THE PERFECT FEMINISTS
The Spotted Hyena is one of nature’s most successful large mammalian terrestrial predators. It has copious interesting characteristics. Its most conspicuous attributes include (a) some of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom, (b) a flexible and efficient process for acquiring food, ranging from pack hunting strategies like wolves to individual scavenging like a jackal, (c) amazing feeding behavior when the pack makes a kill, (d) a matriarchal society where, most unusually for mammals, (e) females exceed the males in size and strength and are so awash in testosterone they have evolved false penises.
The Spotted Hyena, also called the Laughing Hyena for its characteristic and disturbingly loud screeches, cackles, hoots and cries, is Nature’s Perfect Feminist. She and her sisters rule their Hyena world and lord it over the comparatively meek and puny males, who unlike the females have sexually functional penises but who otherwise have abandoned most other traces of masculinity.
The biting prowess of Spotted Hyenas exceeds that of lions, tigers, wolves and even possibly bears. It can generate a bite force of roughly 1,000 pounds per square inch. By comparison a lion’s bite is around 600 pounds per square inch. They are reputed to be the only creature living that can crush elephant femurs to access the rich and tasty marrow. Of course, because the females are larger and stronger than the males, they have the stronger jaws of the two.
Hyenas and Zulus
As an interesting aside, when early in his reign Shaka vanquished one of his more difficult adversaries (named Zwide if I recall correctly) he is said to have refrained from the usual form of Zulu execution — which was impalement — and (whether it be myth, legend or fact) evidently opted instead to conduct a Hyena-related experiment. The person in question was Zwede’s mother, and she was reputed to be a sorceress with hidden and frightening magical powers. Shaka purportedly sealed her up in a mud hut with a Spotted Hyena for company, and it is said that her cries could be heard for days.
It is unrecorded whether the Hyena Shaka enlisted in this particular instance in his array of amazing execution experimentation was male or female, since with their formidable shoulders, massive crushing jaws and false penises, the female Spotted Hyenas are almost impossible to distinguish from the males, at least without dangerously close invasive inspection. If Shaka opted for the largest, fiercest Hyena he could find, then it was a female.
Interestingly, when modern Europeans first encountered the Spotted Hyena, they concluded it was sexless because they all looked like males, in every respect.
Hyena Hunting Behavior
The Spotted Hyena hunts in packs like Wolves, African Cape Hunting Dogs and the little known Red Dhole of India of Jungle Book fame. They gather together before venturing forth, and led by the Alpha females work themselves into a state of bloodthirsty excitement with all their wild hoots, yips and cackles, conducted in unison and sounding like the Harpies’ Choir from Hell.
After sufficient psyching-up, the pack sets forth to find its prey and dinner. They hunt like wild dogs in organized packs, even though Hyenas are actually more related to cats and mongooses, albeit distant cousins. They have great endurance also like wild dogs, and can lope along with their characteristically odd gait for hours if need be, though most hunts only last a short while. They look odd when they run or walk because their shoulders are conspicuously higher than their hips, much like Arctodus, or Homotherium the extinct dirk-toothed big cat from a few million years ago. The sloping back of the Spotted Hyena which results from such relatively long forelegs is another distinguishing Hyena characteristic not generally seen among the world’s other predators.
When the Hyena pack closes for the kill, that’s when the real fun starts.
Eat Your Vegetables, etc.
When cats kill their prey, it’s usually a swift and sanitary affair not overly disturbing even to excessively squeamish viewers. It’s usually a fast, clean bite to the back of the neck to sever the spinal cord, or more often (depending on cat and prey), a strangulating bite to the throat. On occasion, especially with prey that’s little threat like a human being for example, the big cats like to play around with their food before it loses animation, like a housecat with a ball of yarn. But as a general rule the big cats are practically surgical in the precision of their killing techniques.
Not so with the Spotted Hyena. They go first for the guts, eating the unfortunate prey alive as they literally disembowel it. They go for the groin in this fashion because it’s both convenient given that they chase down their prey from behind, and it’s also how they obtain vegetable and fiber nutrition even though they do not consume plants directly. They get their fiber by proxy, via the undigested plant material in their victims’ intestines.
The author urges the reader to draw no inappropriate metaphorical comparisons between the Spotted Hyenas’ predatory orientation and practices (i.e. their tendency to eat their prey alive, starting first from the groin) and any tendencies displayed by aggressive feminists of the human variety. As illustration of this wise counsel, one can theorize that for the most strident Alpha human feminists, perhaps such as Sir Edmund’s alleged namesake, this would clearly be an unacceptably rapid process.
According to Dick Morris, a certain Black Panther turncoat suspect could confirm this, as well as how too many cigarettes can be bad for your health but not from smoking, were he still living.
(Specifically, Morris has publicly stated on television that when Her [almost] Highness Hillary the Horrible was in law school, she volunteered, on her own time and with no pay, to work to find a loophole or other technical reason to overturn the conviction of certain Black Panthers who literally burned one of their fellow Panthers to death, using cigarettes, in the process of interrogating him as to whether or not he was a police informant. One can scarcely imagine how agonizing and protracted this question and answer session must have been, and the apparent enthusiasm with which the then Ms. Rodham endeavored to help undermine the effort to bring the perpetrators to justice bespeaks a level of moral confusion that is as astonishing as it is disturbing).
Perhaps sadly from the perspective of the aggressive feminists, but thankfully from everyone else’s perspective (especially that of the prey) the Hyenas’ victim usually appears to be in a state of shock and beyond pain though still alive while being consumed. The odd look of placid contentment the prey often manifests is reminiscent of medieval paintings which show people being burned or boiled alive with an oddly angelic smile about their lips as the flames consume them. William Manchester has commented extensively on how purely alien the extremely religious medieval Europeans were compared with our secular age today. Doubtless the incongruously beatific expression on these peoples’ faces derived from the artists’ instructive focus on the afterlife, as opposed to the victims’ attempting to stoically imitate Hyena prey.
When the Templars’ Jacques de Molay chose to burn instead of submitting to the Inquisition and change his belief system, he was actually said to have been smiling, and it apparently smote all onlookers to their deepest core weeping. Similar reactions may have occurred when the Immanent G. Bruno likewise chose (in effect) to burn.
Hyena Dietary Supplements
According to Vitus Droescher in his most excellent work on animal behavior entitled “They Love and Kill,” Spotted Hyenas reputedly consume the excrement of Cape Hunting Dogs with great gusto, sometimes even to the point of closely following them about in order to get first crack at this unusual dietary supplement.
Being dominant, and consistent with all other facets of Spotted Hyena social behavior, the female hyenas probably get first dibs at this rare treat, sadly for the inadvertently more sanitary males. Hyena breath may be a concern, especially for the females who, again consistent with all other Spotted Hyena behavior, presumably muscle in and monopolize the majority of this delicacy for themselves.
Hyenas and Lions
As noted previously, Spotted Hyenas and Lions slaughter each other with a degree of gusto and ferocity rarely seen elsewhere in Zoology. Indeed, to witness a lioness surrounded by Hyenas reminds one of the Thirty Years War, and can be likened to an Anabaptist surrounded by Catholics (or any non-Anabaptist Protestant sect, for that matter) in central Europe circa early 1600’s, (where there was no doubt as to the outcome, the only questions pertained to the manner, length and degree of excruciation of the death immanently at hand).
Spotted Hyenas regularly gang-up on lionesses and brutalize them to death if at all possible, since a lioness cannot defend herself if the hyena-to-lioness ratio is around three-to-one or more.
Male lions on the other hand, are roughly twice as big as lionesses and can kill with relative ease any number of hyenas, since they are bred by nature to fight the fiercest foes (other male lions) and the hyenas cannot penetrate the male lion’s protective mane. A pride of lionesses protected by a King Male need fear no hyenas, but an independent pride with no male Lion King will swiftly be bereft of sisters and cubs.
One is sorely tempted to speculate that the hyenas so eagerly torment and kill the lionesses because, led by the largest and fiercest Alpha feminists, the pack furiously resents the way the lionesses eagerly and happily do all the hunting work but always let their fat and lazy husbands eat first. However, the more likely explanation may have to do with lions and Spotted Hyenas competing for the same prey. (On the other hand, Cape Hunting dogs also compete with hyenas and lions for the same prey, and they get along more-or-less amicably with both these zoological competitors, so perhaps the initial theory as to the uniquely virulent hostility between Spotted Hyenas and Lions has some objective support after all).
Know Your Place
Unique among other females in the mammalian world (except possibly certain especially progressive human feminists) female Spotted Hyenas are simply flooded with testosterone from the moment of birth until expiration. It’s like naturally induced perpetual roid-rage. Female Spotted Hyenas are so ferocious that littermates will often kill each other before they can scarcely open their eyes.
Here too, the reader is urged to refrain from any inappropriate metaphorical comparison between this level of highly aggressive infantile fratricide and the aggression displayed by strident feminists of the human species.
The males of Spotted Hyena society are at the bottom of the pecking order. The highest ranking male is beneath the lowest ranking female. The meek males must display continuous subservient behavior whenever they encounter any female, let alone the Alpha females, or risk swift and painful attitude adjustment administered by the larger, stronger and fiercer females. At the risk of monotony, once again the author urges restraint in regard to inappropriate metaphorical comparisons.
The Spotted Hyena is an instructive example of nature’s freakish variety. No other mammal displays such a multitude of behaviors and physical characteristics that essentially add up to wholesale role reversal between the sexes, exaggerated in fact to the point of parody and perhaps even further.
For, the unnaturally brutish and steroidal females display all the physical and behavioral characteristics of males to such an extent as to usually be mistaken for them, and the meek males display more cringing, craven and subservient behavior when encountering one of the ferocious females than even that displayed by most oil company executives when called to testify before congress on the price of gasoline, or bank and insurance executives begging on bended knee for TARP monies and proudly scuttling their corporate jets.
June, 2008, updated subsequently
Note: Aggressive feminists seeking bonus points on the Final Exam are encouraged to attempt the Extra Credit Essay noted in the Appendix, near the end of the Background and Disclaimers.
2nd Note: The serious intent of the “Perfect Feminists” essay is to satirically illustrate this one (of many) assaults on traditional values which our culture is undergoing as you the reader read. Feminism has penetrated our culture and has been one of the things responsible for building up women, which is great but if the unintended effect is to tear down masculine men, that’s not so great.
Whether we are or are not in cultural decline is hotly debated, with members of the right saying yes and members on the left asserting the reverse.
But one thing is indisputable, which is that we are in mathematical decline. As noted by Herbert E. Meyer in his April 7, 2008 paper presented at Davos, a society needs a reproduction rate of 2.1 children per woman to maintain its population. Germany is around 1.3, Italy and Spain are around 1.2, France about 1.6, Japan around 1.3, and the US is around 1.6 like France (excluding immigration). These numbers are roughly 30% below where they need to be to avoid our (i.e. the G8 societies, in effect) simply vanishing, in a relatively few generations. So, regardless of whether one thinks we are in cultural decline or not, something is causing us to behave in a fashion which will eventually make the debate moot by virtue of our post-modern society’s mathematically assured disappearance if current trends continue.