Monday, May 25, 2015

Women After All by Melvin Konner *****

With almost 70 pages of notes, Women After All by Melvin Konnerstrives to answer both the questions of nature vs nurture and the future for human sex roles. In a book that is often weighed down with citations and abstracts, four conclusions are argued.
  1. Stereotypical male/female behavior is biological. Among the pages of evidence:
    ... consider the wonderfully interesting people who start out XY [genetically male] but are born with the fairly ambiguous claim "It's a girl." [female genitals]. ... [At puberty] these girls became [stereotypical] men ... despite the fact that they were not raised to be that at all. Our best explanation is biological.
  2. Evolution has created a wide variety of sex roles ... men in charge, women in charge, equality, and even a reversion to single sex species.
  3. Primate (including us) females are usually in charge or equal, with the exception of the last few thousand years. These recent millennia are marked by brutal subjugation, violence, and rape of women. Less than 100 years ago, Margaret Sanger was convicted for distributing birth control information.
    The judge ruled that women did not have "the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there would be no resulting conception."
    After many sickening chapters, Konner shows that sex trafficking, slavery, and rape is still everywhere.
  4. Women are returning to power and, with modern science, men are optional. This latter conclusion is a not so veiled warning to straighten up or be eliminated.
These main conclusions are supported by many studies by archeologists, anthropologists, historians, and biologists. In addition to nature vs nurture, these studies address many other current issues. The only observed effect of children raised by same-sex parents is that they tend to be less homophobic. Circumcision reduces the chance to contract AIDS. Recent human history has not been a period of monogamy,
as successful men could own slaves, keep concubines, and seize women at war.
...sixteen million men alive today-including one out twelve central Asian males [are descendant of Genghis Khan].
The is a comprehensive and readable, though sometimes bogged down in credits and citations, history of human sex roles and sex roles generally since the beginning of life on earth. An exciting treasure trove for non-fiction readers.

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