Before the advent of history females were the superior race.
|By the beginnings of the twentieth century, in the advanced societies, equality of the sexes has been guaranteed by law; but women suffer a lot there too. The difference between them (other than gender), it seems, is very largely due to the state of subjection of women by man for long ages. Even after all the oppression, she is more patient and enduring and she has more intuition and a hard working nature. She excels man in many of the intellectual and emotional endowments. She is emerging equal to man already in the societies mentioned and she is marching on to become the superior of the two sexes which she once was. |
For quite some time, the world has been struggling with the problem of the relative importance of males and females. The question seems as unsolved as it was when it began. There is nothing of this sort in the animal world, though male and female are performing more or less the same functions the same way.
Female inferiority became more pronounced, perhaps, since the creation story of Moses in which man was made first and the female made out of him later. Scientists now tell us, that life in the beginning was female, that she carried it on for a long distance alone, and that even when the male did appear, he came not as a necessity but to secure variation. In all the lower forms of life like in the great invertebrate and fish families, and to some extent among the vertebrates, the male is much smaller than the female, and is devoted to fertilization only. The male is extremely insignificant as in the case of spiders and cocoons of the silk worm and many others of the insect family. The same difference is observable among some reptiles and a few birds too.
As the evolutionary scale ascends, the condition remains much the same till the rodents are reached where the male has reached the status of the female and there is scarcely any difference between the two sexes. Among mammals and birds, however, the opposite condition prevails. The male is larger than the female and more ornamented.
Could it be the constant struggle between the males to secure the favor of the female that has led to their greater size and muscular strength? This struggle to win the female differs in the different species but the male invariably tries to court the female it being much the less eager of the two. It could be this strength and size which led to a male dominated society, which in turn, made the genesis author create a male first story implying that he supplied the life-giving element. He was bigger with better muscles and other adornments. The males seemed to be especially favored by nature. He had to be designed and created for the important role of a leader. Thus the supremacy and superiority of man in the organic plan was ‘divinely’ established.
The female is known to have been the first on the scene, the only absolutely necessary sex, and the primary cause of the physical advantages of the male.
As mentioned, life started as female, and that the male even to-day is not universal. There are more living creatures that have come into existence without males than with males. The female is not only the
primary and original sex, but it is the main trunk throughout, the males being added later. The male element is not the seat of the vital spark and not perhaps, for the vitalization of the germ cell, which is always much larger in the female than in the male, (three thousand to one among humans)
In the lowest forms of life reproduction is by budding or fission. Did nature intend to have only a one-sexed world?
Reproductive facilities are lavished on the females in the plant world and in the insect kingdoms. Favorable conditions and rich nutrition tends the birth of females, while the reverse conditions result in the production of males. The queen bee is such a product. The larch bears only female blossoms during its most luxuriant stage. When its vigor is declining and its strength is almost spent the male blossoms
appear. The strongest and most perfect forms of coniferous trees are female. The more enduring vitality of the female is well exhibited in the hemp plant too. It is not till after the appearance of the
pollen that sex in hemp can be distinguished, and soon after it is shed, the male begins to wither and die. It has performed its sole function in life — to fertilize the female — and passes while the latter continues to grow taller, stronger, to bear fruit, ripen and reach maturity.
Among the common worms the males are much smaller. In some of them, the male has no functional organ to feed himself, and he only lives as long as the nutrient, which was stored up in the larval state, suffices to sustain life. This is true of the male mosquito too. Every one is familiar with the uselessness of the male bees and ants. If they became too numerous they are killed off by the female workers. Their marvelous thrift and executive ability are entirely due to the female.
Even among the humans females have superior development, endurance, and vitality. If uninterrupted, more females get born everywhere. Further, more male children die in infancy. At almost every stage of life, the males have a greater liability to death, and a higher death rate than the females. The number of still-born male children is much greater than that of still-born females. Perhaps only the more enduring sex survives the adverse ante-natal conditions. Woman is Nature's handmaid. She is the predominant sex, greater in size, power and psychic qualities.
The female is more passive than the male who is passionate and ready to have sex with any female. She is not likely to be driven by passion alone; she chooses more calmly and deliberately. This, in itself, implies a power of discrimination. She chooses only the one to whom she is attracted. In the lower world these attractions are largely physical.
In this choice lies the primary cause of the size and strength of the male. Her selection, at first, would likely be in the direction of greater size and beauty. The male parents transmit these qualities to their offspring, who, in turn, select and transmit them again. The effect thus becomes cumulative. These variations were not acquired by the male to fit him better for the struggle for existence; they were meant to allure and attract the female. When we behold two males fighting for the possession of a female, or several male birds displaying their gorgeous plumage, and ‘performing’ before an assembled body of females they are but consciously exhibiting their mental and bodily powers.
The care of the young instilled moral qualities in the females . The supremacy of the male is supposed to have been bestowed on him for the purpose of caring for and protecting the female and the young. But
it is the female which protects and tends to the young. She provides food for them and takes care of them from the predators. only among the more developed birds does the male give any assistance in rearing the young. The male duck does not share the responsibility. The turkey cock is so likely to devour the eggs that the hen has to hide them, and the mothers with their young have to form large groups to protect them for a time from the old males who would kill them. The same is true in the large feline family. If the mother does not conceal them they will be eaten by the males. In certain other species he shows great jealousy, because the female devotes all her time to caring for them.
Can we not then conclude that in the world below us, the female is supreme. She was the first on the scene and carried on the business of life for a long time, alone. She reproduced unassisted and males came not as a necessity.
In many of the primitive tribes, the young men cannot marry, till they are strong enough to compete successfully with the older men for the
possession of a woman. Further, a man who possesses a good-looking woman, or one who is desired by another, cannot keep her unless he comes off victor in a fight.
Females have a gentler disposition and greater tenderness, less selfishness, greater love for the young and the instinct to nourish and protect them. His superior size, muscle, or beauty did not make him a leader or provider or protector. He has not fully recovered from his early biological tendencies, though he has wrested the power of selection from the female long back. Earlier, if she spurned him, he vented his jealous rage on his fellows. The advantages he had gained were purely physical, and he used them for his self gratification.
Only the female was qualified to guide the new species during its infancy. And in all probability woman directed the human family through all the initial stages of its existence
Lower animals mated in accordance with their desire or instinct. The young know nothing of the paternal relation; it is to the mother that instinct leads them, when hungry or in danger. During the early ages it must have been so with the higher mammal, man. there could have been no idea of a paternal relationship, neither father nor mother were conscious of it. That came a lot after the rational faculty had been developed. Women must have been the centre all through this period, .
Herr Bachofen, a jurist, startled the world with a theory of female supremacy in 1861. His book, " Mutterrecht " was published before Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species. In the beginning the paternal relation was unrecognized, and the father did not belong to the clan of the mother and children. Descent was reckoned in the female line, The children did not take the father's name, nor did they inherit anything from him, even for a long time after the relation was recognized.
In the grey dawn of that far-away morning of the species, the mother was the sole known parent. She took care of the young and guided them.
The matriarchate groups evolved naturally as the females in the ant and bee communities do not struggle for place and power but they are banded together for mutual aid and not for individual aggrandizement.
The younger women worked and bore the young, the elder made the laws that governed the communities. They placed the most venerable among them at the head, may be by rotation. No man could be elected chief unless he was a direct, lineal descendant on the female side of the female founder. she has gradually but surely extended her sphere of influence over him and his affairs till her judgments were accepted.
The age of strife among tribes and peoples began with the patriarchate, and this, too, is in biological harmony with the inherited temperament of the male. Man increased his influence by degrees till he had an equal voice in making the laws and was elected chief. The change from descent in the female line to the male line, was slow. The two chief causes which brought about the change, were the realization of the father's rights in the children, and the accumulation of property in the hands of individuals. The paternity of the father being finally established, it is easy to see that momentous changes followed. The mother was no longer the sole parent, the father now had rights in the children, and naturally would seek to exercise those rights. This led in time to another curtailment, that of selection. Man with bigger size and better muscles started to choose the mate he wanted. Slowly man gained in power although his biological inheritance did not fit him to wield it correctly. He was emotional and impetuous with no restraint or patience.
Once the power of selection was wrested from her, everything was lost to the mother of mankind. He exerted his superior power to extract services from her. He saw that he was the master creature. The woman was smaller, weaker and less shrewd and cunning than he, who could contribute to his pleasures and wants. He proceeded to appropriate her accordingly.
As the patriarchal society got established, with the gradual but steady increase of the power of man, liberty, fraternity and equality, the bonds which held humans together gave way to ‘might is right’. The wealth of individuals increased and the concept of the commune ended. Man as an individual became all the more important.
Patriarchy supplanted matriarchy, and with this change the old order passed away. Man’s muscle was raised against her and her long reign was over and thereafter she become his slave.
The early societies were matriarchal and the change from mother-right to father-right was comparatively recent. The form of myths and legends of all countries depend largely, for their romantic interest upon woman, and they teem with references to a mother right culture. In the early period, her freedom was unrestrained. She was the companion of her husband, and superintendent of his household. Among the higher classes she did not, as in Greece, do any of the labor, which was in the hands of slaves. She presided at his table and entertained with him their mutual friends. She was now living under the shadow of the matriarchate.
In the early stage she controlled economical factors, and consequently she was the law giver. She did not depend on man's labors whereas he depended on hers. The land was hers, for she had reclaimed it. The house was hers for she had built it with her own hands. She took man in as a husband, he did not choose her. She did not go to his house, nor to his people, he came to her house, and to her people, and if she did not want him any more he had to go to his own people again.
Among many Arab tribes, if the woman no longer approved of her husband, she turned her tent to the opposite direction and when he returned, he took the hint and returned to his own people. In some of the North American tribes, the wife placed her husband's belongings outside the tent door, and he, too, retreated. Before abuse sullied and distorted her, woman's ruling methods were simple, direct, and devoid of harshness or cruelty.
The usurpation of power by man has caused to bring infinite suffering to the less muscular woman and her daughters.
When father-rule was completely established, woman lost all independence, not only economically but even over her own person. Fatherhood meant power, and the savage male argued to the same effect.
Napoleon spoke in this vein when he said two hundred years ago, "woman is given to man to bring forth children, woman is his property, he is not hers, for she gives him children and man does not give any to her. She is therefore his property as the tree is that of the gardener. A single woman cannot suffice for a man for that purpose. She cannot be his wife when she is sick, she ceases to be his wife when she can no longer give him children. Man, whom nature does not arrest either by age or any of these inconveniences, should therefore have several wives."
The possession of captive women became universal (earlier it was the prerogative of the military rulers) and tribal wars were engaged in for the sole purpose of seizing the women and the wealth. Many plots would be laid to carry off a beautiful woman. In the encounters which resulted in a tribal setting, each of the combatants would order her to follow him and if she refused, he threw a spear at her wounding her seriously.
She became his property, and he had the right to use her in the fullest capacity for his gratification or work. If he valued her less than say, an ox or anything else he wanted, he disposed her off. She then became the wife and slave of her new lord. We need not look to ancient Arabia, Greece, or Rome for evidences of this. It is in vogue even to-day as in the past, over probably one-third of the globe. You just turn to the Middle east or Africa. Everything is done as per his interests and with the sole object of tightening his hold over all her religious, political, financial, social, personal and domestic affairs.
Woman had absolutely no rights. Her servitude still continues; Covered in dark orbs, confined within the walls of the house, and mercilessly beaten, she is often disfigured with acid attacks, hanged or stoned to death. It seems to me that in the history of humanity the saddest part concerns the treatment of woman. It has been dreadful and unimaginable. Yes, there has been cannibalism, the torturing of prisoners, the persecution and sacrificing of victims to gods — these have been occasional; the brutal treatment of woman has been universal and constant. that the amount of suffering that has been and is borne by woman is beyond anyone’s imagination.
The patriarch was the head of the family in every sense. He administered justice within the circle. He would stone his wife or children to death, or sell them into slavery. So far as his household was concerned he was " a law unto himself," Every one had obey him unquestioningly and there was no court of appeal.
The marriage ceremony carried on, till a few decades back, among some areas is a sufficient evidence of the way woman is treated. Among a hill tribe of northern India, the ceremony consisted in the bride's stooping over and putting her head down, while the groom put first the right foot and then the left on it. After this he ordered her to fetch water and cook the meal. In some parts of eastern
Russia the father gave his just married daughter, a few cuts of the whip as a finale to the ceremony and a warning of what she was to expect if she disobeyed her husband. Among the Maories of New Zealand, it was customary for the father or brother after a girl had been bargained off, to say to the purchaser, " take her, she is yours, eat her, beat her, kill her, or do as you like." The native Australian announced that he wanted a wife to cook his meals for him, to get the wood, carry the water, and any other thing that he needed.
Daughters were most unwelcome everywhere: boys were a blessing, girls a curse. A Lebanese proverb says: ‘the threshold weeps for forty days when a girl is born’. All manner of superstitious practices are resorted to by the parents before a child is born to propitiate the gods and ward off the evil spirits so that it may not be a female. The boy is welcomed with excessive feasting and rejoicing. The advent of the girl was accompanied with grief, sorrow, and the abuse of the mother. When those who assemble learn that a daughter has come into the world, they show disgust and leave. Girls were never reckoned among the children. Ask a Mohammedan father how many children he has, and, though there may be three girls and two sons, he will answer two.
Sale and murder of female infants have been practiced for ages. They were regarded as useless except for the sex function and while men were glad enough to avail themselves of the females they were not willing to bring up any themselves even in the interests of the race. The destruction of female children were so popular in ancient Rome that a father was restrained by law from destroying his first-born daughter.
The manner of disposing of a widow, a lowly creature, was to burn her alive on the funeral pyre of her husband. This was forbidden by the British government in 1829, but it had been occasionally practiced in outlying districts even after India gained independence . It is almost impossible to exaggerate the misery of India's widows. Only those who have been through it know what it means. There are instances where women have been secluded from the age of seven to the end of her days in dark, dreary rooms of mud huts with no windows, only with gratings near the ceiling.
Everywhere man saw plain and modest, passive, silent, females plodding steadily along, and bearing all the cares of life and the family. But the male was commanding in size, masterful, aggressive, quarrelsome, and he dominated the situation.
Wife capture was the first step in her degradation and when this became common, the belief in her inferiority became established and soon it was handed down from father to son and from mother to daughter. It became the natural order and that woman was specially made for the convenience of man. As she had brought in all the sins she had to do all the heavy work and suffer.
Hundreds of generations had seen women bought and sold like a commodity regulated by the law of supply and demand. Her price had been decided by her physical beauty and or by her working ability. No one bothered as to how this practice came about; the society simply began to think of her as an animal made for the service of man.
She resisted the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy as forcibly as she could. But her arguments grew weaker and as muscle has a summary way of dealing with argument, complete subjection to man was gradually impressed.
she was psychologically dominated. He had lost all belief in woman as a human being on equal terms with himself. Once this happened the way to man's ascendancy was open. All resistance from woman ended. Man alone had a soul. Woman was not even a human being! No wonder …..
This was the origin of Sati, this was the cause of the burying alive a number of slave wives when the chief died among some the African tribes. These men want some one to wait upon them in the regions of the blessed. This could be the reason why woman are not allowed to cross the door of a Mohammedan mosque, for it would be blasphemous to recognize her equality. Christianity discussed for centuries whether woman had a soul!
Repudiation of a childless wife was common in countries that they would pray continually at the shrines devoted to fecundity to grant them fertility. They pray for male children only as it is demeaning for man to become the parent of female children as the sons alone mattered.
She had so long been and still is in many places, a slave and a drudge. As an excuse for degrading and abusing her, men had imputed to her a great array of false and evil qualities. All the ancient sacred books, the traditional epics, all literature of Greece and Rome, and, in fact, all that was written during the Middle Ages and much of the literature of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries were full of epithets condemning women in a vile, hateful, malicious and evil way. Many Women were burnt as witchcrafts or sorceress!
Women in China were compelled to do all the heavy work. They unloaded the boats, carried bricks, mortar, earth, granite boulders, coal or whatever else was to be carried. The system of concubines had been in force and all the wives had been bought and sold. While a girl is still young a husband is selected by a male member of the household. The price paid was accepted as an indemnity for the trouble of letting her grow up uncared for. She never saw the man till the wedding day or the day of the public betrothal which preceded it by a week or more. Once she was inside her husband's home she was required to be "an echo" in the house; to obey blindly, to serve on demand, to work unceasingly and to take whatever punishment given, without protest.
Women were brutalized by bodily suffering. Further, Only a daughter was left in her hands, a son was removed from her control at an early age because of her ‘unfitness’ to bring up so such a superior being. Even while he was under her charge she was not allowed to reprove him in any way.
when a girl was married she was cut off from her own people, the chances were that she would never see them again. She would suffer all her life worse than a salve. They would be Compelled to be mothers. Their motherhood was outraged. If a mother took her girl child's life, it was an expression of her love as she saved her from her life-long misery.
The social system in India had been patriarchal and a girl often had been betrothed between the ages of five and eight. she went to the home of her mother-in-law to be, to be brought up there in the interests of her son. The young child was put into the hands of a woman who believed women were worthless. Her son was all important. This system annihilated the inherent qualities and abilities of women and brutalized men by bloating his vanity and give him power over the lives of the girls.
woman was man’s beast of burden, his domestic animal or, at best, his plaything or his source of sexual gratification. As the slave markets of the world of yesteryear were scoured to find a female of the best physical beauty to gratify him, today he searches and buys the best one appealing to his eyes.
Let mothers daughters, and sisters cease to weep tears of blood. They have been denied everything except toil and existence in the dark.
But all men forget that there never has been and never can be any real civilization or any true progress where women are not an influential factor in the lives of men and their society.