Re: Evolution of Sexism

Len Piotrowski (
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 21:46:58 GMT

In article <4vl4p4$> (Gerold Firl) writes:


>Can you explain what you mean by "biarchical in general, matriarchal
>in the particular"?

Power, responsibility, and authority associated with either males or females
in general, or with females in particular.

>Can you give an example or two?

Certain cultures of the American southeast, Caribbean, and (if my memory
serves) central America at the period of Contact (I think this point was made

>Also, what is a
>"conical" clan?

A hierarchical arrangement of clans ranked by descent from a paramount clan.

>I'm not claiming that patriarchy is "necessary" for the mobilization of
>manpower, only that it will have some advantages when that mobilization
>is for military purposes.

In as much as "patriarchy" can include virtually every cultural form
classified on the planet, it is my contention that it no longer holds any
information value for your thesis.

>human cultural adaptation is not a simple
>input-output system, but it does have certain tendancies.

I don't think adaptation can "work" as a "simple input-output system." And
simply stating that cultures have tendencies doesn't get us too far.

> Men tend to
>do the fighting.

... and women tend to do the chores, I get it!

>They are better equipped to be fighters.

Something about the penis, no doubt ...

>They have
>more experience at fighting.

They have more penis experience, naturally ...

>In a patriarchal society, leaders tend to
>be men,

Well by definition this is trivially true ...

>and hence the leaders tend to be more able military commanders.

... except the one's that are complete screwups <g>, eh?

>You have suggested that matrilineal, matriarchal societies are actually
>the *most* successful at mobilizing military forces, right?


>I'd like to
>see some examples, as well as some definitions for your terms.

I suppose you would.

>Here are
>some counter examples: germanic, gallic, latin, greek, persian, and
>sansrit speaking indo-europeans; china, turkic and mongolian asiatic
>nomads; arabs; zulus; all are patriarchal, all have used military
>superiority to expand their territory at the expense of their
>neighbors, and their ideology shows clear signs of adaptation for

Gross over-generalizations.

>If you provide some counter examples, I'd like to see them.

See above and my previous posts. If your thesis is that patriarchy is necessary
and sufficient to provide the wherewithal to conduct warfare (in your narrow
case) and provide for the mobilization of effort in crisis situations (your
forest clearing case), then any patriarchical society that isn't predatory,
warlike, or forest clearing is a counter example. If one is sufficient, try
the Pomo Indians of California. I think Mary Beth has offered additional
examples. How strong the facade of patriarchy?



"If you can't remember what mnemonic means, you've got a problem."
- perlstyle