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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)

External links modified[edit]

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The new link was wrong and I searched the newspaper's website but did not find the originally-cited source by a subject keyword search, so I replaced the citation altogether. Then, on that basis, I changed the parameter above. Nick Levinson (talk) 18:17, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

edit from Leacock article[edit]

I deleted a statement based on an article by Leacock when I couldn't figure out what the statement was supposed to say and what the article said relevant to that section. As a result, the section became empty and I deleted it. However, I found only the abstract and haven't looked in JStor, which may or may not have the full article. If anyone can reconstruct what should have been in that section, please do. Nick Levinson (talk) 19:38, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

I found the originals but it's not worthwhile to re-add any of this content.
The only revision in between wasn't relevant.
Nick Levinson (talk) 01:33, 4 October 2015 (UTC) (Corrected URL: 01:41, 4 October 2015 (UTC))

Main introductory line and description[edit]

Edited to reflect equal introduction to the Patriarchy page because all in all the terms all encompassing-ly reflect opposite of each other and mean nothing more

(This post was by an editor at IP address (talk). Nick Levinson (talk) 03:43, 18 February 2016 (UTC))

For future reference, while it is often convenient to think of terms such as these as parallel, often they are only superficially parallel, because the underlying sources differ enough to make them not so. In this case, the editing was pretty much okay, not because of parallelism but because of general consistency with the body, where the sourcing appears. Nick Levinson (talk) 03:43, 18 February 2016 (UTC)


I removed section animals wchich has been there long time without any sources.

=== Animals ===
Matriarchy may also refer to non-human animal species in which females hold higher status and hierarchical positions, such as among lions, elephants, and bonobos.[citation needed]

Se also this link with following text:

Elephants are commonly thought to live in matriarchal societies which rely on the strong leadership and wisdom of elders, with strong age-based dominance hierarchies. Our new study in the journal Behavioral Ecology overturns this view, finding that in fact Asian elephants, unlike African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), do not exhibit clear dominance hierarchies or matriarchal “leadership”.

Anyone who actually know anything about african elephants, or, who dont mix up knowledge with political correctness, knows that also withing the africans is not a species in which females hold higher status and hierarchical positions. The only one that claimed this was Cynthia Moss.

Dan Koehl (talk) 17:42, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

Matriarchy in the animal kingdom[edit]

Matriarchy in the animal kingdom.' --Trepuptechnologies (talk) 06:17, 8 March 2017 (UTC) Bees - The social structure of a bee hive is that of a matriarchal family headed by a queen. The queen has a potential life span of three years and during this time may continually lay eggs thereby establishing and maintaining a total colony population of approximately twenty five thousand bees. Almost 95% of the queens offspring are what are referred to as worker bees, with the remaining 5% developing into drones.[1]

Elephants - Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females called a herd. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, called a matriarch. Herds consist of 8-100 individuals depending on terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. [2]

Bonobo Apes - Pioneering primate researcher Amy Parish has spent more than a decade studying bonobos. Parish’s groundbreaking work shows how bonobos live in a society surprisingly dominated by females, who use gal-pal alliances to exert power. And that puts a revolutionary twist on long-held beliefs about what's "natural" in terms of sex roles and female friendships-not just for these apes but for their close genetic cousins: us (humans). Unrelated bonobo females seemed to prefer each other's company to males. They lolled about grooming each other, shared food, kissed and hugged, and even rubbed genitals to cement special friendships- the latter behavior getting most of the ink when bonobos first came to public attention. As a group, bonobo guys seemed out of the loop, a marked contrast to male-dominated chimpanzee politics. In fact, bonobo females are fighters as well as lovers, although males in the wild can more easily escape serious injury by fleeing into the jungle. The females will even fight each other to protect their sons-ultimate mama's boys whose rank through life depends on their mothers. Many bonobo daughters leave their family group at adolescence, joining other colonies by currying favor with senior, older females.

While some critics still dismiss the bonobo matriarchy as a fluke or feminist delusion, Parish and others counter with theory and evidence that show how female bonding works to control individual males despite the males' slightly larger size. Unlike abused loner chimp females, it's likely that the bonobo gal gang prevents males from killing the babies of rival males (as other apes do) and allows females to choose their own mates and grab the best food. In the wild, females also hunt and distribute meat, once considered exclusively a male preserve. Excerpts from:[3]

Orcas (Killer Whales) - Killer whale pods are based on the lineage of the mother (mothers, daughters, and sons form groups); the whales live and travel with their mothers even after they are full-grown, forming strongly matriarchal whale societies. In addition to the mothers, various pod members (mainly adolescent females) perform most of the care for the calves. [4]

Lions - Lions are also the only cats that live in large, social groups called “prides.” A pride can have 3 to 30 lions and is made up of lionesses (mothers, sisters, and cousins), and their cubs, along with a few unrelated adult males. The pride has a close bond and is not likely to accept a stranger. The unrelated males stay a few months or a few years, but the older lionesses stay together for life. In dry areas with less food, prides are smaller, with two lionesses in charge. In habitats with more food and water, prides can have four to six adult lionesses. The lionesses work together to hunt and help rear the cubs. This allows them to get the most from their hard work, keeping them healthier and safer. Being smaller and lighter than males, lionesses are more agile and faster. During hunting, smaller females chase the prey toward the center of the hunting group. The larger and heavier lionesses ambush or capture the prey. Lionesses are versatile and can switch hunting jobs depending on which females are hunting that day and what kind of prey it is. [5]

I favor adding a section on animals, if sourced (it will be at least somewhat controversial). I haven't closely reviewed the above, which appears to need more work anyway, such as on formatting, but the concept is good. I would title it Matriarchy Among Nonhuman Animals and I would position it just before the section In Popular Culture. It's a good idea to cover this. Nick Levinson (talk) 00:54, 9 March 2017 (UTC)