A Woman’s Place

My friend Brandon Christensen over at Notes on Liberty each night publishes a few links under the title Nightcap. I often enjoy them and sometimes they form the basis of a post here. Two of them connect into today’s.

First, we have one from Notes on Liberty’s Rick Weber titled Why do we teach girls that it’s cute to be scared?  It starts this way:

I just came across this fantastic op-ed while listening to the author being interviewed.

The author points out that our culture teaches girls to be afraid. Girls are warned to be careful at the playground while boys are expected… to be boys. Over time we’re left with a huge plurality of our population hobbled.

It’s clear that this is a costly feature of our culture. So why do we teach girls to be scared? Is there an alternative? This cultural meme may have made sense long ago, but society wouldn’t collapse if it were to disappear.

Culture is a way of passing knowledge from generation to generation. It’s not as precise as science (another way of passing on knowledge), but it’s indispensable. Over time a cultural repertoire changes and develops in response to the conditions of the people in that group. Routines, including attitudes, that help the group succeed and that are incentive-compatible with those people will persist. When groups are competing for resources, these routines may turn out to be very important.

A couple questions arise. Do we, in fact, teach girls to be afraid? And if we do, is there a reason we do, and is it still valid? I don’t know the answers, so feel free to discuss.

Another article via Notes may have some of the answers. William Buckner recently wrote on Quillette on A Girl’s Place in the World.

Anthropologist Thomas Gregor’s first introduction to the men’s house was given to him by a Mehinaku man, who informed him that, “You are in the house of the spirit Kauka. Those are his sacred flutes. Women may not see anything in here. If a woman comes in, then all the men take her into the woods and she is raped. It has always been that way.” Itsanakwalu, a young Mehinaku woman in her early twenties later would tell Gregor personally that, “I don’t want to see the sacred flutes. The men would rape me. I would die. Do you know what happened to the Waura woman who saw it? All the men raped her. She died later.”

While the punishments enacted by these men’s cults are extreme, they reflect larger, cross-culturally common efforts—individually or collectively—by males to constrain female autonomy and control their sexuality.

In his work examining ethnographic evidence from 190 hunter-gatherer societies, evolutionary psychologist Menlaos Apostolou notes the prevalence of arranged marriages, writing that across these societies “the institution of marriage is regulated by parents and close kin. Parents are able to influence the mating decisions of both sons and daughters, but stronger control is exercised with regard to daughters; male parents have more say in selecting in-laws than their female counterparts.” As anthropologist Janice Stockard writes of !Kung hunter-gatherer populations in southern Africa, “Traditionally in the !Kung San, marriage is a relationship among a husband and wife and the wife’s father and is at the outset firmly based on compatibility between the two men.”

He goes on to note that this is pretty much normal all across primitive societies from the beginning of social grouping amongst humans, and even other closely related apes. He ends with this.

[…]Yet in 2019 women make up 25% of senators and 23.4% of the members of the House of Representatives. Goldberg found a trend and turned it into a rule, believing it to be a law.

As we can see, some patterns have changed considerably in recent decades. As Hrdy recognizes, modern advances toward sex equality reside on a “unique foundation of historical conditions, values, economic opportunities, heroism on the part of women who fought for suffrage, and perhaps especially technological developments which led to birth control and labor-saving devices and hence minimized physical differences between the sexes.”

Having learned from Goldberg’s mistake, I would caution against attempting to predict what the future holds based on these historical patterns, or, conversely, overly extrapolating from the more recent changes identified by Hrdy. Our evolutionary history continues to leave its mark, yet the socioecological and cultural forces that contribute to human variation can act in unpredictable ways.”

OK, but do we really think that government headed by Angela Merkel or Theresa May are the way of the future? If so, I doubt we have much future at least as free people. Just how effective (at anything but useless screaming) is the 20+% female US Congress, led by Nancy Pelosi? Maybe there is a reason for what has always been, everywhere, or is that too conservative for you?


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7 Responses to A Woman’s Place

  1. the unit says:

    “Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicholas says:

    Not sure what to really say in response to the broader issues raised by this post, as my emotions may be clouding my judgment. I will simply put what I feel and let you or The Unit or Scoop use cool intellect to rebut or confirm what I say.

    A) Society is suffering from both parents working.
    i) It is true that both parents have always worked; this is not modern phenomenon.
    ii) However, the form of both parents working today may be different.
    B) Fear of the repurcussions of un-PC speech (civil suits, criminal prosecution, losing jobs, social media harrassment) is making it harder and harder for people to be honest with each other about their feelings on this matter.
    C) While there is probably no risk of the majority of women losing the feminine “softer” qualities that society values, enough women are becoming “hard” so as to warrant conscious decisions by some men to shun their company. If this trend continues, society will suffer.
    D) The failure of Protestants to venerate Mary may account in part for the feminist corruption of Western Christianity.
    E) Part of the feminism we see today constitutes rebellion and is part of a wider trend of disobedience.
    i) Catholicism says that women cannot be priests.
    ii) Trying to make Catholicism allow women priests is rebellion, not a natural development of Catholicism by deeper understanding of complex truths.
    F) Society is suffering in general on this point because of its moving away from Christianity and the weakening of Christianity from within (and the presence of competitors, such as Islam).
    i) Westerners are losing their Christian national identities.
    ii) Without Christianity providing a base line for ethics and metaphysics, people have inadequate means of building a society that conforms consistently with truth.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. the unit says:

    How nice to receive honorable mention in the comments. Thank you Nicholas! 🙂
    I’m kinda like that Supreme on porn. I recognize and appreciate real feminism when I see it. And I got evidence and proof…my “honey do list”. 🙂
    And your other comments here are right on.

    Liked by 2 people

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