In answer to this question people look to the work of the Suffragettes, women’s Liberation Movement and Feminists. Yet to be frank women have had it easy. If we say compared the Feminist struggle with say with the civil rights struggle of black people in USA, there is no comparison. The savage violence that black people have had to endure is incredible, with white lynch mobs being able to hang black people without fear of the law, and even today the vast majority of the prison population in USA are black people, as they are the poorest sections of the community.
It is true some Suffragettes and Feminists have been victims of violence but it has not been in the same league as endured by black people, or even trade unionist fighting for workers rights. So why has it been the case that men have successfully kept women in virtual slavery for thousands of years have suddenly caved in to Feminists demands, and gone belly up, without hardly a fight? Though I have to say this is not true in many Moslem countries where Feminists have been beaten up and murdered.
If you take a cork and hold it underwater it is very easy to hold it down but it will only stay there while you keep holding it in that position. If at any time you arm gets tired or you get fed up with keeping the cork underwater, and then let go, the cork will automatically rise to the top. This concept gives a good metaphor of what is happening today in the politics of female power.
For anyone who has read the history of patriarchy over the last five thousand years what it very striking is the great efforts needed to keep women powerless. Up until the end of the 19th century, there were laws to ensure that women couldn’t own any property or wealth. As the law stated that her father or husband owned everything a woman had. The law also make it very difficult for any woman to inherit property. Women were also barred from all jobs and professions except being a housewife, servant or prostitute. So women were unable to acquire any wealth of power in her own right. Husbands were also encouraged to dominate their wives, and women had to swear to obey their husbands when they were married. The law even gave husbands the right to beat their wives with either a stick or whip.
In other cultures the laws oppressing women were even stricter than in the Western world. It was traditional for the Somalis people of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti for a bride to start married life with a flogging from their husbands. It seems the newly wedded husband would wait for her in the bridal chamber with a whip in his hand. This was also true with the Sifon people of Tibet, who traditionally would again start of married life with the husband whipping his bride. In many places like Sicily, Ethiopia and Eastern Europe where it was commonplace for men to choose their bride through kidnap and rape. A young man would pick out which girl he wanted to marry and then with a few friends kidnap and rape her. The girl was then force by social custom to marry her rapist. This went on in Sicily up until the 1960s and it still goes on in Ethiopia.
In India there is the custom of “Suttee”. This is where when a husband dies his wife is put on the funeral pile to be burnt alive. So what are the origins of this very barbaric custom? It seems that in the past women would frequently poison their husbands, so to discourage this all women were made to die with their husbands. So the Suttee tradition was created by a brutal sex war between men and women in India, which men finally won by simply being more violent than women.
In China there was the tradition of foot binding. Again this is a very strange custom, but the end result is that women were left crippled. So this tradition suggest that at one time men were so frighten of they women that they had to cripple them to be able to dominate them.
Yet we are taught at school and in our history books that men have always been the dominant sex going back to early Stone Age. The irony is that if it is natural for men to be the dominant sex why do then men had to create very oppressive laws and customs against women? If it is natural for men to be the dominant sex then they shouldn’t need any laws, custom or propaganda to keep their place as the dominant sex. For instance they only reason way we have laws against stealing is because many people do steal. If people didn’t steal there would be no reason to have laws against this behaviour. The same is true of all customs and traditions. The custom of marriage with people swearing to be true to each other is only needed because people do tend to have sex outside of marriage. If pair bonding was completely natural for human beings then we wouldn’t need customs like marriage, enforced by laws and social censure.
This then means that oppressive laws and customs to keep women in a subservient position suggests that it is not natural for women to be the submissive sex. If it was natural for men to be the dominant sex then there would be no reason for men to have oppressive laws and customs to keep women in bondage.
If you think about it, from the time the original Aryan invaders conquered Matriarchal communities in southern Europe to the start of Christianity and Islam was about 3,000 years. This means the Patriarchs needed 3,000 years of brainwashing all men and women into believing that our Creator was a male, that sex, childbirth, and menstruation was sinful or dirty and that women was inferior to men. This suggests that women were held in such high regard in ancient times that the original patriarchal invaders with all the advantages of violence and intimidation still took thousands of years to overcome the power of women.
If we compared this with what is happening today, where women in a position of complete powerlessness in the 19th century, has in just over a 100 years gained near equality with men. Through the undermining of the patriarchal religion Christianity we can now see women rapidly rise to power once again. So it is like a holding a cork underwater. It is easy to hold the cork down, but once you let go the cork rises to the surface. Patriarchy could only keep women down while it was actively suppressing them, and when the pressure was release we know find women are naturally moving back to ruling society once again. This suggests to me, that it is probably natural for human beings to be ruled by women.
Not only has women gain political power over the last hundred years but the relationship between men and women are also changing rapidly. With the undermining of the many customs, beliefs and social conventions that men are the dominant sex, the personal relationships between men and women are rapidly changing. It is now more commonplace for women to openly claim they are the head of the household and we even now have househusbands. While sexually attitudes are also changing, from very tiny beginnings during the early 1970s the FemDom sex industry has grown strongly and steadily.
It has been patriarchal religions like Christianity and Islam that has been in the forefront oppressing women. Even today extreme Islam countries try to force women to wear facial screens and discourage female education. Restrictions like this wouldn’t be needed if men didn’t fear the power of women. In the past Christianity used extreme violence against women. In the infamous Witch hunts of the medieval age the vast majority of millions of people who were tortured and burnt alive were women. Suggesting again a real fear of women becoming too powerful.
It was only the decline of the power of Christianity in the Western world through the rise of science that took away the oppression of women. With the ending of oppressive laws and customs throughout the 20th century women have quickly gained near equality with men. I know to us a hundred years might seem a long time but in historical terms it is very quick, for such a far-reaching social change. If this rate of progress for women was to continue during the 21st century then clearly women will be ruling the world within a hundred years.
It has been claimed that, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. Now at first sight this seems to be a stupid saying because it a woman’s hand that rocks the cradle and women are clearly not ruling the world, and never have done in recorded history. Yet it is still quoted because within it is a kernel of truth. Patriarchal religions and oppressive dictatorships like Nazism and Communism know that it is very important to brainwash children from a very early age. The Roman Catholic Jesuits boasted that, “give us a child for the first seven years and we have him for life”.
Children up until the 20th century were basically brutalised in the Western world. It was normal for parents and schoolteachers to cane, birch and whip children. Favourite saying then were, “spare the rod and spoil the child”, “children should be seen but not heard” and “if you see a child look guilty. Hit him. You may not know what it is for, but he does”. Children were brutalise even as babies. Male “experts” wrote, that a crying baby was being wilful, and mothers where encouraged not to pick up crying baby. They were also told a baby that cried too much was to be put in a room and lock the door to let it cry itself to sleep. Then infants the moment they began to walk and talk they were subjected to physical punishment. (Boys in general were punished more severely than girls.) This was done not only to teach children discipline from a very early age. It was also done to make, “real men” out of boys. In other words by being brought up in a environment of violence, the children naturally became violent themselves. They then make good soldiers and they are able to kill without pity and they are more likely to, “keep women in their place”.
Then as the 20th century progressed, women not only gained power over their own bodies but their children as well. Female child experts and more moderate child male experts like Dr Spock began to write books on child care. The development continued to the point that today what was normal for children in the 19th century, would be seen today as child abuse.
Children in the past were subjected to sexual abuse as well. That man who the “whistle blower” was surprisingly a young Sigmund Freud. In the past men have got away with child sex abuse scot-free. Then in 1896 a young Sigmund Freud presented a paper entitled "The Aetiology of Hysteria". In this paper he said he had discovered that the neuroses suffered by his patients stemmed from sexual assaults and violence they had suffered as young children, with most of these assaults coming from their own fathers, brothers or other male relations in "respectable middle class" homes. This paper went down like a lead balloon and his colleges put great pressure was put on him to suppress his paper. Which was singled out from all the other papers presented in Vienna in 1896 to not be published in psychoanalysis's Journal "Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift". Moreover no discussion of his work was allowed. In the end Freud caved in. (he wasn’t a Wilhelm Reich). To save his career Freud did suppress his paper and then came up later with other theories like "Penis envy" and the "Oedipus complex" to explain neuroses. Which hinted at child sex abuse but never openly said it. These theories explained how the abused child felt and how it will affect them later. Unfortunately because these children were in reality were abused, but this fact was censored, this meant that the blame of the neuroses was put on the abused and not the abuser.
Now child sexual abuse is out in the open and not even Roman Catholic priests find they can get away with it. The result is that now children are being far less sexually and physically abused in the Western world. This lack of childhood abuse is causing men to be far less assertive, while women are becoming far more confident in themselves. So what is happening today was predicted back in the 19th century. When it was claimed that if you didn’t “harden” (brutalise) boys they will become wimps.
The degree Western men have become wimps can be seen, as previously mentioned, in the number of suicides of soldier after both the Vietnam and Falklands wars. There are probably similar figures for the first Gulf war but the “Gulf War Syndrome” obscures these. (This is going on in spite of the extremely violent film; TV programmes and video games young people are encouraged to watch.) To some people today, it is terrible that our young men are losing their, “manhood”, but if we want to live in a world of non-violence and peace, this is a very good thing. It is of interest that the most violent group of men in USA and UK are those of African decent. Black people seem to have been left behind in the reform of child rearing as many young black children are still routinely beaten by their parents. So it is not surprisingly that young black men still tend to be very violent. Though it also doesn’t help that more black people are unemployed or work for low wages, than any other ethnic group in Western societies.
If you watch sport or action adventure movies you might be forgiven for thinking that men are really strong creatures. Well I’m afraid to tell all you “macho” guys out there, but compared but for its size and weight the human animal is just about the weakest animal in the world. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a weakling compared with an average adult chimpanzee.
In most animals it seems that the males fight over the right to mate with the females. We see this clearly animals like cattle and deer where the males head butt each other until the weakest male backs down and the strongest mate with the females. We also see the same behaviour among cats and dogs and other carnivorous animals where it is the strongest and most aggressive male is more likely to mate.
Now the advantage of this according to Darwin’s theory of evolution is that the strongest and fittest males will mate and past down their genes to the next generation. So this means that the weaker males are eliminated from the gene pool of any species. This seems to work very well with many species of animal but there are exceptions like us Human beings and bonobos.
What is remarkable about us as a species of animal is how weak we are. An average male chimpanzee is about three times as strong as the average man, even though he is smaller in statue, while the gorilla is about four times the strength of humans. This is also true of any other animal of about our size. A deer, dog or big cat of about the same weight as a human can run 3 to 5 times faster than the average human. While one blow from a big cat or large ape will kill even a very strong man.
So why has the Human become so weak compared with other animals of a equal size? Does this suggest that some time during Human evolution the need for males to compete with each other to mate with females no longer became a important for the survival of the species? This can be seen clearly in the relationship between the Neanderthal man and the first modern Humans over 40 thousand years ago in Europe. The skeletons of the Neanderthals showed they were far stronger and more heavily built than modern Humans living at that time. Both species had about the same size brains and both used tools. Yet it was the Neanderthals that became extinct and not the physically weaker modern Humans. So it seems that the increased intelligence and tool making ability of Humans made the need for physical strength no longer an important aspect of survival.
The relationship between the Neanderthal and the first modern humans we can see in two species of chimpanzees today. The Congo River in Africa is one of the largest rivers in the World and is in some places it is over 10 miles wide. The result of this is that the chimpanzee living on different sides of the Congo River have evolved into two different species. Living on one bank is the normal chimpanzee you see in other parts of Africa but on the other bank is the bonobo. In spite of its name it is not really smaller but is more lightly built than the heavier and stronger Common chimpanzee.
Bonobos males like humans do not compete with each other through fighting for the right to mate with females. This is what makes both species physically weaker than chimpanzees and other animals of a similar size.
It is a curious fact that in all the Lemur species of Lemur on the island of Madagascar the female is the dominant sex. It has be observed many times by biologists, That if a male lemur approaches a female before she has finished feeding, he is swiftly put in his place. Female lemurs drive males away from food until they and their young have eaten and will even jump at them, bite them or cuff them. Then the male will retreat and give a submissive call.
Unlike with bonobos this behaviour is not re-enforced by a powerful lesbian sisterhood. It seems to be a part of male Lemur’s genetic behaviour. It has also been observed that when adult males begin issuing submissive signals to adolescent females, the young females are taken by surprise. After a while they figure out what's going on and enjoy it, demanding that the adult males play with them. It also seems that young females also play more than males, a behaviour commonly linked to dominance in young male mammals.
The theory put forward by the biologists observing this behaviour is that it is caused by the extreme weather conditions on Madagascar, which makes it very tough for the wild life living there. During four months of the year, the island experiences torrential downpours that nourish the lemurs' food supplies of leaves and fruits. The other eight months of the year tend to be cold and dry. During these dry spells, lemurs rely on low quality foods like bamboo pith. Overall, survival is very difficult, more so for the female, than the male. Pregnancy and providing milk for infants require energy. So Lemurs cannot afford the luxury of males assaulting females, pinching female’s food or even feeding before the female and her young. This means having males who are very submissive towards female is a very important consideration for the survival of the species. Lemur groups with alpha males would quickly die out because only the males would survive. This is because they would hog the short supply of food in the dry months, and the female and young would be first to die. While in female dominated groups even if only one male survives a bad year he is still able to fertilise all the females in the group. So survival pressures have made Lemurs on Madagascar matriarchal.
Scientist now believe that the Neanderthals died out because of the changing climate of Europe at the time of their extinction. But the mystery is why it was the Neanderthals that died out and not the first modern humans. As the bones of Neanderthals show they were physically far stronger than humans. This suggests this was brought about in evolutionary time by Neanderthals males fighting each other in a test of strength for the right to mate, with only the strongest males reproducing. This makes the species far stronger than humans. Who because of their weaker body strength it shows that the male humans were not fighting each other for dominance and right to mate. If we assume that the physically powerful Neanderthal had a similar society to present day chimpanzees, then females being at the bottom of the pecking order would have to always give way to males in disputes over food. Now this wouldn’t be a problem when they had food in abundance. Yet we know during the ice age because of times of rapidly changing climates, food became very difficult to obtain at certain times. So it would only be the alpha males who were allowed to feed and survive. The females and their children being at the bottom of the pecking order would be the first to die, and even if some survived they would be so undernourished that they would be unlikely to be able to give birth and feed their young. This means that in times of scarcity the evolutionary strategy of only allowing the most strongest and most aggressive males to breed would work against the Neanderthals, because although the alpha males would survive they would be incapable of breeding a new generation.
On the other hand the weaker modern humans that no longer had this evolutionary strategy. Their weak and slight bodies suggest they would be more like the bobobos with female at the top of the pecking order. It would then be more likely the alpha females that would survive in times of scarcity. The deaths of the lower order males wouldn’t be such a problem because it would only require a few males to survive to continue the breeding of the species. In that one male can father hundreds children of different mothers. It wouldn’t even matter if the male dies after he has done his job, of fertilising the females, as the caring of the children he fathered would be in the hands of the mothers.
This then means that in the changing climate conditions which brought about the extinction of the Neanderthals, it would be humans a matriarchal society that would be more likely to survive.
It is true that in recorded history we have lived in a patriarchal society and this may of come about because of agriculture and the abundance of food that this created. While humans lived conditions where survival was difficult. It would mean that matriarchal tribes would be the one who would survive and continue to breed. Certainly in the time of the Ice Age and the changing weather conditions made survival for all animals difficult. Then once the Ice Age had ended and the climate settled down into a stable pattern and human intelligence found ways to acquire an abundance of food. Like when humans began to grow crops and herd animals. Then the advantages of living in a matriarchal society for survival declined. This would allow patriarchal tribes ruled by alpha males to be created. They in turn make war on their more peaceful matriarchal neighbours who would be defenceless against organised male violence. In these conditions of abundance of food put females on the lower end of the pecking order as patriarchy would no longer be a threat to the survival of the tribe. This allowed men to indulge in their favourite pastime of war with other tribes, and so over a few thousand years the whole world would become patriarchal through this violence and warfare
So the study of bonobos gives support to the work of Mariji Gimbutas. It also gives a reason why Neanderthals became extinct and not our ancestors.
What is clear is that men can only become the dominant sex by enforcing through violence and propaganda oppressive laws and customs against women. This means that it is not natural for men to be the dominant sex if men have to brutalise each other to become violent and dominant. If we get rid of all these artificial laws and customs created by patriarchal men and follow our natural instincts then we may end up with an equal society. Or we might end up with a female dominated world.