Interesting theory on how women have started to be viewed as the "weaker" sex.

DISCUSSION Submitted June 28, 2020, 3:40 p.m. by genderrcritthrowaway

I have bought "sex and punishment" by Eric Berkowitz a few months ago, and I remember a particular passage early in the book that was extremely interesting that I'm going to try to summarize as best as I can.

It basically says that It was not until the homo sapiens age that the link between pregnancy and sexual intercourse was figured out, humans probably didn't know how children were made before that and believed that babies magically appeared in the womb as women were constantly pregnant or lactating. And menstruation was seen as a magical and overwhelming event, as the only people who could bleed were hurt or were dying, and were in obvious distress. However, women could lose blood regularly without much discomfort. That must have been a really unexplainable event at some point.

However, when pregnancy through sexual intercourse was figured out, the magic completely disappeared. Once they knew how women could get pregnant through sex, men started to impose rules. It's believed the first restrictions appeared in the paleolithic period, in which it was prohibited to have intercourse as menstrual blood was seen as dirty and unclean. That escalated into, for example, Hebrew religion, in which a woman on her period would make everything she touched dirty, and needed to clean constantly.

Hope it can be interesting and wonder if anyone has more to offer.

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OmnibusTokenMinistry of Euphemisms HQ · June 28, 2020, 4:27 p.m. · 1 reply

Full disclosure that I haven’t read the book but I will just say that prehistoric cultures weren’t a monolith (just like modern ones aren’t) so we can’t make sweeping generalizations about them. Also, how can the author possibly know when Homo sapiens discovered how babies are made?

I’m not trying to crap on the post, OP, just putting it out there that the author is a lawyer and journalist, not a historian, archaeologist or anthropologist.

genderrcritthrowaway · June 28, 2020, 4:37 p.m.

Oh yes sure, I'm not taking his theory for complete truth, but it's an interesting take. Might contact him to know where he did the research to gain this particular info!

77SickOfItAll · June 28, 2020, 6:06 p.m.

Interesting. I could certainly believe that!

It does make me wonder. My parents did their ancestry recently, and my Mum’s came back with some ancestry from the Caucasus mountains where the Scythians came from. Scythian men and women were both warriors, they were all horse riding, weed smoking, tattooed badasses, and the women were known for being so fierce they are where the legend of the Amazons came from. I’m sure women were of course more vulnerable to attack from outside groups, but I wish it could be that way now. For us just to be considered and treated equally, despite our physical differences. Women are strong when you don’t condition them to be weak for generation after generation.

Shinjin_Nana · June 28, 2020, 6:13 p.m. · 1 reply

My .02:

There's a connection between the development of agriculture and animal husbandry from hunter gatherers and the subjugation of women.

In the beginning women brought home most of the calories via hunting small animals and gathering food from nature. These were intelligence and cooperative tasks that women excelled at. Men ceremonially hunted larger animals as strength displays, but this counted for less than 20% of the calories and was not reliable as gathering. The mindset included fertility goddess and at least a balance between female and male as divine.

Once agriculture developed, men became primary calorie generators as the plow and handling livestock were strength based tasks. Once men got it into their minds that they 'seeded' the earth as they seeded women, who were now seen as property as the fallow land, men wrangled both into submission it was game over. Suddenly all gods were male and kings and land became property and wealth hoarded. Case in point the shortening and weakening of the myth of Ishtar as the Sumerian civilization solidified.

There is definitely a connection between men 'giving women babies' via their sperm tube, and an incomplete understanding of how babies are made that lead to women becoming the weaker sex.

genderrcritthrowaway · June 28, 2020, 6:23 p.m.

Definitely more than a few cents. Thank you, always willing to learn!

minty-coral · June 28, 2020, 9:57 p.m.

Who Cooked the Last Supper basically says the same thing (although I'm not sure which sources she cites, it would be interesting if it was the dude you mention).

I read in another article that patriarchy can also be viewed as men needing to control women so they can ensure it's their genes being passed on rather than another man's. So this would go right along with that theory as well.