Thursday, January 25, 2007
With the exception of the Supreme Court of the United States, I'd say we've been making great strides in this country when it comes to social blindness on gender issues. Sure, when it comes to menfolk and the ladies, there are some basic biological differences that will always separate us. Until something radical happens evolutionarily speaking, the Inny vs. Outy great genital debate will have to remain unresolved.
Aside from the option to urinate while standing, I would say that every day there is less and less to separate us in terms of what we are expected to be able to accomplish as people in terms of gender. I personally don't think anyone who can't help you move a refrigerator should be allowed to be president, but apparently I'm in the minority anymore. Chicks can do anything. Despite my objections, I happen to be living proof of the erosion of traditional social roles based on gender.
Part of this is because I stay home to care for the children while my wife goes out there and earns us a living. Also, I'm a bottom.
If there is a weakening of the patriarchy in this country, I'm a little ambivalent about being the hand-stitched-quilt banner waver out in front of the gynocratic parade. On the one hand, I am a dude, the father of three nascent dudes, general football watcher and PhD in Duderonomy. People who think I'm just going to roll over and start exfoliating are out of their fucking minds.
On the other hand, I live a life of leisure and luxury no human being should have any right to expect. I have time to blog, for example. And there's something powerful and primal about having the nap option every single day. If the price for that is I'm expected to consider washing my hair with something that smells like papaya, well, I guess that's not too much to ask. But it's pretty fucking borderline.
Like I said: ambivalent.
The basic question is: who are we, where do we come from and where are we going? The answer, of course, is always the same.
Up north of me out in the wild jungle farmlands near Sacramento is the University of California campus in a little town allegedly called "Davis". UC Davis. I know. It sounds idiotic, but you know, Sammy had to put up with Frank and Dean-o, virulent anti-miscegenationism and flat out racism, that fucked up glass eye thing and he was a Jew by choice, so I guess the least they could do was name a whole UC campus after him.
You haven't really heard of UC Davis, Jr., I know. Or at least you think you haven't. Any time there's some kind of major scientific breakthrough regarding cross-breeding corn plants or examining the hierarchical social structure of pig sties, you should just go ahead and assume that it came from UCD. That's the direction that whole campus leans, very agro/husbandry-ish. It will all be cutting edge if we ever wake up one day and it's 1730 again.
I bring this up because the animal-fondlers to the north have done it again, this time with titi monkeys.
I know. We'll get to that. Let's stick to the story for a second.
It turns out that in titi monkey (I said wait for it) societies, the ladies give birth, will nurse the children, but that's about it. When it comes to child-rearing, the dads do all the heavy lifting. Also, they have to do most of the actual lifting of heavy things. Tragically unfair, but it's what you should expect if you were stuck breeding with female titi monkey, the animal with the highest documented Complete And Total Bitch level in all the world's fauna.
"Titi babies tend to ride draped across a parent's shoulders, and when mom wants the kid off her back, her favorite strategy for shifting responsibility is to make the baby cry.
'She'll rub it up against the side of the cage, or in the wild against a tree branch, to make it cry, or nip it a little, and then daddy will come get it,' Bales said.
Both parents will come running to their baby's cry if researchers place the infant on the ground, but mom will often pick it up and hand it to dad."
Man, I got chills. That pretty much sums every single day of my life. Except, you know, for small differences. Instead of rubbing them up against a cage, my wife will generally make a small disapproving comment that implies she will withhold her motherly affections if her desire for an appropriate personal space is not met. And instead of "daddy comes to get it" I lean more of a "keep watching TV" kind of direction. They'll stop crying eventually. They always do.
What freaked me out about the article was this:
"There are exceptions, and the primate center's 64-titi colony currently houses one unusually doting mother."
Jesus help us. I nearly threw up when I read that. There's always got to be one fucking deviant, doesn't there? My God, nurturing and caring for children. In a female. Unnatural. First you get gay penguins in New York and now this abomination.
The strict social division of labor by gender seems to be rooted in this species' basic organization around the practice of strict monogamy. It is clear in the article that scientists believe the two phenomena are interrelated. I think it's clear, then, that there is only way way to get around the sticky problem of social limitation of occupations and behavior by gender: group sex.
I'm going to run this past my wife. It's science.
Lastly, and I promised I'd get to this, I wonder if the titi monkey takes the same juvenile pleasure from our names as we do from theirs. I mean, come on. "Titi". Haha, boob monkeys! How good is that? But I try not to say it too loud. Who's to say they can't turn right around and mock us for being called homo sapiens? Think about that before ye judge.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7