F Rosa Rubicondior: Creationism in Crisis - Women Hunted Too - Before Man-Made Religion Assigned Them a 'God-Given' Role

Sunday 22 October 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Women Hunted Too - Before Man-Made Religion Assigned Them a 'God-Given' Role

Woman the hunter | UDaily

Sarah Lacey, an anthropologist with Delaware University, USA, believes she has found evidence that, in hunter-gatherer societies, in contradiction to the traditional view which has men as the hunters and women as the gatherers, in fact, women played their part as hunters too.

This was before their assumed gender roles became formalised by religions which provided men with the excuses they needed to control women by declaring that 'God' had assigned them roles as man's 'help meet' and so subservient to men. Women were instructed that they should be obedient to a man's demands and fill the role of sex-slave, housekeeper and cook, because God said so:
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2: 21-24

GENE 3.15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. GENE 3.16. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3: 15-16
As I related in my book, A History of Ireland: How Religion Poisoned Everything, in pre-Christian Gaelic society, under the 'Brehon Law' women had equal rights to men and could adopt leadership roles, own property and divorce abusive or unfaithful husbands - rights that were systematically stripped from them under the influence of Patricus (St Patrick, first bishop of Armagh), when he called an all-male meeting of Gaelic tribal petty kings and declared those rights to be contrary to God's Law in the Bible, and women should henceforth be subservient and obedient to men and never be in a position of leadership over them.
St. Patrick is reputedly responsible for abolishing the Brehon law or rather with integrating it with Christian Law by going through it line by line with a convention of tribal chiefs called for the purpose and striking out anything which did not accord with the Bible. Brehon law, from the Irish ‘breithim’ meaning ‘a judge’ was the system of law in use in Gaelic Ireland since ancient times – a Celtic Common Law, necessary to settle disputes between residents of different petty kingdoms or different tribal traditions. One effect of this was to reduce the status of women; depriving them of many of the rights they held under Brehon law, such as the right to divorce their husband, to own property and to occupy positions of leadership. St. Patrick’s brand of Christianity was to be strictly hierarchical, patriarchal and misogynistic, in line with the Bible and the teachings of St. Paul, although there were deviations from strict cannon law. Divorce, for example, though no longer available on demand, could still be granted for a wide variety of reasons (4).

Sarah Lacy, with her colleague, anthropologist Cara Ocobock, from the University of Notre Dame, have published their research in two papers in the journal American Anthropologist and an article in Scientific American. A news release from Delaware University explains their work:
UD anthropology professor rebukes notion that only men were hunters in ancient times

It’s a familiar story to many of us: In prehistoric times, men were hunters and women were gatherers. Women were not physically capable of hunting because their anatomy was different from men. And because men were hunters, they drove human evolution.

But that story’s not true, according to research by University of Delaware anthropology professor Sarah Lacy, which was recently published in Scientific American and in two papers in the journal American Anthropologist.

Lacy and her colleague Cara Ocobock from the University of Notre Dame examined the division of labor according to sex during the Paleolithic era, approximately 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago. Through a review of current archaeological evidence and literature, they found little evidence to support the idea that roles were assigned specifically to each sex. The team also looked at female physiology and found that women were not only physically capable of being hunters, but that there is little evidence to support that they were not hunting.

Lacy is a biological anthropologist who studies the health of early humans, and Ocobock is a physiologist who makes analogies between modern day and the fossil record. Friends in graduate school, they collaborated after “complaining about a number of papers that had come out that used this default null hypothesis that cavemen had strong gendered division of labor, the males hunt, females gather things. We were like, ‘Why is that the default? We have so much evidence that that's not the case,’” Lacy said.

The researchers found examples of equality for both sexes in ancient tools, diet, art, burials and anatomy.

People found things in the past and they just automatically gendered them male and didn't acknowledge the fact that everyone we found in the past has these markers, whether in their bones or in stone tools that are being placed in their burials. We can't really tell who made what, right? We can't say, ‘Oh, only males flintknap,’ because there's no signature left on the stone tool that tells us who made it. But from what evidence we do have, there appears to be almost no sex differences in roles.

Sarah Lacy (referring to the method by which stone tools were made.
The team also examined the question of whether anatomical and physiological differences between men and women prevented women from hunting. They found that men have an advantage over women in activities requiring speed and power, such as sprinting and throwing, but that women have an advantage over men in activities requiring endurance, such as running. Both sets of activities were essential to hunting in ancient times.

The team highlighted the role of the hormone estrogen, which is more prominent in women than men, as a key component in conferring that advantage. Estrogen can increase fat metabolism, which gives muscles a longer-lasting energy source and can regulate muscle breakdown, preventing muscles from wearing down. Scientists have traced estrogen receptors, proteins that direct the hormone to the right place in the body, back to 600 million years ago.

When we take a deeper look at the anatomy and the modern physiology and then actually look at the skeletal remains of ancient people, there's no difference in trauma patterns between males and females, because they're doing the same activities.

Sarah Lacy.
During the Paleolithic era, most people lived in small groups. To Lacy, the idea that only part of the group would hunt didn’t make sense.

You live in such a small society. You have to be really, really flexible. Everyone has to be able to pick up any role at any time. It just seems like the obvious thing, but people weren't taking it that way.

Sarah Lacy.
Man the Hunter

The theory of men as hunters and women as gatherers first gained notoriety in 1968, when anthropologists Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore published Man the Hunter, a collection of scholarly papers presented at a symposium in 1966. The authors made the case that hunting advanced human evolution by adding meat to prehistoric diets, contributing to the growth of bigger brains, compared to our primate cousins. The authors assumed all hunters were male.

Lacy points to that gender bias by previous scholars as a reason why the concept became widely accepted in academia, eventually spreading to popular culture. Television cartoons, feature films, museum exhibits and textbooks reinforced the idea. When female scholars published research to the contrary, their work was largely ignored or devalued.

There were women who were publishing about this in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, but their work kept getting relegated to, ‘Oh, that's a feminist critique or a feminist approach. This was before any of the work on genetics and a lot of the work on physiology and the role of estrogen had come out. We wanted to both lift back up the arguments that they had already made and add to it all the new stuff.

Sarah Lacy.
Lacy said the “man the hunter” theory continues to influence the discipline. While she acknowledges that much more research needs to be done about the lives of prehistoric people — especially women — she hopes her view that labor was divided among both sexes will become the default approach for research in the future.

For 3 million years, males and females both participated in subsistence gathering for their communities, and dependence on meat and hunting was driven by both sexes, Lacy said.

It's not something that only men did and that therefore male behavior drove evolution. What we take as de facto gender roles today are not inherent, do not characterize our ancestors. We were a very egalitarian species for millions of years in many ways.

Sarah Lacy.
Credit: Violet Isabelle Frances for Bryan Christie Design
The anthropologists' papers in American Anthropologist deal with the archaeological evidence and the physiological evidence respectively for woman the hunter:

The Paleo-fantasy of a deep history to a sexual division of labor, often described as “Man the Hunter and Woman the Gatherer,” continues to dominate the literature. We see it used as the default hypothesis in anatomical and physiological reconstructions of the past as well as studies of modern people evoking evolutionary explanations. However, the idea of a strict sexual labor division in the Paleolithic is an assumption with little supporting evidence, which reflects a failure to question how modern gender roles color our reconstructions of the past. Here we present examples to support women's roles as hunters in the past as well as challenge oft-cited interpretations of the material culture. Such evidence includes stone tool function, diet, art, anatomy and paleopathology, and burials. By pulling together the current state of the archaeological evidence along with the modern human physiology presented in the accompanying paper (Ocobock and Lacy, this issue), we argue that not only are women well-suited to endurance activities like hunting, but there is little evidence to support that they were not hunting in the Paleolithic. Going forward, paleoanthropology should embrace the idea that all sexes contributed equally to life in the past, including via hunting activities


Myths of “Man the Hunter” and male biological superiority persist in interpretations and reconstructions of human evolution. Although there are uncontroversial average biological differences between females and males, the potential physiological advantages females may possess are less well-known and less well-studied. Here we review and present emerging physiological evidence that females may be metabolically better suited for endurance activities such as running, which could have profound implications for understanding subsistence capabilities and patterns in the past. We discuss the role of estrogen and adiponectin as respective key modulators of glucose and fat metabolism, both of which are critical fuels during long endurance activities. We also discuss how differences in overall body composition, muscle fiber composition, the metabolic cost of load carrying, and self-pacing may provide females with increased endurance capacities. Highlighting these potential advantages provides a physiological framework that complements existing archaeological (Lacy and Ocobock, this issue) and cultural work reassessing female endurance and hunting capabilities as well as the sexual division of labor. Such a holistic approach is critical to amending our current understanding of hu(wo)man evolution.

That proclaimed 'God-given' (read: 'Made up by men') assignment of gender roles with women as the inferior sex, has been so deeply embedded in western culture and cultures derived from Judeo-Christian traditions, that in all seriousness, American fundamentalist Christians can produce this in the form of advice the a Christian husband on his sexual relationship with 'his' wife:

From: A Christian Guide to Making Your Wife Have Sex:
Christian Husbands – let me be crystal clear here. The situation I am addressing in this post is not your wife occasionally turning you down for sex (even with a bad attitude, as opposed to for health or other legitimate reasons). What I am addressing here is the wife who consistently and routinely denies her husband sexually simply because she does not need sex as much or she thinks she should not have to do it except when she is in the mood or she thinks her husband should have to earn sex with her by “putting her in the mood” by doing various things she expects or likes...

For all of the “Rape Accusers” out there, especially the ones that are hurling applications of domestic violence laws at me – I have written a special post just for you. It is entitled “The Frustrated Feminist Wife“.

In two previous posts in this series I addressed these key issues:

In “Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!” we established this Biblical principle:

Neither the husband, nor the wife have to earn sex in marriage.

A wife cannot flatly refuse her husband, she may only ask for a delay (a raincheck) and then she needs to make good on that raincheck as soon as possible.

A husband has the right to confront his wife’s sexual refusal as a sin not only against him, but also against God.

In “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” I elaborated further on this subject of sexual refusal in marriage with these principles:

A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.

A husband needs to use prayerful discernment to discover if her reasons for “not being in the mood” are for legitimate physical or mental health reasons or if the problem is wrong thinking and wrong attitude on the part of his wife. If her reasons are legitimate, then she needs to seek medical or psychological help as soon as possible...

Let me be clear on something, even if you do follow the steps below I give, this does not automatically mean you will get a change from your wife, or her repentance for her sexual immorality. And yes my friend it is sexually immoral for a wife (or husband for that matter) to deny their spouse sexually unless they have a legitimate physical or mental health grounds for doing so. Most people think of sexual immorality as only someone having sex outside marriage (pre-marital sex, adultery, incest, homosexual sex). But remember that when something is immoral, that means it is sin, and we know that sexual denial in marriage is sin, therefore it is accurate to call willful sexual denial in marriage an act of sexual immorality...

I am here to tell you there is something more you can and should do. You need to call out your wife’s sin for exactly what it is – sexual immorality.

Now that you know what you are fighting against you need to know what this fight might cost you. It may end with her walking out and possibly divorcing you. You must be prepared to do what is right, no matter what the cost...

As I said in previous posts – God wants sex in your marriage, your desire for sex in your marriage is not a sin, but rather it is a gift from God. My Pastor often says God put a desire in men and a command toward men that they be “intoxicated” or “ravished” by their wife’s body...

Your desire for your wife is not the sin, but instead it is your wife’s sinful sexual refusal that must be confronted...

8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal

  1. Rebuke her privately.
  2. Stop taking her on dates or trips.
  3. No unnecessary household upgrades.
  4. Stop doing the little extra things.
  5. Remove her funding.
  6. Rebuke her before witnesses.
  7. Bring her before the Church.

  8. And if none of these work:
  9. You have the option to divorce her for her sexual immorality.
From: Biblical Gender Roles: Finding God's Purpose For Your Life In Your Gender.
"You don't pay for milk when you own the cow", probably sums up how fundamentalist Christian men use the excuse provided by their religion to dehumanise their female partners and justify their mental and physical abuse of them.

Imagine if these people ever got the political power to which they think they are entitled and were able to impose their disgusting creed which dehumanises half the human population on the rest of us!
Religion: providing excuses for people who need excuses.

Thank you for sharing!

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