Less racist, sexist and homophobic world

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Astrapothereum, Sep 9, 2019 at 7:14 PM.

  1. Miguel Lanius Well-Known Member

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    I think a big issue in the thread is selling the concepts to audiences that were, uh, less receptive and had different concepts and ways to see these things.
     
  2. NotedCoyote Well-Known Member

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    The problem, though, is that if male dominance of society was based on the greater physical strength that men had when compared to women, we would expect the status of women to correlate with the importance of warfare and manual labour in society... and it doesn't. Take ancient Egypt for example. Egyptian women were able to own and inherit property, those of high status could become priests, scribes, and physicians, they could represent themselves in legal cases and could run their own businesses. If they wanted a divorce, they could obtain one and would keep their own property. If they wanted to remarry afterward, they could do that too. There's no reason to believe that the Egyptians were exempt from the grueling physical demands of pre-industrial agriculture, but they seem to have nevertheless afforded a much greater legal status to their women than some of their neighbouring civilizations that were at a comparable level of technological development.

    Infant mortality rates in the ancient world were high, and women working on farms would have been pregnant or nursing during much of their adult life, which obviously would have limited their opportunities. The important thing to remember, though, is that the opportunities for most men would have been almost as limited. If a woman born to farmers can expect to be married and spend her life raising children, a man born to the same farmers will likely spend his life toiling in the fields. In urban centres, where the birthrate was lower and labour more specialized, women in history seem to have worked alongside their husbands at whatever trades those men had. Guilds in the Middle Ages allowed widows to earn a living by carrying on their husband's trade, and they couldn't have done so if they weren't capable of doing the work and trained in the skills involved. Later, there are examples of women working in the trades under their own name... some of the plumbers and other skilled labourers who rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire in London were women. They were listed on the records alongside the men, and there's no evidence that the people of the time considered it especially progressive.

    Even in warfare, the absence of women seems to be a more modern conception than you assume. Modern Europe inherited much of its cultural traditions from the Romans, who were almost uniquely sexist as ancient civilizations went. Certainly, the great majority of warriors in the ancient world were men - the aforementioned issue of childbirth and nursing go a long way toward explaining that. But records of female warriors and burial sites where women were buried with the same kinds of weapons and armour as men are far from uncommon in the ancient world. Roman historians wrote of various societies they fought against where women fought alongside men... the Bracari in northern Portugal, to give just one example. They don't seem to have shared your opinion that such women would have been a joke, either, despite their own attitudes toward women being far from progressive.

    Ultimately, the original call was for a less bigoted 2019, and it's easy to see changes that could have been introduced earlier in history that would have accelerated the role of women in society. Legal reforms allowing married women to own property and businesses could have occurred earlier, and would have been immensely significant. Increases in literacy, perhaps by an earlier adoption of printing and of a reliable postal system, would have also increased the ability of women to become educated and self-reliant. True equality is unlikely in an era predating modern technology, birth control, and medicine, but if women enter the 19th century with rights that took them until the 20th century to achieve, it's easy to imagine that the women of the 21st century will face less sexism.

    As for homosexuality, did most civilizations consider it outright forbidden? Because it seems that forms of homosexuality were tolerated or embraced in much of the ancient world, to say nothing of China, Japan, Korea, Melanesia, Polynesia, and throughout Africa and the Americas. Actually, it would probably be faster the list the cultures were same-sex relations were totally forbidden, because they seem to have been relatively few in number. Homophobia spread with the Abrahamic religions - we see a marked decline in tolerance toward homosexuality in China after the arrival of Islam, for example, while European missionaries spread their anti-gay attitudes with them to Africa, India and the Americas.
     
  3. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    As far as the male kisses are involved, they were/are to a great degree cultural: for the well-documented example, find some videos with Leonid Brezhnev kissing the foreign dignitaries. Greeting with (three) kisses is routine for the Russian culture and probably for some other cultures as well and has no sexual connotations.

    The Prester John legend applied to the “yellow” Christians and idea of the “yellow crusade” failed when the crusading orders of Outremer sided with the Muslim Mamelukes against Christian-led Mongolian force. Faith-based strategic alliances are tricky thing: we can start with the best-known Franco-Ottoman alliance against the HRE and then there were numerous combinations involving the PLC (or just Lithuania), Tatars (the GH and Crimean Khanate), Ottomans, Cossacks, and Muscovite state. Faith was secondary to the issues of the realpolitik and the same goes for the racial component (being “yellow” was seemingly not a big problem for the numerous inter marriages and raising in a predominantly “white” societies, if anything, in Russia descent from Genghis or “the GH” was considered on the same level as one from Rurik or Gedemin).

    As far as the black Christians were involved, situation was even more peculiar. On one hand, slave was an inferior being but OTOH, being black did not prevent Thomas Alexander Dumas to become general of the Republic in France (if we discount a full General on Haiti as a political expedience) and Ibrahim Hannibal a full General in Russia. Anyway, when it comes to the general attitudes it should not be forgotten that in a big part of Europe all the way to the late XVIII attitude of the nobles to the serfs was to a great degree the same as to the slaves: they were considered lower life forms and their race had nothing to do with that attitude.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 8:17 PM
  4. Enobaria Well-Known Member

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    Oh really? Everywhere, every society developed the same beliefs and view points on women and men no exceptions?


    Are you denying that this is a strawman used by reactionary's and conservatives when they try arguing against gender equality or feminism?

    "What do you mean women want equal rights? Women aren't men! Men are stronger!"

    I think you have a very simplistic view of ancient history as it seems like you believe gender relations were the same everywhere in the world with no variation among groups.
     
  5. Prince de Pringondani Well-Known Member

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    For a less racist sexist and homofobic world you would need a dominant Empire or Culture or Religion and that's contradicts the idea of equality gecause the Dominant Entity will enforce such thoughts to the One wfo have not that thoughts
     
  6. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    I'd go the opposite way. The dominance of one culture over others tends to breed the sort of social relations and power dynamics that gives rise to racism and makes the imposition of cultural uniformity that upholds racism, sexism and homophobia more likely.
     
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  7. Prince de Pringondani Well-Known Member

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    I mentioned "contradicts"
     
  8. karatachi "Stay woke" - Gitmo Interrogator

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    That's from poverty and underdevelopment.
     
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  9. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Also from societal attitudes
     
  10. A Most Sovereign Lady Princess of the Kingdom of Maryland

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    To parrot myself from five months back; Unless you fundamentally change the nature of humanity this question cannot be sufficiently answered.

    Now to await the ad hominens and straw positions.
     
  11. Kaushlendra pratap singh Well-Known Member

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    There is nothing as less racist world and the more racist world but it's the process of civilization, what it's hate more it is a neighbour or at 100 km distance living his relative, The more racist world is when in a society people hate organised due to public propaganda or religious belief which always come back when there is a society to work against or society will be destroyed without any anger management .
     
  12. Caravels of Portugal Well-Known Member

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    As a general advice, be careful with this thread. If this starts getting political, we might move this thread to Chat or outright lock it.
     
  13. karatachi "Stay woke" - Gitmo Interrogator

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    Which are influenced greatly by economical situation.
     
  14. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Ehhh, not so sure I agree.
     
  15. karatachi "Stay woke" - Gitmo Interrogator

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    I said "greatly", not "solely".
     
  16. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    I am aware.
     
  17. Skraea Well-Known Member

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    I've already pointed in another thread that there were tons of societies where women could be and were warriors,leaders,involved in trade and the priesthood. In Europe,Asia,Africa and both Americas, there was a deal of gender equality fairly world wide. What could be done in the Mediterranean world would be to seriously reduce the influence of Athens and Rome,both of which were notoriously misogynistic. For East/Southeast Asia,maybe minimize Confucianism. From what I've read Vietnam had women warriors/leaders and Japan had female Samurais who did fight. It's going to be more difficult to butterfly racism,but not impossible. Maybe a different type of slavery that was not hereditary or race based similar to Antiquity,increased trade and less xenophobia all around could contribute. Maybe societies develop with female rights,international trade where same sex relations are neither demonized nor idealized,but maybe bisexual where both genders are valued? It can be done and was done in the past.
     
  18. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Being reasonable is dangerous. :)

    But, indeed, trying to put “conservative”, “progressive” labels on a complicated phenomena does not answer the question. Quite conservative society like Russia of the XVIII was for most of the century ruled by the women and even had a woman as a Chairman of the Academy of Sciences (taking into account that the woman in question was bisexual, should it make Russia of that time “progressive”?). OTOH, while these female rulers hardly could be defined as male pig sexists (ditto for Maria Theresa), there were no females in their governments and no women in the military even if EI and CII liked to pose in the Guards uniform.

    Take another conservative (as in preserving old traditions) state, Mongolian Empire of Genghis and his successors. Female could not be a Khan but she could be a regent of the empire. And as far as racism was involved, social division was not by a race but by a life style: nomads of all ethnicities, to whom laws of Genghis did apply and sedentary population which lived by its local laws. Definitely not a “racism” but still a clear division.

    Now, take the other side of equation, which European state was the most prigressive in XVIII Europe? French Republic. How many women in the government? Zero. Were women allowed to vote? No. How many women allowed to serve in the armies of the Republic? One. Hardly an impressive record as far as the gender equality is involved.

    Then we go to a standard confusion between racism and xenophobia, which is a “botomless” subject.

    Were all these things related to the “Abrahamic religions”? One has to demonstrate how these religions were relevant to the Ancient Greece, Rome, Persia and numerous “barbaric” entities of the pre-Christian period.
     
  19. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    As you say, a handful of female rulers doesn't make a better society for women. Exceptions made for the ruling class (and even then, just the monarchy) doesn't mean much for the rest of the population.

    Some barbaric societies have alternatively been less sexist, less racist or less homophobic, indicating that there isn't really a constant here, though.
     
  20. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Of course, the monarchies ruled by the women are not “progressive” based on that criteria, that’s the point. Another point is that these rulers were not even thinking along the modern gender equality lines and, speaking of “better society for women”, these rulers were not really trying to create a “better society” in general so “sexism” was not really the main problem. But the French Republic was presumably about liberty and equality and still failed to perform according to the modern standards. So how about the possibility that the premise of this thread is a little bit anachronistic and demands fundamental changes in the historic mentality?

    BTW, in the former SU there was no, formally, sexism as a state policy and the women had been allowed to all types of work. Of course, I can’t claim that this is a scientific research but the women carrying the heavy loads of bricks or rails or doing some heavy manual job usually did not look excessively happy with their equality (of course, I can be wrong in my impressions).

    The second part is that when you are trying to argue, “some” does not go as a valid argument. You need to come with the specific names, places, descriptions of habits and preferably demonstration of how exactly these examples impacted the prevailing modern cultures. Of course, there was no (still is not) a complete uniformity among the world’s cultures but you have to demonstrate your point beyond the vague statements.
     
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