Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Another Sex Post

Of course, my posts about sex are remarkable in their complete lack of anything titillating. Here's a question that I have wondered about: Throughout most of human history, across most cultures, men have had more political power than women. Why is that? The easy answer is "because they were oppressed by men", but then the question, why were men able to get enough power to oppress women, in the first place? If you answer "because of cultural indoctrination", then that just brings up the question of why did male-dominating culture arise, in the first place? This is a Jared Diamond-like question (see "Guns, Germs and Steel" for a discussion of why Eurasia dominated the Americas, Australia, and Africa throughout much of history).

It seems like to me that there are a number of plausible explanations:
(1) Innate differences in inclinations, or levels of agression of men and women.
(2) The role of childbirth.
(3) The role of physical size and strength.

I've wondered how society would be different if there were no differences (on the average) between men and women in terms of physical size and strength. In today's world, strength has very little importance in how most of us perform our jobs, but the the strength difference between men and women still has a strong social effect. How would society be different if professional football players or muggers were as likely to be women as men?


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