Who Produces the Food? – Part Two

February 13th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

This is the second and final installment of my overview of how gender roles and food production are intertwined throughout history. If you haven’t already, please read Part One to get an introduction to the subject.

Obtaining enough food to survive has been the main occupation of humanity for thousands of years. The close relationship between food production and survival, means that the manner of producing food is one of the key factors that has driven the evolution of gender roles.

The Stone Age (Paleolithic and Mesolithic eras)

During the Stone Age, there were two primary strategies available for finding food: you could go hunting for meat, or you could gather roots, nuts, herbs and fruits. These hunter-gatherer societies had still not discovered farming, so that wasn’t an option.

Hunter-gatherer societies appear to have had a fairly strict division of labor, with men performing all of the hunting, and women doing most of the gathering. The reasons for this kind of division of labor are pretty straightforward. Men simply have superior upper body strength compared to women, and men can also run faster, both of which are advantageous in order to be a successful hunter. Furthermore, women become pregnant while men don’t, and being pregnant would slow down a hunter tremendously while also risking a miscarriage (which would be a disaster in terms of human survival). Babies also needed to be nursed for up to three years, which all in all made it very difficult for women to participate in the hunting.

The best choice available to maximize chances of survival was therefore to let men do the hunting while letting women do most of the gathering and taking care of the children. So even at the very dawn of humanity, we see a tendency for men to work away from home, and for women to stay close to their children and work near the home. These roles were established without any discrimination occurring, they simply represent what worked best at this point in time.

Horticulture(Neolithic era)

Horticultural farming was the first kind of farming that human beings developed, and it simply means farming using a digging stick or a hoe. What’s interesting about horticultural farming is that it does not require the upper body strength of men, nor does it increase the risk of a pregnant woman miscarrying. Consequently, women are perfectly capable of sowing crops using a digging stick or a hoe, and this is exactly what they ended up doing.

During the horticultural era, the men continued to go hunting, while the women did most of the farming as well as the gathering of roots, herbs and nuts. Hunting was still a very bad choice for women, for the reasons listed above, so this division of labor was likely quite straightforward. However, the addition of farming led to women producing around 80 percent of the foodstuff!

This overwhelming female dominance in producing food led to women gaining more importance in the public sphere, and it was also reflected in the religious practice. The horticultural period corresponds to the era of the “Great Mother”, the “Earth Goddess” and other female deities. In fact, the majority of deities became female, simply because these societies – consciously or unconsciously – recognized the important role that women played in obtaining food.

In spite of this increased female influence in the public sphere, horticulture did not lead to a matriarchy, though some societies were matrilineal and traced ancestry through the mother. Research indicates that a matriarchy has never existed (all described cases of matriarchy have been debunked), so clearly there are other factor besides food production that influence governance in a society (this is likely related to neurohormonal factors, something that I will address in future blog posts).

Agrarian Farming

While horticultural farming was carried out using a hoe or a simple digging stick, agrarian farming involved heavy plows drawn by oxen or horses. The sheer weight of these plows meant that they had to be operated by men, since women did not have the strength to do so. Additionally, the risk of miscarriage increased if women tried to operate these heavy plows.

Since agrarian farming and the keeping of livestock meant that no hunting, gathering or horticultural farming was needed, men all of a sudden produced virtually all of the food! This was a radical change from previous eras in human history, and the impact this had on cultures around the world was huge.

Men now had to work in the fields (away from home), and women had to do most of the lighter chores and raise the children (within the home). Agrarian farming created a sharper separation between the male and female gender roles than ever before, with the public sphere becoming a male only sphere, and the private sphere becoming a female only sphere.

The agrarian phase thus marks the start of what is often referred to as patriarchy. Instead of having female goddesses the deities now became men, or rather a single man, simply referred to as God. Please note though that I’m not talking about patriarchy as “a system where women’s interests are subordinated to the interests of men” but instead “a system where men are responsible for the public sphere, and women are responsible for the private sphere”. There was no oppression involved in setting up patriarchy, it simply crystallized into being since it was the best choice available at the time for both genders.

Industrialization and the Information Age

What’s interesting to note is that once industrialization freed humankind from depending on raw strength to perform heavy work, rapid change started happening more or less instantly. In a couple of hundred years, a snap of the fingers historically speaking, gender roles have evolved significantly. Women have been given the right to vote, the right to work and the right to have a voice in the public sphere. Once the factors that kept women in the home were removed, women were given the possibility to have a life outside the home.

My prediction is that men are now next in line to be given more choice and more freedom, and to have their gender role be less constricted. Then and only then, will men and women be able to work side by side to co-create the future.

Conclusion

These simple historical facts about food production demonstrate that oppression isn’t needed as an explanation for how gender roles came about. We can see a very clear trend of simple biological facts affecting or even determining what gender roles arose. Women’s ability to become pregnant, and women’s lesser upper body strength, have been instrumental in deciding the roles of women and men from early Stone Age right up to the era of traditional farming.

Gender roles haven’t developed as the result of human introspection or conscious choices, instead men and women have simply taken on the roles that would allow their tribe or community to be as effective as possible at obtaining food. This rhymes well with my own mantra that gender roles have always been a functional fit to the circumstances at hand, and not some kind of secret conspiracy to oppress women.

By getting our facts straight, a lot of misattributed male guilt and male shaming can be released, something that is long overdue in the current discourse on gender roles. The feminist attribution of guilt to men as a collective, is something I want to play a part in terminating.

I hope that the facts outlined in this post can contribute to a deeper understanding of gender roles that does not shame or put down either men or women.

Tags: , , ,

52 Responses to “Who Produces the Food? – Part Two”

  1. Who Produces the Food? - Part One Says:

    [...] Billing . com Gender Liberation Beyond Feminism « What Is Discrimination? Who Produces the Food? – Part Two [...]

  2. Paddan Says:

    Hey Pelle!

    It’s very liberating to read your posts, and I of course agree with a lot of it. I believe that as soon as the notion of guilt is removed, I truly think that intelligent and sensitive men will feel the power and the urge to truly come forward and take an equal role in the gender debate. There are a lot of feminists (men and women) who are upset about the fact that most men simply don’t do anything to change the current situation. While men might agree, verbaly, there’s not much action going on.

    In today’s current situation, the only two options available to men seem to be to either be a male pig and deny the truths of feminism, or accept feminism and secretly feel ashamed for all the bad stuff that’s been done. Both within the feminist political discourse/paradigm. And my feeling is when guys subscibe to the second alternative, they often feel a sence of “finally I understand how rotten this patriarchy is, now I can enlighten all the other men” which tends to lead to a narcissistic path. The ego just loves being on the “right” side, the feminist side.

    This just in, men and women are equally responsible and equally screwed up! :-D

    Keep up the writing!

    Paddan

  3. Pelle Billing Says:

    In today’s current situation, the only two options available to men seem to be to either be a male pig and deny the truths of feminism, or accept feminism and secretly feel ashamed for all the bad stuff that’s been done.

    Yes, those two choices are extremely limiting. The time has come for men to explore a third choice :) One that allows you to be a whole person, who can see the limitations of both the female and male gender role, and who can participate in the creation of a society that’s friendly to both sexes. The problem is that many men haven’t even been told yet that there is a third choice! So this is where the work lies, in demonstrating this third option to the extent that it becomes public knowledge.

    I love your analysis of how agreeing with feminism can actally be an ego boost to a man!

    Pelle

  4. Bj0rnborg Says:

    I agree aswell.

    For a man to become a feminist, or to work towards equality from a feminist perspecitve, is also to accept the male-guilt that feminism put forward. Most men do not accept this, because it is unjuste, historically incorrect and based on emotion instead of facts.

    The alternative then is to do nothing. (since feminism have monopolized equality).

    As Pelle Billing says, a third alternative without guilt, where we focus on solutions instead of scapegoats, is needed, and the only way to go forwards.

  5. Bj0rnborg Says:

    As for the article:

    Very good and thourough about how the needs of society have superseded the needs of the individual. Not until modern time have we (in the west) created such a secure environment for society that the needs of the individual now can be seen to.

    But the need for food was not the only important factor. The need for protection is another. Today we have cowed nature, but at that time everything was much more dangerous. Illness, animals, weather, everything posed a great danger. In sweden, for instance, not further back than the 50s only 2 out of 6 children survived. Imagine how its been throughout history then. For every couple to produce atleast 2 (maintaining society) or 3+ (increasing society) the females had to bear children almost constantly from sexually mature age until death. And the importance of wetnursing is obvious. That the female spent more time at home, and the male more time doing dangerous tasks away from home, was the natural order of things.

    Every loss of a female meant a big setback for society. This is how the expandability of men came into be, you could easily sacrifice most men of society without it affecting childbearing, thus the male roll became to do everything remotly dangerous. Providing protection and food for family and society.

    Still today we see in strong genderoll-societies the high veneration of the MOTHER. (and likewise the stigma of the childless woman). Just as we can see the veneration of the ACHIEVING man (high status, high salary etc), and likewise the stigma of the “slacker” man.

  6. Pelle Billing Says:

    Yes, good additional points Bj0rnborg.

    I touched upon some of those points in my post about Culture Wars.

  7. Bj0rnborg Says:

    Sorry, im reading a bit here and there and responds reflexively.. :) Maybe I should read it all and get an overall picture before I comment on subjects that have already been touched upon.

  8. hampus Says:

    You know I’m with you, but your analysis, beginning with food production and ending with the future f the sexes, does not hold up since it doesn’t take into consideration several other huge factors contributing than solely food production.

    You’re right in male liberation being pending, but not otherwise.

    First of all, the center of such a discussion is not production of food, but of resources in general. In the case of humans, a very important resource (but not the only) is knowledge, since our biology has invested a painfully large amount of energy to our brains.

    Second, you do not take into consideration the evolution of sexes, that began even far prior to human beings first appearence.

    Third, you do not mention the behavioral consequences thereof and in particular the consequences when regarding a social being as humans are.

    hampus

  9. hampus Says:

    Let me rephrase myself:

    “…but your analysis, beginning with food production and ending with the future f the sexes, does not hold up…”

    It is viable, but only bluntly aiming to the issue (maybe for pedagogical reasons on your behalf?).

    For instance, you need to take into consideration other gender differences than physical strength. (Both the postmodernistically infested social sciences and the more secure natural agree on the sexual dimorphism in mental cognition).

    hampus

  10. hampus Says:

    As a short summary to what I’m getting at, let’s view upon some examples of males and females in nature; asocial structures as in spiders and social, as in bees or ants.

    In both spiders and the social ants and bees, the male has been reduced to his fertilizing duty only; in spiders where the male may be eaten and in the social insectoids, where males only are bred to mate. All according to your notion of the expandibility of males (accurately).

    However, insects and spiders, have only rudimentar cognitive perception, most advanced to steer mating and warlike behavior, whereas mammals (and supremely humans), thrive on brain power.

    You’ll find few higher animals disregarding the male contribution for survival, examplified by mammals. And when mental power becomes a factor, the scene changes dramatically. (Only few exceptions, flickering for survival are known.)

    Many experiments have shown male individuals expansive traits as most resourceful to the species, as males tend to explore far further than females once they fulfilled their sperm delivireing duties. Male mice are much more likely to venture into cats cages than females, in hope for resources. Human males are much more likely to succesfully take risks than females (as seen in business, politics or science, expanding the resources of the species).

    Females will favor such males, to ensure their genetic dominance. Males will strive to prove such capabilities, to be allowed to mate. Crudely.

    During periods of human history, when expanding males have more power. During times of stagnation, females pocess power.

    Just one example.

    hampus

  11. hampus Says:

    To clarify further:

    Above was only one angle described to the sexes interactions for ultimately the survival of the species. Another angle (of many)m follows:

    The discussion of victimiztion, in previous thread, may be used as an example. Whereas it is seen as legitimate for females to demand resources of their males, objections immediately occur when males seek the same. Males are expected to provide resources themselves.

    Victimization also ensures the females, together with sexual drive, the attention of the males of that species.

    Do you think we may be able to overcome this instinct-driven rethoric? I’m curious to find out, but I think no.

    hampus

  12. Pelle Billing Says:

    Bj0rnborg: No problem buddy! I was just giving you the link to a relevant post, no need to read the whole blog before jumping in :)

    Hampus: I agree with a lot of what you said. I touched upon some of that stuff in the post I linked to a few comments up, and I intend to write more about it in the future. The thing is, I try to keep my blog posts coherent, and to only work with a few related ideas in each blog post, so I cannot include everything at once, if I did I’d end up with a book pretty soon ;)

    And I don’t feel that I need to cover everything myself, the whole point of having discussions in the comments is that a group of people can bring more perspectives than any one individual could do alone :)

  13. hampus Says:

    ‘And I don’t feel that I need to cover everything myself, the whole point of having discussions in the comments is that a group of people can bring more perspectives than any one individual could do alone’

    You’re absolutely right! I should have adopted another tone.

    hampus

  14. hampus Says:

    As PB, I’m not capable of summarize my views and write a book. Though I’ll try and share some examplaes:

    THE FLOWER SHIT

    When a male brings his female flowers, females motivate the significance of the gesture by:

    ‘I’m happy you thought about me’

    Her explanation is true, but avoiding any depths. The male is again reaffirming his willingness to provide any resources he can gather by this symbolic gesture and also the female receiveing the flowers knows by this that the yuoung male, with less probability, is courtising another eggbaerer.

    I’m demanding flowers next Valentine!

  15. hampus Says:

    LYING OR TELLING THE TRUTH AS BEST YOU KNOW IT

    Males have to report truths to the flock as best they can, while complaining females only have to raise their voices in their complaints.

    To males, the way to power is only through thourough eaxamnition, to females, lies are fully acceptable in monopolizing resources.

    Therefore the natural sciences are a male succes, while the postmodernistic views are a female movement.

  16. hampus Says:

    contimued:

    Males have to report truth, since other males rely on these facgs for their very survival as they explore.

    Social beings as humans are, human males exhibit a endearing cooperation in their quest for resources to grant mating. This has been referred to as ‘patriarchy’, but to me it simply displays individuals eager wishes to accomplish even more in a group.

  17. hampus Says:

    MALE IMAGERY

    The sight of a handsome young males face, being covered in smoke, dirt or else, is regarded as sexy, since it displays the males adventourous exploits and also his energysaving lack of vanity to clean himself up.

  18. hampus Says:

    Above may be complemented by having the male’s face bloody from fight; defensively or offensively, fighting for the tribes survivial.

  19. hampus Says:

    OLD AND NEW BRAINS

    Feminist rethorics have a hard time digesting the truths of modern biology.

    The fact that males are the driving factors in evolution is not accepted, but disregarded as an old, patriarch view upon the genders, even though the natural sciences cannot conclude otherwise.

    It is true that females and their brains occurred first, but the male brain is a significant update as to info processing.

    Females entake their surroundings by memorizing info with the higher sensory boost as females have. But they lack the male brains compartmentalized capacitiy to process info in sole. To females, the value of info, is judged by the agreeability, mostly ending with conclusions that further establish their take on the universe, may it be as victims.

    Males, their brains try to process info by the very basics of how their surroundings work. Both in order to report accurately to the tribe and to be able to foresee the environments behavior. Males have less of a broadband connection, as it is females who need to broadcast and convince others of their views. Males need only to report summarized experiences.

    Here lies the mental penis envy towards males of females (in addition to the physical), males capacity to foresee and therefore manage events occurring in their surroundings.

    Males have the new brain. What of females? Engineer their nervous system to understand and logically process info as males or having their eggresponsibility freed and presented to males?

    What do you think? (Not surprising that embryonic research is even forbidden, because the thought of female expandibility is so frightening).

  20. hampus Says:

    BRAINS CONTINUED

    The female brains outdated structure does not only reveal itself in the focus of sensory input, (since we since long have moved further than apes judging fruits by color and odor), but also in their memory capacity.

    Males will only remember things triggering mental processes that require new understanding. However, tha amazng capacity of the compartmentalized brains of males, potently remimicking any info process, has even males surpass females in memory ability, when competed.

  21. hampus Says:

    MALE IMAGERY PART TWO

    A muscular, young virlil male, lying next to his female, snoring in his sleep, relenting all power and displaying individual trust in his sleep, is regarded favoroubly.

    Her gentle, feminine touch, as she brushes her fingers across his hard pecs, are viewed as her lower and feminine stature.

    Her slim hand is not able to refrain touching the sleeping males face, his cute smokefeckered face, as she graces his nose, tracing the marks of his adventures before he humped her the night before.

    She feels her heart warm when she recollects his stausts amongst the other males rising with his news about the caves up ahead. And she also prepares to tell him about he’s neglectence towards her, for not bringing flowers in a long time….

  22. Pelle Billing Says:

    hampus,

    Thank you for your comments.

    I agree that there are differences (on a group level) between male and female brains. But let’s not start labeling the male brain as good, and the female brain as bad/outdated. Male and female brains are similar in many ways, and also differ in substantial ways, however, there is no indication from research that one type of brain is better (overall) than the other type of brain.

    I appreciate your efforts to highlight the positive qualities of men, and how men have built civilization and the public sphere. This is very much needed in a postfeminist world. But please be careful when describing women; it almost sounds like you are labeling women as liars, and that kind of female-bashing would be just as bad as feminist male-bashing. I’m not saying that you put that label on women, but the written word can easily be misunderstood.

    Pelle

  23. hampus Says:

    SOCAL MALES COOPERATING

    In higher animals, especially among humans, the males are saving energy from bashing eachother in mating rivalry, but rather cooperating to help another guy gather resources for mating opportunities.

    They’d cheer, seeing their budduy mate a female as a group success and also take males, who have become fathers, need of resources as a priority.

    This is feminismstic albbelled male homossocialism and very much true, since males, considering their merciless beginning standpoints.

    Human males will rather cooperate than fight and get killed for egg defense. Only forced by cultural evolution of male expectations, driven by females demands for resources, would they hurt eachother.

    And herein lies the cogniscient females appreciation of male love, homosexuality, knowing as males do not, that surrender and love will victor in anyn case.

    hampus

  24. hampus Says:

    PB

    I agree, my wordings are a bit harsh, but considering data, all true. I rather focus my discussion on common beliefs as outdated or else being less valuable, than instinctdrien perceptions of knowledge.

    There is a great value of female brains as memory vaults, since at the center of human society, they can harbor the harvests of males.

    And yes, in wording I strive to focus on males positive characteristics, but only as opponing the general view. As you say about the written word being misunderstood, I think it is only fair for males havingtheir sex encouraged, especially in a flickering voice in a blogg.

    However, about your comment on bad or good.

    Firts of all I’m not receptable to such valuations, only newtrer or older in evolutionary terms. Second, I do not commit myself to debate without careful selection of phrasing.

    All my admiration of you in spite, this wont happen, but if you’d wish me keep silence, then yes I will. All according to group benefit.

    Hampus

  25. hampus Says:

    Just finally, what if I were labelling them as liars? Firast of all femorethorics wishes to accept female lying:

    http://genusnytt.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/finn-fem-genusfel-i-tidningen/#comments

    are described.

    You misjudge my obejectivity when you presume me to word subjective opinions about female liars. Believe me, you can’t publish my cries for honesty and honor.

    In the sense of accepting female wishes to be acknowledged by society and not only males, how would you begin such a debate?

    Stating is one thing, valueing another and the conseequences thereof a third. You need to separate these before taking a discussion.

    This is my view, but I know I’m harddriven. If you express again outrightedly, then I will keep silence.

    Hmapus

  26. hampus Says:

    And where would you reckon critisms agianst females end? And with what boundaries? In my, harddriven beliefs, you are still a male victim in that sense.

    hampus

  27. hampus Says:

    ‘Male and female brains are similar in many ways, and also differ in substantial ways, however, there is no indication from research that one type of brain is better (overall) than the other type of brain.’

    Not better, but better at memorizising or at processing, there is. The value is then individually interpreded.

    Hampus

  28. hampus Says:

    aah, well, I give up!

    Still I have full confidence in you PB and all you other debators! You will reach quicker than I would have, I know, and thus I peacefully resign.

    hampus

  29. Paddan Says:

    “Males have to report truths to the flock as best they can, while complaining females only have to raise their voices in their complaints.

    To males, the way to power is only through thourough eaxamnition, to females, lies are fully acceptable in monopolizing resources.

    Therefore the natural sciences are a male succes, while the postmodernistic views are a female movement.”

    Hmm, this sounds just a tad overboard to me. We need to make generalized statements sometimes but I’m worried that this kind of retorich might obscure other important facts/perspectives. I mean, where does the upbringring or social conditioning come into play? Surely you can’t belive that the natural sciences have all the right answers?

    There are reasons to believe that males and females (on a group level) think differently, so far so good, but this also makes it harder for women to get into male dominated workplaces, such as the natural sciences. There are abundant evidence that suggests that men only employ other men. As well as there are indications that certain tests or exams that you take are constructed in such a way as to benefit the male way of thinking (this of course goes both ways).

    So society, in a sence, can be seen as structuraly gendered and not particularly fair. So my argument is, in a nutshell, nature and nurture. And you can’t really reduce everything to either or. (In some ways you can’t really tell where the difference is either).

  30. Bj0rnborg Says:

    “here are abundant evidence that suggests that men only employ other men. As well as there are indications that certain tests or exams that you take are constructed in such a way as to benefit the male way of thinking (this of course goes both ways).”

    Do not agree with either of these statements, but would be interested in the facts. Can you point me too it?

  31. hampus Says:

    Paddan:

    ‘Hmm, this sounds just a tad overboard to me. We need to make generalized statements sometimes but I’m worried that this kind of retorich might obscure other important facts/perspectives. I mean, where does the upbringring or social conditioning come into play? Surely you can’t belive that the natural sciences have all the right answers?’

    Yes, you’re right. I was generalizing, without modifying with going into degrees of sex differences or any discussion of exceptions. I should have and Billing has corrected me on this. I simply felt the need to express a thought without having to post an entire novel. I’m happy to answer questions that follow though.

    E.g. your point with upbringing. A good one. My answer is:

    1) Our social structure, yet not gender liberated, is based on every individuals experience of the very sex differences and thus our entire culture has spawned from our biology.

    The next question is then, will we be able to overcome unjust treatment, based on statistical presumptions? Well, of course we have a great capacity of learning, as we as humans have our brains as the main strategy for survival. And the solution may either be a neutral view upon the sexes or an open, loose acknowledgement of the differences, allowing both optimized harvest of each individuals potential and synergistic effects by brains complementing. Yet, though this is testing grounds for myself still:

    2) the discussion of social and genetic inheritence has been thourough and the conclusion today is, since ten years, that genetic factors are dominant by far.

    3) lately, even the free will of human beings have been probed, and results are yet only beginning to emerge, but point to the individual having almost no free will at all and that our experience of cognitively making desicions every day is an illusion.

    hampus

    Note: my other claims are as summarized as this one, i.e. about mental processing of info. I did not mention for instance that processes can be memorized.

  32. hampus Says:

    Paddan:

    I forgot to adress this.

    No, the natural sciences do not have all the answer and also not even the right ones at all times. But hitherto the best and almost (note well, almost) alone in succesfully bringing in knowledge.

    It is a success, but yet not complete. It is, as everything, a process.

    hampus

  33. Paddan Says:

    BjÖrnborg:

    I don’t have it all memorized and I don’t often bookmark interesting pages, sorry. But I will give you this link: http://mbb.harvard.edu/resources/pastnews2005.php

    It’s a debate between Steven Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke. They go over some of our topics, and I think it’s a pretty interesting debate. See what you make out of it. It’s been a while since I saw it, but I remember that it changed my mind about some things.

  34. Paddan Says:

    Hampus:

    Okay, I think I get where you’re coming from. Thanks for clarifying a bit.

    regarding nr 1: I think we see pretty much eye to eye here.

    regarding nr 2: true.

    regarding nr 3: this has to be one of the most confusing topics ever. I’ve never quite understood what “free will” is supposed to mean. What are we supposedly free from? We’re embedded in our culture and our biology. We’re not dangling outside of planet earth. So whatever free will we have, I too belive it’s pretty small. BUT, if we believe we don’t have any free will, I’m pretty sure people would be depressed, ego-driven assholes who blames everyone else. Change comes about faster if we act as if we have a lot of free will. Even if it is just “an illusion” (which I’m not 100% sure of).

  35. Paddan Says:

    “No, the natural sciences do not have all the answer and also not even the right ones at all times. But hitherto the best and almost (note well, almost) alone in succesfully bringing in knowledge.”

    Sure, but the genes and the rocks don’t talk back. That makes it “easier” than the other sciences. ;-)

    But we’re not fully embodied human beings without taking more perspectives into account.

  36. hampus Says:

    I get what you’re reffering to with:

    ‘But we’re not fully embodied human beings without taking more perspectives into account.’

    But picture this: is it reasonable to transfer your perspective upon another human being without diligent research? I would say no.

    Further, I am well familiar with the anxieties that arise when scince cannot comment on current and individual beliefs, but to assume that science has neglected such perspectives is wrong. In contrary, although debated, the natural sciences most consiously than all consider subjective beliefs, since they need top be excluded.

    Your last paragraph:

    ‘But we’re not fully embodied human beings without taking more perspectives into account’

    puzzles me. Please evolve further if you wish comments. To me it sounds as a klichée only, regrettably.

    I do not understand fully your statement about rocks and genes either… would you care to elaborate? (I’m not interested in hearing arguments about actual rocks being classified, I would like to hear your take on contempory science most notably in gender associated issues).

    hampus

  37. hampus Says:

    Paddan:

    ‘regarding nr 3: this has to be one of the most confusing topics ever.’

    Yes! It is so exciting! Love to share your individually based reaction on this, although contrary to my beliefs. It is mind.boggling!

    hampus- enjoying talking to Paddan

  38. hampus Says:

    Sorry, Paddan, I read poorly. We actually share a disbelieving fascination of the ‘no free will thing’.

    hampus

  39. Paddan Says:

    Love the debate as well Hampus!

    Check out the debate between Pinker and Spelke you as well, if you wish. My view is somewhere between those two. I don’t have the time or energy to delve into my views right now. About the stones and my take on comtemporary science… it’s a bit much. I’d have to open up my postmodern briefcase of long… long arguments. :-p

    regarding nr 3: yes it is mind boggling. I have no idea how anyone can actually have a firm opinion regarding this. It always circles round in my tiny head.

  40. hampus Says:

    I’m sorry Paddan, I would have loved to share the links you gave me, but my browser wouldn’t let them be loaded. Computerwise, I’m a memorizing, not understanding type of brain, so I’ll try again later…

    hampus

  41. hampus Says:

    ‘About the stones and my take on comtemporary science… it’s a bit much. I’d have to open up my postmodern briefcase of long… long arguments. :-p’

    So you’re a post modernist? *shudder* My mortal enemy! :P

    I understand your take, until a final answer has been delivered, it is almost always impossible to regenerate all your reasoning behind a opinion.

    hugs

    hampus

  42. Paddan Says:

    “So you’re a post modernist? *shudder* My mortal enemy!”

    hehe, well let’s just say that I truly believe that there’s been some healthy skepticism against biological deterministic explanations, by postmodernists/feminists. The subject (scientist) who makes the hypothesis, and carries out the experiment, is a big part of the picture. Sometimes more so and sometimes less. I’ve been well trained in the postmodern school of thought for a long time now, so I might be a bit damaged! :-p

    Having said all this, extreme postmodernism is a dead-end. And I’m trying to move on!

  43. Paddan Says:

    By the way, one of my buddies informed me of this “new” research http://www.ergo-log.com/agrdom.html

    It states that while there is a clear link between testosterone and aggression, it’s not 100% true in ALL cases.

    It looks like the men who was dominant, got more aggressive when testosterone levels went up. But the men who were the “nice guys” didn’t get more aggressive. This is a perfect example of why we should be carefull about what science tells us. (Note, I’m not saying that all science therefore is bad, or wrong) We form a hypothesis, we try it out, reach some conclusions that sounds “right”.. we try it over and over again, but still, we might have missed something.

    So let’s just let our minds run free for a second (and please feel free to swing back at me). Let’s say that it’s the individuals personality that determines how the testosterone will effect him/her. And perhaps, the environment! (This is clearly an anti-reductionistic postmodern comment.)

    Well this means that maybe we can raise our young boys to be more caring and less dominant, it might not be the testosterone that makes them dominant.

    I know I know, there may be other factors that are involved on a biology level (perhaps testosterone “makes” males more aggressive, but then social conditioning “overrides” this or molds it) and I’m deliberately playing fast here. I wouldn’t exactly know how to test my own hypothesis. And this is where I loose my mind with a lot of the postmodernists/feminists today. They make up their own theory about why things are the way they are, based on the “fact” that reality is a social construction. (My guess is that this is what you, Hampus, hate about postmodernism).

  44. Pelle Billing Says:

    Paddan,

    As far as I understand the research about testosterone, the current knowledge is something along these lines:

    Men have a lot more testosterone than women (40 to 60 times more), and not only on a group level. Virtually every man has a lot more testosterone than every woman, regardless of upbringing and cultural surroundings.

    However, the environment can play a part in the smaller fluctuations of testosterone in a certain man, or between men. If two men compete, the winner gets a boost in testosterone and the looser a decrease – at least temporarily. Social dominance may also affect testosterone levels.

    So it seems to me that having a male level of testosterone is determined by biology, but the “intra-male” fluctuations may be significantly impacted by the environment.

    I will do an entire post or two about testosterone in the future :)

    Pelle

  45. Paddan Says:

    Great Pelle! Looking forward to that.

    But isn’t it interesting, in this specific research (and if it’s true), that the “nice guys” were not more aggressive when testosterone levels were higher?

    “In fact, in these men it was a decrease in testosterone level that made them aggressive. ”

    That’s news to me at least, boggles my mind a bit I must confess. Perhaps they’ve got some psychological issues (a la Freud… haha).
    And it’s stuff like this that encourages me to put on my “skeptical-goggles”. :-) There are always a lot of presumptions made, by the scientists, that may have to be questioned further. There is no solid ground to stand on here, but we take things for granted just to get started, which is fine. I’m just looking for the really really good scientists who check their own values and biases first, before they conduct certain experiments. A lot of scientists claim they do, but in my opinion, they’re not self-reflexive enough. We needn’t use the postmodernist language of discoure, deconstruction and all of that. But it’s always healthy to question our own definitions (of the words we use), our thoughts etc.

    But other than that, I agree with your views! :-)

  46. hampus Says:

    Paddan:

    About your report on testosterone: it’s got nothing to do with science failing, but with human expectations, both in interpreting data and seek these out.

    Yes, scince is to be regarded as carefully as any opinion any human ever states, however, science invites you to do so, which is a significant difference.

    As you say, we need always to question further, but in the meantime, politics are left behind, constantly wondering.

    I have no solution on this to suggest.

    hampus

  47. Pelle Billing Says:

    Paddan,

    I don’t think we can say that testosterone and aggression are directly linked. Human beings are way to complex for one hormone to explain an entire emotion.

    From what I’ve read you get an increase in aggression if testosterone is doubled, or preferably quadrupled, in men. But those kinds of increases rarely happen under natural circumstances. Similarly if testosterone levels plummet below 20% of normal levels, aggression decreases.

    So there is no clear connection between small testosterone variations in men, and aggression levels in men. However, there is a connection between men having a vastly higher testosterone level than women, and men being more aggressive than women. But even then “aggression” may not be a good word, because testosterone simply represents a force which may express itself as aggression but it can also be expressed in a much more positive way.

  48. Paddan Says:

    Hampus:

    I guess you could state it that way. It’s the humans that faulter. And interpreting the data is tricky business.

    Pelle:

    I agree that “aggression” is too simple. It depends on how you define it. And this goes back to what I said before, what words/interpretations we (or the scientist) use.
    Really looking forward to more posts from you Pelle! ;-)

  49. Bj0rnborg Says:

    Paddan:

    Sorry, didnt get the link to work.

  50. Pelle Billing Says:

    Really? I just tested the link and it works fine for me.

  51. Introduktion under arbete « den.tredje.vägen Says:

    [...] är en översättning av “The third Choice”, myntat i en diskussion mellan Pelle Billing och mig, som kort handlar om en väg för män att närma sig jämställdhetsarbetet utan att ta på sig [...]

  52. Deva Ariza Says:

    Pelle,

    Where are you getting your “facts” from? The “Mother Goddess” cultures predate agriculture according to every source I’ve ever seen. In fact, it would appear that with agriculture (which was invented by women) we witness the rise of male Gods and the rise of patriarchy.

    You show me your sources and I’ll show you mine… but please try to be intellectually honest. I’m happy to see you thinking about all this and sad to see you simplify it into tidy factually incorrect boxes.


Google