Yes, that was something said to me in a discussion about gender roles and the need to resurrect patriarchy. I looked at the comment, smiled and thought, "Why indeed did you think I'm a twit just because I disagree with you about the benefits of patriarchy?" (The whole discussion is available here). Although much can, and has been said, about modern feminism, the idea that feminism (or women in general) is the problem is in itself a problem. All the people looking back a few decades (or a few centuries) wishing they could return to those times glibly ignore that there already HAS been an attempt to resurrect patriarchy and it didn't end well.
Around thirty years ago a portion of the church decided to bring back gender roles in a way that emphasized patriarchy as the central force. Women were sent home, discouraged from seeking higher education, and encouraged to have as many children as possible. Men were taught to be bold leaders and seek well-paying jobs to feed all those children. Thirty years later we have found two things: 1) there aren't enough well-paying jobs to support large families 2) and instead of creating healthy relationships between men and women, the experiment increased misogyny at an alarming rate. It's not what modern advocates of patriarchy want to hear; hence their near complete ignorance of the Quiverful movement and the church as the bastion of deliberate gender engineering. And of course they want to remain ignorant of it as most of them do not wish to join the church or have a dozen children. They want patriarchy, but not the crushing responsibility that comes with it, especially in an era in which income inequality has made life rather difficult for everyone.
So what do we find these people wanting? Instead of adding to their own responsibilities, the modern advocates for patriarchy want society to force women to marry and stay married. We are told giving women choices is bad for society. And it's undeniable that forcing women to marry as a means of survival may create an outwardly stable societies, but it doesn't create stable individuals, nor does it create a healthy society. All the pathologies the Victorians set out to eradicate were part and parcel of the patriarchal world that created more dysfunction than function. Slavery, child labor, dangerous working conditions, hunger and illness are usually found in heavily patriarchal societies and the Victorian Era was not exempt from these. The reformers focused on sobriety, education, and the elevation of the working class and women into full participation in society in an attempt to change a system that cemented people's futures before they were even born. And it worked. We all inherited a world where we have more choices than previous generations, but with those choices came also responsibility, and it is the fact that we have to make choices, and accept the responsibility for our choices, that seems to be behind all the calls for a return to a time when our choices were more limited.
Limiting women's choices is not a new idea, nor is the belief that society's well-being hinges on women's behavior. "The world will end if women don't behave" is an old and trite complaint that solves nothing, but gives everyone a handy outlet for their frustrations. It's understandable that men would feel that way, but we find also that women are, and have always been, some of the most ardent supporters of patriarchy. They are convinced society's health and wealth depends on their behavior to a much larger degree than is realistically possible. At the same time we are told men build civilizations, women have nothing to do with it. We hear also claims that for men to build civilizations women have to give them what they need - sex. We are told men need sex to quell their aggressive tendencies, and that they need a good woman to realize their responsibilities and to be willing to perform backbreaking and dangerous labor to build a civilization. Without a woman, a man will become a lazy unproductive slob, and for this reason women must be forced to marry and stay married. This is, of course, precisely what the (Protestant) church has insisted on for centuries with its emphasis on marriage as the only vocation for women since the Reformation.
And we all know it doesn't work.
Forcing women to marry in order to create a stable society doesn't create mutual love or respect. It creates resentment, and resentment is the breeding ground for abuse. Churches have seen a huge resurgence in women's rights advocacy in recent years and calls for greater accountability in cases of abuse have caused even the Southern Baptist Convention to reverse its position. The frank recognition that patriarchy isn't the solution comes at the heels of a huge drop in attendance. Money does most of the talking when it comes to our recognition that patriarchy doesn't create the utopia it promises. But neither does modern feminism with its emphasis on victim creation and endless Oppression Olympics that causes women to become either entirely self-absorbed or so scared they can barely leave their homes. Only equality (the recognition that we all possess the same worth, while we all have our own individual talents and abilities) creates a healthy society in which individuals can thrive.
Yet, there is something to the claim that women are partly responsible for the outcomes of our societies. The more educated women are, the more freedoms they enjoy, and the higher the respect afforded to them by society, the greater the society is. And this is the dilemma patriarchy faces in every generation: a society must educate its women to remain a civilization, but exactly how much education will keep women sufficiently informed without creating in them a desire for choices beyond marriage and childbearing? The same is true of the working class: a civilization requires a large working class to keep the wheels moving, but education creates aspirations in people. The uneasy alliance of society versus the individual is the real culprit behind the insistence that women should concern themselves with the re-creation of the next generation and not their own individual lives. Existential angst cripples us quickly if we don't resolve to revolve our existence around life rather than death.
So what should we do? We must realize life isn't just a sum total of predictable events. Neither can we control every outcome, because we can't control every aspect of our lives. What we can do is affirm the fundamentals and let life evolve as it wishes. But this is of course where patriarchy comes around and insists it IS the fundamental that must be affirmed. But for patriarchy to be the fundamental, it would have to affirm the humanity of all humans, and it is something it has stubbornly refused to do during the many millennia of its own existence. The only times patriarchy has been somewhat benign on a societal level is when it has co-existed with other philosophies that have affirmed human rights, and on an individual level when people have adopted an egalitarian outlook (while claiming to eschew said outlook). Left to its own devices patriarchy has, and always will, create a society in which the few rule and individuals exist only as cogs in the machine. It doesn't make one a twit to realize it's not a way to create a stable, healthy, and prosperous society.