Science has finally answered a woman’s age old question: Why do men exist? (Click) Apparently, nature opted for variation rather than replication and so the “X” chromosome gained the potential to become a “Y” chromosome, introducing competition. An amoeba, dividing endlessly, wouldn’t effect change and without change, there is no competition.
Since Nature’s fateful decision to create variation, women have been forced to consider not only the mystery of the “Y” chromosome but why they are continually obliged to “splain” themselves to men. Writer Rebecca Solnit, in a Huffington Post blog post, describes a frustrating evening with a misogynist male who kept recommending a book for her to read, one which she had authored. When she told him she had written the book, he fell into denial and went on recommending it to her throughout the evening. (Click)
On the subject of men and women, only extreme literalists cling to the fable of Adam and Eve as real, but it has set the tone throughout much political, social and religious thinking. Women are depicted as flawed creatures whom men are obliged to carry around like excess baggage. A man provides and a woman lies around perpetuating his genes. (“Shooting Down Man the Hunter,” by Rebecca Solnit, Harper’s June 2015 pg 5.)
A study by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas of the San, a Kalahari people who, until recently, had maintained their ancient ways, shows that the notion of male as hunter and woman as keeper of the hearth is a myth. Not only do San woman forage for food — fruits, nuts berries — but they hunt small animals as well. In other words, they bring home the bacon and fry it in a pan. A similar relationship exists with the Inuits, an Alaskan tribe dependent upon meat as their diet mainstay. Inuit women not only prepare the food and make clothing but they accompany the men on long hunting trips. The reason for their presence is simple: If a garment rips in sub zero temperatures and isn’t repaired, the hunter dies from exposure . (Ibid, pg. 6.)
During the Industrial Revolution, women who worked in the sweatshops were hardly sluggards. Nor are today’s women who labor in the same way in less developed nations. Agrarian economies tell the same tale. Besides their homemaking chores, women often worked in the fields alongside their husbands. That’s hardly being baggage.
As Sonit points out, only in the 1950-60s did women sit at home as ladies of leisure — if raising children and washing and ironing and fixing endless meals can be described as leisure. (Ibid pg 6.) Today, in the USA, 47% of the wage earners are woman, most of them working full time. (Ibid pg. 7.)
“Woman, thy name is frailty”? (Hamlet, I, ii) Anyone who believes that shtick should think again. If women weren’t strong enough to bear labor pains, men wouldn’t exist.