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Monogamy and the Western Civilization Part 2 - The value of women

One of the things that become apparent when studying European culture is the fact that on both sides of the Hajnal line, women, by being not regarded as possession but as free agents, are regarded as free to choose their mate.

When women get to choose their own partners, said partners have to prove themselves worthy. As human babies require significantly more of a parental investment than the progeny of any other animal, a mate needs to prove not just his genetic superiority but also his suitability as a provider for his mate and progeny. In a monogamous culture, this actually means that men are dealing with the choice of either being good mates and providers and thus contributing and integrating themselves into society or not getting to mate and breed.

This makes women the gatekeepers of civilization in the West. Even when the choice of a mate falls upon the woman’s family, the issue of whether a man would be a good provider continues to be a major factor even in the 21st century in European communities. The myth of the white young man who tells his prospective partner and/or her family that he “Earns X amount and has good prospects” is exactly that, he states his suitability as a provider for his future family.

This is again a characteristic of European society on both sides of the Hajnal line. Monogamy means every woman needs a husband, but it also means that men need to prove themselves worthy. Unlike in non-European cultures, the taking of a mate by force or for clan politics purpose has been pushed out of practice  for centuries, persisting only in the upper classes for said political purposes, but even in these cases the women get to approve of their proposed mate.

This is a practice that goes back millennia.  The taking of the Sabines was the last time European culture sanctioned men taking wives without said wives’ consent, and that was about 2900 years ago.

However, an interesting consequence of a monogamous society is that the value of women is no longer consisting just from their dowry/ physical aspects and fertility. As we notice in many non-European cultures, women past fertile age  have been and still are casually cast aside when they are no longer useful as mates. An older woman with no children to provide for her, or just a widow - as it is still the custom in some parts of India - would find herself being cast out because she had exhausted her only perceived value for clan based societies - namely that of a brood mare.

In the European monogamous culture however, society disapproves of a man who discards his old wife for a younger one just because the new one is fertile and more attractive. It happens, but the custom is severely frowned upon and has been for millennia. The words “till death do us part” in this regard precede the institution of religious marriage by several stages of human societal evolution.

This means that the older women have to develop other skills in order to maintain usefulness and rank in the community after they can no longer produce children. There is of course the obvious role of helping care for and raise the grandchildren, but we also notice the interesting phenomenon of work for the community as an extension of one’s family.

Older women are midwives, sages, priestesses and advisors. They are crafters and thus keepers of knowledge and also casually step in to fill the caretaker role for families where the mother is incapable to properly look after her children due to death, illness etc. Without any clannish obligation, all women in the community will step in to help make sure all children are looked after.

Again this is still visible in small rural communities in Western Europe and in Eastern Europe. The older women in a social group, be it a village, a city block etc. will actively  seek to ensure the wellbeing of strangers’ children just by virtue of being members of the same micro community. The neighbour lady who ensures all of the neighbourhood kids are safely home after school if their parents are both at work plays just this role, and she doesn’t even have to be asked for it. The well-known matchmaker cliché of the older female relatives is in fact a form of “looking out for the communal good” - ensuring that all women in their microcommunity/macrofamily are well paired and provided for.

This is of course altruism, but a direct consequence of a monogamous society, which also gives women a great deal of power. Not only do they have value as actual contributing members of society and not just breeding beasts, but they manage to attain a similar level of authority and respect only older men receive in clannish/non monogamous societies. By virtue of being older and being an active part of society the woman is in and by herself a valued partner, her skills are appreciated and her advice sought after.

I mentioned in the first part of this work the name of Cornelia Africana - daughter of Scipio. We remember her not for her beauty or riches but because she refused to marry a king after her first husband died so that she could properly raise and educate her children.

Cornelia Africana could only act as such in a monogamous society where women  have their own power. In any other society she would have either been forced to remarry by her parents or  been thrown out.

The women of the west are as such raised in a society that perceived  and used their skills and their value as individuals for at least 2000 years.

So, you will ask, if this is the case, how come feminism appears in the West and not in one of the more woman-oppressive societies?

I will address that in the third part.

Part 1

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