Patriarchal Culture + Male Biology = Deadly Mix for Violence against Women

By Singh, Rama Shankar; Biology, Professor of et al. | The Canadian Press, January 29, 2018 | Go to article overview

Patriarchal Culture + Male Biology = Deadly Mix for Violence against Women


Singh, Rama Shankar, Biology, Professor of, University, McMaster, The Canadian Press


Patriarchal culture + male biology = deadly mix for violence against women

--

This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

___

Author: Rama Shankar Singh, Professor of Biology, McMaster University

Sexual assaults on university campuses and executive offices may sound less commonplace than the stories we sometimes read about. The idea that rape and assault can happen in executive offices and on university campuses -- in secure and guarded environments -- can be hard to comprehend for some people.

We tend to see a "sick mind" behind the assaults. Yet sexual assaults in power-structured, hierarchical work environments and in executive offices are suspected to be common. And for every sexual assault being reported in a corporate office, there are probably a thousand unreported cases.

As a biologist, I study the variation and evolution of sex- and reproduction-related genes and sexual differences. As an activist, I study human nature including race, caste, class, sex and gender inequality; and for the past 20 years I have been working with women in rural India to promote empowerment and eliminate violence against women.

What's happening in corporate offices is a tiny reflection of human history.

Sexual violence against women is not the result of a few odd, bad elements. Sexual violence is part and parcel of masculinity -- much of it taught and socialized.

Sexual violence is everywhere

From feudal lord to factory and farm, from army bases to corridors of political power, from Hollywood's casting couch to corporate towers, wherever and whenever women have found themselves in subordinate positions and at the mercy of the employer, they ran the risk of being sexually exploited.

Of all the gender-based discriminations, sexual misconduct is -- in the majority -- perpetrated by men. Why is this so? Does a man's biology influence him in any way? Or is it all socialization?

Sex is encoded in our genes but there are no genes for gender. Males and females are genetically determined and distinct. The rest of the genders in varying degrees are biologically affected, socially learned or self-declared categories. They are all part of the same biological-sexual-social rainbow.

That hetrosexual males chase after females is not new. What is new is that when mixed with masculinity, the same sexual behaviour becomes abnormal, harmful and often lethal in our modern society.

Masculinity and male sexual behaviour are not synonymous. Normalized masculinity implies strength, vigour, potential to compete, to do harm while heterosexual male sexual behaviour merely implies attraction to and courting females.

Sexual and gender violence are the result of masculinity combined with outdated sex and gender-based cultural, social and religious norms.

DNA is not destiny: Biology vs. social

Three decades of research in our lab has shown that sex- and reproduction-related genes evolve faster than non-sex genes in most organisms, including humans. To add to that, male sex genes evolve faster than female sex genes.

The difference in the rates of genetic changes in the male-biased sexual genes lies in male-driven sexual selection and evolution. This is the result of male sex drive and male-male competition.

The male sex drive and male-male competition have far-reaching impact, directly or indirectly, on women's biological fitness and health as well, but here I will limit my discussion to sexual violence. …

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
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 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 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.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Patriarchal Culture + Male Biology = Deadly Mix for Violence against Women
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
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

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 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    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.