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Gender challenging caveman

Timothy Kincaid

April 6th, 2011

Questions about gender and gender roles are certainly not new ones. A recent excavation in the Czech Republic illustrate that atraditional sexuality was recognized 3,000 5,000 years ago. (Mail Online)

During that period, men were traditionally buried lying on their right side with the head pointing towards the west; women on their left side with the head facing east.

In this case, the man was on his left side with his head facing west. Another clue is that men tended to be interred with weapons, hammers and flint knives as well as several portions of food and drink to accompany them to the other side.

Women would be buried with necklaces made from teeth, pets, and copper earrings, as well as domestic jugs and an egg-shaped pot placed near the feet.

The ‘gay caveman’ was buried with household jugs, and no weapons.

Whether gay, transgender, intersexed, or for some other reason, exceptions to very rigid gender rules suggest a knowledge of divergence and perhaps even an acceptance.

Comments

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GreenEyedLilo
April 6th, 2011 | LINK

How cool! To think, some modern people’s attitudes on gender and sexuality have apparently de-volved since caveman days. I apologize to our Neanderthal ancestors for every time I took their name in vain regarding anti-LGBT people.

Hyhybt
April 6th, 2011 | LINK

“…exceptions to very rigid gender rules suggest a knowledge of divergence and perhaps even an acceptance.”—-Perhaps… or perhaps it was done as a final insult, simply calling the deceased a woman.

Donny D.
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

That’s assuming that neolithic group would have considered it an insult to say a man was like a woman. As far as I know, it can’t be assumed that people back then operated according to the femiphobic male supremacism that we’re saddled with now.

jutta
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

Commentators at Joe.my.god have rightly remarked that “caveman” it not a correct description of a person living in late neolithic or early bronze age. People started to settle and live on agriculture in that period. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corded_ware

jutta
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

PS: I love your term “gender challenging” and I’m thinking hard to find a German term that translates the idea.

dave
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

They were probably accepted then because there was no ORGANIZED RELIGION, GOD to perverse peoples thinking on reality.

Graham
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

Fred and Barney would be such a cute couple.

enough already
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

Jutta,
wie wär’s mit:
Geschlechterrollen ohne gesellschäftlicher Zwang um- und neudefinieren?

Just a thought – I suspect the pre-those Christians who hate us world tended to judge a person’s value on other criteria than their gender or sexuality.

Scott
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

being gay: so easy, even a caveman can do it!

Timothy Kincaid
April 7th, 2011 | LINK

jutta,

Thanks for the correction about “caveman”.

But… I suspect there was organized religion of some sort; that does appear to be a constant across culture and time. And cultures with rigid burial customs tend to have some beliefs about afterlife.

Hyhybt makes a good point that this could have been insult instead of acceptance. However, were that so, it would be more likely that the ‘mockery’ aspect of the burial would not have included the respectful placing of pots or they would have been misshaped or broken. Of course we are both speculating.

Hunter
April 8th, 2011 | LINK

From what we know of early religions outside the Middle East, I doubt very much we’re talking about “organized” religion as we understand the term. There was probably a priest or shaman or some member of the community who interceded with the spirit world on behalf of his or her fellows, but we’re not going to find an organized priesthood or much in the way of dogma or doctrine. Aside from the communal seasonal festivals that would mark an agricultural society, religious practice seems to have been pretty much ad hoc.

The idea that this burial marks an “insult” is also an outlier. From what we know of the berdache of North America and similar institutions in other cultures, the possibilities range from matter-of-fact acceptance to a special and respected role for the gender-ambivalent in the community. I think calling this an insult reveals more about our own attitudes than anything prevalent in the culture this man came from.

Hyhybt
April 8th, 2011 | LINK

Lately, for some reason, whenever I say something *might be*, somebody always seems to want to read that as saying that it *is.* I didn’t call it an insult, only raised the possibility that it *could* have been one.

Ana
April 10th, 2011 | LINK

LOL so easy a cave man an do it LOL..

Now however i think the misogyny is profound in the comments. Really a INSULT to be a Woman ? Seriously ? Ojeeze boys enough of the penis worship..

This Society View of this person who’s gender is assumed to be male , no chromosomal testing has been done to show it was a man. Many women and inter sexed individuals have narrow hips its only a general observation that narrow hips = males its not absolute..

But this society who had strict burial guidelines they adhered to ..

‘VIEWED THIS PERSON AS FEMALE BY HONORING THEM AS THEY WERE OR PRESENTED TO THE SOCIETY AS FEMALE.’ And to claim this person as gay as evidence of gay being since time began when it is obvious they were T at the very least if not a natal born female with narrow pelvis bones..

If you wont give the person the credit you should atleast see what the society imparted with the burial .. and to conjecture that it was a punish to be buried a woman is well BS

enough already
April 11th, 2011 | LINK

Ana,
Every single one of us is limited by his or her cultural perspectives.

As a gay man, I am, of course, overjoyed as my first impulse to see “evidence” that we weren’t always persecuted for who we are.

Your arguments have validity. I don’t know that this person was cis- or transgender or intersexed. I don’t know whether this person was gay or straight. I don’t know whether they considered themselves to have been male or female both or neither.

It will be interesting to learn more.

I don’t usually waste one nanosecond on political correctness. The goal is not to lesson unfairness but to attack using a weapon which is acceptable. In this case, however, I see your point. I wouldn’t have called everything stated misogyny. The assumption that being called a woman has been an insult forever in our species is, however, deeply misogynist.

Hyhybt
April 11th, 2011 | LINK

It’s also generally insulting to call a woman “manly.” Does that mean men are inferior?

enough already
April 11th, 2011 | LINK

Hyhybt,
Same class of insult, just not as nasty at first glance.
It, of course, makes no reference to us men as inferior, rather it means a woman has been so uppity as to put on masculine airs.

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