matrifocal family. Let's not make unnecessary complications. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:12, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
That's essentially what we're doing. Some leeway is encompassed by the Wikipedia:Article titles policy, such as where several words apply to a phenomenon, in which case we should choose one commonly recognizable name; in this case, matriarchy is that name. The policy's section on treatment of alternative names supports the inclusion of the other terms in this article, since sources use those terms for this subject. For example, Bamberger counts "female-dominated societies" as "matriarchies" in her article cited in this article, and female-dominated societies with other labels should be here, too. I have removed much dictionary-like content already, and what's left is in accord with the common practice of defining central terms in an article. I'll probably be back online Tuesday or Wednesday for futher editing. Nick Levinson (talk) 21:48, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

phrasing re "inside"[edit]

The phrase "Bachofen and Lewis Morgan confined the 'mother right' inside households" appears in the article, but I suspect it should be "Bachofen and Lewis Morgan confined the 'mother right' to inside households". The first phrasing means that even within the household the right is confined, so that it does not encompass everything even within the household; but the second means that it does not go outside of the household. Does anyone know what the sourcing says? Nick Levinson (talk) 17:56, 7 November 2013 (UTC)


@Dougweller:, The lead is not exempt from citations nor from the verifiability policy. This is a common misconception. The parts which were tagged have been officially challenged and per WP:MINREF and WP:LEADCITE should be cited with an inline citation or they should be removed. Tutelary (talk) 10:16, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

((u|Tutelary}} It also says that requires editorial consensus. Also see Wikipedia:Tag bombing which is of course an essay, not a guideline, but is relevant. Are you actually saying that all' the tags were appropriate? Dougweller (talk) 10:36, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Most likely playing devil's advocate --Drowninginlimbo (talk) 11:18, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
So are you saying instead of tagging, I should just remove them instead? Per WP:LEADCITE, The verifiability policy advises that material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and quotations, should be supported by an inline citation. Adding a tag to it means it's been challenged, and all that I am asking for is an inline citation for the sentences tagged. The topic is interesting to me, but the lead is plagued with weasel words and other sentences needing clarification or sources. Tutelary (talk) 11:30, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I am saying that material that is sourced in the body of the text doesn't need tagging. Could you clarify whether you are defending just your tags or the IP's tags as well - or are those actually yours?
Let's look at your tags. "Several theologies[who?]" is one. They are named in the section "In religious thought". Why would you tag that? The lead is a summary, it doesn't have to list all of them but they are named and discussed and sourced in detail. "Some[clarification needed] older myths " - what are you asking for here? Myths are discussed in the article, and you didn't explain what you wanted here at the talk page. "Several modern feminists[who?]" - are you telling me that they aren't named in the article? Looks to me as though they are. "Most[who?] anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, but some authors believe that exceptions are possible, some of them in the past." Now this one is a bit odd as you didn't tag "some authors" although you tagged "Several modern feminists". Why is that? Are you actually disputing the fact that most anthropologists believe there are no unambiguously matriarchal societies? And finally, "this hypothesis is mostly discredited today.[citation needed]". It's got a citation, why does it need a second one? I'm wondering if you've actually read the article as the tags suggest that you added them without carefully considering the content of the article. Dougweller (talk) 12:49, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
All I'm trying to enforce is the need for inline citations per Verifiability policy. Per WP:LEADCITE, the need for inline citations is not generally the same for each and every article. I am not disputing any of the content, as it does seem to be reliably sourced. Though the lead may need one or none inline citations on one article, but 8 on the other due to its controversial nature. I believe that is very much true here and am humbly requesting a few to clarify the lead and its readers. People don't often read the entire article in itself. Tutelary (talk) 12:59, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I thin though that you are misinterpreting our policy here. Still, from what you've said the solution is definitely not to tag it but to fix what you see as the problem, as you aren't actually disputing any content. Dougweller (talk) 15:28, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I think I'm not. Anything in the lead is not exempt from the verification policy. If it's in the lead, then it can need a source. Tutelary (talk) 20:05, 16 May 2014 (UTC) If it's contentious or likely to be challenged and there is no source in the article. But how about asking at WP:RSN or WP:LEAD? Of course, I guess you could source it yourself as you agree the sources are there. Dougweller (talk) 21:05, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Large amounts of weasel words in the article[edit]

I've noticed a lot of cases of weasel words. Another editor told me that a lot of the so-called "weasel words" are backed up by other inline citations inside the article, but to the reader, shouldn't there be inline citations for all the sections where there are weasel words? I have some examples which I will lay out (I will add more:

  1. "For this usage, some scholars now prefer the term matrifocal to matriarchal." It is not accompanied by an inline citation, while the next sentence implies that the one of the scholars (David Moynihan), endorses the aforementioned position, yet that sentence is sourced to an article about African-American families.
  2. "The authors of the classics did not think that gyneocracy meant 'female government' in politics.They were aware of the fact that the sexual structure of government had no relation to domestic rule and to roles of both sexes." More weasel words. Who wrote, "the classics"?
  3. "Anthropologists have begun to use the term matrifocality. There is some debate concerning the terminological delineation between matrifocality and matriarchy." This covers the same type of content as 1, but is different in scope. What anthropologists like to use matrifocality? Is it generally accepted? Is it barely used at all, and is entering the common lexicon? Plus, the "debate" concerning the difference between matrifocality and matriarchy is not sourced with an inline citation.
  4. "Most academics exclude egalitarian nonpatriarchal systems from matriarchies more strictly defined." What academics?
  5. "A few people consider any non-patriarchal system to be matriarchal, thus including genderally equalitarian systems, but most academics exclude them from matriarchies strictly defined." Same as 4, but no sources.
  6. "Research indicated that sexual intercourse occurred from early ages and pregnancy only occurred much later, seemingly unrelated to the sexual activity." No source as to what this "research" is.
  7. "Evidence from the Amorites and pre-Islamic Arabs, however, indicates that the primitive Semitic family was in fact patriarchal and patrilineal. Meanwhile, the Indo-Europeans were known to have practiced multiple succession systems, and there is much better evidence of matrilineal customs among the Indo-European Celts and Germans than among any ancient Semitic peoples." Unfortunately, there is no citing of this supposed evidence.

I will begin removing these, @Nick Levinson: has already reverted one of my edits that removed 5, so I am asking him now, where are the sources for number 5 in the main body? 4 is the closest I've gotten to a reference in the main body, so I will start removing content that uses weasel words. Grognard 123chess456 (talk) 02:40, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Also, on a side note, I see a lot of sentences that say "some people", then don't specify who the person is, but have an inline citation that backs up that statement. That's kind of less important then the one I've specified above, though. Grognard 123chess456 (talk) 03:09, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Item 5 (which I was asked about) is sourced in the next sentence, which is in the same paragraph, and a similar point is sourced in the paragraph beginning "The Matriarchal Studies school ...."
Item 1: I added a Citation Needed tag; the statement was rewritten from an earlier version, the first appearance of which I have not traced, but that probably does not matter. A source would be appropriate or the statement should be deleted. Elsewhere in the article there is content about confusion or overlap between the two terms and that may suffice. (I assume Daniel, not David, Moynihan was meant in the post above.)
Item 2: That statement was already tagged last November as needing a citation. If those authors are the authors cited earlier in the paragraph, the statement should say so, for clarity.
Item 3: Both statements were similarly tagged for citations last November.
Item 4: Few academics include egalitarian systems as being within matriarchies; at least one is cited. That most other academics exclude them doesn't seem to me to be in serious doubt. I suppose we could add a list of names but I wonder if that wouldn't belabor what I think is obvious. This isn't quite the case of adding a citation to support that the sky is blue, but it seems close. What do other editors think? If someone wants to add a slew of citations, or even just one, please do.
Item 6: That statement was already tagged as needing a citation since last November.
Item 7 refers to a statement within a section already tagged as needing citations since last October.
If that is the limit of the assertion of the presence of weasel words, then we probably should delete the Weasel template as redundant. If citations are supplied and it turns out that the sources support the wording, then the Weasel tag is inappropriate anyway, but if the sources are crisper and the rewriting for Wikipedia was weaselish, then the article should be edited to reflect sourcing, but right now the concern is for finding sources or deleting unsourced content, the rewriting to come after sources are found or to be unnecessary if the content is to be deleted as unsourced. That weasel wording applies to the rewrite in Wikipedia and not to what a source itself says is based on this: "Weasel words are words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated. A common form of weasel wording is through vague attribution, where a statement is dressed with authority, yet has no substantial basis."
On the side note above, if attributions are needed, they should be added from the sources. Feel free.
Thanks. Nick Levinson (talk) 23:16, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
I deleted the Weasel template, per the above. Any desired edits can still go forward. Nick Levinson (talk) 21:23, 20 December 2014 (UTC)


As has been discussed before, matrifocality is not any kind of alternative or competitor to the concept of matriarchy. Matrifocality means that family structure is built around a core of women and their adult daughters and minor children, with men largely transient (only temporarily affiliated to families). It does not mean that women have the preponderance of power in the overall society, and therefore it is not synonymous with matriarchality or anything approaching the ordinary definition of matriarchality. AnonMoos (talk) 02:54, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Some cultures have been described as matriarchal because matriarchal is often used in a popular very general sense when matrifocal may be the more precise description for some of those cultures. An example from the article: "According to Kathryn Rountree, the belief in a prepatriarchal 'Golden Age' of matriarchy may have been more specifically about a matrifocal society". In general, it's helpful to distinguish the two terms in this article, because that clarifies matters for nonexpert readers, and doing so only with a hatnote would pretty much not allow enough room for an adequate explanation. Nick Levinson (talk) 20:55, 9 August 2014 (UTC)