Warning: This post discusses non-PC topics related to human biology. The most controversial sections have been separated out into an attachment for readers who are interested in learning more:
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American travelers, many of them from liberal cultural backgrounds, have often been shocked to observe that just about every society on the planet practices a conservative mating culture. After all, scholarship of the 1960s counterculture has created a dichotomy whereby Western civilization is viewed as oppressive and patriarchal and non-Western cultures are viewed as open and liberal. However, the near-ubiqitousness of conservative feminism becomes easier to accept if one understands the process of otherization.
Because conservative values are an effective means for creating out-groups, ruling elites in most human societies view them as a useful tool for consolidating ethnic and tribal identities. For this reason, social conservatism has been observed in just about every society, from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to white-collar office workers in Manhattan. However, there are two cultures that are particularly well-known for practicing conservative feminism: Confucian societies in East Asia and Judaeo-Christian societies in North America, Europe, and Oceania.
Politics in conservative feminist societies can be characterized by two loosely-defined movements: conservatism and liberalism. The primary factor differentiating the two is their views on the economy. Whereas liberals believe in redistributing some of the society’s wealth to those who are less fortunate, conservatives either want to leave the economy alone or ease restrictions on the rich. Both movements have conservative views on social issues, and social conservatism is almost a prerequisite for political participation, as evidenced by the controversy surrounding Barrack Obama’s religious beliefs in the 2008 presidential election:
A picture of the items in US President Barack Obama’s pockets. One of them is a statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman, reflecting his diverse multireligious upbringing in Indonesia.
A political cartoon describing UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s role in the 1982 Falklands War.
Conservative feminist societies are notorious for the belief in their own inherent superiority, as evidenced by the creation of out-groups. Typically, members of the in-group tend to avoid members of the out-group and associate almost exclusively with each other. Occasionally, when the difference in power between the in-group and out-groups becomes more pronounced, the result is often political domination of the out-groups by the in-group, resulting in the creation of an empire.
As mentioned previously, the direct economic impact of conservative feminism is a society with a broad middle class, since it gives its practitioners slightly more opportunities to reproduce than natural law. Common misconceptions regarding conservative feminism state that it results in societies organized around small-scale manufacturing, as was the case in Europe, Japan, and North America during the late 19th century. However, industrial growth does not always have to be the outcome, and the actual results vary depending on the society’s religious beliefs.
Judeo-Christian belief systems (or in the case of Japan, Confucian values) played a crucial role in industrial growth in North America and Europe by promoting a belief in a universe governed by natural laws that humans could manipulate for their own personal well-being. Polytheistic cultures, such as those of the native peoples of the Americas, tend to become agricultural, because of the belief in a universe governed by living deities who control the forces of nature.
Because these societies believe in strict gender roles, the males are expected to earn money for their families once they complete the process of socioeconomic maturation. Female workforce participation may be allowed, but the aforementioned gender roles will restrict it to occupations that are specifically set aside for women. Additionally, it tends to decrease as families achieve middle-class status, because the male partner assumes the role of primary breadwinner.
A by-product of broady-shared prosperity is a consumer class that can use its disposable income to purchase goods and services other than those that are immediately necessary for survival. This surplus wealth allows for the development of artistic forms and cultural expressions, in addition to scientific study and technological innovation. Under this economic system, environmental health and sustainability are not considered pressing issues, and are sidelined in favor of economic development.
Children in these societies are taught from a young age what role they will play in the society. An individual’s role in their society is dictated both by their gender– male children are taught to play the roles of protector and breadwinner for their families, and female children learn to play the role of caretaker– and also by the society’s economic system. Education is seen as the primary means for acquiring economic skills, whether it is achieved formally by sending the children to schools or informally through apprenticeships.
Although deviation from the society’s gender roles may be tolerated before the children reach biological maturity, conformance is expected by the time the maturation process is complete. A common insecurity among the society’s women is the belief that they will be perceived as radical feminists, paralleling the insecurity among the society’s men that they do not conform with established notions of masculinity. The society’s views of gender roles tend to have widespread acceptance from both genders, due to their association with economic stability. However, as the society’s females age, their support for this system decreases, due to the expectation that they must satisfy the demands of their male partners.
Items in Barack Obama’s pockets, https://domesticatedzebra.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/8bc64-barack-obama-and-hanuman.jpg
lock, Herbert, Artist. “That Falklands fighting didn’t exactly do Thatcher any harm”. 6/10, 1983. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2012641185/. (Accessed September 24, 2016.)