Re: Evolution of Sexism

Gerold Firl (
23 Aug 1996 20:36:52 GMT

In article <>, (Len Piotrowski) writes:

|> In article <4v47n9$> Beth Williams) writes:

|> >Before accepting Firl's comments as true, it would be useful to
|> >actually look at data (something he often forgets to do.) In
|> >egalitarian societies, women do not *fade* during times of intergroup
|> >violence/war...In fact, their social and economic importance is
|> >highlighted during these times (who keeps the group organized while the
|> >men are at war? Who feeds the remaining population and provisions
|> >travelling troops?) The development of patriarchy is linked not to
|> >violence (which is more likely a *symptom*) but to private property.

|> I have to agree with Mary Beth. The ethnographic record does not support
|> patriarchy as necessary and sufficient to account for the mobilization of
|> "man-power" in crisis situations (warfare, and forest clearing were the
|> proposed examples), but, on the contrary, it appears that the form of
|> lineal relationship structuring the social group has more importance and
|> success in this regard. And the most successful organizations would have to be
|> termed biarchical in general, matriarchical in the particular, in as much as
|> they include examples of matrilineal conical clans with paramount "chiefs" who
|> were women!

Can you explain what you mean by "biarchical in general, matriarchal
in the particular"? Can you give an example or two? Also, what is a
"conical" 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. human cultural adaptation is not a simple
input-output system, but it does have certain tendancies. Men tend to
do the fighting. They are better equipped to be fighters. They have
more experience at fighting. In a patriarchal society, leaders tend to
be men, and hence the leaders tend to be more able military commanders.

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

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf