Sc2220 Lecture 8 2009

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Lecture 8: Explanations for Patriarchy

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Sc2220 Lecture 8 2009

  1. 1. SC2220: Gender Studies: Explanations for Patriarchy Dr. Eric C. Thompson
  2. 2. Recall from Last Week…
  3. 3. Range of Matriarchy/Patriarchy All things being equal, we would expect a range of societies – from Highly Matriarchal to Highly Patriarchal. In fact, we find a range of societies from more-or-less Egalitarian to Highly Patriarchal. Societies That Do Not Exist Societies That Do Exist Egalitarian Very Matriarchal Very Patriarchal WHY?
  4. 4. Today’s Lecture… <ul><li>Explanations for Patriarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three Interrelated Conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Additional Explanations </li></ul>
  5. 5. Explanations for Patriarchy <ul><li>#1 Childcare & Investment in Offspring </li></ul><ul><li>#2 Sexual Exchange (Baumeister, et al.) </li></ul><ul><li>#3 Socioeconomic Conditions (Huber) </li></ul><ul><li>**All of these explanations are interrelated – none explains patriarchy by itself . </li></ul>
  6. 6. Condition of Patriarchy #1: Childcare and Investment in Offspring
  7. 7. Fact: Human Offspring Require Substantial Care, Feeding and Investment of Resources (Preferably by Adults)
  8. 8. Investment in Reproduction <ul><li>Women on average spend (much!) more time in the reproduction of children than men on average. </li></ul>Task Average Female Investment Average Male Investment Sexual Intercourse 2 min to 2 hours 2 min to 2 hours Pregnancy 9 months (1-2 mo. inhibited activity) Not applicable Lactation (breast feeding) & Childcare 0 months to 4 years Variable & Flexible Total Investment: (in minutes) 43,202 min. to 2,188,920 min./child 2 min to 120 min. /child
  9. 9. Of Mammals and Mommies <ul><li>Mammals are defined by “mammary glands” (for nourishment of infants) </li></ul><ul><li>In general, mammary glands are (much) more functional in females than males. </li></ul><ul><li>This creates a very strong tendency in favor of maternal parenting. </li></ul><ul><li>Many species of fish, frogs and other non-mammals show a strong tendency toward paternal parenting. </li></ul><ul><li>Our evolved biology, not a “law of nature”, creates a tendency toward maternal parenting. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Problem of Cuckoldry <ul><li>Cuckoldry = female sexual infidelity; a male who unwittingly raises another man’s children. </li></ul><ul><li>Women always know who their children are; men can never be sure (without DNA testing!) </li></ul><ul><li>How prevalent is Cuckoldry? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Studies in US and Britain: 5% to 30% of all children are products of cuckoldry. (Diamond 1992:85-87) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How to deal with Cuckoldry (for men)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Control women’s sexuality, enforce chastity & fidelity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invest in your sister’s children, not your own. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t invest time, energy, resources in children. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Implications and Consequences <ul><li>Under most conditions, women invest more time directly in raising children than men (possibly limiting their activity in other spheres, e.g. career building; food gathering). </li></ul><ul><li>Pregnant and lactating women are marginally structurally dependent on others. </li></ul><ul><li>Male inputs in parenting are more variable and flexible than women’s (giving them “bargaining power”). </li></ul><ul><li>There are strong evolutionary incentives – mammary glands - toward mothering. And somewhat weaker evolutionary incentives – cuckoldry – against fathering.* </li></ul>*Keep in mind, these disincentives to “fathering” have to be weighed against very strong general incentive toward parenting , in mammals, esp. humans.
  12. 12. Investment in Offspring by Itself Does Not Explain the Patriarchy!! <ul><li>In most mammals, females alone take care of offspring (little or no male involvement in “childcare”). Females are independent, not dominated by males . </li></ul><ul><li>Social animals show a wide variety of relative male or female social dominance. </li></ul><ul><li>So, what is special about humans?? . . . </li></ul>
  13. 13. Fact: Human Offspring Require Substantial Care, Feeding and Investment of Resources Who is going to do this?
  14. 14. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Mommy. Very good choice. But NEEDS HELP! </li></ul><ul><li>Family Dog. Not Recommended. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Grandma. Good, if not reproductive & still alive. </li></ul><ul><li>The Grandmother Hypothesis: Why we live so long. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Siblings. Ok but… Must be old enough to do childcare, but not yet having babies themselves. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Aunts, Uncles, Friends & Neighbors. Ok but… </li></ul><ul><li>Busy taking care of their own kids! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Non-reproducing females (or males). Example: Maids </li></ul><ul><li>Only possible in complex, hierarchical societies. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Daddy. Good, but . . . </li></ul><ul><li>How to overcome the disincentives to fathering? </li></ul><ul><li>How to get daddy to stick around and help out? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Condition of Patriarchy #2: Sexual Exchange
  21. 21. Oddities of Human Sexuality <ul><li>Hidden Ovulation (Lack of Estrus) (Diamond, Third Chimpanzee ) </li></ul><ul><li>Sex for social bonding, rather than reproduction (Diamond, Third Chimpanzee ) </li></ul><ul><li>Male initiators of sex; Asymmetry in sex drive (Baumeister, et al.) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Hidden Ovulation <ul><li>Almost all female mammals have an estrous cycle, which allow both females and males to know when a female is ovulating. </li></ul><ul><li>This allows for greater reproductive efficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>Humans have hidden ovulation (no estrus). </li></ul><ul><li>Neither males nor females know when a female is ovulating. </li></ul><ul><li>Humans have VERY poor reproductive efficiency! </li></ul>Baboon in Estrus
  23. 23. Sex for Social Bonding <ul><li>Sex is costly – time, energy, danger of getting caught (by predators or competitors; not mom and dad!). </li></ul><ul><li>Poor reproductive efficiency (lots and lots of sex, but relatively few offspring) does not make sense… unless something else is going on . </li></ul><ul><li>In humans, sexuality has evolved to be at least as much about social (pair) bonding as about reproduction.* </li></ul>*Not only in humans, this is true in other species as well, such as Bonobo Chimpanzees. (Compared to bonobos, human use of sex for social bonding is simple and primitive!)
  24. 24. Asymmetrical Sex Drive (Baumeister, Cantanese & Vohs, 2001) <ul><li>Sex Drive: Motivation to seek out and engage in sexual activity; Willingness to expend resources to achieve this goal. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note: Sex Drive is not the same as capacity for sex or enjoyment of sex; it is only motivation to seek sex. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All evidence indicates that Men have a higher Sex Drive (on average) than Women. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sex as a commodity (prostitution, pornography): Men are overwhelmingly the consumers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-reported sexual desire: On all kinds of measures, men report greater sexual desire than women. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnographic record: Men are almost always culturally expected to initiate sexual encounters. Exceptions are extremely rare. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. What are the consequences of Sex Drive Asymmetry? <ul><li>Sex is a “resource” that women can use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because of the higher sex drive in men, women can easily satisfy their desires (sexual access to males therefore has little or no “value”; it is “free”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual access to females is a “limited resource”; therefore it can be offered in exchange for something else (e.g. attention, food, affection, money, commitment/fidelity, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is a man to do? </li></ul>
  26. 26. Sexual Selection <ul><li>Both males and females influence the other through “sexual selection” </li></ul><ul><li>In most animals, this leads to evolution of sex-specific biological characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>In humans, it influences cultural beliefs and social interactions. </li></ul>Peacocks’ feathers make male peacocks beautiful to females. The most beautiful males are “selected for” (and pass on their genes – and beautiful feathers to the next generation.
  27. 27. Sexual Selection and Exchange in Humans <ul><li>“ Meat for Sex” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because sexual access to women is a limited resource men (if they want heterosexual sex) must compete for access. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because sexual access to women is “valuable” it can be exchanged for other resources. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Men are motivated (more than women) to acquire, produce or create resources to exchange (for sexual access to women). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Relationship to Infant Care: Women can use these resources to alleviate the (mammalian & human) burdens of childcare. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Love Conquers All (Just a reminder  ) <ul><li>In general, Human Beings have strong affective neurological bonds: Affect Hunger Trumps the Selfish Gene (Goldschmidt). Men and Women bond with each other, Parents bond with Children. We are biologically evolved such that our capacity for love (often, but not always) overcomes our inclination for selfishness . </li></ul><ul><li>But… Love is only one part of our human experience. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Adult Male Adult Female Infant Surplus Resources Sexual Gratification Surplus Resources Human Pair Bonding & Sexual Exchange System Be VERY Clear: This is only one part of human exchange, sexuality, and bonding systems. For example, Fathers very commonly give resources to children (in the absence of any relationship to the Mother). Men and Women very commonly exchange things other than sex for resources ( pure love does exist ; but, it to is only one small part of the human system).
  30. 30. Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Resources <ul><li>Intrinsic Resources (part of ones own body and being): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotions and affection (ability to satisfy the affect hunger of others) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual attractiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Labor power </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Extrinsic Resources (not part of one’s own body and being): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Material resources (meat, money, bling) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social/cultural capital (status, knowledge) </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Sexual Exchange & Patriarchy <ul><li>If Sexual Exchange Theory is valid, then… </li></ul><ul><li>In order to gain power, women are differentially more motivated to make themselves (sexually) attractive to men. </li></ul><ul><li>Men are differentially more motivated to acquire resources they can use to exchange for access to women (sexually). </li></ul><ul><li>Women have an initial advantage, in that their resource in this exchange is intrinsic; but… </li></ul><ul><li>Men’s extrinsic resources are more fungible (can be exchanged in more ways with more people) </li></ul>
  32. 32. Model of Individual Subjectivity/Objectivity Humans as Subjects and Objects Subjectivity Reflexive Cognition, Attitudes, Desires Objectivity Embodied Physical Presence People are both subjects and objects. As objects, we are embodied beings. In part, this is merely physical presence. But socially, and especially sexually, we are objects in relationship to the subjectivity of others. In complex economic arrangements, for example, our labor can be bought, sold, and utilized not only by ourselves but by others. In sexual relations, we are the embodied objects of others’ desires. “ Objectivity” (in this sense) is the quality of being an embodied physical presence. “ Subjectivity” is the quality of reflective cognition, attitudes and desires (which motivate activity and behaviors).
  33. 33. Sex Object, Success Object Same? Different? <ul><li>Sexual Exchange implies that Women are “Sex Objects” and Men are “Success Objects” </li></ul><ul><li>Similarities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The person becomes a “means to an end” (sexual gratification, emotional gratification, wealth/resource accumulation) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Embodied objectification (sex object) vs. “Disembodied” (externalized?) objectification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being “success objects” leads men in general into activities that may be empowering (for some of them); Being a “sex object” does not. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Asymmetry in Infant Care and Sexual Exchange alone still do not explain Patriarchy <ul><li>The case of foraging societies. </li></ul><ul><li>Studies confirm a relationship between men’s hunting abilities and sex (or at least reproduction) & women’s larger investment in childcare. </li></ul><ul><li>Foraging societies are not patriarchal. </li></ul><ul><li>Men do not dominate women & women are not dependent on men. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Condition of Patriarchy #3: Socioeconomic Structure
  36. 36. Modes of Subsistence <ul><li>Modes of Subsistence </li></ul><ul><li>Foraging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Hunting & Gathering) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Horticulture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Shifting Cultivation) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Herding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Nomadic, Seasonal Migration) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Plow, Intensive Cultivation) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industrial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Mass Production) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Post-Industrial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Mass Consumption) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Variables </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Dependence & Independence </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution of Valued Goods </li></ul><ul><li>Militarization </li></ul><ul><li>Hierarchy </li></ul>
  37. 37. Foraging (a.k.a. “Hunting & Gathering”) Economic Independence Distribution Of Valued Goods Use of Force & Warfare All able-bodied adults can supply their own food. Childbearing limits women from hunting; men usually control distribution of meat (prestige food) No institutionalized warfare; disputes settled by moving High gender equality. Some greater male prestige from hunting. More hunting => greater male prestige.
  38. 38. Horticulture (Digging Stick, Hoe, Shifting Cultivation) Economic Independence Distribution Of Valued Goods Use of Force & Warfare Small groups are economically interdependent . High contribution of women’s labor. Childbearing limits women from clearing land; but this activity does not confer much status to men. Institutionalized warfare sometimes; land becomes temporary property; more deadly with metal technology Great variation in gender inequality. High contribution of women’s labor => high status; High warfare => low status for women.
  39. 39. Herding (Nomadic, Seasonal Migration) Economic Independence Distribution Of Valued Goods Use of Force & Warfare Women excluded from important subsistence tasks; High dependence on men. Childbearing limits women from herding; men usually control distribution of meat (prestige food) Institutionalized warfare common; raiding for food surplus, animals and slaves. Very high gender inequality; High status of men; women have low status and high dependence.
  40. 40. Agriculture (Plow, Intensive Cultivation) Economic Independence Distribution Of Valued Goods Use of Force & Warfare Childbearing limits women from plowing; Women relegated to domestic sphere & very dependent Surplus production controlled by small (male) elite; men usually control inheritance of land; “ownership” central Institutionalized warfare common; land becomes chief form of wealth; extreme politico-military hierarchy. Very high gender inequality; High class inequality. “ The plow had a devastating effect on the lives of ordinary people… yet the plow depressed women’s status more than men’s.” (Huber pg.74)
  41. 41. Industrialization (Mass Production) Economic Independence Distribution Of Valued Goods Use of Force & Warfare Large groups are economically inter-dependent ; Women significant in work-force; upper class women domestic Surplus production controlled by bourgeois (male) elite Institutionalized warfare common; resources and capital chief forms of wealth; politico-military hierarchy. High gender inequality; Very high class inequality. Class hierarchies more extreme than gender.
  42. 42. Post-Industrialization (Mass Consumption) Economic Independence Distribution Of Valued Goods Use of Force & Warfare Large groups are economically inter-dependent ; Women significant in work-force; High prestige work less physical & more flexible. Surplus production controlled by professional elite; Shifting emphasis to consumption rather than production. Institutionalized warfare common; resources and capital chief forms of wealth; politico-military hierarchy. Low(?) gender inequality; Very high class inequality. Class hierarchies more extreme than gender.
  43. 43. Conditions of Patriarchy (Summarized) <ul><li>#1 Childcare & Investment in Offspring: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human, mammalian offspring create a “baby burden” for women. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>#2 Sexual Exchange (Baumeister, et al.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intrinsically valuable female sexuality is exchanged with men for extrinsic resources. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>#3 Socioeconomic Conditions (Huber) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The consequences of sexual exchange vary under different socioeconomic conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The patriarchal tendency results from the combination of these conditions. </li></ul>
  44. 44. Additional Hypotheses <ul><li>Superior Talents of Men (Strength, Intelligence) </li></ul><ul><li>Jealousy and Mate Guarding </li></ul><ul><li>Patriarchy is a result of Capitalism </li></ul><ul><li>Coercion and Use-of-Force </li></ul><ul><li>Testosterone Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Culture and Ideology (Patriarchy as a Conceptual Trap). </li></ul>
  45. 45. Superior Talents of Men (Such as Strength, Intelligence) <ul><li>Theory: Men have some form of superior talent (strength; intelligence) that allows them to dominate women. </li></ul><ul><li>Popular, but weakly supported </li></ul><ul><li>Physical strength is not strongly correlated with Social Dominance in humans. </li></ul><ul><li>Most other differences (e.g. in IQ) between men and women are marginal at best. </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, such explanations are based in weak evidence and vastly over-simplified thinking. </li></ul>
  46. 46. Jealous, Mate-Guarding <ul><li>Theory: Patriarchy is an expression of male evolved psychology, aimed at “mate-guarding” (so women don’t mate with other males). </li></ul><ul><li>Jealous mate-guarding is a cultural expression of patriarchal (patrilineal) logics; but the link between a specific evolved male psychology and patriarchy is very weak. </li></ul><ul><li>The evidence for a specific male-type jealousy is equivocal at best. </li></ul><ul><li>Does not explain the variation found in the patriarchal tendency. (Why are some societies egalitarian and others patriarchal?) </li></ul>
  47. 47. Patriarchy is a result of Capitalism <ul><li>Theory: Capitalism causes patriarchy (e.g. Hearn, Mies). </li></ul><ul><li>Marxist-feminist argument, which takes several forms (Hearn: “Human tithe”; Mies: Global capitalism). </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Patriarchy clearly precedes capitalism; and appears to be more severe in agricultural societies than industrial-capitalist ones. </li></ul>
  48. 48. Coercion, Use-of-Force <ul><li>Theory: Men dominate and control women through violence and use-of-force (primarily to control and access their sexuality). </li></ul><ul><li>This contrasts with exchange theory based in persuasion (but which can be coercive, if women have no independent means of subsistence). </li></ul><ul><li>Coercive use-of-force and persuasion through exchange are not mutually exclusive; they can (and probably are) both at work in producing patriarchy. </li></ul><ul><li>Question: Which is more primary in explaining the patriarchal tendency? </li></ul>
  49. 49. Violence and Exchange Compared <ul><li>Coercive Use of Force </li></ul><ul><li>In some societies, rape and violence are regularly used to control women. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a correlation between political-military hierarchies and patriarchy. </li></ul><ul><li>If true, men are fundamentally misogynistic; they seek to control and dominate women. </li></ul><ul><li>If coercive use-of-force is broadly effective, why is exchange needed at all? </li></ul><ul><li>Persuasion by Exchange </li></ul><ul><li>In many societies, rape and violence are seen as aberrations. </li></ul><ul><li>Patriarchy persists even in societies where militarism is not extreme. </li></ul><ul><li>If true, men fundamentally love (or at least desire ) women rather than hate them. </li></ul><ul><li>Coercive use-of-force may be explained as an outcome of unrequited love. </li></ul>
  50. 50. Testosterone Competition <ul><li>Theory: Testosterone drives men to compete more aggressively than women; therefore men “win” over women and obtain higher positions in status-hierarchies. </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed by Steven Goldberg ( Why Men Rule ) </li></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not explain the range of egalitarian-to-patriarchal societies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reductionist and over simplified. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maybe a contributing factor, but weak as a primary explanation </li></ul>
  51. 51. Culture and Ideology (Patriarchy as a Conceptual Trap) <ul><li>Theory: Patriarchy is primarily cultural or ideological – due to beliefs that men are superior to women and that favor men over women (e.g. in education, jobs, inheritance, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>This is the most common and popular theory in contemporary Gender Studies. </li></ul><ul><li>It does not explain the patriarchal tendency – why are only men able to benefit from cultural biases and not women? Why are some types of societies (agricultural) and not others (foragers) prone to patriarchy? </li></ul>
  52. 52. The Relationship of Cultural Systems to Patriarchy <ul><li>Culture and Ideology (Belief Systems) can support and perpetuate patriarchy; but they are not the primary cause of patriarchy. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural and Ideological systems can also thwart or reduce patriarchal tendencies (e.g. matrilineal Minangkabau inheritance patterns) </li></ul>
  53. 53. Summary… <ul><li>Three primary conditions explain the patriarchal tendency. </li></ul><ul><li>Other conditions may contribute to the patriarchal tendency; but are not primary causes. </li></ul><ul><li>Next week… Consequences of sexual exchange and the patriarchal tendency. </li></ul>

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