Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Man The Hunter?

I have long argued the strict gender roles we have been taught, and accepted, with regard to men doing the hunting and warrioring in prehistoric times has been in need of revision. Women hunted and fought maybe not just as much as men but these were not rare activities. Of course, when pregnant not so much but no less so than men when wounded. 

An interesting article from The Conversation supports this.

See also this article from UCL.

Think about it. A group in which all members can hunt and fight will out compete a group where only half can. And it works both ways. Men can gather and parent. 

One can only speculate on why such huge gender divisions eventually became so common but a good possibility is that having a woman, or women, not work became a sign of power. A status symbol. Both for the man and woman albeit for different reasons. One that is still pretty common.  Women not working, or relegated to less visible roles, meant you were so smart, so wealthy, so organized that you could afford the loss of productivity. It showed you were better than others. 

A different argument is that women are more precious than men because they are bottleneck for reproduction. After all, a single man can impregnate a lot of women. As a result women were slotted into roles which were less dangerous. And still very much are. I tend to think in prehistory, having all members of a group able to fight and hunt outweighed the loss of a few women of child bearing age but later  as societies became for specialized and even among men not all hunted and fought, women became more protected from harm. Losing a man is less of an issue for society than a woman. 

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