Yes, Women are Hunters Too


On June 28th, PLOS One, the extremely popular and important inclusive journal community that “works together to advance science by making all rigorous research accessible without barriers”, published a startling new piece of research by Abigail Anderson, Sophia Chilczuk, Kaylie Nelson, Roxanne Ruther and Cara Wall-Scheffler. Apparently, all five of these authors are fragrant hominids designated biological XX chromosome carriers at birth (formerly known as women) and without any doubt they are valued members of the Biological Department of Seattle Pacific University, a Christian Uni whose notable alumni include David T. Wong, co-inventor of Prozac.  

The researchers’ valuable contribution to the advancement of science was entitled, “The Myth of Man the Hunter: Women’s contribution to the hunt across ethnographic contexts” and found that although the sexual division of labour among humans has typically portrayed men as hunters and women as gatherers, recent archaeological research has questioned this, with evidence that females have hunted (and been to war) throughout our history. Their research aims to shift the male-hunter female-gatherer paradigm to highlight the significant role females have in hunting, thus dramatically shifting stereotypes of labour.   

Well, I have to admit that this new finding hardly shifted much of my paradigm very far, mainly because I recently discovered that women can have penises, so discovering that they have always been big game hunters and soldiers too did not really affect my already badly derailed stereotype.  

I always thought that if my granny had a todger, she was my grandad, but apparently that’s no longer true, either.  

It appears that this enlightening Seattle research was originally prompted by the discovery of a 9,000-year-old burial located in the Andean highland area of Wilamaya Patjxa in Peru. The burial included stone projectiles (usually associated with blokes’ bones, see) but this Peruvian skeleton was found to be that of a female, so the immediate academic conclusion is that she was a female big game hunter. Of course, she was.   

Now I hate to pee on the fireworks of such august academic excitement, but equally, there are surely other possibilities. Perhaps she revealed on her wedding night that she was a woman-with-a-penis and her burial with the stone projectile was a simple demonstration of her hubby’s matrimonial surprise. Perhaps she used her husband’s best hunting flint to shave her pits and bits, thus infecting the sacred male hunting implement with female spirit-germs and the resulting kerfuffle ended with her smoothly hairless but buried with the tainted object. Perhaps she had a prenuptial agreement and a good lawyer, so got everything in the divorce, including hubby’s best flint. Maybe she was an ancestor of the celebrated Lorena Bobbitt. Who knows?   

Of course, the amaaaazing finding – that wimmin’ were big game hunters – was jumped upon, like a hungry tramp jumps on a bag of chips, by a veritable global zoo of eager modernist-revisionists, Critical Theorists and neo-Marxists, new men, droves of both smooth-shaven and baboonophile wimmin’, lots of assorted .orgs, “influencers” and, of course, proselytising herds of the noisy born-again rainbow and unicorn people – the MFBNWBTQQIP2AFTA++U – , who pretend to be exploring the chilled modern vibe but instead grasp desperately at any passing mental flotsam as they drift, hopelessly lost, in the shoreless sea of gender oblivion that has recently replaced human common sense and reality.   

Theirs is a modern swamp where daydreams have become the new truth, feelings are the new logic and everyone is as angry as hell – now made considerably worse because they all once thought women were animal-loving, Earth Goddess vegans, and now they find out the sisters were actually beating animals to death with their ovaries. How confusing is that, mes braves?  Thank the Good Lord I’m so long in the tooth and the granite wheels of my ancient XY mind ran out of WD40 years ago.  

Back to the fallopian-warming Seattle research. It might be new, but it comes on top of the earlier finding that those 50,000 year old cave paintings of hunters were actually mainly painted by women. Archaeologists, who scrape unexciting dirt all day, always go for the dramatic interpretation of finds to spice up their mundane lives and so they immediately took this as a sign, too, that women were therefore great hunters as well as great artists. I personally think they were all sitting at home in the cave, surrounded by annoying ankle-biters, no daytime TV, bored out of their minds and hungry. Since wine, bathtubs, candles, dolphin music and battery operated orgasmatrons weren’t yet invented, they filled their time instead by using ochre bronzer to give the walls of the cave crib a food-porn makeover while old hairy-arse was out killing stuff for supper. My thesis, however, is not doing well in academia.  

Meanwhile, back in today’s real world, wherever you look at actual hunters, whether poor hunter gatherers or rich trophy hunters, there is an obvious sexual division of labour – they obviously haven’t read the research. Men really are (largely) the hunters, while women really are (largely) the gatherers. This “largely” statement is, of course, shorthand for,

“Around the world, men sat around discussing politics and drinking beer all day, in between infrequent fights with enemies, invaders and large, nasty creatures, while the women do everything else, including making the beer”.  

And of course, we are humans. We are not identical injection mouldings. It means that generally (and statistically) speaking, men tend to be the hunter-killers of dangerous threats and resources (including the resource of defence), while (statistically) women tend to use those captured resources to nurture us humans and produce the next generation, no doubt because they are fitted out with the interesting apparatus of gestation.   

These, then, are the two legs of evolution’s process –  first, survival of fittest in competition (male), then, second, using those resources to produce genetic variation by means of reproduction (female). The resulting new genetic variation – the sprogs – (built by the female) then go out to compete (male) in turn. Male-female-male-female and so on. A cycle. You sort out the chickens from the eggs. They are principles, with only a statistical and efficiency connection to biological sex. Charlie Darwin and Herb Spencer suspected half of this some time ago and apparently the news has finally reached the Biology Department of Seattle Pacific Uni.   

Proof that the sexual division of labour is derived from a principle rather than from our wobbly bits is found inside our own heads. We each have the same two principles, both a male (objective) side and a female (subjective) side, used according to need. They exist, too, in societies and survival strategies – lions fight well but breed slowly (a male strategy) while locusts are rubbish at fighting but breed like the clappers (a female strategy). They are all variations of the same two principles, not mutually exclusive compartments. They mix and they separate with infinite fluidity. Life is sooo complicated.  

So, because of the complications, instead of spending many, many pedantic hours getting our knickers in a twist trying to work out precisely how many of each sex actually performed which function (a female interest), the rest of us realise it makes no difference and so instead of doing our heads in, we go back to using the simple, shorthand caveman metaphor, thus saving loads of time in order to drink more beer (a male interest).   

Funny old world…….    

John Nash grew up in West Cornwall and was a £10 pom to Johannesburg in the early 1960’s. He started well in construction project management, mainly high-rise buildings but it wasn’t really Africa, so he went bush, prospecting and trading around the murkier bits of the bottom half of the continent. Now retired back in Cornwall among all the other evil old pirates. His interests are still sustainable resources, wildlife management and the utilitarian needs of rural Africa.