Friday, June 26, 2009

"Men Live Better Where Women Are in Charge"

Not surprising really.


Ricardo Coler went to live among the Mosuo, a matriarchal ethnic minority in China. He talks about his experience in this Der Spiegel interview.

It would be interesting to get a more ethnographic account of this society (to flesh out what "living better" really means, how "work" is distributed and what the women think about the whole situation). But from Coler's description, it sounds as if the Mosuo live like the bonobos.

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2 Comments:

At 5:16 AM , Blogger Duckrabbit said...

Sounds suspicious. Did you see the explanation for why men live better?

"Men live better where women are in charge: you are responsible for almost nothing, you work much less and you spend the whole day with your friends. You're with a different woman every night.... The woman serves the man and it happens in a society where she leads the way and has control of the money. In a patriarchy, we men work more..."

At best, this guy is an unreliable narrator, since his description of men's situation in a matriarchy conveys a pretty astounding ignorance of the kinds of metrics we might use to assess women's circumstances in patriarchal society. To put it differently, switch the genders in that paragraph and it will sound laughable to your average feminist.

We don't use non-optional leasure time as an indicator of women's liberty in a patriarchy. We do consider things like political and economic power to be important... but here we find:
"...the 'really big' decisions -- like buying a house or a machine or selling a cow -- are made by the men. Men are good for this kind of decision-making as well as physical labor. The official governmental leader of the village, the mayor, is a man."

Sorry, but I call bullshit on this one.

 
At 10:35 AM , Blogger Joseph Orosco said...

Duck: I would tend to agree with you. I don't think this society is described very well. What I think it describes well (and hence his assessment) is a Western patriarchal ideal in which men do little in terms of labor, and yet, have most of their (including sexual) needs taken care of by women.

 

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