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Thread: interesting about Paleolithic woman page

  1. #1
    TigerLily's Avatar
    TigerLily is offline Senior Member
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    interesting about Paleolithic woman

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    The Paleolithic period was likely the most gender-equal time in history.

    "Anthropologists have typically assumed that in Paleolithic societies, women were responsible for gathering wild plants and firewood, and men were responsible for hunting and scavenging dead animals. However, analogies to existent hunter-gatherer societies such as the Hadza people and the Australian aborigines suggest that the sexual division of labor in the Paleolithic was relatively flexible. Men may have participated in gathering plants, firewood and insects, and women may have procured small game animals for consumption and assisted men in driving herds of large game animals (such as woolly mammoths and deer) off cliffs. Additionally, recent research by anthropologist and archaeologist Steven Kuhn from the University of Arizona shows that this division of labor did not exist prior to the Upper Paleolithic and was invented relatively recently in human pre-history. Sexual division of labor may have been developed to allow humans to acquire food and other resources more efficiently. Possibly there was approximate parity between men and women during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, and that period may have been the most gender-equal time in human history. Archeological evidence from art and funerary rituals indicates that a number of individual women enjoyed seemingly high status in their communities, and it is likely that both sexes participated in decision making. The earliest known Paleolithic shaman (c. 30,000 BP) was female. Jared Diamond suggests that the status of women declined with the adoption of agriculture because women in farming societies typically have more pregnancies and are expected to do more demanding work than women in hunter-gatherer societies. Like most contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, Paleolithic and the Mesolithic groups probably followed mostly matrilineal and ambilineal descent patterns; patrilineal descent patterns were probably rarer than in the following Neolithic period."

    BTW, if you've not yet read "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race" by Jared Diamond, you must. The implications and impact upon women of going to an agrarian society cannot be understated.
    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

  2. #2
    lcme's Avatar
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    great post! Much needed balance in these forums in terms of "women shouldn't sprint and did more digging for roots"

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    PrimalWannabeGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lcme View Post
    great post! Much needed balance in these forums in terms of "women shouldn't sprint and did more digging for roots"
    I guess that was in response to my post on another thread. I would like to clarify because you seem to be misunderstanding what I wrote. I never said that "women shouldn't sprint." I did say that women in modern hunter-gatherer societies do relatively more long periods of carrying/walking/digging and chopping than sprinting or lifting heavy things (as we typically think of them).

    I post this after reading a number of ethnographies. If you go to the sources, you will see what I mean.


  5. #5
    lcme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimalWannabeGirl View Post
    I guess that was in response to my post on another thread. I would like to clarify because you seem to be misunderstanding what I wrote.
    I never read your initial comment, but I may have seen a response to it, which is why the wording made you to think that it was directed at you.

    I have seen similar sentiments quite often in the forums, and definitely from people who have not read ethnographies. I would argue though, that we did not evolve for these differences, that they are social. Therefore, both men and women could benefit from the various activities suggested by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, whether or not these tasks are traditionally carried out by men or women.

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    Mr.M's Avatar
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    Oh, didn't know the MSM was hitting up the forums - gender equality?

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    theholla's Avatar
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    Intriguing! And I totally agree that women should sprint and lift heavy things. A good workout is a good workout, regardless of whether it mimics a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and the benefits of interval and strength training are pretty much indisputable.

    This reminded me of an article I read on the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer group in Tanzania that are considered "living fossils." They do have sexual division of labor, but men and women share comparable status, and men's and women's work do have considerable overlap:

    Gender roles are distinct, but for women there is none of the forced subservience knit into many other cultures. A significant number of Hadza women who marry out of the group soon return, unwilling to accept bullying treatment. Among the Hadza, women are frequently the ones who initiate a breakup—woe to the man who proves himself an incompetent hunter or treats his wife poorly. In Onwas's camp, some of the loudest, brashest members were women. One in particular, Nduku, appointed herself my language teacher and spent a good percentage of every lesson teasing me mercilessly, often rolling around in laughter as I failed miserably at reproducing the distinct, tongue-tricky clicks.

    Hadza men usually forage individually, and during the course of day usually feed themselves while foraging, and also bring home some honey, fruit, or wild game when available. Women forage in larger parties, and usually bring home berries, baobab fruit, and tubers, depending on availability. Men and women also forage co-operatively for honey and fruit, and at least one adult male will usually accompany a group of foraging women[...]While men specialize in procuring meat, honey, and baobab fruit, women specialize in tubers, berries, and greens. This division of labor is rather apparent, but women will occasionally gather a small animal or egg, or gather honey, and men will occasionally bring a tuber or some berries back to camp.
    The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

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  8. #8
    MalPaz's Avatar
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    haha we will never know what women did....if you enjoy lifting, then lift. if you enjoy carrying around 5 lbs all day and 'gathering then do so!

  9. #9
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    The darkest of times for AlexB's male ancestors

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizch View Post
    the darkest of times for alexb's male ancestors :d

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