Friday, June 22, 2012

This is the true alliance

R Baumeister: Culture is not about men against women.  Natural selection will preserve innate differences between men and women as long as the different traits are beneficial in different circumstances or for different tasks…. Women specialize in the narrow sphere of intimate relationships. The women’s sphere …. was organized on the basis of the kind of close, intimate, supportive one-on-one relationships that women favor.  Men specialize in the larger group. If you make a list of activities that are done in large groups, you are likely to have a list of things that men do and enjoy more than women: team sports, politics, large corporations, economic networks, and so forth. 

 It’s not that the men pushed the women down. Rather, it’s just that the women’s sphere remained about where it was, while the men’s sphere, with its big and shallow social networks, slowly benefited from the progress of culture.  Hence religion, literature, art, science, technology, military action, trade and economic marketplaces, political organization, medicine — these all mainly emerged from the men’s sphere. The women’s sphere did not produce such things, though it did other valuable things, like take care of the next generation so the species would continue to exist.   What seems to have worked best for cultures is to play off the men against each other, competing for respect and other rewards that end up distributed very unequally. Men have to prove themselves by producing things the society values. They have to prevail over rivals and enemies in cultural competitions.
Once upon a time, untold ages ago, men and women were peaceful partners in a hostile and dangerous world. A woman felt loved and respected because each day her mate went out and risked his life to provide for her. She didn’t expect him to be sensitive or nurturing. Good communication skills were not a part of his job description. As long as he was a good hunter and could find his way home, relationship skills were not required for a mate to be desirable. As providers, men felt loved and appreciated by women. While surviving was difficult, relationships were comparatively easy.
Men and women existed in different spheres. They depended on each other in order to survive. Food, sex, children, shelter, and security motivated them to work together because the fulfillment of these basic needs required specific roles and skills. Men assumed the role of provider and protector while women specialized in nurturing and homemaking.

previously posted on Tumblr Fifi~Feeling Is First

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