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Thread: Gender inequality emerged during the Neolithic, new study finds

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    Gender inequality emerged during the Neolithic, new study finds

    Gender inequality is a pervasive and very challenging issue to address. We know that oftentimes, women are paid less than men for the same work and face many more hurdles in all cultures around the world, but the exact causes (and solutions) remain annoyingly difficult to find. Still, one particular aspect of it is crystal clear: the difference in physical strength.

    While that may not be all that important in modern society, it was, almost certainly, the reason why men have dominated cultures for the past millennia. Being stronger and faster was a key advantage, one that’s very difficult to overcome or overlook. But when did this trend emerge?
    https://www.zmescience.com/science/g...ence-22062019/
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    The article seems to suggest that this specific finding can be used as an indicator for the general premise. I don't know if the archaeologists themselves agree with that.

    Evidence of increased violence, with the male remains demonstrating greater infliction, doesn't give us a general indication of the "state of equality"* within Neolithic Iberia. That finding gives us an inference on a specific biopsychosocial aspect of humanity, and one that should already be painfully obvious.

    Humans are a sexually dimorphic species and the Y-chromosome's net effect (intra- and post-embryological development) favours empathy blunting, increased muscular size, bone density, strength etc. - As such, this specific domain of behaviour within humans has exhibited a gender inequality well before the Neolithic took place. You cannot ignore or negate all inequalities and some are beneficial or intrinsic, like sexual dimorphism.

    We have evidence of mass graves and violence all across Neolithic Europe after the initial wave of agriculturalists entered from the Southeast. More complex social phenomenon likely resulted in increased violence (competition for resources is a likely one IMO), rather than an intentional, conscious de novo cultural shift towards male-mediated violence for no apparent reason.

    Further, there's evidence of egalitarian tendencies in European cultures after the Neolithic (see here for Yamnaya). Much like in Neolithic Europe, we see evidence of increased militarisation among LBA vs. EBA cultures (per Anthony, resource competition secondary to the aridisation of the Eurasian steppes is identified as a driving factor).

    IMHO, if the above reasoning is correct, the above would indicate that, in times of strife or increased competition, male-mediated violence increases. The reason for this is, again, obvious (from a collectivist self-preservation lens, men are in a better biopsychological position to assert for the needs of their in-group versus the out-group, and in a resource limited environment, that will result in violence).

    In short, this particular "gender inequality" is baked into the human cake. I find it suspicious that the article didn't make any attempt to explore the reasons why this particular "gender inequality" arose in the first place, or explore why it may have been deemed necessary at the time. I suspect there's some sociopolitical "wave riding" going on.

    There's some useful derivative discussions to be had on this topic, so I'll preemptively ask our great regulars to critique any aspect of the article, the findings and/or my post without taking it down a political path. Thanks!

    [Edit]: In case anyone (for whatever reason) contests the statement regarding sexual dimorphism in humans being an evolutionarily deep phenomenon, note that human dimorphism is largely in keeping with the trends observed in non-Hominin primates, and said dimorphism is observed in humans going back to the pleistocene at least.

    * I use parentheses to underscore my personal bedbug with the term - Too ambiguous, context-dependent and generalised, yet it's used freely across multiple contexts for sociopolitical purposes these days. Social scientists seem to make reasonable attempts at specifying the gender-based disparities. I use this term repeatedly in this thread to match its' use as a catch-all term in the article.
    Last edited by DMXX; 06-27-2019 at 02:06 PM. Reason: new 1st sentence; grammar clean-up; edit points @ bot

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    I have to confess that my gag reflex kicks in whenever I see buzz terms like "gender inequality". The good thing about them is that they warn me up front that I'm about to experience something useless.
     


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    This thread is on a straightaway course for a banning, at worst, or a thread removal, at the least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webb View Post
    This thread is on a straightaway course for a banning, at worst, or a thread removal, at the least.
    We aren't necessarily destined for that - There is some legitimate discussion to be had regarding...

    - Patterns of egalitarianism vs. rigid social stratification in prehistoric societies
    - The instigators of violence between various prehistoric societies
    - Gender-based differences in societal roles in said societies
    - Implications of the aforementioned in modern societies

    The community ultimately determines where the discussion will go, but if it becomes needlessly politicised (which will be a shame), we'll likely whisk it away to The Atrium.

    Let's make the most of this opportunity to explore the topic!

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    It could become a springboard to a discussion of the advent of the Indo-Europeans in the 3rd millennium BC a la Gimbutas, with the addition of Reich's comments from his book, Who We Are and How We Got Here. In that case something of use and interest might actually come of it.
     


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    There are other factors here that needs to be addressed. Pregnancy is a biological factor to be considered here, as is nursing of infants and care of small children. Even leaving physical size aside that would make constant and reliable participation in activities such hunting or defense impossible. Given that the survival of women/children of the tribe was crucial for the survival of that tribe such roles would take on an importance that probably would lead to gender stratification, if not social. The belief in "women and children first" (at least until recently) could be seen as a survival of this rather than (as it seems to be considered now) an oppression of women.

    I would also posit that gender based societal roles until recently was also largely because of the different biological roles; a woman can hunt and probably did so--but not easily if at all when pregnant or nursing. The idea being that roles tend to become assigned on the basis of who can do it all the time. Not even my original idea, I've come across it in a couple of books about textile arts and "women's work". In retrospect it makes sense to me, more so than some concept of gender oppression in earlier ages.

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    Oh lord new wave feminism is filtrating into the Neolithic now, it never ends. The ignorance of the author is unbelievable , I mean he states :

    Gender inequality is a pervasive and very challenging issue to address. We know that oftentimes, women are paid less than men for the same work and face many more hurdles in all cultures around the world, but the exact causes (and solutions) remain annoyingly difficult to find. Still, one particular aspect of it is crystal clear: the difference in physical strength.


    For starters, the gender wage gap is a myth, men on average enroll in more lucrative Science/Technology fields.
    Also, the article insinuates male/female roles as unequal which is ridiculous. As Lirio mentioned women bear children and raise them, that in itself is time-consuming and requires a lot of care. Also on average, men have much more muscle mass and strength. Which leaves men in the protector and hunter role which is construed as the dominant role. Though its not about equality, its about filling a niche.

    Also, its almost as if the author is wining that why weren't there Amazons in battles and why are they always men.
    Last edited by pegasus; 06-28-2019 at 08:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasus View Post
    Oh lord new wave feminism is filtrating into the Neolithic now, it never ends. The ignorance of the author is unbelievable , I mean he states :

    Gender inequality is a pervasive and very challenging issue to address. We know that oftentimes, women are paid less than men for the same work and face many more hurdles in all cultures around the world, but the exact causes (and solutions) remain annoyingly difficult to find. Still, one particular aspect of it is crystal clear: the difference in physical strength.


    For starters, the gender wage gap is a myth , men on average enroll in more lucrative and Science/Technology fields.
    Also the article insinuates male/female roles as unequal which is ridiculous. As Lirio mentioned women bear children and raise them that in itself is time consuming and requires a lot of care. Also on average, men have much more muscle mass and strength. Which leaves men in the protector and hunter role which is construed as the dominant role. Though its not about equality, its about filling a niche.

    Also its almost as if the author is wining that why weren't there Amazons in battles why are they always men.
    Sexual dimorphism is in many cases caused by the fact, that females no matter human or not human choose a partner which exhibits over "average" traits so males are selected by females either for strength, intelligence, "power", socialbility or other traits. Only a male capable in protecting and providing the offspring with ressources was from an evolutionary point of view effective. These traditional evoloutionary mechanics become less important the higher developed a society becomes because a male does need to exhibit high physical strength or rich ressources to protect and provide his offsprings. Women are today also capable in providing the family with ressources and often state institutions support families in difficult life periods, which would be deadly in pre-modern times ( social welfare, healthcare,..). But women still statistically prefer partners exhibiting higher confidence, social status and psychological/physical strength. So gender inequality is hardly anything which can be eliminated by the redistribution of ressources or reeducation of males.
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 06-28-2019 at 08:15 AM.
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    You all may have seen this, but if you haven't, it's definitely worth watching, as the discussion takes on the topic of gender inequality.

     


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