News & Politics

Civilization Causes 'The Patriarchy'? Fire, Alphabets Called Sexist

Photo by Vasenka Photography

Much of feminism has bucked traditional gender roles. Feminists of bygone eras have argued women deserved the right to vote, have the ability to work in many of the same jobs as men, and even that men were just as capable of cooking and cleaning as women were. They were absolutely right.

However, present-day feminism has gone completely off the rails.

For example, a supposed science article published in the New York Times presents the idea that the discovery of fire led to The Patriarchy (TM). Yes, the article actually says that:

Negative cultural consequences came with fire, too — and continue to leave an imprint.

Anthropologists have speculated that inhaling smoke led to the discovery of smoking. Humans have long used fire to modify their environment and burn carbon, practices that now have us in the throes of climate change.

Fire is even tied to the rise of patriarchy — by allowing men to go out hunting while women stayed behind to cook by the fire, it spawned gender norms that still exist today.

Um … really?

To state the obvious, one could easily argue that the fact that men are unable to nurse might have also had a significant impact on why women were left behind on hunts. Since they were home, it just made sense for them to cook while they were there.

Oh, but fire’s not the only mark of civilization that is to blame for the rise of the evil Patriarchy.

If you’re reading this, you’re familiar with something called the alphabet. In any language, an alphabet is necessary to form a written set of symbols used to represent sounds.

And writing is all sexist and stuff. At least that’s what Leonard Shlain, uh, writes:

Of all the sacred cows allowed to roam unimpeded in our culture, few are as revered as literacy. Its benefits have been so incontestable that in the five millennia since the advent of the written word numerous poets and writers have extolled its virtues. Few paused to consider its costs …

One pernicious effect of literacy has gone largely unnoticed: writing subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook. Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, diminishes feminine values and with them, women’s power in the culture.

So, today’s lunatic argument appears to be that civilization itself causes The Patriarchy.

Well, if that’s the case, then feminism is really and truly screwed.

After all, I know plenty of women who prefer civilization to the uncomfortable and dangerous life of prehistory. Women dying at the ripe old age of “in childbirth”? Men being ripped apart by wild beasts as they battle to put sustenance on the rock that serves as their “table”? That may sound like utopia to the New York Times and Leonard Shlain, but let’s see if they follow through and really live like that.

More importantly, how many feminists want to live like that?

That’s what I thought.