Throughout the ages it seems that females of any species have borne the lions’ share of the workload within their communities and enjoyed little, if any, of the benefits.
I recently hiked a trail that was once occupied by families whose livelihood depended on their employment of the building of a local canal. Along the trail were occasional images of the homesteads which dated back to the 1850’s. Men worked at digging the canal, women stayed in their very rudimentary homes tending to the families most basic needs; cooking over open fires, growing their vegetables, curing meats, not to mention child rearing. I noted one of the historical images was of a tavern and the caption “this was an establishment for the enjoyment of the Navies (men) and their horses” cause, what, God forbid he should take his wife out for a snort? (she was probably busy beating the laundry on a rock somewhere anyway) It’s not like the little lady would enjoy a glass of wine after a day of killing and cooking his dinner, shoveling out the stalls, and probably giving birth. Nah, better he takes his horse out for a drink!
This got me to thinking, and I realized this blatant neglect of a females’ contribution to her clan didn’t stop with just the human race.
Take a pride of lions. Male lions have all the hair (probably the only male species to have a thick head of hair throughout their adult lives, but I digress) and this luxurious mane is both a compliment and a curse. It attracts the females (whore lure) Unfortunately, their showy locks also make them highly visible to potential prey, rendering them totally useless for the hunt. (nothing a good haircut can’t fix) This, in addition to the male lions role as ‘protector’, excuses them from the hunting duties, so it falls to the lionesses because their more bland appearance blends in perfectly with their surroundings, providing much needed camouflage. (ok, so pretty boy doesn’t want to work cause it might mess his ‘do’) Not only is the lioness required to hunt to provide for their pride but she must observe the ‘pecking order’ when the males are present. The males feed first, then the cubs. Once they are satisfied the females are then left to fight over the remains, (oh goodie, leftovers again) often leaving them hungry.
In summary then, the females provide for the pride, ie do all the work (Man, we just can’t cut a break!) and the males ‘look pretty’ and ‘protect’ the pride. (Protection from what? If the females are doing all the killing, I wouldn’t think they’d need a lot of protecting) One of these days, these females are gonna realize they’re getting a raw deal and I wouldn’t want to be a male in the vicinity when they do cause all the ‘pretty’ in the world won’t save their bacon!
The male pheasant, like the male lion, has all the looks (oh great, another ‘pretty-boy”) They have colourful plumage splashed with striking colours, and strut with major attitude. The females are colourless and quite rotund (they look like they swallowed a beach ball) and they have a distinct waddle. The male, or cock, exerts little energy in the rearing of chicks, focusing on attracting the female, mating, and preparing his body for the next winter; molting. (yeah, it’s a tough life stud!)
The female, or hen, on the other hand, depletes her energy after the demands of egg laying, nesting, incubation, renesting, and raising the chicks. She has little time to prepare herself for winter (cause God forbid that pretty-boy should help out with the kids) If she’s lucky she’ll succumb to her exhaustion but it’s not like it would matter. Pretty-boy will just go out a find himself a younger hen.
Bees! Now there’s a species that got it all together! Worker bees are ‘imperfect’ female bees and are the largest group of bees in the hive. Workers do everything but lay eggs and mate. (so once again the females do all the work and by the way, if they are your entire labour force I’d rethink labelling them as ‘imperfect’). The drone or the male bee doesn’t have a stinger and doesn’t gather nectar and pollen. ( they don’t do a damn thing…so they might as well be a lion, or a pheasant or a human) But here’s the good part. The drones primary role is to mate with a queen bee…… after which he dies quickly.
(All in all, not a bad system…)