Tag Archives: Hunting Hypothesis

This is what sexism looks like

6 Nov

There are two theories about how human beings came to have such intelligence compared to our primate cousins (and if you don’t believe in evolution fuck off and die right now, you’re an idiot). One theory is that in order to survive and thrive, we needed protein, which comes in the form of animal flesh.  According to the Hunting Hypothesis, our brains evolved as hunters (read: men) developed more and better strategies for getting this source of protein. Hunters learned to outwit animals, by thinking strategically, and they created more and better weapons and in doing so, pushed our intelligence forward collectively.

Good theory.  Makes sense.


The second theory is that humans achieved longer life spans by feeding weaned children, allowing the whole population to survive longer and the mere occurrence of longer life spans led to more experience, greater understanding and higher intelligence. In this scenario, a young child who is no longer breastfeeding, but doesn’t quite have the skills to feed him or herself yet receives assistance from older members of the population, who dig up roots and crack nuts and help the little ones get enough to eat.  Everyone lives much longer, gains experience and the population as a whole gets smarter as the generations go by.

This is also a good theory.

Kristen Hawkes, an anthropologist at the University of Utah, created a mathematical model to test these two hypotheses,  and lo and behold, it turns out that when chimpanzees successfully feed their young but weaned offspring, their intelligence increases and they achieve human life spans, thereby proving that the feeding theory is correct.

So what about this is sexist?  It’s this:  the theory of supplemental nutrition is called the Grandmother Hypothesis.  You know, because grandfathers don’t give a fuck about babies and food and all that silly girl stuff like the survival of the entire population.

What’s hidden in the use of the Grandmother Theory is the idea that men, and elderly men, in particular don’t matter.  They are irrelevant to the survival and intelligence of humankind.  The unwritten assumption is that EITHER men (hunters) OR women (Grandmothers) drove human intelligence and achievement, and in this false competition WOMEN were responsible for our survival and existence.  Yay women!  Men suck!  Hooray for Grandmothers!

Is anyone the slightest bit surprised that the anthropologist here was a woman?  Anyone want to guess whether she identifies as a feminist?

Let’s stop for a moment and actually look at the evidence.  Knud Knudson, a sociologist at the University of Stavanger in Norway looked at 5 500 grandparents and their involvement with their grandchildren.   And guess what?  It is actually GrandFATHERS who spend the most time with their grandchildren, especially when the Grandfather still has a wife.  Grandmothers who are alone are preoccupied with their own survival and have less time to devote to their grandchildren.  Historically, it may very well be that Grandmothers took care of their male partners, and those male partners took care of feeding the little ones.  The theory could easily have been called the Grandfather Hypothesis, although why it couldn’t just be called the Grandparent Hypothesis is bewildering.


Ha ha!  Just kidding.  It’s not bewildering at all.  A central part of feminism as a political ideology is to deny that men play any important role in human existence, and to deny them the characteristics of humanity that women take for granted.   Nurturing, loving, providing, kind, gentle, reliable and deeply invested in the welfare of their family.  That’s what men really are, but feminism insists they are irrelevant.  Useful for killing things (and let’s be clear:  we wouldn’t be alive without having men out there to kill things for us), but denied the gentler, more loving side of their humanity.

I am so glad my children are growing up with both their grandfathers still around.  The larger world around them may insist that men are useless and superfluous, but when I see my little ones cuddled up on their grandfather’s lap, I know they will find that hard to believe.  There is nothing like the love of a grandfather, oh, except the love of a grandmother.  Both matter.  Deeply.

Refusing to acknowledge that men are just as loving and caring and concerned about children as women are has led to a culture in which women see children as property and men as the enemy.  It’s a disaster for the men who are emotionally destroyed by being kept from their children and a tragedy for children who see Daddy on the weekend, or never.  If our very existence is the result of children growing up with the care of multiple generations of men, what does the future hold for children denied this care by modern women who dispose of men like they are garbage?

Doesn’t seem very intelligent to me. The care of men has made us.  Without them, we are nothing.  Erasing men from theories about how we came to be so intelligent seems the height of fucking stupid.

Lots of love,


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