[LMB] {tone less strident} Moldy oldy comments, was Cavillo and her ilk

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sat Jun 25 15:40:40 BST 2011

There's a lot of mythology perpetrated and perpetuated to benefit one group 
at the expense of others, often by inventing or caricaturing characteristics 
of the groups being exploited and marginalized.   Creation of stories and 
jokes and such act as social engineering to define/freeze people into 
specific roles and places in the social hierarchy, and reinforce that 
status.   The number of "stupid wife" jokes I heard years ago were all the 
sorts of things that reinforced the value that women are untrustworthy and 
need the husband and master to direct their lives.  Children's rhymes helped 
perpetuate segregation and calumny against people with dark skins, and 
conservatism regarding, "this is the rhyme I learned, why should l have to 
change the words?" was a further meme factor.

It was to the benefit of husbands and of other men who didn't want to 
themselves  deal with messy whiny noisy children to spin propaganda  about 
how the highest worth for women was to be homemakers and mothers... it also 
kept women from competing with them for position and income and such., and 
removing half the population from the competition provided a better chance 
at getting the position....  That it kept men who LIKED children and wanted 
move involvement in rearing them from participating they way -they- wanted 
to in raising children, was a consideration that most societies -stomped- 
on....  "That's WOMEN'S work!"

Ethan of Athos was subversive because it said, "Athos is an all-male 
society.  Baby-minding is an importan "MAN'S job!"   What this world takes 
for granted, Athos can't, and so Athos places an explicit value on services 
of child production and care, that the contemporary societies here on earth, 
look at scornfully and pay low wages to/for, if any. Call it a "duty" and 
declare it a non-paying responsibility.....

Human babies are amongst the most helpless on the planet.  Without 
caregivers, human babies die, they can';t fend for themselves ujntil -years- 
have passed.  But the contention over -who- spends their life or a large 
chunk of it, is one of the things which got -relegated- to women.... I think 
it is VERY noteworthy that researchers a few years back observed -female- 
chimpanizees inventing hunting and hunting weapons--not the males, the 
females.  All the tropes of sociobiologists had the sexual dimorphism of 
"females stay at the camp with the babies and males go on hunting partties" 
as credo... but there were those -female- chimpanzees--not the males, the 
females, organizing themselves into hunting parties.  And note that ancient 
Rome and ancient Greece has Diana/Artemis as a hunt -goddess.  Somehow I 
don;t think either of the misogynistic cultures, Athens particularly an 
extreme in its misogyny, would have invented a hunt -goddess- without there 
having been female hunters sometime in the past whom Diana/Artemis was a 
reflection of.   And the archaeological digs of ancient Scythia and 
Sauromartia, prove that there were female warriors/hunters in ancient times. 
Herodotus reported it, and the  Illiad had it recorded as content.

Given that the young of the species have a very long period of being unable 
to fend for themselves, older members of the species have to spend time 
monitoring and teaching and caring for the young, all those years before the 
young can fend/forage successfully for themselves. The cultural myths 
developed to force women to take the role of caretakers of the young, 
whether they wanted that role or not....  and through history there have 
been women who rebelled, some so violently they created the archetypes of 
Medea and other women who destroyed their own children... but that, too, fed 
into the myth, because they could be used as examples of insane -monsters-, 
and in order to prevent monstrous actions on the part of women, they 
according to the myths had to be kept powerless....   there have also been 
evocations of that in such things as "Sharra the chained forged goddess" in 
Marion Zimmer Bradley's writing, and women of theDry Towns with chains and 
their hands...  yes, it said, um, interesting things about Marion Zimmer 
Bradley, and she addressed some of it with a response in The Shattered 

-----Original Message----- 
From: Howard Brazee
Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2011 9:35 AM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: Re: [LMB] {tone less strident} Moldy oldy comments,was Cavillo and 
her ilk

On Jun 25, 2011, at 1:21 AM, Paula Lieberman wrote:

> {b}  Throughout history there have been women who gave birth and dumped 
> the baby--if instinct were so strong a bond as the cultural myths of the 
> west would have it, laws would be very different and there would be no 
> history of abandoned babies.  If human instinct were all-powerful 
> regarding bonding of mother and baby, it would be a case analogous to an 
> Emperor penguin spending the Antarctic winter with egg/chick on feet 
> underneath skin flap, and there wouldn't be any laws about abandoned 
> children because there would -be-any abandonment of children.

I don't know how strong those cultural myths are.    What I've seen is that 
we have quite a few variations from "the norm" - (so do Emperor penguins). 
We've always had people who abuse children or who don't want children or who 
are anti-social or who are bullies or who are thieves...     Which doesn't 
mean there isn't value in tropes that assume humans are a social species 
that cares for its young.    It's just that nothing's absolute. 

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