We watched the Primate episode of BBC's Life last weekend. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact of that much beauty and complexity in the world that I'll probably never see. It almost makes me want to pack up and move to Africa - I write as I sip my chai latte.
So one of the species in this episode is the Hamadryas baboon of Ethiopia. The live in patriarchal societies with many females and young led by a male. If one of the females breaks discipline, she is roughly, sometimes brutally corrected by the lead male. It is harsh and disturbing to watch.
The next primate, the Japanese macaque, lives in matriarchal groups with rigid social structure. A male stands guard and only females and young from high enough social circles are allowed to bath in the best spots, eat the good food and huddle with the "in" crowd for warmth. Because the macaques live in such an extreme climate, the coldest among primates with winter temperatures of -4F, social status means life or death for the macaques.
So basically, if you step out of line in a male-led society, you get smacked and then rejoin the group. Life goes on. In a female-led group, if you are not "cool" enough, you and your children will be socially persecuted until you die. This sounds like junior high or high school, or as G.K. Chesterton more eloquently said...
Nature is not our mother; nature is our sister