Note: This essay was written in response to a comment which Desert Dreamer posted on my essay "The True Oppression of Women", on www.writerscafe.org:
Actually, I believe my essay to be quite factual. I just checked my facts on the roles of women in indigenous societies, and I have found that they are for the most part just what my essay said that they were. You are correct in saying that children in indigenous societies are generally raised by the community rather than by individual fathers or mothers, and I believe that I have indeed mentioned that in one of my other essays. Nonetheless, you will notice that the traditional roles of women in these ancient cultures are, for the most part, precisely the roles which I specified in my essay.
Some samples of the traditional roles of women in indigenous societies:
North American Aborigines [American Indians]:
I have just given you five examples of indigenous societies which conform precisely to the division of labor along gender lines which I outlined in my essay, and I am certain that I can find many more such examples if so wish. In fact, I hereby challenge you to give me an example of currently surviving indigenous culture in which the women are/were the primary hunters and warriors, and in which the men are/were the primary homemakers.
However, I issue this challenge on the condition either that any cultures which you submit as examples must currently exist, like the Oglala Lakota, or that there must be extensive surviving written records pertaining to those cultures and dating from a time when they did exist, such as is true of the Gaelic and Celtic tribes of Europe during the time of the Roman conquests.
The purpose of this condition is so that I may verify any claims made concerning any cultures which you may wish to employ as examples. Archaeology may provide many incites into the technologies and lifestyles of extinct cultures, but I don't believe that it can reliably reveal those cultures' traditional family structures or social norms, at least, not unless archaeologists should happen to find written records of such, dating from a time when those cultures still existed.
As you will see if you visit the links which I have provided above, women in most indigenous societies actually do perform the precise roles which I outlined in my previous essay. However, those roles are not seen as worthless and degrading. Rather, the traditional roles of women as the caretakers of the home and family primarily, and as the caretakers of the community secondarily, are recognized as being vitally important to the survival of the family and of the community, and the women are very highly respected BECAUSE of the service which they do for other people.
Now, on the subject of patriarchy and the oppression of women, I take back what I said about the oppression of women originating with the women's suffrage movement. I no longer believe that the oppression of women ORIGINATED with the women's suffrage movement or any part of the women's rights movement in general, but I do believe that the women's suffrage movement as well as the entire women's rights movement as a whole are the primary social factors which have allowed women to become devalued in modern society.
If you don't believe that women are devalued in modern society, please feel free to research the practice of "Sharking": a practice which would have been utterly unthinkable only a century ago, but which is now rapidly gaining popularity all across the world. Examples of "Sharking":
Now that you know what "Sharking" is, if you think that women were treated disrespectfully in the past, I think it is worth mentioning that I can't find any examples of "Sharking" prior to the late twentieth century. Indeed, from what I have seen, "Sharking" appears to be mostly a twenty-first century phenomenon.
Now, I'm certain that bullies in elementary school have probably been pulling other children's pants down as a prank for decades, but I can't find any examples of adults doing it which aren't rather recent, and although I imagine that voyeurism has probably existed for all of human history, it is only in the modern world that I find a subculture which celebrates it in this fashion, and that I see such things being done so blatantly.
I definitely agree that women historically worked much harder and had many more responsibilities than they do now, but I do not believe that they were oppressed. Indeed, if you at the absolute worst things that society has done to people, they nearly always affect men much more than they affect women.
I don't want to discuss
every single society in history, because there are far too many
of them, so I will focus mainly on The United States of America,
because that is the nation which your profile implies that you
live in. To begin with, here are some statistics on the people
who have been executed in this country:
It is interesting to note that only 2.8 percent of the people who have been executed in this country were women. Who then were the other 97.2 percent? Also, how many of the people who have fought and died in all of humanities wars throughout history were women? Even in those few military campaigns which were led by women, such as Queen Boudica's revolt, most of the people who fought and died in those campaigns were men.
Soldiers in The American Civil War:
Soldiers in The First World War:
Soldiers in The Second World War:
Soldiers in The Second Afghanistan War:
I think that if you look at all of the most difficult and dangerous jobs in the world, from coal mining to commercial fishing, they have almost always been done by men. The one major exception to that statement is the act of childbirth, which obviously can only be done by women.
I am well aware that women in this country were historically held to a strict moral standard, and could be beaten by their husbands if they failed to meet that standard. However, I do not consider that, in and of itself, to be abusive in any way.
When I was a child, my parents would not hesitate for a moment to spank me if I was rude or if I failed to do my chores. Although it may seem barbaric to some people, I have observed that harsh physical punishments are far more effective at curbing people's tendency to harm and disrespect one another than is any of the "positive reinforcement" garbage which is espoused by modern society.
I don't want to write too much about corporal punishment here, because it is getting very late and I want to go to sleep soon, but I have already, in some of my other writing, touched somewhat on the reasons why I believe that harsh, seemingly barbaric physical punishments are necessary to curb selfish, irresponsible behavior.
In essence, I believe that everyone needs to be punished very severely, not for any well-intentioned behaviors which inadvertently harm others, but for any and all behaviors which stem from a lack of respect for nature or for other people.
There are many different reasons why people willingly harm others: greed, revenge, jealousy, personal insecurities, prejudice, and many others. Nonetheless, I have found that regardless of whatever someone's superficial motive is for harming another person, that superficial motive always seems to stem ultimately from the condition of one's concern for one's self being greater than one's concern for others.
Therefore, no matter what the superficial motivation may be for any willingly wrongful action, I nonetheless believe that harsh, cruel punishments for individuals who perpetrate wrong, tend to be very effective at preventing other individuals from perpetrating yet more wrong in the future, because they render that wrong no longer an effective means of satisfying the base motivation therefore, which is almost universally the service of one's own selfish needs and desires.
I am also a strong supporter of capital punishment and of forced labor for criminals. If someone robs a bank or shoots someone, why should the taxpayers be forced to pay money to feed them for so many years? I believe that criminals should be forced to work to pay off all of the costs of their own incarceration. If they refuse to work, then they simply ought not to be fed.
My belief in harsh penalties for willful, destructive behavior applies to everyone, regardless of race, sex, age, religion, or any other way in which you can think to categorize people. However, I believe that nature has given men the responsibility to protect and care for women, in order to help women fulfill their responsibility to raise and care for children. I also believe that part of that responsibility is to guide women away from wrongdoing, and if necessary, to punish them physically or otherwise for their wrongdoing, so that it does not become necessary for society to punish them.
I do not mean to justify the actions of certain men who routinely beat their wives or children out of anger or hatred. I consider that to be utterly reprehensible, and anyone, man or woman, who abuses someone in such a manner should, in my opinion, be sentenced to a lifetime of forced labor.
Nonetheless, I do believe that if any child should need to be punished either physically or non-physically in order to cure them of destructive behavioral tendencies, I believe that it is the responsibility of that child's parents to punish that child for those destructive behavioral tendencies before it should become necessary for society to punish that child for such, and that if the parents fail to punish their child for wrongful behavior, they ought then also to be held accountable for any wrongful thing which their child does.
The reason why I consider it best that children be punished by their own parents whenever such punishment should be necessary, rather than by others in society, is because I believe that a child's parents are the primary persons who are endowed with the responsibility of ensuring that that child is treated fairly but also grows up to become a morally responsible person.
I also believe that whenever any woman should commit wrong and thus deserve to be punished in any way, it is her husband who bares the primary responsibility of administering that punishment, for the same reasons that parents bare the responsibility of administering to their children any punishments which may be necessary.
You see, a husband bares the same responsibility to guide and protect his wife that parents bare to guide and protect their children. If the wife perpetrates evil, it is then the responsibility of the husband to punish her therefore in order to help her to become a better person, and it is also his responsibility to ensure that she does not ever suffer unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, if men are to have authority over their wives, then those wives can not also have that same authority over those men. If so, then if a disagreement should arise between them, they shall then be like unto two dogs whose leashes have been tied together but who each attempt to run in opposite directions, in that neither will accomplish anything.
Therefore if the men do wrong, they must then be judged directly by society, without the extra layer of protection which comes from having an intimate partner to guide them, and if you read your history, you will see that society is often a vary harsh judge.
What you refer to as
oppression, I refer to as responsibility and accountability, what
you refer to as liberation, I refer to as a blatant disregard for
everything which is important in life, and what you consider to
be a successful life of wealth, fame and money, without a family
to burden you, I consider to be a life which has no purpose. In
my view, the only things which matter in life, listed by order of
#1: That we all respect the four sacred elements of nature - Earth, Water, Wind and Sun.
#2: That we all respect the trees, grass and other plants which inhabit the earth.
#3: That we all respect the birds, fish, animals, and other living creatures which inhabit the earth.
#4: That young persons all respect their elders.
#5: That old people guide young people and teach them their wisdom.
#6: That men provide for and care for women so that women can care for and nurture their families.
#7: That women ACTUALLY DO care for and nurture their families, rather than squandering their husbands' providence on frivolous worldly things.
#8: That everyone protect and care for everyone else in the community.
#9: That no one cause any harm to anyone else anywhere in the world, if it can reasonably be avoided.
Remember, your life is inherently temporary. One day, you will surely die, and when you do, all of the material possessions which you have accumulated will cease to benefit you in any way. The only part of you which will remain after you die will be those things which you have done to help others.
In truth, I absolutely don't believe in the concept of "Human Rights". I don't even believe in the word "Rights". We as a species are nothing but parasites off of nature. We take everything from nature, and give nothing in return. Our life is sustained entirely by our mother the earth, and in exchange, we poison her! Therefore, how can we possibly think that we have rights, that we deserve anything, or that we are entitled to anything? I tell you, we deserve NOTHING!
As I said before, I do not believe in any sort of rights. What I do believe in are responsibilities: specifically, those which I outlined previously. As long as you believe that all that matters in life is what you can do for yourself, than of course the traditional roles of women will seem terribly oppressive, as will the traditional roles of men, and those of children, as well as those of the elderly.
However, if you can accept that you are not entitled to anything, and that the only thing which matters is the service which you can do for other people, then you will soon realize that the traditional roles of just about everyone are actually the pinnacle of purpose in life, for each of the traditional roles in any sufficiently old culture, whether indigenous or not, is, or at least SHOULD be, about serving others: old people teach young people, young people care for old people, women care for the family, men care for women, and EVERYONE cares for nature, although, to be honest, I believe that in modern society, our respect for nature has been degenerating for much longer than has our respect for any of here the human relationships which we ought also to respect.
As for the whole argument about women's reproductive "rights", I have this to say: You owe your very life to your parents and ancestors, and above all, to the Earth-Mother, and there is no way in which it is possible for you to repay all that which they have given you. What worth does your life have if you are so stingy that you refuse even to pass the gift of life on to someone else? I would say that it has none.
Honestly, I believe that the true problem in the modern world is actually that we all have far too many rights, far too much freedom, that we are all far too liberated, and that as a consequence of these things, we no longer feel a need to treat nature or one another with nearly so much respect as we ought.
Below is another
example of the terrible disrespect which modern society has for
women, despite all of the rights, freedoms and entitlements which
women have given themselves. It's a clip from an Italian
game-show, in which a woman is tricked into thinking that she is
being raped, so that the game-shows viewers can be entertained by
It is true that I do not believe in the concept of rights, yet it is also true that I believe that if everyone was respectful enough and responsible enough, everyone would then naturally want to support one-another and to care for one-another. I believe that everyone would then be well cared for by the generosity of others, and that there would therefore be no need for anyone to be entitled to anything.
Sadly, in an ironic twist, I have spent much time contemplating how we humans may learn to place others ahead of ourselves, and have considered many theoretical possibilities, yet have at last concluded that the only way for that to happen is simply for all of our own selfish desires to be crushed with an iron fist.
As for my comment about the women's suffrage movement being the origin of the oppression of women, I believe that women throughout most of human history had a very important responsibility to care for their family and for the community, and that because of such, women were very highly respected in most historical societies.
Unfortunately, women's suffrage has given women the opportunity to discard all of their vital responsibilities to family and to community, allowing those same responsibilities to be usurped more and more by governments. In fact, almost everything which women once did in order to make themselves important in the community, can now be done by governments and by private businesses. Even the physical process of reproduction will probably someday be supplanted by biotech.
The trouble is that by escaping from their traditional responsibilities which I believe that it is very unwise for women to want to escape from in the first place, women have rendered themselves unnecessary, disposable even … Thus, although society may expect less and less of women in the way of familial obligations, I believe that the world is progressively treating women as being more and more worthless and expendable, because in truth, women are becoming more and more worthless and expendable.
I don't believe that to be something which anyone should celebrate. Although there are plenty of arrogant, self-righteous, conceited women who believe that they are entitled to have whatever they want but who don't want to have any responsibilities whatsoever, and I really couldn't care less what happened to them, [In my view, whatever happens to those women as a result of their own foolishness, is nothing more than their own stupid fault!] I nonetheless believe that there are still some women and girls in the world who do actually care more about others than they do about themselves, sincerely desiring to live their lives for the service of others, and I therefore truly don't believe that those women/girls yet deserve the torrent of disrespect which society and the media subjects them to, regardless of how much freedom from responsibility they may be given along with all of that disrespect.