Monday, December 11, 2006

Neandertal ≠ Chauvinist

In their recent Current Anthropology article, Khun and Steiner suggest that one of the important behavioral differences between Neandertal and modern humans was the development of gender-based division of labour. While many of the implications and predictions of this theory are discussed in the comments and reply section, there is an important corollary which the research and debate neglected to mention:

Neandertals are not sexist.

This is an important point. In contemporary western society the (stereo)typical liberal feminist spokeswoman will often place herself at odds with those of us who are block-headed, flesh-eating primitives with a genome that is 50,000 years out of date.

Ladies Females, we are not the enemy. We possess neither the cultural sophistication nor the hierarchical mindset necessary to associate roles and gender. As far as we are concerned, anyone- man, woman, or child- can make a living spearing buffalo, working in a sweatshop, or building mass spectrometers. So cut us some slack.

The bigots you want to look out for are the hairless, gracile, anatomically modern boys; the ones with complexity and sophistication. Those males will gladly pigeonhole you into roles such as gatherer, secretary, or permanent adjunct. It is the natural consequence of their compartmentalized worldview, which includes such trivialities as artistic expression, a varied, vegetable-rich diet, and projectile weaponry. But you don’t have to put up with it; we Neandertals are far more egalitarian. As long as you don’t mind killing megafauna for a living, y’all are welcome to join our hunting party department on equal and unbiased terms.

One final point: Please cease comparing offensively primitive males to cavemen. Caveman is an imprecise term, as caves have been used for shelter throughout hominid evolution. Specifically, in the European context, it can refer to either a dinky-di, non-judgmental Neandertal, or a cave-painting, patriarchal Cro-magnon. We prefer not to be associated with such avant-garde Frenchmen.

1 comment:

Andrew Ironwood said...

[gives big thumbs up, just like Buddy Jesus...]