Would women be any better in charge?(11 Posts)
Forgive me, a bit of a GF title I admit! But please bear with me - and excuse the crude explanation and hopefully I'll make some sense!
As I'm sure many here may agree, arguably, a lot of the problems of the world seem to originate from straight-white-men in power.
When in power, they seem to do things like throw their weight around, start wars, invent, exploit and develop capitalism, plunder our natural resources and let their old boys networks get in the way of progress - this - if you have time to read it, is an incredible example of how the influence of three men and their mutual backslapping have led to the perversion of scientific truth and a global health disaster affecting millions.
It seems to me that if women had the power, things could be much better!
But even if things were better with women in charge at first, would it stay like that as we got used to being dominant?
Has it maybe benefited women socially to learn empathy, tolerance of others, negotiation etc partly because we've had less access to power? (Rather than us having less power as a result of these attributes).
Does power always corrupt people? If women were the default gender in power, over time would we start becoming like the men in power now? (Animal Farm popping into my head now!)
Is the underlying issue our systems of power and their corrupting force? If we do ever manage to smash the patriarchy, might a new power elite develop based on some other attribute, and be just as bad? Because if we're aiming for equality of genders i power that's great, but if it's power that corrupts then they'll all end up just as corrupt! Is there a cooperative model that tackles this?
What comes after the patriachy? (Is this similar to what comes after capitalism?)
If anyone's still with me, thank you! I'd love to know what you think.
(Forgive me if this is old hat, it's new to me!)
First of all, women are not a gender, but a sex. This is important to keep in mind, because this is all about biology, not identity.
Men oppress women to exploit our ability to bear children.
That's why men oppress women and not the other way round.
Women have no need to enslave men to ensure that the children we raise are our own.
There are theories that all other systems of oppression are built on, and dependent on the oppression of women.
A father claiming ownership of children because he happens to be married to (own) the woman who gave birth to them is very similar to a nobleman demanding all the profits generated by the work of others on land that he proclaimed to be "his" land, even though he never worked hard to earn it.
If you risk your life to give birth to a child, you won't risk this child's life for a war just because you think war is fun.
If all countries on earth were ruled by women, then one of the most common reasons for war, the need to obtain more land for a growing population, would not exist anymore.
Most women do not want to be pregnant all the time.
So, no, women would not behave the same as men.
Which is likely the reason why most cultures left on earth are very patriarchal, and those that (allegedly) aren't are tiny isolated island tribes whose existence was unknown to science (and patriarchy) until recently.
I think the other way around, that as 'women' is a gendered role that has become less about overt political, military and economic power, that if women take on the traditionally gendered male roles of power then I don't think there would be much difference.
It depends also on what type of woman gets into power..more likely to be a person obsessed with power, and so we would be back to the same patterns.
The ideas that the least powerful sex would behave in similar ways that gain power without overt power, if they had overtly powerful roles, is interesting to think about.
However if women in authority all behaved like my current boss does, it would be a fucking game playing bullying, lying and confusing power game mess, so go figure.
Vestal. I love your reply. I completely agree.
As a man I have always believed women to be more humane. But that's problematic isn't it? You then fall into the trap of accepting the patriarchal concept of femininity: that women are inherently more nurturing/emotionally advanced etc. That doesn't explain female abusers, murderers, Lindsey England, Margaret Thatcher etc. It is a bit of double-bind. I half agree with Vestal and half with Lanark. On the whole things would be better if women were in charge, but at the same time there is no theoretical reason why an individual woman might not abuse power if given the opportunity and cultural legitimacy.
I think a more interesting way to put it is this:
Currently we take one characteristic - the ability to bear children - and divide the human race based on that characteristic, giving more power to the group that doesn't bear children than to the group that does.
So currently we have a society where 50% of the population is disadvantaged from birth, based on a characteristic they can't control.
What would happen if we stopped doing that?
Well it seems blindingly obvious to me that if you tell one group of people that they have an automatic right of power and that they can disregard the rights of another group based on a particular characteristic that that's going to lead to some nasty shit.
So if we stopped doing that, a lot of the nasty shit would stop.
I've read every single theory in existence about the origins of misogyny and I still felt like something was missing. And then I learnt about sexual aggression in our close primate cousins and I had an epiphany: it's all about biology, or rather zoology.
Male chimps, baboons and gorillas employ exactly the same tactics to dominate their females as human males:
~various types of coercion into mating (ranging from imposing costs such as preventing them from visiting their relatives from other groups, systematic attacks (sustained over weeks) to force them to go on solo mating trips, to outright rape)
~threatening, killing and dismembering their children
~random violence when male chimps start growing muscle in adolescence, but don't need sexual access yet
Gorillas are the absolute freaking worst at this. They groom, threaten and attack the females in their harem from a very young age to scare them into complacence in adulthood. If they catch a female mating with another male, she gets viciously attacked and sometimes killed.
There's a also a distinct difference in how male chimps express dominance vs how females do in the chimp hierarchy. Females dominate other females for practical reasons such as food, whereas males do it just for the hell of it (so they're like human male sociopaths/psychopaths in political power).
It's all about biology, baby, and it's eerie and very, very sad. Basically, our males don't seem to have evolved far past their chimp cousins, but they exercise this sociopathy and misogyny on a global scale thanks to our huge brains.
But there's a light at the end of the tunnel in the shape of bonobos - the hippie monkeys. Here the women lead and everyone has LOTS and lots of satisfying and varied sex. It's a matriarchal, peaceful species where the females form bonds with other females via lesbian sex (rubbing their clits together). The females are fertile only once every 5 years.
Male bonobos still sometimes attempt aggression but the females deal with it by encouraging them to have sex with each other. If that doesn't help - they get cast out of the tribe.The males learn grooming behaviours for social cohesion and are dependent on their mother (!!!) for their social rank.
So my vote is - no, a female-led world would not be the basket-case that our current one is. Overpopulation problems would disappear overnight, as they only exist because of men owning women's bodies and using them as fuck-toys despite devastating consequences. National leaders would be having toe-curling lesbian sex to solve conflicts. Children would be very well-spaced and no one would care about who the father is.
Well, it's good to dream anyway ...
"currently we have a society where 50% of the population is disadvantaged from birth, based on a characteristic they can't control."
It's much less than 50% thanks to 163 million missing women via female infanticide, foeticide and childhood neglect. There A LOT more men in this world and there always have been during recorded history. I wonder why baby girls aren't considered slain soldiers? There is a global war being waged against them by adult males, and they have no chance of resistance.
Possibility not. We'd have a different set of problems I think.
Interesting and very sad reading Ava.
There's a novel by Naomi Alderman called The Power which follows the shift of physical dominance from men to women and how it plays out. It sounds very interesting. Has anyone read it?
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