Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Assessing the term "feminazi"

It shocked me to hear "feminazi" from my former minder, despite his conservatism.

Though it is known that the Nazis opposed feminism, I have pointed out the similarity between radical feminists and Nazis in their undoubted hatred of femininity and "gentleness". However, their reasoning is completely different. In the case of Nazis, it relates to their believe in racial superiority and the right of violent conquest in order to achieve the purest possible racial profile. In the case of feminists, it relates to an extreme desire for emotional independence of women, which they see as protecting them from such problems as domestic violence.

It may be possible to link Nazism to radical feminism, but it would go back quite a while.

Those on the Right who desire a much less defeminized culture would do well to read Power In Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World. It looks at how cultures evolved to explain the changes in sex roles from hunter/gatherers through to industrial society. However, whilst it has a very interesting study on honour codes and the degree of machismo in men with comments like:

- "Though it is fair to say the men in pastoral societies had more "machismo" than those in other societies, this does not necessarily mean that women were required or assumed to be nurturing, dependent, and soft." (page 49)
- and "men in some societies are more macho than men in other societies" (page 204)

Power in Eden fails to correspondingly compare the degree of marianismo in women between different cultures. The decline in marianismo in women has been the most striking result of industrialisation in Europe and presumably Asia. Scientists often argue that differences in degree of marianismo in women will be less than those of machismo in men, but I see this as contradicting the social changes observed from the Industrial Revolution.

I have considered since first reading the book how the following four factors might influence how feminine and nurturing a society's women are:
1) resource abundance and reliability
2) resource portability and possibility of theft
3) population density
4) size of government

I have failed to reach Bruce Lerro despite e-mailing him, but have felt high degrees of softness, dependence and nurturing qualities in women would be favoured by:
1) abundant and reliable resources
2) low resource portability and absence of theft risk
3) low population density
4) small government

As I see it, this explains the Marian cult in pre-industrial Europe with its extraordinarily rich soils and foods like dairy products which are highly perishable and thus not portable or likely to be fought over. The radical masculinisation of women in industrialised Europe also follows, since Europe has no major industrial metal ores (glaciers have wiped them out) and metal ores are a highly portable resource that can be moved very easily from place to place. I am not so sure as to whether this simple theory explains the extent to which women were expected to be dependent and nurturing (etc.) in more primitive cultures, but it is a very interesting theory for social scientists to actually test.

No comments: