function as defenders, preserving that which is valuable to the species; males function as a kind of genetic "laboratory" with which nature can experiment and occasionally introduce some advantageous alleles. In this view, both functions are necessary; but neither is superior or inferior to the other. However, it is not "the species" that bears the brunt of social discrimination. Individuals do, and reproduction of the species may be irrelevant to individual women fighting sex-segregationist male attitudes and discrimination.
As Alice Rossi ( 1977, 1984) has long argued, recognition of the evolutionary and neurohormonal basis of sexual dimorphism must be an important item on the agenda of sex-role sociologists. Sex-role sociologists can no longer refuse the valuable insights offered to them by the biological and neuro- sciences. There is nothing inimical to social justice for women in the recognition that sex differences exist and that they are grounded in the fundamental purpose of reproduction. Biological explanations of sex differences no more inherently lend their support to either social justice or social injustice than do environmentalist theories. If social practices are to be justified, they must be justified by ethical and moral principles, not biology. Biology may lead men and women to opt for different occupational roles, but male prejudice often leads them to devalue the roles that most women prefer. Prejudice and male dominance cannot be justified on any moral grounds nor on the basis of the evidence of sexual dimorphism. If some women, for whatever reason, have preferences that are not typically female, then prejudice should not deny them their preference when their biology clearly has not.
There are always ill-willed characters who will jump on anything that will give their prejudices an easier ride; but the fault is with the rider, not the vehicle. The truth of a scientific assertion must be judged solely on the available evidence for or against it, not on whether it can possibly be used for negative ends. Surely it is better to acknowledge and welcome our complementary sex differences than to continue to deny their existence--a denial that sometimes leads scientist and layperson alike to view sociology as something of an eccentric discipline devoted to either asserting or denying the obvious. Let us offer our sex-related abilities and characteristics to one another in a spirit of humanism, equality, and mutual respect.