We’ll have to agree to disagree on the book since I found plenty to support it. Interestingly, it was all scholarship done by men.

Since The Chalice and the Blade was published in 1987, new findings support its thesis of earlier gender equality as part of a more peaceful and equitable social system. For example, writing of the Minoan civilization that flourished on the Mediterranean island of Crete until c. 3500 years ago, the Greek archeologist Nanno Marinatos confirmed that his was a culture in which women played major roles in a religion where a Goddess was venerated. Marinatos also notes that this was a more peaceful culture that, unlike other “high-civilizations” of that time was not a slave society, on the contrary, exhibiting a generally high standard of living for all.[14]

Also confirming the description of earlier Neolithic cultures in The Chalice and the Blade is Ian Hodder, the archeologist excavating Çatalhöyük, one of the largest Neolithic sites found to date. In his 2004 Scientific American article Hodder wrote: “Even analyses of isotopes in bones give no indication of divergence in lifestyle translating into differences in status and power between women and men.” He further noted that this points to “a society in which sex is relatively unimportant in assigning social roles, with neither burials nor space in houses suggesting gender inequality.” In short, Hodder explicitly confirms that gender equity was a key part of a more partnership-oriented social configuration in this more generally equitable early farming site where there are no signs of destruction through warfare for over 1,000 years.[15]

Going back further, to the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age, another body of research that supports Eisler’s proposal that this period also oriented more to the partnership side of the domination-partnership continuum is on contemporary foraging societies, especially the anthologies edited by anthropologist Douglas P. Fry. This work is directly relevant to prehistoric times because for most of the millennia of our earliest cultural evolution our species lived in foraging groups. Fry’s 2013 anthology of articles by scholars studying these types of societies documents that the vast majority of them are characterized by the more peaceful, gender balanced, and generally egalitarian configuration of the partnership model.[16]

Data from other world regions also supports the thesis of an earlier partnership direction. For example, after The Chalice and the Blade was published in China by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a group of scholars at the Academy wrote a book showing that there was also in Chinese prehistory a massive cultural shift from more partnership-oriented cultures to a system of rigid domination in both the family and the state.[17]

In short, despite old narratives about an inherently flawed humanity, more and more evidence shows that we are not doomed to perpetuate patterns of violence and oppression. We have a partnership alternative with deep roots in the earlier direction of our cultural evolution — not a utopia, but a way of structuring society in more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable ways.

You still have not demonstrated to me that men choose to be in the “man box. Have you ever called someone a pussy? Have you ever been called that? Have you ever been shamed for something that was not considered “manly?” This type of behavior is rampant and it’s coercive. You can say all you want that you have chosen to be who you are, but if any of that has ever occurred, then you are giving proof of coercion. Both men and women should be free to be whatever they want to be, but when there is wide-spread punishment for not being who were are “supposed” to be, that’s a problem. And sure, people need to figure out how to be their authentic selves in spite of push back…. if you’ve ever read any of my sex-related stories you will know that I am the well acquainted with that concept, but it doesn’t negate extreme societal pressure, particularly for men, to be a man in a certain kind of way.

“The term (man box) implies a rigid set of expectations, perceptions, and behaviors of what is “manly” behavior. Because it is a hierarchy, Hegemonic masculinity marginalizes men who do not perfectly fit the description of a “real man.” Because no man perfectly fits the description, all men are limited by hegemonic masculinity through policing of behaviors seen as “violations” (Edwards & Jones, 2009).”

There’s wide-spread scholarship on this, so just you saying it isn’t so doesn’t move me. I could give you 20 citations, but I’m guess that’s not going to move you, so perhaps it’s time to hang up this conversation although I’ve appreciated getting to debate with someone who is clearly intelligent and sensible, even if we ultimately don’t get any closer to agreement.

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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