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Oldest depiction of female form shows that modern archaeologists are pornsick misogynists : Reclusive Leftist






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Female figurine from the Hohle Fels cave near Stuttgart, about 35,000 years old. Interpreted as a pornographic pin-up.

“The Earliest Pornography” says Science Now, describing the 35,000 year old ivory figurine that’s been dug up in a cave near Stuttgart. The tiny statuette is of a female with exaggerated breasts and vulva. According to Paul Mellars, one of the archaeologist twits who commented on the find for Nature, this makes the figurine “pornographic.” Nature is even titling its article, “Prehistoric Pin Up.” It’s the Venus of Willendorf double standard all over again. Ancient figures of naked pregnant women are interpreted by smirking male archaeologists as pornography, while equally sexualized images of men are assumed to depict gods or shamans. Or even hunters or warriors. Funny, huh?

Consider: phallic images from the Paleolithic are at least 28,000 years old. Neolithic cultures all over the world seemed to have a thing for sculptures with enormous erect phalluses. Ancient civilizations were awash in images of male genitalia, from the Indian lingam to the Egyptian benben to the Greek herm. The Romans even painted phalluses on their doors and wore phallic charms around their necks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIthyphallic figure from Lascaux, about 17,000 years old. Interpreted as a shaman.

But nobody ever interprets this ancient phallic imagery as pornography. Instead, it’s understood to indicate reverence for male sexual potency. No one, for example, has ever suggested that the Lascaux cave dude was a pin-up; he’s assumed to be a shaman. The ithyphallic figurines from the Neolithic — and there are many — are interpreted as gods. And everyone knows that the phalluses of ancient India and Egypt and Greece and Rome represented awesome divine powers of fertility and protection. Yet an ancient figurine of a nude woman — a life-giving woman, with her vulva ready to bring forth a new human being, and her milk-filled breasts ready to nourish that being — is interpreted as pornography. Just something for a man to whack off to. It’s not as if there’s no other context in which to interpret the figure. After all, the European Paleolithic is chock full of pregnant-looking female statuettes that are quite similar to this one. By the time we get to the Neolithic, the naked pregnant female is enthroned with lions at her feet, and it’s clear that people are worshipping some kind of female god.

Yet in the Science Now article, the archaeologist who found the figurine is talking about pornographic pin-ups: “I showed it to a male colleague, and his response was, ‘Nothing’s changed in 40,000 years.’” That sentence needs to be bronzed and hung up on a plaque somewhere, because you couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of the classic fallacy of reading the present into the past. The archaeologist assumes the artist who created the figurine was male; why? He assumes the motive was lust; why? Because that’s all he knows. To his mind, the image of a naked woman with big breasts and exposed vulva can only mean one thing: porn! Porn made by men, for men! And so he assumes, without questioning his assumptions, that the image must have meant the same thing 35,000 years ago. No other mental categories for “naked woman” are available to him. His mind is a closed box. This has been the central flaw of anthropology for as long there’s been anthropology. And even before: the English invaders of North America thought the Iroquois chiefs had concubines who accompanied them everywhere, because they had no other mental categories to account for well-dressed, important-looking women sitting in a council house. It’s the same fallacy that bedevils archaeologists who dig up male skeletons with fancy beads and conclude that the society was male dominant (because powerful people wear jewelry!), and at another site dig up female skeletons with fancy beads and conclude that this society, too, was male dominant (because women have to dress up as sex objects and trophy wives!). Male dominance is all they can imagine. And so no matter what they dig up, they interpret it to fit their mental model. It’s the fallacy that also drives evolutionary psychology, the central premise of which is that human beings in the African Pleistocene had exactly the same values, beliefs, prejudices, power struggles, goals, and needs as the middle-class white professors and students in a graduate psychology lab in modern-day Santa Barbara, California. And that these same factors are universal and unchanged and true for all time.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicHohle Fels phallus, about 28,000 years old. Interpreted as a symbolic object and …flint knapper. Yes.

That’s not science; it’s circular, self-serving propaganda. This little figurine from Hohle Fels, for example, is going to be used as “proof” that pornography is ancient and natural. I guarantee it. Having been interpreted by pornsick male archaeologists as pornography because that’s all they know, the statuette will now be trotted out by every ev psycho and male supremacist on the planet as “proof” that pornography is eternal, that male dominance is how it’s supposed to be, and that feminists are crazy so shut the fuck up. Look for it in Steven Pinker’s next book. ***

P.S. My own completely speculative guess on the figurine is that it might be connected to childbirth rituals. Notice the engraved marks and slashes; that’s a motif that continues for thousands of years on these little female figurines. No one knows what they mean, but they meant something. They’re not just random cut marks. Someone put a great deal of work into this sculpture. Given that childbirth was incredibly risky for Paleolithic women, they must have prayed their hearts out for help and protection in that time. I can imagine an elder female shaman or artist carving this potent little figure, and propping it up somewhere as a focus for those prayers.

On the other hand, it is possible that it has nothing to do with childbearing or sexual behavior at all. The breasts and vulva may simply indicate who the figure is: the female god. Think of how Christ is always depicted with a beard, which is a male sexual characteristic, even though Christ isn’t about male sexuality. The beard is just a marker. Or, given the figurine’s exaggerated breasts, it may have something to do with sustenance: milk, food, nourishment.

The notion that some dude carved this thing to whack off to — when he was surrounded by women who probably weren’t wearing much in the way of clothes anyway — is laughable.

Good lord I am so glad I took ancient art from a female professor.

Fun thing, it may also be related to fertility, or rituals that may have, in their minds, boasted the chances of pregnancy. It could also, as the above post has noted, could have a been a image for a god. We don’t know too much about the past to really say what something is, but only to really try and say what it might have been.

Saying that it is pronographic implies that it might as be calling every other female figure found from that time period range pronographic. Really, that makes no sense as providing for the group would have been higher on the to do list.

And also, I think they had a stronger sense of ritualism and spiritism back then, considering that there were also cave paintings of animals, which meant something then and quite possibly may have been a form of stories, idea’s, or other.

Oh, and a dick, or something like that, made out of stone would hurt as the surface of the stone would be pressed against skin and other tissues of the body, which is a soft membrane itself. And the surface of stone is not smooth, it has marks and ridges.

My hypothesis is that it’s a form of sympathetic magic, where if you carve or depict a thing happening, it will cause that thing to happen. For example, a woman who is pregnant and soon to give birth might have carved an obviously female depiction of a woman (with enlarged breasts and swollen vulvae) who is pregnant or possibly pregnant, and that depiction might lead to a more successful childbirth. The invocation of a fertility goddess, a goddess of women or childbirth, or some master deity could also be explanations.

Heck, it might just be (branching out into postprocessualist anthropology a bit here) a celebration of the female form! If women in that society were the leaders, religious shamans, matriarchs, or warriors, then an exaggeratedly female statue could imbue it with reverence.

My anthropology professor says that women with large body masses are typically more fertile than thinner women, and if a woman could get pregnant in a hunter-gatherer paleolithic society, then she was inherent to the survival of the tribe. The symbolism of dicks and “the phallus” are pretty obvious, but saying “fuck it, it’s porn” of ANYTHING in a prehistoric civilization, or even historic civilization, without definitive proof that its only purpose was erotic gratification is just bad fucking archaeology.

Well, art history did help with this after all, and I can make a much better speculation than I could have before. The craved stone that has the exaggerated  characteristics of a women could be like the cave paintings, a means to record what was seen, naturalistic, and to be bring forth a more possible likelihood of a healthy baby being born. If this is the case, then that means the female figure statue is of importance because it shows us a different set of values at a different point in time when, what was to become what we are today, were developing and slowly gaining higher levels of conscious thinking and direction thought and actions. It would show that man at that point could have understand woman’s importance in the group as not just possible care givers, but also as the life givers. 

Alternately, it could a statue of a goddess that ruled over life and birth, and this could have been their way of addressing such a entity, or just addressing the characteristics of that of a  woman with a high chance of getting pregnant and giving birth without any real problems.

During the age where homosapians were beginning to understand and learn skills, other than hunting, they painted large images of animals and people on cave walls with mixed materials, which were mixed with specific elements, and even created a pair of high relief buffalo statues laying down and there could be evidence of possible ritual uses. If we look further along the timeline, we see stone work being used in a good majority places such as Egypt, the Asian regions, which includes Bangladesh back then, by the Greeks and Romans, and so on. As the time line moves along, we see more complex stone work being done, even reaching their peaks at certain points, where humans were craving into mountains to create temples and creating places connected to the gods of their belief.

I don’t think that it would have been used for what we now call porn, a means to arouse one self through the use of visual or written form and attain release. Rather, it seems to hold much more impotence than that of something used to reach the peak of organism and ejaculation. The same with the phallus or pestle shaped object, which could have be used in spiritual rituals or perhaps grounding up organic matter, but the second one seems less likely for the time period. Just some new thoughts after digesting what I have been learning in art history.

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