Nested Spheres – An Evolutionary Model of Gender Roles and Relations

The prevalent model of gender roles and relations today is driven by Feminist pseudoscience and pseudohistory, a clumsy grievance narrative informed by a preposterous conspiracy theory that simply doesn’t stand up to the most basic Darwinian investigation.

How could a social system that suppresses half of the potential of its communities compete? How could that suppressed potential survive millennia of atrophy? How did patriarchal oppressors around the planet organize this cultural coup when communications were limited to people walking and talking to each other? There’s simply no realistic mechanism for the spread of patriarchal oppression among ancient peoples, most of whom never had any contact.


separate-spheresWhen Feminism first began to articulate its hate ideology in the 1800s, the prevailing interpretation of gender roles and relations in the West was a folk theory known Separate Spheres. Women and men each have different privileges and obligations, intended to complement each other in the interest of maintaining the community.

NWF recognizes that this is undeniably a very simplistic and even stifling model of gender roles, with no accommodation for behavioral outliers. Nevertheless, it is far more honest and accurate than the Feminist model, which dismisses or outright denies women’s special privileges and men’s special obligations.

feminismThe most aggressive opponents of nascent Feminism at the time, the anti-suffragists, were often women who feared that gaining men’s privileges would mean losing women’s privileges and obligating women to men’s traditional obligations.

As it turned out, this fear was assuaged in the run-up to women’s suffrage by the cherry-picking methodology of the proto-Feminists themselves. Casting an ideological veil over women’s privileges and men’s obligations shields them from Feminism’s specious equality rhetoric.

A folk theory that recognizes both men and women have privileges and obligations is not enough, however. It doesn’t adequately explain how these separate privileges and obligations evolved, or what survival scheme they represent.


nested-spheresA better model for traditional gender roles arises naturally from the understanding that a species’ behavior, whether genetic or cultural, must provide for inter-generational survival. In other words, kids have to carry forward the genetic or cultural information in order for the behaviors to continue.

In some species this simply means having lots of tough babies who are released untended into the wild. For a social, cultural, community-based species like human beings, fewer children mean that they have to be protected while they grow up. Children become the center of a fortress of adult defense.

Understanding the protection of children as a key driver of human evolution, it becomes clear that men and women do not represent “separate” and parallel spheres of privileges and obligations. Men’s sphere envelopes women’s, which in turn envelops the children. Men are a defensive wall protecting women and children from the dangers of the outside world.

This is the classic field-house dichotomy that informs both the pro-female biases that drive Feminism and the pro-white biases that drive Aryanist biases. In this dichotomy, the caste in the field who bear the brunt of labor and sacrifice and danger are darker skinned. The caste in the house, who benefit from that labor and sacrifice, are lighter skinned.

The original source of this dichotomy is that the lighter skin of women signified their privileged status in the home, not exposed to the sun and other worldly dangers. This skin tone bias, likely driven into the human psyche over millennia of evolution, was later commandeered by the Atlantic slave culture, not as a gender distinction but a racial one. Light-skinned people in the manor house, dark-skinned people in the sugar cane and cotton fields.

[Read: White Privilege is a Mutation of Female Privilege]

lynchingThis nested dynamic between the light-skinned inner sphere and the darker-skinned outer sphere is also why the dominant threat narrative of white supremacists after the collapse of the slave economy in America was the danger dark-skinned men posed to light-skinned women. The atrocity of lynching was largely driven by this rape paranoia. The history of African-Americans being relegated to physical labor, thus presumed to be physically formidable threats, was used to justify the conspiracy theory.

A similar dynamic informed Nazi Aryanism, targeting “swarthy” Jews who had historically been relegated to finance, and thus seen as financially formidable threats. The conspiracy theories targeting this traditionally unprivileged class were saturated with insane theories of false privilege. Even as they were rounding up Jews for mass murder, Aryanists were convinced it was the Jews who were conspiring to exterminate them.

This inner caste/outer caste dynamic is why, when too thoroughly insulated by men from the dangers of the larger world, many women begin to falsely see men themselves as the source of threats both physical and financial. Once the conspiracy theory takes hold, it hardly matters that men’s material powers are traditionally obligated to protect and provide for women. (Don’t take our word on this, take the opening words of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice!)

Just as the historical obligations of African-Americans and European Jews hardly mattered, once the conspiracy theories took hold of people’s minds.

(meaning, scientific validity)

The Nested Spheres model explains perfectly why anthropologists have found, in cultures throughout history and across the globe, that men have been traditionally obligated (or privileged, depending on your approach) to hunting, warfare and defense, hard labor, and the realm of politics that focuses on community defense, prosperity, and survival. Men are on the outside, exposed to risk and charged with confronting and managing that risk to protect and provide for women and children so that the community can survive.

Women, on the other hand have been traditionally obligated (or privileged) to child-raising, hearth-keeping, cooking, and gathering/horticulture. It is significant that the more labor intensive farming became, the more it shifted to the sphere of men.

Of course, in human cultures around the world there have always been exceptions and outliers, men who took traditionally female roles and women who took traditionally male roles. But these alternative modes (anthropologists generally recognize five) still fall along a masculine-feminine gender binary, and are always outliers to the general Nested Spheres heuristic.

Thus, Nested Spheres explains why men are on average physically larger and stronger than women, why they tend to rank higher in the spatial and geographic reasoning necessary for inter-community politics, warfare, and hunting. It also explains why women on average have better social skills, as they ruled the home and the village, and thus have been traditionally obligated to maintain a nurturing environment both for children and men recuperating from the damage they suffer in the field.

It also explains why women in general have better immunity, since they are the last-ditch defense of children. Men can die from violence and disease, but women must go on. And, it explains why women weather the loss of a mate better than men. The spheres are nested walls of defense. If a man loses the spheres inside, he loses his Darwinian purpose in life. If a woman loses the sphere outside, her Darwinian purpose is to protect her children and, toward that end, find another man to protect her and her children from the world.

This dynamic is the source of much men’s rights chatter about male disposability. Men are generally the armor of the human community and, from a Darwinian perspective, pieces of that armor must be replaced when they become ineffective. The children must be preserved, and women are the layer between that armor and the children. This explains why custody traditions (whether legal or cultural) tend to favor the mother and why children are so much more easily alienated from their fathers.

Understanding humans as a social, cultural, community-based organism, men are disposable … as individuals. As a class, however, they are indispensable. This means that men, even as individuals, are not dismissable. Wise communities honor individual male sacrifice, and take measures (whether legal or cultural) to keep women from disposing of them too capriciously. Divorce laws against hypergamy. Judicial rules protecting men from women’s relational aggression, at which studies show women to be generally superior. Nested Spheres explains why these traditional rules governing gender relations existed, even if we no longer see them as necessary.

Finally, Nested Spheres explains the “women and children first” ethic during disaster scenarios. If the children do not survive, the community does not survive. And if there are no adults to care for the children, the children do not survive, and thus the community does not survive. Some adults must be sacrificed so that others can care for the children. Men are sacrificed that women can, hopefully, ensure that the children survive.


This analysis may seem to favor many biases exploited by Feminism, particularly male disposability and the privilege of differential sympathy showed toward women over men. That is not the intent. Feminist supremacism exploits these biases in innate human psychology and in human culture much as Aryanism and Klan supremacism exploits outer caste/inner caste dynamics, to exaggerate them into a destructive hate ideology that disrupts and endangers the human community. To slander as threats those who have been the servants, however unwilling, driving the community’s prosperity. To further imperil those who have faced the greatest perils.

NWF’s intent is to help understand and strengthen the human community and to make sense of human psychology, biology, and history. To honor sacrifice and service, and to enable all of us to better explore and appreciate our diverse strengths to our own individual benefit and the greater benefit of humanity.

This is why, unlike the rigid and prescriptive Separate Spheres folk theory, our descriptive Nested Spheres model recognizes that the privileges and obligations assigned to men and women are merely heuristics, statistical trends, general rules of thumb that must recognize and accommodate outliers on the trailing edges of the bell curves of the gender binary.

Specifically, that means the homosexuals, transexuals, and asexuals who fill out the five modes of binary gender revealed by anthropology, as well as the straight “tomboys” who represent so many of women’s achievements, and the straight “sensitive” men unfit for physical conflict who nevertheless have contributed so much to civilization. All are valuable, real-world minorities that neither fit the majority trends nor disprove them.

Feminist gender theory has exploited the existence of these outliers to buttress their hate ideology against straight cis-males and their paranoid Global Patriarchal Conspiracy theory. The fact that so many sexual outliers have aggressively rejected Feminism, particularly homosexuals and transexuals of the “alt-right,” demonstrates that the Feminist interpretation of these outliers is wanting and oppressive.

The model proposed here describes the traditional, standard roles of men and women in the human community in a rationally nuanced way that, unlike Feminism, does not contradict biological or anthropological research. The failing of the Separate Spheres model was not that it enabled patriarchal oppression of women and sexual outliers, but that it was too simplistic and unscientific, as folk theories often are. In the wake of evolutionary science, and mountains of data on gender distinctions, a new model is called for. One that accepts general trends as scientifically valid while also recognizing that trends are not rigid rules.

Nested Spheres is that model.


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