I’ve done some reading up and looking into that too…. 😁 Patriarchy began around the same time as agriculture- about 10K years ago. Prior to that (97% of history), humans lived in highly cooperative and egalitarian bands of about 25–50. But with agriculture, for the first time you have substantial personal property, property that you’d like to go to your heirs. In order to ensure paternity (hence the name patriarchy) women had to be controlled and their sexuality policed. What resulted was not just stratification between men and women, but a larger stratification of society in general for the very first time. You’ve got a social system that is based in coercion and control — a dominance hierarchy. Instead of “let’s all hunt and gather together and share in the results, raise the children of this tribe together without caring too much who the father is and have a generally pleasant life” you’ve got a situation where competition, might makes right, and getting ahead at other’s expense becomes part of the fabric of the society.

Agriculture did allow the population to explode because it could feed more people and women could have a baby every year (gatherers didn’t tend to because they had to carry their babies when they were foraging). But everyone had a much worse quality of life, not just by sociological standards. Nutrition was not nearly as good and life expectancy actually dropped. Disease became more prevalent.

This system of intrinsic domination + exploding population did allow for what we think of as civilization, but even today in places where hunter/gatherers live, they work less than their farming neighbors, they sleep more, and have a highly diversified diet, which allows them to have better nutrition as well as a greater pool of foods to choose from. If the potatoes get a blight, you just eat the other 74 plants that are a part of your diet, instead of being devastated by it. That kind of life sounds more civilized to me!

We have been taught to think that life improved with agriculture and that domination of others was simply the price to pay for building civilization, but we traded a pretty good way of living for a pretty bad way in order to get there — and we’ve been suffering for it ever since.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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