Are you a Girly man? Or a MANLY man?
Girly Girls and Girly Boys: The Ancestral Roots of Man-Think versus Fem-Think
June 22, 2004
by Kent Bailey
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent comments about "girly men" have caused a virtual epidemic of hissy fits among liberals, Democrats, and feminists. Gay and lesbian advocates are absolutely beside themselves, and the leftist media is aghast that Arnold's audience lustily applauded his colorful rhetoric and that most of America applauded him as well. Many see his refusal to apologize for such a mighty breach of PC etiquette to be a modern profile in courage. In fact, a large-sample poll by MSNBC revealed that Americans supported his non-apology by a margin of 3-to-1.
Most will see this humorous non-event as a mere blip in the ongoing drama of American politics, but I infer a much deeper meaning. Schwarzenegger's comments implicitly touches upon one of the grand questions of the new millennium- that is, what have been the effects of girlish thinking, or fem-think, on American culture and even Western society over the past fifty years? We all agree that the past three generations or so has been the era of the female, and perhaps now is the time to ponder the assets and liabilities that come with distaff incursions into all areas of American life.
My approach is to first look back into the primeval mist of the evolutionary process that gave rise to the quite different but complementary entities of human maleness and femaleness. Sex differences were already heavily shaped and extensive by the time of mammals and primates, but the finishing touches for human beings came during the one to two million years our ancestors spent as hunters and gatherers.
In my 1987 book on Human Paleopsychology, I emphasized the ancient psychology of the hunter male who was naturally inclined toward male bonding, problem solving in male groups, intense competition with other males (especially regarding females), intense and often violent competition with male strangers from other bands and tribes, exceptional lust for attractive females, extreme possessiveness regarding "his" females, and a weak capacity for parenting and domestication.
This is not a particularly pretty picture overall, but primeval man was a good leader and provider for the group, an inventor of complex hunting and food-processing technology (e. g., stone tools), and the preponderance of evidence suggests that he was the inventor and maintainer of culture in the broadest sense. He was also the definer and enforcer of moral principles, which centered on behaving appropriately within his particular "cultural" group. The thinking processes associated with these various activities we might call man-think.
The gatherer female led a rather restricted life compared to the leisurely off-time of the adult male between hunts and the adventurous, dangerous, and group-focused experience of the hunter in the field. Not only was she restricted by the reproductive demands of menstruation, pregnancy, child-bearing, and child-rearing, but the role of the gatherer was repetitive, geographically delimited, and less cognitively challenging than the technological demands of hunting. Nevertheless, the gatherer probably contributed quantitatively more to the tribe's food provision and social stability than the mercurial hunter who might return after weeks with little more than a smidgen of protein.
Now, if the experience of hunting helped to condition the qualities of man-think, then what were the analogous qualities of fem-think associated with the process of gathering? First, females were highly dependent on male support, protection, protein provision, and political leadership. Historically, there are very few instances where females have exerted political leadership over males- in either pre-modern or modern social groupings- except where males themselves imbue "goddesses" with supernatural powers (e. g., the Stone Ages Venus's.) Even, then, however, there is little to suggest that women ruled over men in everyday political affairs in the natural world.
Second, the gathering female rarely- if ever- competed against males, but she competed vigorously against other females for the best males, the best provisions, and status within the group. In this competition, the tongue was the weapon used to gather support to one's side, to denigrate, peripheralize, and demoralize the opposing side, and, in general, control one's destiny. In the immediate and socially intense gathering environment, we might assume that gossip literally filled the air.
Third, the experience of pregnancy and motherhood greatly augmented the dependency of females on the hunting males, on other females in the group, and on tribal resources in general. The Paleolithic mother was exquisitely dependent on others, but she was bringing new life to the group. Ancestrally, the role of motherhood was a bitter sweet syndrome involving the inconveniences of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, and the demands of child-rearing balanced against the cosmic social significance of being the life giver.
Fourth and most important was the process of forming reproductive pair bonds, mateships, or "marriages" in ancestral hunting and gathering environments. In most primate species, males leave their home group in search of mates and then establish residence within the "bride's" family. In humans and chimpanzees, however, it is the female who must leave the safe home environment and then integrate herself into the "groom's" often strange and threatening family and tribal configuration.
I suggest that this phenomenon goes to the very heart of female psychology and the dynamics of fem-think. Upon entering a new, strange, and possibly dangerous new social environment, the female gave up her old culture for a new one and her survival was predicated upon doing so quickly and skillfully. Under duress, she was required to give up her family culture partially or completely, and to essentially "become one of them." We see that the Stockholm syndrome, cultural relativism, and "going with the cultural flow" have ancient roots indeed on the distaff side. The survival credo of fem-think throughout history has been, "Tell me what to do and I will do it if you promise to be nice."
In the world of fem-think, one does not develop, defend, or maintain a pre-existing culture, but one, instead one relies upon the three "A's" of survival in a strange camp- appeasement, adjustment, and adaptation. I am not aware of women, as a group, ever going to war to repel invaders, to protect the integrity of a pre-existing culture, or over matters of moral or theological abstraction. All of that is men's work premised upon the principles of man-think.
I suggest that a small cadre of the intellectual left intuitively understood this over fifty years ago and they brilliantly conspired to co-opt the feminist movement and its girly girls and girly boys into the war against men, man-think, religion, and the Western way of life. As in ancestral times, females readily integrated themselves into this new "culture" and embraced it as their own. Feminized males jumped on the band wagon as well. There was never a thought of defending four thousand years of Judaic-Christian history or the grand traditions of Western civilization. In my view the results have been devastating culturally, and a mighty victory for the cultural left.