Musing on food and cooking ...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Keep up with new developments, people

A comment on another blog I read on a regular basis has driven me a just a little bit bonkers. People hear a theory at some point in their lives and it just won't let go of their grey matter. It may have been a really good theory when it was introduced, but as we learn more things - especially about prehistory, our understand of ourselves needs to change as well. Here goes:

Look at how we lived for 90% of our time on this planet. Males, in general, are physically stronger than women (We know testosterone increases muscle mass), and it was men who did most of the "hunting and warring." (If not all).Women did the "gathering," which is a more social behavior, and is not as competitive.In a hunting or war party, (Although I've never been in either) I imagine you don't speak as much, and it's very competitive. In a way, it makes sense because it balances us. Imagine if women were just as aggressive as men. We'd be in even more trouble than we are now. I'm not saying people "have" to be a certain way, but there's little doubt evolution has played a significant part in our "gender roles."

Um, the "man the hunter" theory has actually been pretty well debunked over time. Men, evidence is finding, were probably the primary hunters (or scavengers) of large game, usually in groups (which seems to me to be a pretty, ahem, social, cooperative activity as is going together as a war band to destroy your rivals). Women were the primary getters of food through gathering, fishing, as well as hunting small game and birds. And this idea that women are not as aggressive as men? Said commentor has obviously never been to an after-Thanksgiving sale at Target or the Filene's Basement bridal event.

And, I would argue that evolution has actually has very little to do with modern gender roles, except maybe behaviors related to child bearing, specifically as evolution totally discounts the impact class has on gendered behavior. Poor women have always had differently appropriate gender roles than middle class and upper class women. An example. In our society, there is the assumption that the traditionally appropriate gender role for women is to remain in the home as homemaker and child-rearer. However, this has only ever been a possibility for the middle and upper classes. Poor women have always had to leave the home to do work of some sort, whether that is farming or working as a store clerk. This leads to a particularly difficult conundrum for poor women - they find themselves demonized for having children and yet working and, should they receive some sort of state or federal assistance, they are demonized as lazy, no good, leeches on the system, living off the taxes of others. Yet, if they choose not to have children because they know they can't afford them, they are demonized as being unnatural women.

I guess the main problem I have with the comment is this idea that there must be balance. Dualism bothers me. Men = aggressive. Women = cooperative. Men = bad. Women = good. Men = strong. Women = weak. I've never found a dualism that was ever true. Human skills, behaviors and strengths fall along a huge spectrum, not a black and white filter.

5 comments:

Boxer rebel said...

This is a great response to this commenter. Since it was from my site, yes I recognized it immediately, can I have your permission to post this on my site as a response to the commenter? I learned a lot in your response and there is a larger issue I want to talk about with this post as the backbone. Again, a great post and I really enjoyed reading it.

GourmetGoddess said...

You can if you want to. I actually posted here, because I can tend to come on pretty strong and I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

fairlane said...

No denying women can be arrogant huh?

By the way, since you don't know me, how do you know I didn't make that comment just for shits and giggles to see if I could get a pat response?

Not that I would do such a thing because, after all, this is the "blogosphere," and this is serious business.

And there's no way a person can predict another's behavior. (Not that I knew you would respond, since I've never heard of you, but the response was predictable).

That's bloody impossible.

You see, I observed something interesting a few months ago. Liberals and/or Wingnuts tend to present caricatured opinions. There does not seem to be much diversity among the orthodox.

So.

Sometimes I like to throw a big ass wrench in the machine known as "Liberalism." (I don't mess with Wingnuts so much. Not only are they insane, but they worry me with their pathological stupidity).

Why?

Some times, and only some times, it actually gets a real conversation started instead of the orthodoxy we're all used to hearing/reading.

The Liberals have let us down these past twenty five years. They're stuck much like the Wingnuts, and that isn't good for anyone.

And, I must admit, it's fun to stir the pot from time to time.

It doesn't always go according to plan, but from my perspective someone needs to shake things up a bit, and I figure, "Why not me?"

What do I care if an ethereal person "hates" me?

I hope that doesn't upset you.

Oh, I will say that one part of my comment is absolute fact.

Testosterone builds muscle mass and muscle density. Also, people who have higher levels of testosterone, aside from being hairy asses, tend to be more aggressive.

Surely you know that anabolic steroids are similar chemically to testosterone?

Nice post by the way.

GourmetGoddess said...

Hmm, yes, we've all heard of roid rage. What I find funny are all the female sex characteristics that often come with the use of anabolic steroids - the breasts, etc. The human body is an amazing thing.

I love it when people stir the pot. My own favorite pot to stir is the feminist spirituality movement. But, that being said, the reason I wanted to look at parts of your comment, was that they didn't stir the pot at all. Instead, those parts repeated the same platitudes that liberals have been repeating since at least the 1970s. Man the hunter as a theory has been backburnered since at leas the 1990s. Even the hard core feminist neo-pagans have backed away from the prehistoric peaceful matriarchy theory.

I don't know you at all, which is why I wanted to address the comment here, anonymously, rather than at the other site. And I do say, stir away. But, if you stir, stir forward, rather than bring in ingredients that are past their expiration date.

What?! I had to get a cooking reference in here somewhere!

TheCunningRunt said...

GG, as a man who is decidedly PU (figure it out ;)) I enjoy fairlane's frequent pot-stirring; the fact is, I've stirred a few myself.

Not to deny the validity of your position in any way; if I thought I had to choose sides in this one, I'd be right there beside you.

Luckily, I don't!