The Cougar and the Player

Looks like Dalrock is back – his latest post analyzes biological and societal pressures behind marriage statistics. One of the comments (here) reminded me of what may well be a “just so” story about sex roles in some Native American tribe or other: the menfolk’s jobs were (a) hunting buffalo and (b) tribal warfare. Period. Everything else? Was squaw work. Cooking, cleaning, setting up teepees, raising children, growing crops, everything.

Now, like I said, probably a Just So story. Western anthropology of living people is a little squirrely at the best of times, because people are people – and people lie. Trolling was not invented by the internet; aboriginal peoples have been doing that to European explorers since the invention of Western exploration – and no doubt the art of Making Up Tall Tales To Tell The Curious Stranger was invented right after the invention of language itself! Sarah Hoyt has even previously told of how in her Portuguese schoolgirl days, she and her cohort delighted in making up the most scandalous stories to tell the Official Statistics-taker.

But that’s what the comment reminded me of: the “noble savage” myth recreated in a technological society. The career woman supporting a male whose main contribution is even less than that of a tribal warrior and huntsman! And as much as feminists want all women to aspire to “breadwinner” status, the truth is a lot of women would much rather be provided for than providers, even if they did have the option and ability to be a provider whenever needed, so that they can do things that are more fulfilling, like raise children.

Of course, I’m not sure how much of that be-provided-for desire is an artifact of biological sex drives, and how much is a combination of natural human laziness being socially tolerated from women along with the destruction of the “cottage industry” as a mode of feminine empowerment. Modern urban and suburban lifestyles seem to have eliminated the idea of the household as an economic producer. However, there’s hope on the horizon – places like Etsy, the local-grown food movement, etc. seem to be bringing back a more personalized mode of production. Because really, women as paper-pushers is not exactly the fulfilling career that most of us want! Now if only we could get the government to stop rewarding the corporation and throwing obstacles in the way of people starting their own small businesses from home…


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