Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Women have played major role in history -- from the start, authors assert
The authors of a new book have fashioned a 16-chapter prehistory theme park worthy of Disney, but in their confection, lame, even egregious, past assumptions about our past are hunted down and slain, and stars – in the form of womankind – are born.

"The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in History" (Smithsonian Books/Collins) is a roller coaster ride through Homo sapiens' unsteady past. No stone tool is left unturned to bring us up on what is – and what is not – probable about our long and miraculous journey.

. . .

Of greatest import in this book is the idea that women have always been major players – not simply baby-machines who tended to the children, rustled up roots, collected nuts and berries and relied on macho male hunters to bring home the bacon.

Much to agree with and much to shake one's head over in this article. Yeah, the whole "man the hunter" schtick is kinda tired and has been widely recognized as skewed, due to a number of historial (men doing the work, studying only a few modern HG's) and physical (generally only hunting paraphernalia and crittr bones get rpeserved) factors. And they make some good points, such as whether or not people actually were able to bring down a mammoth. OTOH, it's difficult to see how studying the same HG groups and making the same leaps of logic that the old guys did -- modern HGs are functionally identical to ancient ones -- and seeing gender in rocks and bones and sticks and stone that isn't there seems a bit misguided to me. Ferinstance:
There is plenty of evidence that immense nets, probably made by women, were tossed over large areas to trap Sunday dinners.

The nets must have outlines of breasts in them to show they were made by women.