Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why has this been strictly a "man's world," up until very recently?

Asked by Dutchess_III (39545points) 1 month ago

Focusing on the US, why were women not even allowed to vote until 1918? Why was having a woman in a political office unheard of until quite recently? Why is having a woman as President still met with gasps of disbelief? Why, until recently, were women blamed for getting raped? Why was a man’s home his castle and what he said in his house went, period?

What power did men have over women, and over society, and how did they enforce it?

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66 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Violence, physical strength, testosterone, pregnancy (w. lack of good contaception & abortion tech), but also cultural traditions that go back to patriarchal religions (e.g. the Judeo-Christian god (current Christian radio still lectures women to obey their husbands even in dubious situations), there was a pre-Zeus version of the Greek pantheon where Hera was not mainly Zeus’ wife, etc…).

YARNLADY's avatar

It was partly due to women being “indisposed” periodically.

Dutchess_III's avatar

By pregnancy you mean @YARNLADY?

gorillapaws's avatar

In ancient society, it was critical to have women because they are the “bottleneck in child production” for your society. A relatively small number of men can produce many children very quickly, but you need women to carry and give birth to them over 9 months. This means men are mostly disposable and women are to be protected as a vital resource of the society. The consequences is that men tend to do the riskier jobs like hunting, scouting, making war, etc. By having fewer men though, you tend to naturally get a dominant, alpha-male, tribal leader (as with many species).

The concerns you have with the patriarchy in historical (and present—to a lesser degree) US culture are a cultural evolution from those earlier tribal dynamics dating back for tens of thousands of years.

mazingerz88's avatar

Men thinks women are weak and there is a male jelly here who thinks a female American president would prioritize the needs of other countries over her own.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, @gorillapaws and not only to give birth, but to keep them puppies alive for the first 10 years of their life, by which time she’s got 6 or 7 more coming up.
But how on earth did that translate into women not being able to have property of their own, or to be able to vote, or not to be taken seriously?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think it comes down to the alpha male controlling the women to maintain power. Women always know that a child is their offspring, and men can never really be truly certain (at least until DNA tests were invented). Because there is an instinctual fear that a man may be deceived into sharing his limited resources on a child that isn’t his, many societies have created rules (often via religion) to control women to limit that risk. What we experience today are the remnants of those forces at work.

seawulf575's avatar

I’ve never understood why we have the tradition of the woman taking the husband’s name after marriage. In a marriage, when there are children, they are born with the “family name”. But really, the only positive biological trace is through the woman. She can fool around and get pregnant and the child may not be the husband’s…but it is definitely the woman’s. As for why it is a man’s world, I would tend to agree with @gorillapaws. It started out with women having to be protected and provided for when they were having a family and carried forward. Add in a dash of religious belief and voila! you have a man’s world. I do, however, believe there are aspects of our culture that are not due to that. Most men are in the upper echelon of companies. I don’t attribute that to sexism any longer, though at one time it was there. But there are women that don’t want the jobs because they want to spend more time with their families or even having children. When a woman gets pregnant and takes time off for the pregnancy/delivery/adjustment, her male counterparts are often still at the job demonstrating their skills. When it comes time for promotion, the man often has more to put on a resume.
As for the idea that people gasp when the idea of a woman president is suggested, I disagree. I think most people don’t really care about the sex of the candidate, but they do care about their ideas and policies and history. For example, in the last presidential election I absolutely did not want Hillary as POTUS, but would have been fine with someone like Carly Fiorina. If a woman candidate is a strong leader and has what I consider a good vision for the future of this country I have no problem supporting them.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There is a group of people that read the Bible literally, and they would say that:

a) Adam was created before Eve and therefore men are considered primary (from the www.crossway.org web site:
“Scripture teaches that first the man was created by a direct divine act of creation and given the responsibility to lead; subsequently, the woman was created by God from the man (Gen 2:5–9) and for the man (Gen 2:18–20). He is to subdue the earth and is given the name “Adam,” which also serves as the name of the entire human race. God calls the man to account and holds him responsible for the fall.”

b) that Eve tricked Adam and therefore women cannot be trusted

my answer – evolution explains it. In just about all species from reptiles to primates to man, the male animal is the stronger one and the female weaker. Humans are, after all, currently at the top of the evolutionary ladder.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@elbanditoroso so it all comes down to brute strength? Not right or wrong or logic or intelligence? Just sheer animal strength?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I am not defending it. But if you look at evolutionary anthropology, especially for lower species, YES, it is animal strength.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Some courageous women discovered they could be independent, and things were never the same. I think divorce was a blessing to many people, and it changed things.

I was raised in church and never thought wife and mother were my only options. I also know many women who choose to stay home and have kids, even homeschhol. We have the choice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We do now. We didn’t always.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Children first. It’s a child’s world.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. It’s not. We should put them first, and I sure always tried to, but they are subject to what ever vagaries the parents throw down.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You should know this but…It’s called millions of years of evolution. The sheer brutality of survival necessitated making genders fill specific roles to accomplish the arduous task of raising young while fighting off the intense and beautiful malevolence of nature. So now we are a technological species and not so preoccupied with staying alive but with calmer, more domestic issues. Those millions of years where life held on by a string did not disappear overnight and in the grand scheme of things we have only been ahead of nature for a few moments. The genetic memory and the actual memory persist and will be transient for a long time even though we have gone from hunter-gatherer to walking on the moon in a blink of an eye. The fact that women are now able to run society with men means humanity is taking a big sigh of relief. It means that men may not be so disposable and women need not be so guarded. Far in the future If technology is our new niche eventually sexual dimorphism will likely be reversed in evolution.

JennWithOneN's avatar

The idea that masculinity inherently equates to more competence and power than femininity does

MrGrimm888's avatar

Operating under the assumption that men and women are of similar mental capacity, the only obvious difference is strength.

This thread leaves out an important issue. Most men, are ruled by other men. Women are not the only ones being oppressed. “Strength” can come in many forms, and it is frequently used to the benefit of the “strong.”

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Who promoted that idea and why did it stick for so long when it isn’t true @JennWithOneN? Why weren’t women able to convince a whole culture that they were more competent and smarter than men?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

And before that it was rich white men from nobility and the clergy and screw over everyone else.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Women aren’t smarter, or more capable than men. There should be little argument there. They are of similar intellect, but are clearly physically inferior. Those are the cards nature dealt…

kritiper's avatar

Up until recently, a woman was a possession. Someone to cook and clean for him. Someone for him to love and cherish…and boink once in a while, if he was lucky and she was willing…and he provided for him and the little woman by bringing home the bacon and protecting them both from the perils of life in general. They needed each other, and that was the power that held them together.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

It might be an off shoot of our cave man days. Where men were hunters and women gathered. It no longer applies.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_lll No, I meant monthly.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t read all the answers above.

Physical strength, lack of birth control, and religion.

I don’t think most men in America have a problem with a woman being president. Very few women have run for President, so there hasn’t been much possibility to vote for a woman. The popular vote went to Hillary, which means a lot of men voted for her. I think we should start giving men more credit.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@kritiper Isnt it nice to be wanted as opposed to needed? Liberating for men, too, since males arent seen just as providers but equal partners.

kritiper's avatar

@KNOWITALL We’ve come a long way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I know that about evolution, @ARE_you_kidding_me. And that is logical. My question is, more recently, how were entire civilizations brainwashed to believe women are not as intelligent or clever as men? That doesn’t have anything to do with strength and everything to do with psychology.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This speaks to my question perfectly. I fact checked this, and yes, the asshole really said this. So what is he so damned afraid of that he’s afraid to look us in the eyes and see us as equals?

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III If you were around back in those days with that attitude you would have died a lonely old spinster, shunned by all the townsfolk.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III there are other cultures where women are subservient and viewed as lesser people. Look at many of the strict Muslim nations. Look at some of the Asian societies. It still goes on today around the world.

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 “there are other cultures where women are subservient and viewed as lesser people. Look at many of the strict Muslim nations. Look at some of the Asian societies. It still goes on today around the world.”

Great points. One might even add that there are plenty of Christian communities in the US that do the same thing. Many advocate the abolition of birth control and abortion to try to shame and control women who can’t afford to travel to Canada for an abortion.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III In my answer. There was no male conspiracy to hold women down. Society grew out of the same culture that was shaped by evolution. Humans only recently have the time and resources to sit around and think about stuff.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Ribs are not a lesser cut of meat.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws The highest form of respect for females is to NOT murder them as babies.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL I would think the highest form of disrespect is to demean the word “baby” by applying it to zygotes and fetuses which have none of the features of a baby. It’s like equating an infant with a cum rag or a used tampon. Classy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Zygotes sure, but fetuses are people and have all the features of a baby. Justified or not late-term abortion is ending the life of a person.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me “fetuses are people and have all the features of a baby”

Do you believe in the right to “pull the plug” on someone who is brain dead? If so, why?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not anywhere near the same. Fetuses are not brain dead.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Pulling the plug is a form of killing as well for the record, still not the same though.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me They aren’t capable of higher thought, which means fetuses and brain dead humans are in the same category for me as far as personhood goes. It also means that objectively, fetuses and babies do not have the same features as you claim.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Higher thought does not happen until some future time after birth anyway. Even if you ignore that a fetus/baby will eventually develop it. A brain dead person that path does not exist. There is zero way to argue around fetuses being human. As you move back closer to conception that line gets blurry and disappears. Not the case late-term. I don’t understand why people refuse to admit it’s a type of murder. Dance around it all you want, call it what you want, define it however you want. I know what it really is.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me You are being fuzzy with your definitions. Person, human, and fetus all mean different things, so does the “potential for thought.” If “potential” is the standard, then we should consider every unfertilized ovum a murder. It’s disappointing that not only are anti-choice positions incapable of explaining these things, but they are so certain of their position that they assert that EVERYONE ELSE must also accept their position, despite their logically inconsistent position.

Imaging if I wanted the squirrel in my backyard to be considered a person in the eyes of the law. That would be crazy enough (especially if I couldn’t put together an argument that holds water). What’s even crazier would be to INSIST that everyone else in the country also acknowledge that the squirrel in my backyard is a person, and lock people in jail who didn’t treat it as a person.

Let’s not kid ourselves, abortion is about controlling women. It’s about telling them to “not be sluts or you’ll end up with kids you don’t want.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws It’s legal, over 58 million dead, you win. Congrats.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@seawulf575 and @kritiper…it is STILL going on today in the US. It’s not as blatant, but it’s still there. Look at the shit the women congressmen are having to put up with.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL “over 58 million dead”

Well if we’re talking about potential people, each ejaculation from a healthy male contains somewhere between 30 million and 500 million “potential people.” So your number is WAY low. How many of those do you think occurred yesterday alone? Each woman is born with about 1 million “potential people” and only ovulates about 300–400 over her lifetime. Each woman in the US has an average of 1.8 births per lifetime. That’s a lot of dead “potential people.”

We have 2 choices, recognize that the death of a potential person is normal, natural and not murder, or spend our lives in mourning for people that never were.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Person, human, and fetus all mean different things”
No they don’t, there is no inconsistancy all of those things are people. By your logic it’s ok to murder babies after birth because “they are not capable of higher level thought” A week or two before birth and a week or two after I can’t see much difference there. Really a longer interval than that is probably much closer to the truth if we are being honest. So where is the inconsistancy? You’re also fundamentally wrong about what opposition to late-term abortion is about. It is nothing to do with “controlling women” but stopping infanticide.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III you mean like Nancy Pelosi? Yeah, she suffers. Sorry, despite the tears that are brought on when inequality is mentioned, it is nothing like it was nor like it is in many other nations. Women are not property. You don’t have to cover your entire body except an eye-hole and walk 10’ behind your man. You are not sold because you are a girl child. And honestly, despite the cries about income inequality between men and women, they are actually paid about the same with the same opportunities for advancement. In fact, women have a leg up on getting hired and promoted due to “diversity” goals. The idea of a company risking a huge lawsuit by paying a woman less than a man for the same work and the same time in service is idiotic. I challenge you to show me one company that does that as a pay practice. It would result in costly lawsuits that the company would not be able to win.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I was thinking about Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and especially Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not Pelosi.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws You do not have enough knowledge of this subject to continue engaging in any kind of debate with me specifically, nor is this the thread to do so. I’ll leave you a hint, you can follow up or not. Peace.

“In 1970 after abortion was more widely legalized, some black militants named abortion specifically as part of the conspiracy theory.[6][7] Most African-American women were not convinced of a conspiracy, and rhetoric about race genocide faded.[8] However, in 1973, media revelations about decades of government-sponsored compulsory sterilization led some to say that this was part of a plan for black genocide.[9]”

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III and Harris, Warren and Cortez are suffering how, exactly? Are they getting blasted for saying stupid things? Sure. Are they held back from speaking? No. Are they paid differently? No. Did they have to get a larger percentage of votes compared to their male counterparts? No. Are they told they have to dress a certain way? No. Are there different rules for women in congress? No. In other words, they are treated exactly like their male counterparts. Are you suggesting we should treat women differently? Are you suggesting we should discriminate against men?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I agree with @seawulf575 here, some of these memes and jokes would not be happening if these ladies slowed down and stopped to think before speaking, rather than trying to be celebrities. That’s a bipartisan issue if ever there were one…lol

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL “You do not have enough knowledge of this subject to continue engaging in any kind of debate with me specifically,”

You do not have enough knowledge to formulate an argument that stands up to logical scrutiny.

”...nor is this the thread to do so.”

It’s a thread about why this world has been a “man’s world” until recently. A big part of that is controlling women. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that women began to experience more equality as they gained control of their reproductive systems via birth control and legal abortions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t say they are suffering @seawulf575. They’re strong women. I said they are being insulted left and right, called bimbos, airheads, all the names men have called women over the centuries in order to keep them quiet.
It’s not working any more.

I have to weigh in on the abortion issue. If it hadn’t been legal when I had mine in 1979, I was scared enough to have found a way, any way. Coat hanger, falling down the stairs, whatever.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, it is still going on. But that doesn’t address why it was going on back when, which was the point of your question. There may be many women who wish it had never changed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, depending on how far back you go, as folks said, evolution and sheer survival depended on the male.
But after we developed to a point where that was not the case any more, the reason why that original survival mechanism turned into belittling women and their intellectual capability hasn’t really been explained.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess So AOC can say any ignorant thing she wants and still deserves respect? Well then try to compliment Trump on something. Haha

Your story is sad, sorry you had to go through with that. It doesnt negate the fact that if you hadnt made that choice, that baby would be a grown person now. That is the tragedy. The loss of that life matters to some of us. That baby did nothing wrong to deserve death. Not even rapists and murderers get automatic death penalty.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL “It doesnt negate the fact that if you hadnt made that choice, that baby would be a grown person now.”

How the fuck can you possibly know that? 1–2 pregnancies in 10 miscarry. About 50% of zygotes miscarry. I can’t see how any rational person can possibly reconcile those facts with believing in the existence of God and also believing that abortion is wrong. Either (A) it’s wrong and God is a monster, (B) it’s not wrong, fetuses don’t count the same as an actual baby and God isn’t a monster, (C) or God doesn’t exist.

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gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL There are ~131,400,000 births per year globally. That means an equal number of zygotes miscarried last year alone. Assuming God exists and that he/she/it is all powerful, that would mean that God is responsible for that many zygote deaths per year (plus the 55.3 million people that die annually). If you want to consider zygotes as babies then God is a huge fan of infanticide. I’m not sure how you square that circle.

Perhaps you could read the Bible where it explicitly requires women to have abortions if she’s committed adultery:

“11 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, 13 if a man has had intercourse with her but it is hidden from her husband, so that she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her since she was not caught in the act; 14 if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself; or if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself; 15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.”

“16 Then the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord; 17 the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18 The priest shall set the woman before the Lord, dishevel the woman’s hair, and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. In his own hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse. 19 Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, “If no man has lain with you, if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings the curse. 20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has had intercourse with you,” 21 —let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse and say to the woman—“the Lord make you an execration and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge; 22 now may this water that brings the curse enter your bowels and make your womb discharge, your uterus drop!” And the woman shall say, “Amen. Amen.””

Maybe think about those facts and how there’s a good chance that you’re completely wrong on the subject morally, religiously, philosophically, and logically. Then maybe think about how making hurtful judgments on other people that are ignorant and false is probably not particularly compatible with Christianity: especially when Christ explicitly forbids judging other people. I personally think Christ would throw all of the anti-choice conservatives down the fucking temple steps along with the money-changers.

Furthermore, I think your comments prove a perfect example of how society controls women and tries to establish patriarchy—to bring the conversation back towards the original question. Look at that bible quote. Women guilty of adultery were required to have abortions. Women who were raped were married to their rapists (who had to pay the victim’s father 50 silver shekels). It’s all about gender, sexuality, power and control. Of course Christianity is far from unique here, but I do think it’s interesting to point out that these themes exist in American culture too—apparently by some people in this thread.

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seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_lll so they are being called names. Personally I think bimbo and airhead apply to most of them but not because they are women…because they are saying things and acting like bimbos and airheads.
But its interesting you think being called names is considered a form of prejudice. Does that mean Trump is being discriminated against? He has been called worse than airhead or bimbo almost every day since around May of 2016. Many on these pages use derogatory terms for him daily. People call McConnell a spineless wimp, Schiff a weasel…the list goes on. You are confusing public response to our elected leaders with discrimination. Get over it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am waiting to see how the newly elected congresswomen do before I rush to any conclusion. They just made it into office.
I also gave trump a chance. However, having gotten 2 years past the waiting point with trump, his words and actions justify whatever derision and contempt comes his way. Jesus. He can’t even spell the simplest of words, even with spell check!

@gorillapaws Interesting point. In my situation, I was actually on the verge of a miscarriage, but didn’t realize it…because I wasn’t experienced enough to recognize the signs. They were there. But I guess God decided to abort that zygote himself.

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