By Peter N. Stearns

Be a Man!: men in smooth Society [Paperback]
Peter N. Stearns (Author)
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22 But Western society was not simply another male-dominated agricul­ tural society. Christianity was far more complex than this. In the image of man it conveyed, and in the introduction of the feminine element, it created a unique model of maleness for subsequent centuries to pursue. Patriarchal Christianity was of course a man's religion. Men were its principal priests. Men were not only the leading but the most numerous church members in societies such as seventeenth-century New England which emphasized the relationship of the will of men to that of God.

Agricultural cultures stressed women as the origins of evil-Eve, Pandora-and the bearers of weakness. 15 Woman might wield immense infonnal power because of their domestic and economic importance. They might thrive under separate gender cultures. But agricultural men had no trouble knOWing what a man was, or knowing that in manhood lay superiority. � T h e T r ad i t i o n of M a n h o o d 27 • Patriarchal conditions thus constitute the second great historical leg­ acy to men and gender, after the more boyishly appealing characteris­ tics of the hunting male.

Males could rarely be successful lone hunters. Yet grouping involved constant tension among natural sexual rivals. The bull male patriarch, the archetypal father figure so common among the great apes, had to extend his dominance in hunting, not just assert himself in a sexual hierarchy. The hunter's maleness thus early involved a kind of economic leadership, a mastery of key skills. Yet youthful insurgence was greatly facilitated by the strength demanded in hunting. Father-son competition, the aggressive­ ness of each type of male, was built in from the species' inception, though in a few non-Western cases, conflict was minimized by reserv­ ing marriage for men too old to hunt.

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