by Diana Cihak
In “Guns, Germs and Steel”, Jared Diamond has written a phenomenal exploration about why certain societies in history evolved more quickly than others. Most historians would explain the differences through a racial lens viewed primarily through the lens of European dominance. But Diamond thinks it goes back much further and has little to do with skin color and everything to do with access to the correct seeds, resistance to particular germs and of course achieving the ultimate violent weapon first, a gun.
But at the very beginning of the book he takes a deep dive into that switch from wandering from place to place in search of food to cultivating food and staying in one location to tend the crops or animals.
This allowed one person to grow enough food for 10-100 people instead of simply hunting or gathering for themselves and their offspring.
It is also the time when the birth rate dramatically increased. Women had to space out their births because in a hunter gatherer society they could only carry one infant from place to place. The next birth could not occur until the current child could keep up with the tribe as it moved. And those offspring were now needed to tend to farm chores.
Having more children kept women in the first villages much more closely tied to home and hearth. And that led them to be more dependent on the men for security, safety and sustenance.
The women started to become more dependent on the men in their lives, for their lives and the lives of their children.
And I believe that is the idea that we need a man for protection really started.