On Our Best Behavior: Elise Loehnen Pushes Back on the Patriarchal Narrative

In this episode of the Matriarchy series, we explore how deeply ingrained patriarchal narratives can create a policing effect on the behavior of women. 

Author, Elise Loehnen, discusses her book “On Our Best Behavior” which examines how concepts like the seven deadly sins have historically been used to restrict women’s behavior and police their adherence to an idealized form of “goodness.” Loehnen unpacks the insidious ways women are culturally conditioned from a young age to suppress normal human drives like anger, ambition, and sexuality. And how disrupting rigid gender stereotypes is important when raising the next generation in order to build a more compassionate world. 

Jen and Elise discuss:

  • How women are culturally conditioned and expected to embody “goodness” while men are oriented toward power 
  • How concepts like the “seven deadly sins” have historically been used as a patriarchal “punch card” to police women’s behavior
  • Why raising boys to have an emotional inner life nurtures positive identity development
  • The current era of politics that calls for women to challenge the patriarchal system while also having compassionate dialogue to build a new, care-centered world where everyone can flourish