March 8 is International Women’s Day. Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do. So let us speak of Woman, specifically the International Woman. I like her. Very much. In my opinion She deserves much more than a day. But time waits for no man. Or woman, it seems. So… let’s get to it.
To begin, let it be known I consider myself a Modern Man, with unequivocal support for the Modern Woman. I support both a woman’s right to own property (1900) and vote (1920). (Though, we might acknowledge that black women could not legally vote until 1965.) I have a daughter who is three. I hope that one day she grows up to be a Modern Woman. But much has already been said of the modern ways of the Modern Woman. That is why I want to discuss her predecessor: The Cavewoman.
The Caveman is the well-known cretin and simpleton, star of pop culture and even television commercials. But the Cavewoman is conspicuously absent from the conversation. Yet, I happen to know that the Cavewoman was there every step of the way, usually a step or two (or three) ahead of the Caveman. Let us consider.
Caveman used to live in a cave, but the Cavewoman is the first to dwell in a cave. Everyone agrees this was a big improvement. The lifestyle is hunter/ gatherer. Caveman hunts. Cavewoman gathers. Now Caveman, the early hunter, was still honing his skills, sometimes spent entire days just running from predators. So, Caveman often came home looking for food in the pantry (remember the fridge had not yet been invented). “What did you gather today?” the Caveman would grunt. What kind of food would Cavewoman gather? Food that is reachable. But in the early days even the smartest Cavewoman was still learning to distinguish between things that were good to eat and things that would kill you. That is why Cavewoman needed someone willing to submit to that kind of test… Caveman. Later, Cavewoman was promoted to hunter and gatherer. Caveman’s hunting prowess immediately improves.
Cavewoman also gathered other things like artifacts. You’ve seen artifacts in passing, perhaps in your peripheral vision, when you inadvertently wandered into an exhibit you meant to skip at the museum and the shortest way out was through the thing. You might think these are just really old bowls and vases but no. They’re artifacts. I do not know where Cavewoman would gather such things, but she had her ways.
Many people know that Cavewoman was the first to introduce the concept of furniture. Have you ever sat on the ground? I don’t know why the ground is a terrible place to sit but it is the absolute worst. Well, we might still be sitting on the ground today if Cavewoman didn’t drag some chair-sized rocks into the joint. You know what’s not easy to drag around? Chair-sized rocks. But Cavewoman was strong and didn’t want to sit on the ground one more minute, so she dragged ‘em in. Everyone agreed the chair-sized rock was a vast improvement over the ground.
Building on her rockchair success, Cavewoman then introduces another rock into the cave: the decorative rock. The decorative rock confuses Caveman because he can neither sit on it nor eat it. For some reason Caveman can’t even lean his club against it without getting an earful. It turns out Caveman lacks the imagination to see that this decorative rock really brightens up the place, bringing some much-needed personality to the cave, making their cave feel less like a cave and more like a home.
Cavewoman was also the first illustrator. Remember, the time period was BW (Before Wallpaper), so Cavewoman took to painting on the walls. She often depicted simple but effective hunting scenes of Caveman (that look a lot like Stickman) chucking a spear at his large prey. It turns out these first drawings were not so much historical as they were instructional. In the morning, Cavewoman could point to the drawing and say: Do this today.
Cavewoman also spent time making the first clothes. If you think sewing with a needle and thread is hard, try making clothes without them. Luckily for us, Cavewoman was well-motivated by not wanting to see Caveman walk around in the buff anymore, so she turned the pelt into the first fashion statement. This bold statement is clear. It says: I am not nude.
But perhaps Cavewoman’s most lasting legacy was her almost single handed continuation of the human species. Yes, Cavewoman was the first woman who was barefoot and pregnant. She was barefoot because shoes had not yet been invented. She was pregnant because, well, when a Caveman loves a Cavewoman very much, Cavewoman ends up pregnant. The burden of bringing the child into the world fell upon Cavewoman. The stakes were high. If these children lived, our species survived. If Cavemen were on the job and they died, this planet might well be run by fish. So, we put the best of the best on the job: Cavewoman. And she did this while hunting and gathering.
So International Woman’s Day is about more than just appreciation. It’s about righting past wrongs, equal pay for equal work, and telling the untold stories. Thus, I give you the story of Cavewoman. Lucky for the human race (not so lucky for the fish), Modern Woman was once a Cavewoman, and she did it all. And lucky for Cavemen, Cavewoman would always need someone to test which foods were good to eat and which ones would kill you.