Owning as cultural baggage (was: Is Eugenics Really A Bad Thing?)

From: Amara Graps (amara@amara.com)
Date: Thu Jul 06 2000 - 14:52:29 MDT

From: altamira (altamira@ecpi.com), Sat, 1 Jul 2000:

> Another thing Miller questioned was the assumption that
> Pleistocene women NEEDED defending by men. More likely they
> lived together in groups of several women with their kids.
> I've gotten in big trouble and been called a man-basher and
> worse for saying this, but the fact is that while I adore
> men as friends and lovers, I prefer women as house-mates.
> For one thing, they don't try to own me. But the owning
> thing may be cultural rather than hard-wired.

I would be interested to know if the "owning" is hardwired too!

Personally, I was not fond of the label "wife", when I was married,
because of all of the attached cultural baggage (neutral descriptions
like "spouse" were fine).

On an issue like "owning", I think it's many-layered, and one might
want to try to separate the:

* hardwired aspect
* personal preference aspect
* cultural aspect
* government aspect
    (if the two have a legal arrangement i.e. legal marriage)

and then see where the "owning" come from. I suspect the
cultural aspect is very big.

It's hard to get past heavy cultural conditioning. Many younger
girls (for example: teenage) are conditioned that one of their life
goals "should" be to get married and raise a family. This
conditioning could be (and often is) at odds with the goal of
building a career. The conditioning can go deep for the girl too, in
this way: "I am not a whole person unless I have a husband." Or "His
career is more important than my career."

I think that one can "de-condition" oneself in the cultural aspect
of the gender-roles in living together relationships, but because
the roles played are often played unconsciously, "de-conditioning"
oneself is hard work. One has to be ultra-aware to catch oneself
playing those roles. I know that I fell into a lot of traps where I
was playing roles that were based on some cultural biases, and many
of those roles were not beneficial to me.

Some communities that I'm curious about for living together
relationships are the gay and lesbian communities. Do specfic roles
exist for each person in those partnerships? What are they, and how
are they defined? I would guess that there is less cultural baggage
for how a person would behave in those relationships. It may
even be refreshing for those folks that they can start with a slate
free from cultural biases of relationship roles.

Damien Broderick (d.broderick@english.unimelb.edu.au), Sun, 02 Jul 2000

> Yeah - after the longest time, we're very belatedly starting
> to escape from the almost universal cultural rule that men
> own women.

> There's been a lot of woo-woo bullshit mythologising of the
> wondrous sexual equality of `primitive' cultures [...]
> But the evidence is that these archaic cultures were brutally
> patrist anyway.

In what time frame are you referring?

I agree with you, but we should probably state the time periods. The
matriarchal cultures existed some many thousands of years ago, and I
read that it really flourished between 3000 and 1200 B.C. in Sumer,
Egypt, and the Mediterranean basin. The patriarchal cultures, then
began to dominate couple of thousand years ago.

> Women had a tough time, unless they knuckled under. It's not
> an accident that so many legends and folk tales in so many
> cultures are about rape and other sexual property
> infringements...

Yes, and in the cultural traditions and religious worship, it happened
slowly. Between 2000 and 1600 B.C., the Indo-European warrior tribes,
the "Aryans", migrated southward into the Aegean peninsula, bringing
with them their hunting gods and sky gods. But instead of simply wiping
out the existing religions, they "fused" their religious culture into
the existing culture, gradually transforming it, and turning it into
a hybridization of two different symbolic systems. So, for example,
Zeus married Hera, and seduced (raped) hundreds of other goddeses
and nymphs to establish himself.

Maybe because the mythical transformations happened so slowly, the
people (women) then didn't notice or protest.

And some of the mythical transformations were a little bit bizarre.
Athena, the Old European Bird Goddess, was eventually transformed
into a militarized figure carrying a shield and wearing a helmet,
and in the later myths she was born from the head of Zeus. Other
goddesses who, before, could create on their own without help from
the male deities, gradually changed into brides, wives, and
daughters who could only create after intercourse with a god.

I think Grimm's German tales are particularly interesting. They have
a lot of prehistoric motifs of the White Winter Goddess (the White
Lady, "Death", poisonous snake, bird-of-prey, those shuddering
images with bone and white colors), but she is transformed into an
old hag with a long nose, large teeth, disheveled hair. I read that
the Brothers Grimm were suspected to "purify" their stories to follow
the Christian traditions. So ancient pagan symbols are overlaid with
Christian symbols: an old healer would become an evil witch, a spirit
became an angel, an initiation veil became a handkerchief, a child
named Beautiful (customary name for a child born during Solstice)
was renamed to be Schmerzenreich: Sorrowful. Helping creatures and
animals were transformed into demons.


Amara Graps email: amara@amara.com
Computational Physics vita: finger agraps@shell5.ba.best.com
Multiplex Answers URL: http://www.amara.com/
"Sometimes I think I understand everything. Then I regain
consciousness." --Ashleigh Brilliant

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