How Food Played a Role in the Rise of Patriarchy

On gender inequality (and equality) through the ages and what our diets likely had to do with it

Katie Jgln
The Noösphere

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Image licensed from Shutterstock

There are many hypotheses to explain why social power eventually concentrated almost exclusively in the hands of men.

Well, some stories of the ‘I don’t believe in evolution’ kind assume this has been the case since the dawn of time because people were just placed on Earth on a random Saturday and remained largely unchanged ever since.

Other hypotheses, which are at least in line with the scientific consensus on human origins, posit that male dominance might have come about as a result of the Agricultural Revolution, the rise of monotheistic religions, human sexual dimorphism — differences in size and shape between women and men — other biological sex differences, male sexual violence or a combination of these factors.

Some of these likely played a part — though the extent to which they did differed from one region of the world to another — but they don’t necessarily paint the whole picture.

There’s another element to the puzzle of the gradual emergence and spread of patriarchal societies that we should perhaps consider as well: food.

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