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Shift of Gender Roles
Transcript of Shift of Gender Roles
Was women's power enhanced by the agricultural revolution?
The argument of Lewis Henry Morgan and Friedrich Engels was based on the American Iroquois.
The Iroquois was a confederation of five nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca)
Hammurabi's code created in Mesoptamia around 1750 B.C. stated:
#141. If a man's wife, living in her husband's house, has persisted in going out, has acted the fool, has wasted her house, has belittled her husband , he shall prosecute her. If her husband has said, "I divorce her," she shall go her way; he shall give her nothing as her price of divorce. If her husband has said, "I will not divorce her," he may take another woman to wife; the first wife shall live as a slave in her husband's house.
#151. If a man had debt before he married a woman, his creditors can take his wife for payment. If a woman had debt before she married a man, her creditor shall not take her husband for it.
Restrictions on women combined with restrictions on sexuality increased with the Aryan conquest.
"She should do nothing independently even in her own house."
The depth of patriarchy can sometimes be measured by its attitude toward widows.
-They had little use and were sometimes expected to die with their husbands by jumping on husband's funeral pyre
The spread of patriarchy cause the prohibition on widow marriage to become increasingly prevalent
-Men increased their knowledge of wild animals while women developed the art of hoe farming.
-Gradually men learned to keep animals in controlled herds so that they would reproduce in captivity.
-Even more significantly men learn to use some of the animals (especially oxen) to plow large fields, whereas previously, women had only cultivated small plots by hand.
-The increased agricultural surplus was able to support human settlements that were more dense and complex than the Neolithic villiage.
"The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. The shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother. "
Fathers and Sons
Increasingly in plow-agricultural society, the patriarchal family replaced the matrilineal clan.
-Husbands exchanged their daughters, who then moved in as strangers
-Property was passed on to sons (so that the fathers could be sure that their sons were their own)
-A women's virginity at marriage and loyalty during marriage became a great concern
-The more property there was, the more elaborate the concerns
-Complex law codes developed that established a double standard for men and women
Iroquois were matriarchal, that is female dominated.
While matrilineal descent probable increased the agricultural revolution a majority of the agricultural societies remained partilineal.
Matrilineality did not guarantee female dominance.
Authority was often exercised by the mother's brother.
Matrilineality is often an indication of sexual equality.
Women And The Agricultural Revolution
Men were important in intertribal affairs. It was their responsibility for the hunt, warfare, and intertribal matters. Men took over when the "outside" concerns too precedence.
This occurred in periods of crisis, often brought on by invasion or prompted by the need to migrate.
Navaho society was similar. It was matrilineal (figuring inheritance from the mother) and matrilocal (husbands lived with their wives families)
Navaho men farmed
Navaho women made pottery and conducted rug and blanket weaving (more profitable)
Hoe farming and horticuluture gave women their status.
These settlements, with their high specialization of labor and leisure class, were the first great cities. In virtually every case these cities were more patriarchal than their predecessors.
Origins of the Patriarchy
Herders led a different lifestyle than those of the farmers
-Moved around frequently
-Had fewer permanent possessions
-Lives were harder and more violent
-Women lived with men
-Women were suboordinate
-2/3 of the modern pastoral tribes were patrilineal; fewer than 10 percent are matrilineal
The farm culture was more inventive and more complex than the pastoral culture.
Herders often raided agricultural settlements for food and women.
When the two cultures achieved a union, peacefully or by force, the men usually took over.
The marriage of these two cultures took thousands of years to occur.