A Brief History of Male Chauvinism
Women have always been exploited by men. That is a truth that nobody doubts. From the solemn lecture halls in Oxford to popular TV shows, from Collège de France to pop music groups, the world reaffirms that certainty, maybe the most unquestionable truth that has ever crossed the human mind—that is, if it ever actually crossed it, for it might have come straight out of wombs into academic books.
Not desiring to go against such an august unanimity, I here intend to list a few facts that may reinforce, in the hearts of believers of all existing and yet-to-be-invented sexes, their hatred against heterosexual adult males, those execrable creatures that no one who was unlucky enough to be born as a male wants to be when he grows up.
Our narrative begins at the dawn of time, at some imprecise moment between the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons. It was in those dark ages that the exploitation of women started. Living in caves, the human communities were constantly ravaged by the attacks of wild beasts. Males, taking advantage of their prerogatives as members of the ruling class, hurried to secure for themselves the safest and most comfortable of places of the social order: they remained inside the caves—what rascals!—preparing food for their babies, while the poor females, armed only with clubs, went outside to fight lions and bears.
When the hunting and gathering economy was replaced by agriculture and cattle-raising, men took advantage of women again, always assigning them the hardest jobs, such as moving rocks and blocks of stone, taming wild horses, and cutting furrows on the ground with a plough, while they, those lazy pants, stayed home painting pottery and weaving. That is revolting.
When the great empires of antiquity dissolved, yielding their places to a bedlam of warring fiefdoms, feudal lords quickly formed their private armies, exclusively made up of women, while men took refuge in castles and remained there enjoying the good life, delighting in the reading of the poems that warrior women wrote, in between battles, to praise their manly charms.
When someone had the extravagant idea of spreading Christianity throughout the world, which required sending missionaries to all corners of the Earth, where they ran the risk of being impaled by heathens, stabbed by highway robbers, or butchered by an audience bored with their preaching, the heavy burden of that mission was laid upon women, while men Machiavellianly stayed home and made novenas before their family altars.
The poor women were victims of the same kind of exploitation on the occasion of the Crusades, where, clad in heavy armors, they crossed deserts to be run through by the swords of the moors (female moors, of course, since the partisans of Mohammed were no less sexists than we). And what about the great voyages of discovery!? Seeking gold and diamonds to adorn idle males, brave female seafarers crossed the seven seas and fought against ferocious indigenous male warriors whose only advances towards them were, alas, of a military nature.
Finally, when the modern state instituted military conscription for the first time in history, government armies were made up of women, and beheading at the guillotine was the punishment for those who insisted on resisting or dodging the draft. All of that, of course, so that men could stay home reading The Princesse de Clèves.
In short, for millennia women have been dying in the battle field, moving blocks of stone, erecting buildings, fighting wild beasts, crossing deserts, seas, and jungle, making all sorts of sacrifice for us, idle males, to whom no challenge remains other than that of getting their hands dirty in soiled diapers.
In exchange for the sacrifice of their lives, women, our heroic defenders, have not demanded from us anything except the right to raise their voices at home, make a few cigarette burn marks on tablecloths, and, occasionally, leave a pair of socks in the TV room for us to pick up.
Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.