Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Science

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Is the Gender System a Cause of Dystocic Labor in Modern Humans?

Pierre Frémondière1,2,*, Lionel Thollon3, Hassler Pascale1, Sebastien Riquet1, Carole Zakarian1, François Marchal2

1Faculty of Medical and Paramedical Sciences, School of Midwifery, Aix Marseille University, 51 boulevard Pierre Dramard, 13344, Marseille cedex 15, France.

2UMR 7268 ADES, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, EFS, Secteur Nord Batiment A, CS80011 Bd Pierre Dramard 13344 Marseille Cedex 15, France.

3LBA INRETS, Aix-Marseille Université, Secteur Nord Batiment A, CS80011 Bd Pierre Dramard 13344 Marseille Cedex 15, France.

*Corresponding author: Pierre Frémondière

Published: July 7,2022


Violence against women is one of the most widespread violations of human rights in our world today. The gender system, an institutionalized system producing different roles for women and men, could be the source of a system of oppression of women that generates gender-based violence. Cultural practice affected by the gender system, such as food sharing, may explain biological difference between men and women. According to the “Nutritional Constraints on Women’s Size Selection” (NCWS) hypothesis, body size differences between men and women coud be explained by the women’s limited access to food throughout human evolution. This hypothesis is investigated in this paper, through new insights from primatology, evolutionary anthropology and auxology. Based on their analyses, we suggest that sexual dimorphism, where males are bigger than females, is a primate condition rather than the result of inequality in food access. NCWS hypothesis suggests that nutritional constraints result in a limitation of growth and produce a small pelvis. This would explain why modern humans exhibit a high frequency of fetal-pelvic disproportion resulting in a high maternal mortality without medical assistance. But previous works show that the pelvic shape is adapted to the parturition in different ciconstances (small bodied women, reproductive age). For these reasons, we suggest that the emergence of the gender sys-tem is not related to the specific obstetrical conditions of modern humans. Other hypotheses such as the obstetric dilemma or the energetic for growth and gestation bring specific explanations to the human birth patterns.


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How to cite this paper

Is the Gender System a Cause of Dystocic Labor in Modern Humans?

How to cite this paper: Pierre Frémondière, Lionel Thollon, Hassler Pascale, Sebastien Riquet, Carole Zakarian, François Marchal. (2022) Is the Gender System a Cause of Dystocic Labor in Modern Humans? Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Science6(2), 248-261.