Sex-Role FREEDOM

By Helmuth, Laura | Winnipeg Free Press, September 16, 2012 | Go to article overview

Sex-Role FREEDOM


Helmuth, Laura, Winnipeg Free Press


Guys aren't genetically predisposed to sleep around. WHO KNEW?

What do you want in a mate? If you're a free-thinking, independent, feminist woman in a relatively egalitarian society, you might want all kinds of things: a guy with a sense of humour, maybe, or who likes to cook exotic foods.

And if you're not overly familiar with certain annoyingly persistent theories of mate selection, you'll be surprised to find out that you're looking for all the wrong qualities, evolutionarily speaking. You're supposed to want someone stronger, smarter and richer than you. Someone who would sire healthy offspring and protect them from saber-toothed cats on the Pleistocene Epoch savanna.

And if you're a free-thinking, independent, feminist man in a relatively egalitarian society, you might not realize that you are supposed to prize youth, fertility and chastity (a woman who will birth all those babies you're supposed to protect and let you know they're really yours) over quirky taste in movies or a love of travel.

There's nothing inherently wrong with evolutionary psychology -- our thoughts and behaviours have been shaped by millions of years of hominid evolutionary history, and it's worth studying how natural selection acted on traits that we still express today. But too often, evolutionary psychology is a force for social conservatism. Researchers identify a pattern of behavior, usually some stereotypical sex difference (in part because it's easy to measure whether men and women score differently on a standardized test), construct a scenario in which that behaviour would have been adaptive in the distant past, and say the behaviour is therefore evolutionarily selected and encoded in our genes.

David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Texas, is the worst. He has theorized that women are jealous of pretty rivals and men are jealous of rich ones, that men prefer more sexual variety than women do, that women need to trap a mate and men are motivated to sleep around -- and attributes all of these traits to our genetic makeup.

It's tricky to disprove the notion that some human trait is the result of evolution. The logic is circular: if some trait exists, it must not have been fatal to our ancestors and it may have helped them reproduce. To critique a claim of evolutionary privilege, you have to show that the trait has no genetic component and therefore can't be inherited, or demonstrate that the trait is instilled by culture, not necessarily biology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sex-Role FREEDOM
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.