Patriarchy Is a Product of Agriculture

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Patriarchy is not an inevitable consequence of human nature. Like agriculture, it originally “evolved as a by-product of decisions made without awareness of their consequencesDiamond (1997); Harari (2014) paints a similar picture. This Evolution of a system of Power out of uncoordinated actions can be understood as an Autocatalytic Process.


At the beginning of the transition from hunter/gatherer to agricultural lifestyles, systemic gender inequality was practically nonexistent. At its end, a series of individual rational choices that were initially not ideologically biased resulted in a lasting reduction of women’s social status, a systematic power imbalance and systemic oppression, which spread with the expansion of agriculture.

These choices fall into five categories, all intimately related to the rise of agriculture:

Taken together, these changes led to a sharp rise in child-rearing duties for women, their increasing confinement to the domus and exclusion from politics, a fixation on their sexual “purity”, and male control of the personal and social relationships between the genders.ibid.

The result is patriarchy – the oldest and most enduring ideology and system of oppression – and, in contrast to e.g. racism, one in which the oppressor role emerged only during its evolution.


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