“Protecting and ensuring safety of women pretty much determined survival of our species as a whole”

Do you agree with this comment on Bhagwad Jal Park’s blog? I am sharing and responding to some parts below.

“… here is an alternate take at history of the genders. …

Very early on, protecting and ensuring safety of women pretty much determined survival of our species as a whole as they were the bottle neck in reproduction. i.e. with all the men dead only 1 could repopulate the next generation, while with all but one women dead, the herd/group/clan was as good as dead…

This meant keeping women out of any and all potential danger was the values and genes that got passed down.

Women had to be groomed in a fashion that self-preservation came first even in the deepest crisis. They had to prevent themselves from going out in the wild to fight animals to save their loved man because the risk of having a female killed was too high.


IHM: //protecting and ensuring safety of women… the risk of having a female killed was too high.//

 

Ensuring women’s safety?

1. Baby girls were (still are) killed; older girl children were under nourished, widows were burnt alive, honor killed, women’s health and nutrition was neglected.

 

2. //They had to prevent themselves from going out in the wild to fight animals//

Also women were traditionally seen as producers of male heirs; and care givers for their spouse’s families. This influenced how far and for how long they were allowed to go from their mayaka or sasural (They were expected to go from one to another in Doli and come out in Arthi). Most public spaces were socially reserved for men. Women risked beatings, kidnapping, rapes and honor killing if they stepped into spaces reserved for men. 

 

3. //self-preservation came first even in the deepest crisis//

But I am really not sure if women have stronger instincts of self preservation – I personally know of and have blogged about women fighting attackers in their homes to protect their children and families.

Similarly, men had to be groomed in a fashion where disposability of their own life for the herd/group/female meant honour and pride.

To this date we see these values and very little has changed about them over the past few decades…

IHM: True, very little has changed. Unmana blogged about how Indian Air Force seems to think ‘Pregnancy makes women pilots cost-inefficient’.

Up till the industrial revolution, working on most “jobs” needed you to either be out in the sun (farming, digging, building, land trading, warring etc) or in extreme conditions (smithing, sailing, masonry etc etc). The ones I left out which could hold both men and women had both in some proportion (science, arts) but the status quo was set by the vast majority of other jobs and our early ideologies and values as a species. Old habits die really hard. (another example would be altruism, having each others backs and treating the whole clan as one family was very essential for survival back in the day, now it has given rise to nations, religions etc etc, you see how it works I guess)

In a relationship (marriage), birthing and nursing a child (which were many as our species needed to grow to outnumber other species and ensure prosperity) without much medical advances meant most women had to remain indoors, which translated to taking care of indoor work.

Nice little division of labour IMHO, nothing to be ashamed of. Maintaining the house and taking care of next generation are massive responsibilities on their own.
Nowadays we are trained to see them as unwanted jobs, burdens even otherwise how would you sell the idea of oppression??

IHM: I would not call it ‘a nice little division of labour’.

Women did labour in the fields (which they did not own) and at home (which they could be kicked out of) and brought forth a much needed new generation (who didn’t bear their names, link) and took care of their spouse’s family and household (which made them paraya dhan in their birth families).

In patriarchal societies marriage relocated women and took away their inheritance [link], freedoms and choices.  Women could be forced to marry and stay married to anybody; sex and children outside marriage could get women killed.

The reason why the work women do is not seen as work is because, not only does it come for free (in fact it comes with dowry) it generally does not empower the worker [link] the way paid labour does. Quitting or seeking another job, until recently, was not seen as an option.

Guess which gender was out there dying fighting, dying etc in an attempt to “protect” the other gender all that while? The oppressors, men!
If one gender is truly oppressed/ slaved, do you think anyone would give two shits about marrying, providing etc? It would make more sense to just buy and sell them without the pretext of marriage (blacks, slavery, remember??)

Could you imagine an average slave owner, leaving his/her seat on a life boat for their slave to live on?

Yet we are given the kool-aid of slavery-ish oppression… Makes perfect sense…

IHM: Here are some comparisons between slavery and patriarchy: not allowed to choose who to live with, marry or have sex with, can be killed/severely punished for disobedience, labour that provides no self reliance, may not have the right to decide when to have children, maybe blamed and tortured or killed for not giving birth or for bearing girl children and then no control on the lives of those children, no rights on own earnings, none or lesser inheritance but carries he weight of community’s honor etc.

Did this system of so-called patriarchy come into being because men wanted to oppress women, or did it arise out of the need of a functioning society and survival of our species?? You be the judge!

IHM: It’s not men versus women. Traditional patriarchal societies empower a few to control the lives of others. Did  widow burning benefit the sons and fathers of the widows who were burnt alive?  And does dowry empower fathers and brothers of daughters?

Fast forward to post industrial revolution era, now we have abundance of offices and jobs which are “safe enough” for women. Medical advances enable them finally to be able to do things that men had to do, either by choice or by peer pressure.
And when this time has come to pass, all of the past is painted in this black and white picture of “patriarchy”…

But how is this model working/selling so well if there is little truth to it? Because of the same old habits which die hard, men always have been taught to keep women and children first from a very early age, to protect and provide for them and women have been taught to be self-preservative even at the cost of shutting a blind eye to other’s lives being at stake.

IHM: Frequently the work that women do in their homes (or outside) is not acknowledged. This is one of the biggest reasons why everybody should be able to choose what they do, protect, provide, serve, sacrifice or whatever.

When women’s self preservation doesn’t necessarily need a man to be around, the ones which are potential threats started to seem bigger and bigger. Threats have to be neutralized and here we have, as a consequence feminism.

IHM: “Feminism does not want women to have power over men but over themselves. – Mary Wollstonecraft”

We still have the male defining his self worth based on his usefulness to the herd (family) and the female(wife/partner etc) and the self-preserving female using victimhood to eradicate all potential threats.

IHM: Patriarchy does not empower all men, nor does it completely control all women; patriarchy (in India) basically empowers the parents of budhape ka sahara.

Those controlled by Patriarchy include, the much valued sons, sons of abused women, the fathers of paraya dhan and the younger men.

The original comment on Bhagwad Jal Park’s blog can be read here…’here is an alternate take at history of the genders’

52 thoughts on ““Protecting and ensuring safety of women pretty much determined survival of our species as a whole”

  1. This is quite a skewed view of reality to me.

    1) “Similarly, men had to be groomed in a fashion where disposability of their own life for the herd/group/female meant honour and pride.”

    Traditionally in Asian culture, ‘honour’ is attached to controlling the sexuality of ‘your’ women. Honour killings are happening today in our own country where men, the father and brothers of a woman, feel that killing their daughter/sister is honourable if she tries to take control of her own sexuality.

    Considering women and girls are actively being aborted and killed in India and China, this romantic argument of men giving themselves up for women seems far fetched.

    2) It’s only division of labour when all parties voluntarily accept their bit of labour. Not when a group is forced into doing only a particular type of work, whether or not they like it. By this logic, the dalit system and black slavery were both just ‘division of labour’.

    3) I disagree with the idea that housework is somehow purposely under-valued to ‘sell’ oppression. It is un-paid un-skilled work that can be done by anyone, not just women. The key point is choice. If a man or a woman chooses to stay home, then great. However if one is denied education or employment or made to stay at home by their in-laws, then it is oppressive.

    When this person starts speaking of women wanting to ‘neutralise’ men through feminism, I think he is basically deluded and misogynistic. Women are just people like men, there is no great conspiracy of women wanting to kill off all men! Is it THAT hard to understand that women wanted a right to vote, to work and study, to equal pay, to an identity other than their husband, to NOT be raped or harassed with impunity? This person is reeking in privilege that he doesn’t even see.

    Basic freedom that he takes for granted as a man is still not accessible to women but he is blind to that.. cooking up a mass-conspiracy instead where men are all lovely and self-sacrificing and women want to kill them. How convenient.

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  2. “Guess which gender was out there dying fighting, dying etc in an attempt to “protect” the other gender all that while? The oppressors, men!

    If one gender is truly oppressed/ slaved, do you think anyone would give two shits about marrying, providing etc?”

    Freedom =/= being cared for. A slave can be well cared for as well–after all, you need a healthy one to do your bidding.

    The “dying fighting, dying” was done out of the basic idea that women are too weak to protect themselves. That women are too stupid, too mentally inefficient to go into combat and protect their own lives and those of the ones they love, when in fact they DID have the ability and have proved it time and time again. Even when they did, women were not allowed to fight. Not to mention, men were not protecting women so much as they were protecting their property. Harming women was not considered a violation of a human being, but the desecration of a father or a husband’s possession and honour. To give a comparison, raping a woman was the equivalent of burning someone’s house down. The repayment for both was to hand over cash (and marry the victim). This is not protection. This is oppression. This is abuse.

    When a person’s choice to do something with their life is taken away, that is oppression. When you diminish a human being’s natural right to do what they please, that is oppression. Even if you are “protecting” them. As a grown woman, if a man were to go out and fight battles for me when I have not given him permission, he has undermined my choices and made them irrelevant. THAT is oppression. I choose to deal with situations my way. When someone decides that that choice is not good enough, that they alone know better and must therefore cut off my right to decide how to deal with my life, THAT IS OPPRESSION. Whether or not this was a consciously malicious decision has no bearing on what has already occurred. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The excuse “they only did what they thought was best” will fly not here. Excuses do not take away the thousands of years of what has already happened and the damage that has been done. We know better TODAY that what happened yesterday was oppression, and feminism is the fight to correct that wrong, to give women the agency they have been denied.

    Also, if it’s “protection” that men have been doing, then they’ve done a pretty bad job of it. Women account for 1/3 of the world’s poor. They are the overwhelming majority when it comes to undernourishment and health issues. They go unprovided for, when the men in their family are given benefits. Is this “protection”?

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    • “Also, if it’s “protection” that men have been doing, then they’ve done a pretty bad job of it.”

      Indeed. Let’s not forget about sati and about witch hunts past and present. What men in patriarchy actually protect is their own line of progeny. This is why it is important to marry a virgin, to shame ‘slutty’ behaviour, to control women’s sexuality. It is to ensure a ‘pure’ line of progeny, so that the man can pass down his property and wealth. Women were vessels and even this commenter treats them as such, while thinking he is being benevolent. He seems baffled that they have their own thoughts and don’t like being ‘protected’ as vessels!

      Indian society is still more interested in ‘protecting’ the hymen than protecting the woman.

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      • Loved your comments A and Carvaka. Why do most of the people refuse to see logic in something so apparent is beyond me.

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  3. Agree to IHM’s points.
    “women have been taught to be self-preservative even at the cost of shutting a blind eye to other’s lives being at stake” –
    I think women have been taught to be ‘preserve their honor’ even at the cost of shutting a blind eye to ‘her own life’. If women’s lives were seen to be so important why were honor killing, dowry killing, sati, killing for producing girl babies, female infanticide, domestic violence etc.. promoted in patriarchic society ? Even in old times/patriarchic societies women did work in fields (not paid – seen as just assisting husband) and as house maids (even if paid, no right on the wages earned) and at the same time household work and child care were their responsibilities. Even in olden times some royal women were taught to fight and they proved to be much more skilled warriors than some men.

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  4. There are several things to say about this. The most important one is that evolutionary arguments are AMORAL. That is, just because a certain behaviour was historically adaptive, it does not mean that that behaviour is good or even acceptable. For example, a male gorilla that takes over as leader in a flock, will often kill all the babies in the group. This makes sense from a evolutionary perspective because the females become pregnant again (by him !) faster when they no longer breastfeed. But nobody would suggest this would be a good way of behaving for a human male.

    Also, we are no longer stone-age hunter-gatherers. So even if something made sense for them, that is no argument that it makes sense today. Today, there is no risk that human population will collapse because of a lack of women to give birth to babies. Indeed overpopulation is a much bigger threat than underpopulation, and very few women get as many children as they’re physically capable of.

    So today, there’s no reason to give women special protection. And no reason to consider the loss of male life less important than the loss of female life. We should of course give *all* human beings protection from harm, to the best of our abilities, but that protection should be independent of gender.

    So many people say “It’s natural” and seems to think that if something is natural, then that thing is automatically *good*. But nothing could be further from the truth. Cancer is natural. Dying from easily treatable diseases is natural. Having around 15% of all women die in pregnancy or childbirth is natural. Famine is natural.

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  5. We are all selfish beings. Man wants to control women so he can benefit and nowadays women have wised up a bit ( mostly because they have the financial freedom) or could be because patriarchy could no longer stop them from financial independence.
    Think about it — If i were a man who got married to whom i wanted and she stayed home and cooked me garam garam puri’s, bore my kids, raised them, took care of MY family and gave me total control over my earning, decision making on her and my kids life and agreed to be my general all purpose helper and worker and all i had to do was feed her 3 meals a day, buy some pretty baubles and provide a roof over her head. Why on earth would i object!!!!!!!!! especially when every other man is enjoying this…and I’m ridiculed if i step outside this paradigm !!!!

    All that BS about protecting women is just that BS, I’m protecting MY DNA, MY lineage, MY property , MY comfort and MY very easy fun Life….

    Now being equal is a big change from this above state, suddenly the women are earning, which mean they are no longer willing to be your happy slave, they want decision making on money, kids, and may want to support both parents equally, they may even heaven forbid want you to share in the cooking. of course the old patriarchy wont like it, of course they have to be bought kicking and screaming into this day and age. luckily for the next gen, they are witnessing the change and have seen their dad’s being shaken out of the happy state and so they grow up thinking equality is how it should be…IF they are raised seeing equality then they think thats the norm…

    hopefully going forward fairness sets in, but women have to also guard their freedom, they can still be loving and supportive and raise wonderful kids just like men can but we all have to remember our inherent selfishness is dormant and lies just below the surface.

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    • On some days I really wish I was a man, life is just so much easier for them. I would be an absolute catch in the Indian marriage market if the genders were reversed. I make good enough money to support spouse and kids on a single income. If I was a man, the wife would be happy to relocate to be with me and move whenever I get a new and better job. I could focus all my energy on building my career, working 12-14 hours a day with zero guilt. Happy, well behaved kids would come out of “nowhere” to give me the perfect family life along with a high powered career. All I would have to do is share a home with a woman which she will take care of anyway. This is not a fantasy, but exactly the lifestyle of all my male co-workers who are at my level. Last year when I got a promotion and significant pay hike, first things my parents tell me they just wish I was a son then all my professional success will be so much more useful in life. Oh well here is patriarchy, deep entrenched in our minds, even if I hate it and fight against it every day I wouldn’t mind one bit if I was a man instead.

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      • Gosh.. this is more a hate rant than anything else😀

        What you say is an oversimplification of the arranged marriage scene since it appears you are at the top of the financial pyramid. In the arranged marriage scene, if you were a guy, you’ll cheaply be compared with other men about salary and benefits you can offer to the woman. I have been rejected 5 times by girls during the get-to-know-family/courtship period because they felt they could find a groom who makes more money, even though I work at one of the largest software corporations in the world (not a desi IT corporation FYI). I’m just not the IIT/IIM grad that people are looking for, apparently.

        My comment is totally useless, but so is yours😛

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        • ” I have been rejected 5 times by girls during the get-to-know-family/courtship period because they felt they could find a groom who makes more money, even though I work at one of the largest software corporations in the world (not a desi IT corporation FYI).”

          DON’T YOU JUST HATE THIS? (Sorry for the caps). It’s so so frustrating! I’m watching my parents “find” someone for my sister, and anything under a Masters is out. How is this fair!? How can you judge human character based upon a college degree? How will this reflect upon the kindness, compassion and humanity of a person? How does having a six-figure salary and a high-paying job ensure that you are a person of stable mind and heart, someone who has the capacity to care for another human being? It’s such an idiotic system.

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        • No worries, I was just ranting too as I don’t have a “wife” to pick up my dry cleaning, wait for the plumber or cook me nice dinner (I cook on weekends and eat it all week long). My co-worker across the desk is eating amazing smelling poori/cholay lunch packed by his wife who he met and got married in 1 week trip to India.
          Guys I meet for potential marriage are concerned if I am ready to have 2 kids before I am 30 (I am 28 already). Most never reply back after they find out what I do or earn or have a weak spot for fine whiskey. And my Indian parents would throw a huge drama if they find out the guys I have actually clicked with. Patriarchy sucks for anyone who doesn’t fit the standard gender roles.

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        • @AnnonDiva, let out all your rants🙂 Each one has his own issues to rant about! Seriously though, I agree with you. I can see how the arranged marriage system is rigged against high-earning women. Nobody thinks of them as good life partners

          Btw, alcohol is an issue of contention for both grooms and brides, more so for brides of course.

          @A:
          I find it incredibly offensive and stupid. Last year, I was let down 2 months into a courtship period by a girl from my city of residence once her parents found her a better-educated boy (same level of education, just better college). There was no prior indication from the girl that she wasn’t happy with me. At that point, I was both happy and sad, but good riddance! She eventually went on to tell my parents that she thought she deserved a ‘better boy’, whatever that means. Dad was troubled for weeks after this incident. He felt bad all the time that he didn’t work harder to give me a better education.

          I don’t want to sound judgmental here, but one bride on the matrimony website had the following line “wanted US-Masters-educated earning handsome salary and well settled”. This girl was from my college, just scraped through BE, with 4 repeat exams (“arrears”). By the own faulty logic of arranged marriage, It beats me how people can demand the boy be so more successful than the girl.

          I don’t believe in looking at educational degrees for measuring compatibility as long as some minimum criteria are met (she should have a decent job and should contribute to the family income). I wonder what these people are looking for.

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  6. ANYthing can be justified any way! This comment shows this. Intellectual bullshit because there’s little else that will justify oppression and crime. By the way, if taking care of home and kids is such an important part of life, what stops men from stepping in?!

    Incensed, IHM. So keeping my comment really short!

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  7. Wah. From one extreme to another – here men are the victims! After all only men were out fighting and dying, while women were selfishly staying at home preserving their own lives.

    What comment’s author is not getting is that it does not matter whether the results are good or bad for women or the intent was for a functioning society or whatever, the point is that women did/do not have a say about what happened to them. It is like a monarchy vs. democracy – in a monarchy whether your king is good or bad is just luck of the draw, but in a democracy you have the power and control to choose your leader. It is about being empowered and being in control of your own life. Not that all men were empowered themselves but that in general men had the balance of power and women were treated like property.

    And if the idea was to protect women and ensure their safety surely it is a better idea to train women to become stronger and fight? Instead being protected by men actually made women more helpless and vulnerable. Like the other commenters I think this was/is more about controlling women’s sexuality to protect male lineage than about keeping women safe.

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  8. Wah. From one extreme to another – here men are the victims! After all only men were out fighting and dying, while women were selfishly staying at home preserving their own lives.

    What comment’s author is not getting is that it does not matter whether the results are good or bad for women or the intent was for a functioning society or whatever, the point is that women did/do not have a say about what happened to them. It is like a monarchy vs. democracy – in a monarchy whether your king is good or bad is just luck of the draw, but in a democracy you have the power and control to choose your leader. It is about being empowered and being in control of your own life. Not that all men were empowered themselves but that in general men had the balance of power and women were treated like property.

    And if the idea was to protect women and ensure their safety surely it is a better idea to train to become stronger and fight? Instead being protected by men actually made women more helpless and vulnerable. Like the other commenters I think this was/is more about controlling women’s sexuality to protect male lineage than about keeping women safe.

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  9. This person is just banking on one line of argument to justify oppression – “old habits die hard”….
    you know what – try harder!

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  10. “Guess which gender was out there dying fighting, dying etc in an attempt to “protect” the other gender all that while? The oppressors, men!”

    What about all the women who died in childbirth? Are they not considered sacrifices? Is only dying in a fight considered worthy? Women also died while trying to “protect” their clan for extinction.

    No matter what the historical caveman era reasons for patriarchy, the fact is that today, it has no place.

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    • “Guess which gender was out there dying fighting, dying etc in an attempt to “protect” the other gender all that while? The oppressors, men!”

      Were they not fighting with other men BTW???

      Also agree with you on childbirth!!

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      • No, actually it’s *TRUE* that our current culture is much more callous about the loss of male life than about the loss of female life. How often have you read “20 dead in SomeCountry, among them women and children.” ? They write that even if 15 of the 20 dead are adult males, because presumably those do not count.

        The same is true in work-life. Men hold the majority of dangerous civillian jobs too. I couldn’t find numbers for India, but in USA *13* men are killed on the job for every time *one* woman is killed on the job. That’s a huge difference. (and the difference remains huge even if you count only civillian jobs)

        But this is not a good thing. This is not a sign that sexism is okay. This is merely a sign of the fact that discrimination and inequality is not only bad for women, but indeed bad for *both* genders. We should not pat ourselves on the back and claim it’s okay that women are mistreated in some ways, because men are mistreated in other ways. Two wrongs does not add up to a right.

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        • A reason for these headlines ““20 dead in SomeCountry, among them women and children.” is that men are the norm. Therefore the mention of people who are distinctive or standout. It’s a side effect of how male pronouns are used to represent the humankind. Just like men seem to be invisible in these lines, women’s identity becomes erased when we address everyone with a he in an article or use words like manpower, mankind. Our prejudices are deeply embedded in our languages.

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    • Really? Childbirth? Do you realize that childbirth is a biological imperative imposed on the female? It is not a result of patriarchy that women died in childbirth.

      The fact that men died in wars is a result of patriarchy.

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      • You are right to a certain extent.
        But i dont agree fully, yes biologically women are the only ones who can have kids but in those days they did not have the access to say NO, they had kids irrespectice of wanted or not, no access to contraceptives and no decision making ability either. and there are women who have kids just because their in-laws and husband want it. I know of 3 women who absolutely did not want kids, had not a single maternal thought or bone in their body yet went on to have couple kids each to satisfy their husbands and in-laws so as to not be kicked out of the family ,, oh yeah their own families told them not to come back and just have kids and not behave weirdly. apparently it’s their duty … they realised late that they should have been self sufficient , however when your parents marry you off at 18 without providing you a chance at education it is difficult to be self sufficient.

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      • Abhishek, it may be a biological imperative for women to bear children, but it’s never been a biological imperative for women to die in childbirth. According to UNICEF, 535,000 women die in childbirth worldwide every year. So why do women still die in childbirth in the 21st Century?
        1. A significant majority of the women who died in childbirth were too young (45) for childbirth. Do you think that they would have gone ahead if the decision to give birth was in their hands? So what do you think is the reason they ended up dying in childbirth?
        2. Most of the women who died in childbirth were uneducated. This meant that they had no knowledge of proper healthcare practices during pregnancy, spacing between births, control of their own sexuality, reproductive health etc. According to World Bank, for every additional year of education per 1000 women, 2 women can be saved from dying during childbirth. Why do you think that their education is not given the priority is deserves?
        It is not just patriarchy, however. Poverty, lack of adequate access to quality health care and an apathetic government all play a part.

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  11. This is such a distorted view of our evolution. Women were not protected due to any ‘instinct to preserve the species’. Historically, in every culture, women were controlled by men because they were physically weaker. Women were not ‘protected’ – they labored in the fields, with babies on their backs, carried loads, etc. just as they continue to do among today’s oppressed communities.

    There are 2 kinds of oppression – the hostile kind and the benevolent kind – the latter is equally damaging. The latter leads to statements like the ones above “Nice little division of labour IMHO, nothing to be ashamed of.” I laughed out loud when I read this. If there is nothing to be ashamed of, why do so few men opt for it?

    This whole ‘protection’ argument is so tiresome. We’ve heard it numerous times in history – when white people ‘protected’ slaves, when kings ‘protected’ their subjects, when rich landlords ‘protected’ starving farmers, when our British overlords ‘protected’ us Indians from other invaders …. thanks, but no thanks …. I think women (and every other oppressed class) is better off without this ‘protection’.

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  12. IHM, I am amazed at your patience and good manners in face of such epic stupidity. Your answers are spot on and logical.

    But jerks always come back with silly selective retorts.

    This kind of half baked evolutionary explanation for society’s harami pan towards women wants me to throw up.

    Evolution is not ‘single’ process that ends in caveman times. It is an ongoing process !!! Even a birth control pill is as much part of evolution as a pubic hair.

    Humans were supposed to mate like animals. Humans were supposed to die of plagues. Humans were supposed to be largely eaten by wild animals. LONG TIME AGO!!

    Evolution means species evolve to make the best of their habitat for themselves. Every single organism on earth does it and so have humans.

    So what you think happened 10000000 years ago can’t be quoted for what is happening right now ( Men are hardwired to rape, so rapes will happen!!). If you want to stay like that then please do not take any medicine, or use public transport, or have sex indoors or do a job or wear clothes or watch movies or or orororororooror…

    Don’t be selective. That is hypocritical.

    Most of the people who want to justify locking women indoors, raping children, paying women less, saying motherhood is the best for all women or saying women can’t read maps quote some stupid evolutionary illogic that makes the Dinosauress in me want to chomp chomp chomp a la Jurassic age…

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    • Love it and totally agree. These pseudo-scientific arguments are the worst because the people who make them don’t even understand the science.

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  13. I just read my comment and realized it might seem that I am refering to IHM as ‘you’ or being sarky. So correction, I am refering to the jerks who spout the nonsense IHM has replied to as ‘you’.
    And I am not being sarcastic at IHM’s ability to be rational and non-sarky in her replies. I think her level headed tone makes people understand issues much better.

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  14. I think the person who wrote this comment needs to realise that what worked when people were living in caves, no longer works.
    Plus, he needs to read up thoroughly about what is feminism and, what are its origins, befor etalking about it.

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  15. IHM, I came to see if you have blogged about reduction in marriageable age for Muslim girls, not able to find. You need to talk about it, this means no college education, keeping women and hence the community backward.

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  16. Looks like feminism collided with facts here. This is the real truth. Women are the only “oppressed” group that ever got their “oppressors” to work in the fields for them.

    It is not just intuitive, but obvious. A man can father literally countless offspring. A woman cannot. Evolution wise, the life of a female is much more precious than that of a male. Evolution does not care about your feelings. Evolution is only interested in the propagation of the species.

    Patriarchy evolved as a natural way to keep the lives of women safe. If this means women end up bored in the cave, so be it. Let the men have all the fun hunting fierce wild animals with bare hands.

    It is only with modern civilization that this changed. The average man no longer has to hunt in order to live. But even today, the worst jobs still go to men. In India, it is ILLEGAL for women to work in mines. I never saw a feminist protest that. The only thing feminists count is how many female CEOs are there. How many feminists are outraged that men are having to run rescue missions in Uttarakhand?

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    • Please read the responses to the post, you are repeating what’s said in the comment being discussed.

      And, let me repeat, if patriarchy meant to keep women alive in larger numbers it seems to have failed in India.

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      • The responses you gave are extremely weak and reflect a very poor understanding of what was said. It doesn’t matter if patriarchy meant to keep women alive. The success of evolution is the propagation of the species…the bigger the population, the more evolution succeeded.

        And in keeping the human race alive, don’t you think Indians have done an exceptionally good job? There are 1.2 billion of us now.

        Do you know that 1 in 200 people alive today is a descendant of Genghis Khan? That’s one guy! Think about what that means, the massive vast majority of men had their genetic lines wiped out by history. But that didn’t happen to women! Over 80% of women who have ever lived in history have a genetic descendant alive today. Men are expendable. Yes, patriarchy protects women. No, there was no grand worldwide conspiracy to oppress women. It was an evolutionary imperative that took us from living in caves to the moon landing.

        All you need to flush out feminism is a little bit of science.

        Now in the light of modern civilization, the world is not the dangerous place it used to be 100,000 years ago. Back then, it was a good evolutionary bargain to let women sit in the cave and put the men at daily risk of dying. Today, making women sit at home is a waste of precious human resource. Which is why no civilized person today is opposed to equal rights for women. But, no, not for a minute will I stand by and digest the lie that women have been “oppressed”. No, they haven’t.

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        • Look at India’s sex ratio and then please tell me again how our patriarchy is protecting women. I don’t think you read the previous responses to this flawed logic at all. Evolution is not just something that happened long ago in caves.. it’s happening today right now. With reproductive control (the pill!) and financial control (hard fought employment rights), women are making their own choices.. that is feminism. It doesn’t matter if patriarchy was the right solution at some point, if something else is better for survival now, this will change… as it is.

          I am a scientist, a biologist in fact, and let me assure you that the peers around me are all for equality, feminism and atheism. It takes science to flush out bigotry and ignorance. I understand evolution and genetics and none of that provides a reason to deny inequality or justify it. The stronger group oppresses the weaker group, this is natural, when all available jobs were physical, men had a financial advantage and they used it to their own means. I don’t understand the need to dress this as ‘protecting women’.

          “But, no, not for a minute will I stand by and digest the lie that women have been “oppressed”.”

          How many cases do you know in India of boys who are killed as soon as they are born, only because they are born male? Killed by their own parents?

          How many men do you know who were burnt alive on their wives’ funeral pyres?

          How many men do you know who were killed by their own family for having been raped by someone?

          How many men do you know who were killed because they produced a female child?

          How many men do you know who have to stay in ghunghat, sit on the floor while their in-laws sit on chairs, who are not allowed to speak in the presence of others.. even to their own spouse?

          Do you any? Does this tell you something? There is something systematic happening here. It is not to protect women, it is to protect men’s progeny and lineage by keeping women in control. This is not merely women getting bored at home. It really takes a lot of blind privilege to deny sexism or female oppression when you are Indian… where this is still a daily reality of life.

          If this worked for survival at some point, evolution would have favoured it.. BUT evolved traits are not automatically good or moral. And again, evolved traits also change all the time as the environment changes. The environment around bigots is changing quite fast, whether they like it or not.

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        • “The stronger group oppresses the weaker group, this is natural, when all available jobs were physical, men had a financial advantage ”

          Oh and to clarify, I mean relative strengths in the environment. In an environment where the most well paying jobs involve sitting at a desk, physical strength is not a relative strength at all.

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        • Abhishek, there are people who claim that they cannot digest the “lie of evolution”. Those views do not make much difference because evolution goes on regardless. Similarly, the fact that you cannot digest the “lie about oppression of women” is neither here nor there because oppression of women continues regardless.

          I’m glad to hear that you are not opposed to equal rights for women. But you contradict yourself in your next statement because why would you need to make an explicit statement supporting equal rights for women unless they didn’t have those rights?

          Even accepting that your argument about women being more prone to propagation than men is true, it would explain why women were kept out of harm’s way from dangerous jobs. But it does not explain why most women were denied inheritances, denied education, denied property, denied the right to choose their spouses, denied any kind of decision making power in fact. Women were not considered precious. Women were considered inferior to men and therefore they were not considered worthy of the same rights as men. It was not evolution…it was human behavior and yes, it was blatant oppression which continues (thankfully in a much lesser degree) to this day. Patriarchy does not protect women…patriarchy is contemptuous of women (under the guise of protection).

          Women staying in caves was not an evolutionary bargain…it was a cultural imperative. It differed between different cultures. There were some tribes where women also hunted. There is also the fact that men were physically more suited for hunting than women. Also women in those societies were involved in child rearing. Hunting would have interfered with their child rearing and would not have been preferable. In addition hunting was an activity where the success rate was usually low. Having women do the gathering and men do the hunting may have been to decrease the risk of returning home empty handed without food and also played up to their respective strengths. There could be tons of reasons. My point is we cannot simply apply evolution as a blanket reason for human behavior and try to use it to justify human biases.

          I don’t know whether feminism can be flushed out by science…however, I know it cannot be flushed out by bad science.

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    • women are fighting and begging the armed forces to be allowed to operate as fighter pilots.. to no avail. Women in a certain state fought to be awarded the licence to be a coolie in some railway station, just because it’s not reported doesnt mean it’s not being fought over.

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    • How can you claim that patriarchy was supposed to keep women safe? Bride-burning, rape culture, child-marriage, multiple marriage, sex-selective abortion- every patriarchal custom seems to be made for CONTROLLING woman, and these customs do nothing to protect women, as far as I can see.

      Lots of women work in construction sites, agricultural fields, factories, armies, as cab drivers, firefighters etc, maybe not in India, but in all other advanced countries. And please don’t say ‘men are having to run rescue missions’…..because it’s a job they are doing out of their free will. It becomes a burden only when you HAVE to do it against your will, under somebody else’s control.

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    • Abhishek, your logic, not to mention your so-called ‘facts’, are all over the place🙂.

      First misconception : It’s not that women just stayed at home and ‘got’ the men to work in the fields. It’s a convenient explanation, but the reality was different. Women had to work both at home and in the fields (especially during harvest time), but only men got paid for their work.

      Second misconception: Your statement about “evolution-wise, women were more precious” does not make any scientific sense. If that was true, shouldn’t women have evolved to be either physically stronger than men or outnumber men significantly so that they would be less vulnerable and more prone to propagation? Given that there were more or less equal number of men & women and women were more fragile than men, we can safely say evolution has nothing to do with patriarchy.

      Third misconception : Your technique of using a pre-historic society to justify patriarchy as a natural phenomenon is disingenuous to say the least. The fact that men had to hunt (as a consequence of their stronger physique) and women had to stay back may have made sense in their society, but it was still an artificial arrangement, not natural. For e.g: In the Aeta tribe in the Phillipines, 85% of women hunt with a 31% better success rate. Nature has nothing do with it. The mindset of the people is what matters. Patriarchy is not a natural phenomenon. It is entirely man-made. Also what happened in pre-historic times cannot be used to justify deep-rooted and widespread discrimination against women today.

      Final misconception : You must be joking, right? On the one hand, you claim with full authority that women were selected by evolution to do only safe jobs and on the other hand, you complain that it is because of feminists that men are stuck doing dangerous jobs. Make up your mind, man. Also, we cannot deny opportunities to women on the one hand and then complain that only men are doing those jobs. In countries where women have been given those opportunities, they have ended up doing dangerous jobs as well. In the US, there has been an increase in the number of female police officers, female firefighters, female soldiers, female miners etc. There is still a long way to go…but these opportunities have opened up for women just a few decades back even in the west. Given enough time and opportunities, there will be a significant number of women who will take up enough dangerous jobs to make you happy🙂

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      • Excellently put Satish.

        ” Nature has nothing do with it. ”

        In many species it’s actually the female that hunts, the man only fights off other men to protect his progeny and keep his place in the family (not to protect the female, the other male doesn’t pose a threat to females). There is no biological basis to say that females need ‘protection’ or that this protection needs to come from males. Elephants live in matriarchal herds and other women support the ones birthing etc.

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        • Thanks Carvaka. There have been lot of people who’ve tried to hijack evolution to deny racism, sexism or homophobic behavior. This seems to be just yet another instance of a person trying to use evolutionary psychology to justify human biases.

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  17. Pingback: Is child murder their first crime or do they have a history of violence? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  18. Pingback: “Protecting and ensuring safety of women pretty much determined survival of our species as a whole” | indianfeministdotcom

  19. Do I understand that correctly, Indian men dare to justify patriarchy with “women must be protected” bullshit? That is quite ironic.

    I like to bring up India as an example whenever someone of European or US-American nationality tries that bullshit with me – there is no denying that girls and women are killed by men in large numbers in India. Or at least I thought so.

    The “males as protector” myth is one that is very obviously very false. The only thing we need men to protect us from is … other men.

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