We’ve only had patriarchal societies for the past 10,000 years. They emerged around the advent of agriculture. For hundreds of thousands of years before that, we had egalitarian, partnership oriented societies. Do your research before you start “deciding” how things have always been.

The title of this article is a bit click-baitey but it does describe several modern societies that affirmatively do not operate like the rest of the patriarchal world.

The Nordic countries have a long history of far greater gender parity, beginning in Viking times.

A common assumption is that Nordic gender equality is a product of prevalent welfare-state policies.1 But a broader perspective shows egalitarian gender values predate modern welfare states by centuries in Sweden and other Nordic countries. The Viking ancestors of today’s Nordic societies had a culture that emphasized women’s rights.

Norse societies are often portrayed in books and media as having a relatively even distribution of power between the sexes. Although these cultures were patriarchal, women had considerably more influence in Norse societies than women in other contemporary cultures. For example, Scandinavian folklore includes shieldmaidens, women who fought as warriors. Byzantine historian John Skylitzes records that women were participating in Nordic armies during the 10th century.2 This suggests that gender segmentation in early Norse societies was considerably more flexible than in other parts of contemporary Europe.

There is also evidence that women in early Nordic societies could inherit land and property, control their dowry, and own a third of the property they shared with their spouses. They could sometimes participate in the public sphere with men. Additionally, women could opt for divorce.3 Medieval laws show that Nordic women had greater rights than women in other parts of the contemporary world: inheritance laws in Norway followed family relations through female lines as well as male lines.

And what do you base this statement in? “Masculine and feminine traits are almost entirely biological in origin.” There are plenty of studies that show that strict gender norms are largely mutable and socialized in. But it’s nearly impossible for us to know for sure how much is inherent and how much is socialized in since there is no ethical way to raise babies outside of society.

The fact of the matter is, we are all a mix of traits. Some guys do naturally fit into traditionally masculine norms, but a lot of them don’t (same goes for women). The problem arises when you punish people for not conforming to who they are supposed to be, rather than allowing them to be who they actually are.

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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