No this is not about astronomy, nor about astrology. This is about alledged differences between the genders. Oh, there are differences, all right. Some are physical and some are cultural, but what defines the differences between sexes?  Our hormonal levels define a lot of differences between individuals and we can safely say, that statistically women belong to one physiological group of hormonal activity and men to a nother. 

It is very hard to break the bonds of who you are, and most of us there is no need. We expect to be defined by our gender since our culture teaches us that it is an important nominator. But no matter how conservative our backround culture is, things have not been as they are allways, and if they have changed before they might just change today also.

Of lately there has been a lot of publicity to such amateur evolutionist claims that go a long way to explain our behaviourial models by explaining them through these presumed roles of the genders in so to speak natural state of human society as hunter-gatherers. Most of what I have run into in this field is total crap.

The typical presumed natural state of human society during the tens of thousands of years of stone age is that men were hunters and women were gatherers and took care of the children. This supposedly goes to explain a legion of cultural and physiological differences between the sexes. To me it seems obvious that such claims often come from a world view, where a person explains his/her own values as the most natural set for human society, by cherry picking the phenomenons from some superficial ethnographical material, or even a common myth about the ancient lives of people to support why things should be as they are in their own set of values.

While it is natural to think, that women have taken care of the very youngest children until they have grown old enough to take care of themselves, it is a silly notion that the women of hunter gatherer socities would have as a result been somehow pressed between the “cave and the fireplace”. It is jumping to a very specific conclusion. While such examples are abundant in ethnographic material from hunter-gatherer societies, one must remember that it is not such a straight forward phenomenon. For example, the Aboriginal societes of the Native Australians were formed around very much around a family group of a matriach and a group of women. The roles of women especially before they married have been much more wide ranging, in a number of cultures. The division to men and women other than in sexual terms, is much more severe in some cultures than in others. While the roles of boys and girls may have often been teaching them to learn the ways of their adulthood, they may just as well have been un gender related. It is typical that even in many farming societies, where the working roles of men and women have been distinguished from each other, the taking care of little children has not been seen as womens work, but as work for the adolescent kids regardles fo their respective gender.

Several hunter gatherer societies around the world have been known to have been active in birth controll, because their lifestyle does not tolerate ever expanding growthrate of population. Wich leads us to the interresting question of morals. Social morals, how we percieve what is right or wrong and what is appropriate, or not, is often seen as a self evident truth within any particular society. Commands from authority such as a deity, or traditional customs a person would not try to challenge. Yet, exeptions are abundant.

For example, if the ancient people used to expose children to the elements and in the process they killed them, do we have a right to judge them? Or is it totally culturally relativistic to try and understand that letting one child die might mean life to others in their economical situations? What about the children they left to die because they were deformed? Should we not abhorr such fascistic and utilitarian attitudes? Wich holy book defines was it right or wrong from them? Is that an arbitrary divine command from authority wich says wether it was right or wrong?

In my opinion, the ethics of the matter are, that their behaviour was naturally ethical, if they decided to expose the newborn to limit their population growth when they had to, but it was not ethical even, if it was moral in their culture, if it was not necessary. Remember they could have had divine arbitrary commands to act the way they did. 

What about the so called mothers instinct? Is it really stronger than a fathers instinct? Is there no such thing as fathers instinct? Is it really a genetic code that a mother would be more inclined to sacrifice herself for the offspring than the father? I doubt it. If that were so, then would it not be foremostly the mothers who go to wars? Are wars not a phenomenon in our culture that are fought to secure the future generations. A situation where an individual sets himself in a great personal risk to benefit the society. From my point of view these are cultural models where our natural inclinations have been culturally diverted into gender roles. Ever since the invention of a bow, women have been quite capable of waging war. Is it their role to take care of the kids that has kept them from the battlefields? Or is it their somehow more gentler attitude towards life as also sometimes alledged? Is it just the need to compete and testosterone that leads men to conflict between social groups? Do women not compete and if they do not is it more because of some genetic code, or because it is a general trait in human societies to encourage competiveness between male children but not between female children? We all know very competetive women and quite uncompetetive men. Right?

Historical claim and archaelogical sources confirm, that the Sarmatian nomad women used to ride as hunters, herders and warriors before they got married and started having children. The point of this is not that women were automatically emancipated, or equal with men in that society. We simply do not know how they percieved such things. Perhaps their societies were even mathriarchal. Wich society is run and lead by the most able bodied young men? Most often the leaders are people who do not take part in the action themselves.

 The point is that, because of our own cultural history and context, we tend to look at things and social roles through gender, while often even in our own society, even in the traditional cultural heritage, people are not seen simply as representatives of their respective genders, but through a completely different set of nominators, among wich the gender is secondary, or not even noticed.

The emancipation of women and feminism in western society is much still suffragetic. That means that the values against wich these ideals have risen are a very specific set of a very specific social group wich happened to run the western society and take the opression into extremes. It is only natural that educated women were the first to rise against opression, but at the same time it was natural that the opression they faced was the kind their own social class was most familiar with. The bourgearistic lifestyle of the industrial revolution was the privilege of a very small portion of population even in the western culture.

The wealthy men who did not engage in work requiring great physical strength started to claim, that men were not only physically but also mentally stronger than women and at the same time they tried to be chivalric enough to support their families economically. They had a cultural heritage from generations of older men, who had set themselves on top of society by games of wealth. Basicly, the role of rich and later middle class women as housewives was a competition between the boys about their own wealth. However, at the same time women have all the time been at least half of all the labour force in the world.

We do take so much as granted. The biggest differences between human individuals are not in their race, gender, or even culture, but between individuals. We are products of these factors, but none of them nominates what we are. We are what we choose to be. At least if we form societies where we define right and wrong according to ethics and not according to some arbitrary rules from authority.