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Mixed MessagesCultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society$
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Robert A. Paul

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226240725

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241050.001.0001

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Beyond Gender Asymmetry and Male Privilege

Beyond Gender Asymmetry and Male Privilege

(p.230) Nine Beyond Gender Asymmetry and Male Privilege
Mixed Messages

Robert A. Paul

University of Chicago Press

While gender asymmetry entailing male social and cultural superiority is widely found in the ethnographic record, it is not universal or necessary; rather it is one formulation of the distinction between the cultural and the genetic programs. This chapter demonstrates this through ethnographic examples of cases in which the sexes are equal or women are superior or perform social roles more usually associated with men. Cases include the Sherbro; the community of Nazare in Portugal; the women warriors of Dahomey; the female priests of Okinawa; and the “matriarchy” of the Minangkebau. Reasons are given for why men do not form corporate groups in these societies, and how male competition is managed.

Keywords:   gender equality, Sherbro, Nazare, women warriors, Dahomey, Okinawa, matriarchy, Minangkebau

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