Re: Question about Prehistoric Male Dominance

Thu, 1 Dec 1994 04:31:26 GMT

In article <3bjadc$>, Gordon Fitch <> wrote:
>Some authors speculate that paleolithic or neolithic humans
>lived in non-patriarchal or even non-hierarchical
>societies, e.g. Eisler. I am interested in information
>about easily available, _non-speculative_ material which
>either supports or refutes this claim. A priori stuff,
>polemic, etc., need not apply, please; I can make all I
>need on my own. Thanks.
>>< Gordon Fitch >< ><

What about primate studies? I don't think that any primate
societies are non-hierarchical in nature, and so far they appear
to be the closest things we have to human societies to go by.

Marija Gimbutas developed the theory that Riane Eisler espouses,
that paleolithic and neolithic societies lived in egalitarian
societies. This theory also states that state of events lasted
until patriarchal nomads from the steppes of Russia swept down
and conquered peaceful societies. What I want to know is just
how, exactly, did these patriarchal societies develop if
equality and/or matriarchy is supposed to be the "natural" order?

The theory is interesting, but I have some problems with Eisler's
evidence. She cites dress styles in Minoan Crete that bare female
breasts and emphasize male genitals and claims that this "demonstrates
a frank appreciation of sexual differences and the pleasure made
possible by these differences. From what we now know through modern
humanistic psychology, this 'pleasure bond' would have strengthened
a sense of mutuality between women and men as individuals."
(emphasis mine) Forgive me if I'm wrong, but is the skimpy
clothing worn today doing this? True, our society is becoming
more egalitarian, but if I wear a tight dress, I am treated less
equally (by both men and women) than if I covered up.

At any rate, I haven't finished Eisler's book yet because I have
to spend so much time making nasty little margin notes. I am,
however, quite interested in what others have to say about this.

(and in references, too: there is a question about studying
gender roles on my graduate qualifying exams...)

Stephanie Folse
University of Denver

And we're doing so well! How many women have we put in Congress so far?
Continuing at this rapid rate, half of Congress will be female in only
six hundred years!!