In discussing Soul Made Flesh this past Wednesday morning in PZ’s neurobiology class, I brought up what I thought to be an interesting, though somewhat tangential, point. Zimmer mentioned Anne Conway and how ambitious she was in her studies despite not being allowed to attend a university. The fact that females were not given the same opportunities throughout history is something I remember learning about in grade school. But where did the ideology that females are inferior to males begin?
One of my fellow students argued that because females give birth they were probably not expected to hunt and gather food while they were pregnant. I thought about this and although I don’t know for sure, in early civilizations females probably tended fields and gathered crop until while pregnant until they were no longer physically able to, returning to the fields as soon as they recovered from the stress of giving birth. Males, meanwhile, tended to be stronger and did not have to give birth to maintain their population.
Another thought that I had on this topic was that male aggression and anger tendencies probably have something to with the ambition to control their domain. Considering male influence in government, it would be interesting to see the effects of a female United States president. There have been several queens as well as kings in European countries over the last thousand years. Is there a difference in how a country operates that is dependent on the gender of its leader?
Things seem to be much different today than they were a hundred years ago. Females driving, voting, becoming doctors, and all these things that would have been unheard of. Are males falling behind and if they do will females dominate males? Is society moving toward a codominance of gender? There is plenty of debate on this topic and I’m sure it won’t be resolved anytime soon.
Zimmer, Carl. 2004. Soul Made Flesh. Free Press, New York, NY.