Re: Gender differences

Gerold Firl (
24 May 1995 12:34:44 -0700

In article <3pl5p7$> (Bryant) writes:

>See Daly and Wilson's 1988 book _Homicide_, published by De Gruter. They
>have several chapters devoted to the demographics and ethnographic
>literature of infanticide.
>Indeed, in the first year of life, children are significantly more likely
>to be murdered by their mothers than anybody else. Birth spacing and
>resource base (including marriage partner or lack there-of) seem to be
>determining factors in traditional (non-industrialized) societies.

Makes sense. Was there a cross-cultural comparison?

In the greek tradition, the mother would present the infant to the father,
who would decide whether the child should be exposed. Intuitively, such a
system seems like it has some advantages. It removes a burden from the
mother, for whom the decision of whether or not to kill her baby would seem
to present a more difficult and stressful choice than for the father.

As I recall, there is some ambiguity in the data for infanticide, since
many such deaths are reported as accidental. Isn't a common form of
infanticide(?) a bed-death, where the infant is crushed by a parent rolling
onto it during sleep? Such deaths are always suspect, and are often
attributed to infanticide.

Do daly and wilson distinguish between cultures where the father vs. the
mother make the decision regarding infanticide?

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