Like it or not, gender roles originally arose for completely legitimate reasons

February 4, 2020

Let me preface this by saying that I’m absolutely not a traditionalist. I believe we as humans should be free to live our lives the way we choose to. However, I’m weary of all the claims that gender roles are some discriminatory patriarchal conspiracy created to keep women oppressed. The fact is, it makes a lot of sense why society evolved the way it did.

Most people who attribute gender roles to patriarchy seem to be solely looking at the world from a modern day perspective. They forget how much riskier and more difficult life was in pre-industrialized days. Unlike in the western world today, back then most people were at very high risk of literally not making it through life. As such, society had to be created in such a way to maximize survival and reproduction.

Back then, you couldn’t just drive to the nearest grocery store or McDonald’s to get food. You had to either hunt it, gather it, or grow/raise it yourself. If people failed to get enough food, they would die. Someone had to travel long distances, plow large fields, and run after animals left with enough stamina to drag them back home for everyone to eat. By necessity of survival, this would logically go to the people with the most physical capability - in other words, the men.

Coupled with that reason was the fact that, from a biological perspective, men are simply more disposable than women. If half of a population’s men die, it’s much easier to repopulate it than if half of a population’s women die. Hence, in pre-industrial eras, by necessity it was most convenient for women to remain relatively safe in their homes while men got food and sacrificed themselves in wars and conflicts. Given that there was a very real fear of entire populations dying out, this also meant that it was mandatory for women to have as many children as possible. It was very likely that the majority would not survive very long, so it was important for mothers to care for their children to the best of their ability while the fathers were out fighting wars and growing/hunting food.

That’s why gender roles exist. It’s not because of some patriarchal system, it’s not because anyone tried to oppress anyone. It’s simply because people wanted their species not to die. Now, I don’t think enforced gender roles have any place in a modern western society. Our world is much safer nowadays, and we don’t have to take any extra efforts to stay alive. Nevertheless, I recognize that gender roles very much were beneficial in our ancestors’ days. If people didn’t have such a system to maximize their survival, it’s very likely we wouldn’t have all of the things today that make said system moot.

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Title Like it or not, gender roles originally arose for completely legitimate reasons
Author thereslcjg2000
Upvotes 34
Comments 8
Date February 4, 2020 12:09 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit /r/MensRights
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