fuckyeahalejandra replied to your post: Ancient Art Week! Various Roman Sculpt…
Are these sculptures of roman citizens or slaves?
The association of Black people with enslavement is an entirely modern invention, as in, chattel slavery in the…
Regarding the whole ‘men hunted, women gave birth’ thing (and wildly off topic from racism in classical Rome, sorry), it is looking increasingly like a load of nonsense (no surprise).
There are prehistoric hunting scenes showing hunts which (probably *1) show women hunting for one thing and despite this male researcers still declares that men hunted and men created these hunting scenes and were also the first artists. But now we know that these hunting scenes not only show women hunting in some cases but WERE PRODUCED BY WOMEN primarily!
So what evidence for male = hunter is there?
When you look at the evidence for male hunters you have gender bias (men obviously hunted because men hunt now), gender essentialism (men hunted because they had less body fat and didn’t need to produce babies and Reasons) and ethnographic evidence (indigenous Australian hunters were solely male in the 19th-20th centuries).
We assume that because violent activities today are associated with men while women nurtured young that has always been the way. We also assume that women who were not pregnant would be compelled to behave in the same way as women who were pregnant/looking after children. It also assumes that hunting was much more dangerous than it probably was, hunters were often as much scavengers as far as we can tell from archaeological evidence of kill sites and often employed tactics like driving pray off cliffs to die or into dead ends were they could be picked off more safely. That isn’t to say it was completely safe of course. But who is to say gathering was necessarily safe in an age where a simple cut could result in death from infection and there were no anti-bodies for the admittedly few venomous creatures in Europe or that the gatherers would be free from the attentions of now extinct predators.
Much of the ethnographic evidence comes either from African nomadic peoples which have still had thousands of years of contact with patriarchal cultures or Australian Aboriginal and Papua New Guinean groups. The ethnographic observations were made in the 19th and 20th centuries and are deeply racist because they were based on the assumption that these cultures were primitive and unchanging since settlement of Sahul (Australia + New Guinea when they were connected) 50,000 years ago! We know, for example, in the early nineteenth century the power structure of Australian indigenous populations shifted in favour of young men after various epidemics killed 90% of the Aboriginal population in the space of 50 years or thereabout (something we never learnt in school, funnily enough). We do not know who hunted prior to European colonisation of Australia. We guess and the further back in time you go the more problematic that becomes because the hundreds at least indigenous cultures in Australia have all evolved over time just like any other culture.
IF we accept the creators of the hunting scenes across Europe were hunters themselves then we have to accept that women were as likely to be hunters as men. If we do not want to accept that the people who made the art were hunters then we have no evidence beyond ethnographic evidence for males solely being hunters and then we have to look carefully at the ethnographic evidence and accept it is deeply, deeply problematic.
So, in my opinion as a humble archaeology undergraduate, we either accept we have no firm evidence to say men or women hunted, just that hunting was done. If you accepted the cave paintings as evidence of male hunters when they were believed to be produced by men you should also accept they are now evidence of female hunting.
If you think you can say with certainty that ‘women have always been subjected to men because Reasons’ then you have no clue what you are talking about.Sadly much of the scholarship on the subject assumes male = hunter and works forward from that, trying to justify the assumption rather than addressing the actual evidence. Because if we accept that there is no evidence for that then it undermines a lot of nonsense gender essentialism used to handwave away sexism in society today.
Australian Archaeology by Peter Hiscock
Cave paintings created by women
Lectures, seminars, lost media articles etc.
*1 Of course it is ‘accepted’ (read: assumed) that all the figures are male by default unless there are obvious feminine traits as opposed to just representing people in general.
Oh my god, I could not have said that nearly as well as you did.