Re: What Matriarchy? (was Drugs etc.)

Paul Connelly (
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 01:35:37 -0500

In article <4t1682$>, (sgf) wrote:

> May I suggest the article "Society and Sex Roles" by Ernestine Friedl?
> Community leadership revolves around the control of the most valuable
> resource. When this resource is protection from enemies, then power
> correlates with offense and defense. When this resource is food, it
> correlates with whoever supplies the most valued food. Among
> hunter-gatherers in temperate climates who are not in conflict with other
> groups, women gather about 60-80% of the food consumed. Men bring in
> 20-40%. In these societies, power is shared relatively equally. Note
> the use of the word "relative". Men *tend* to have a little more power
> than women, but not much. They have this little bit of power because
> meat, which they bring in, is a scarce resource.

Hmmm...what about sex as a resource? Is that more or less valuable
than meat? If the mothers can't engage in large game hunting because
it involves travel, they can still trade sex for food when the hunters
return. If they occupy the base camp (assuming there is such a thing),
then aren't they the de facto powers-that-be? They must outnumber
the old men who can't hunt. I was wondering about this because in
Tattersall's "The Fossil Trail" i was reading that some recent studies
suggested that Neanderthals had a very female-centered base camp
type society, with the males out hunting over wide territories. It
almost sounded like the sort of society bonobos are supposed to have
(and in the bonobos it seems like the females maintain solidarity
in sexual matters by engaging in extensive same-sex relationships).
Food-for-sex seems like a frequent bonobo trade-off, although they
do tend to use sex quite a bit for other social purposes.

- paul

Ut ibi arduum cursum angelorum perficiam