had no choice but to stay home andnbehave.nI should also mention here women’snrecord-keeping of moon-cycles andngrowing seasons scratched on bone,nwhich led to the solstitial, equinoctial,nand cross-quarter-day festivals atnwhich women priests traditionally presided.nAs the record-keepers of theirnown cycles, and then of the largerncycles of nature, it was considerednappropriate for women to be thenpriests, the interpreters and conveyorsnof life-knowledge. Likewise, as birthgivers,npottery-makers, and weavers, asncreators, women were regarded as thentrue reflections of the ultimate Creator.nEven the Bible refers to “thenGreat Goddess, whom all the worldnworships” (Acts 19;27). (In that region.nShe was known as Diana, but thenGoddess had various names in variousnplaces, like the Jehovah, Allah, andnBrahma of today.)nIn a world then when Deity wasnfeminine, man’s principle status derivednfrom his relationship to woman,nas dutiful son or privileged paramour,nbut not as husband or father. Marriage,nor ownership of a woman, wasninstituted by savage tribes such as thenHebrews who sought to ensure accessnto all the female civilizing comfortsnthat the males could not provide fornthemselves.nBy contrast, in the matriarchal cultures,nmales were but temporary lovers.nAnd since fathers came and went,ntrue parenthood was held ever to residenin the mother. Thus, the original socialnunit, and the most natural one, isnsolely mother and child, a realitynwhich is documented by the countlessnmother and son statues at shrinesnthroughout the ancient world.nConstance RobertsonnPeoria, ILnPerhaps I am dead or dying, but mynfavorite gift is a book. Women sometimesnneed to escape from the “civilized”nworld, too. (Perhaps more so!)nPerfume is often made from animalnproducts, and I am a vegetarian and donnot believe in killing animals. That isnbeside the point, however. My dislikenof frilly nightgowns (I sleep nude) andnsmelly perfume doesn’t detract fromnmy femininity.nRealizing my potential as a womann(I am 24) has allowed me to free myselfnfrom female stereotypes. I demandnnothing from men, nor from women.nThe earth and humanity provide menwith all I need.nYou could benefit from stepping outnof your narrow views of men andnwomen. Our biological differences arenself-e’ident; our human similaritiesnare exciting.nCarol ZiesenPasadena, CAnThe Editor Replies:nThese three letters illustrate the rangenof responses to our issue on sex—-fromnthe thoughtful (Caroline Miranda) tonthe ideological (Constance Robertson)nto the absurd (Carol Ziese).nThere are, indeed, women caughtnin the middle. In a world where allnvalue is determined by money, thenwomen’s role has been shrunk to thendimensions Miss Miranda complainsnof. But trying to pretend there is anmiddle ground between feminism andntraditional society does not help matters.nThe main task of a healthy societynis to reproduce itself, which meansnthat intelligent women like Miss Mirandanshould be having more than twonchildren and taking care of them in thencritical years. If working women carenabout the future of our civilization,nthen they are, by their own choice,noutside it. Remember the fate of thenbat.nConstance Robertson has beennreading up on Mutterrecht, it seems,ninstead of studying the vast output ofnfeminist anthropology. There is notnspace here to do more than list hernerrors and direct her reading: There isnno evidence that women have evernbeen politically dominant in a society.nMatrilineal societies (which tracenproperty and descent through the femalenline) are no less male-dominatednnnthan patrilineal cultures. Alice Schlegeln(a feminist) has shown clearly thatnmatriliny can be put on a gradientnfrom brother-domination to husbanddomination.nIn the middle, where thentwo sets of male relatives compete,nwomen have the most authority, althoughnthey are still subordinate.nThe example of the Iroquois is instructive.nLike the ancient Spartans,nthe Iroquois were great militarists whonspent much of their time on the warpath.nThis meant that women were leftnwith all domestic management, foodnproduction, and much of the task ofnsocial regulation. As food-producers,nthey exercised a de facto and de jurenveto power over expeditions. However,nsince the Iroquois were particularlynharsh and abusive to their women (thisnpuzzled the first “matriarchalist,”nL.H. Morgan), the veto was scarcely ancommon occurrence. Until recenti}’,nwomen may have never had it so bad.nThere have been, of course, femalendeities in almost any culture that knewnwhere babies come from; but alongsidenof mother goddesses there are, typically,nmale deities. Besides, the progressnof civilization has, oddly enough, coincidednwith the rejection or demotionnof goddesses, but if Ms. Robertsonnwants to bring back the good old daysnof Nineveh and Tyre, I would be thenlast one to stand in her way. The newnAssyrians would nuke the Russians asnsoon as they had beaten Americannwomen into submission.nWhile the original social unit fornmammals is the mother and child,nmost primates have more complex systemsninvolving either a multimalengroup or a male-female bonding. Innthe most recent attempt to synthesize antheory of hominid origins, Quiatt andnKelso emphasize the sexual bond inpromotingnsocial cooperation. For asnlong as man has been man, we havenlived in families that practiced a divisionnof labor by sex. “Nature,” as Shawnput it, “is what you call immoral.”nFinally, I would like to reassurenCarol Ziese. She is free to use mostnperfumes while she sleeps in the nude:nnatural civet, musk, and ambergris arengenerally too rare to be used in anythingnbut the most expensive products.nBy the way, the only males I knownwho are “excited by similarities” donnot, for obvious reasons, go out withnwomen.nOCTOBER 1986 / 4Sn