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I'm not so sure the men doing this are thinking consciously about property rights. They're probably going around motivated at the primate level. This doesn't excuse what they're doing, but it makes me suspect that they will continue to emulate the behavior of the other men they observe in their environment and will only change when they see others around them change their behavior.

This is what people are like: only a minority of people will go through the motions of self examination, and only a minority of those will do that effectively. Where real change happens, or where outdated misbehaviors persist, it's basically a matter of primate see, primate do. Real change has to have a component of motivation at this level.

I didn't say they were thinking consciously of property rights. I have been in discussions with women who were trying to find a way to signal to their boss or someone else who was potential trouble that "No, I am not up for a romantic relationship with you" and trying to figure out how to do so without offending. They often try to do so by emphasizing to the man "I have a boyfriend." I always tell them that is the wrong approach because it signals to potentially predatory men that she is perfectly willing to go along with being some man's property and all he has to do is find some way to claim her as his own. That's the wrong signal for a woman to send if she really wants a career. She needs to find a polite way to deflect his attentions without saying "It's cuz I belong to someone else right now." Some men take that as a challenge, as "come get me, big boy." So it is not a good way to avoid trouble.

If women want to compete with men and not just be their toys, they need to exercise agency and own their decisions that "No, I am not up for a relationship with you. Because I say so, not because of some other man's property rights over me." If a woman says "I would get with you if I weren't with someone else" she needs to really and truly mean that. It shouldn't be a polite fiction. Such polite fictions tend to lead to worse trouble than the one they thought they were trying to cleverly sidestep.

Territory is a deeply animal behavior, as is alpha male claiming of mates. So I think that property rights are an elaboration of primate instincts.

The actions probably get initiated a full second before the thought of "property" ever enters anyone's head, if it does at all.

Would you argue that ideas like "family" would not engage at a subconcious level for extremely social animals like humans? If you wouldn't argue against "family" being instinctual, then you can't argue against "mine-ness", since family is by definition something that is "mine" vs "yours".

Would you argue that ideas like "family" would not engage at a subconscious level for extremely social animals like humans?

I would argue that there is a concept of "relatedness" encoded into Homo sapiens on the instinctive level. The notion of "family" is at least in part a cultural construct on top of that. Also, who said I was arguing against "mine-ness?" I certainly didn't. I'm just highlighting possible unacknowledged/unsupported assumptions in this thread. (Like your apparent assumption of a particular stance on my part.)

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