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Evolving for girls one welcome

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Evolving for girls one welcome

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A feminist viewpoint of evolutionary psychology: asks whether the study of mate choice could do with more female voices and ideas. The tone is relatively lighthearted, and intended to encourage debate in evolutionary psychology

A feminist viewpoint of evolutionary psychology: asks whether the study of mate choice could do with more female voices and ideas. The tone is relatively lighthearted, and intended to encourage debate in evolutionary psychology

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Evolving for girls one welcome

  1. 1. Evolving for Girls Or The Trophy Strikes Back
  2. 2. ““A mature trophy with signs ofA mature trophy with signs of wear that are in keeping thewear that are in keeping the mileage…”mileage…” • Doreen Soutar • Msc Psych; Open • MSc Evolution of Language and Cognition; Edinburgh • Freelance Academic Writer • Trained in psychotherapy and advanced cynicism • Level 70 Night Elf Druid
  3. 3. Evolving for Girls This lecture looks at the way evolutionary psychology describes female traits It will assert that: • The current models and theories of evolutionary psychology are androcentric • The current models could more usefully defined as the male-centred half of evolution • We are missing the female version
  4. 4. Evolutionary drivers Mutation: random genetic change between generations Genetic drift: prevalence levels in the population Migration: fit with the environment Recombination: tricksy Mendelian stuff with alleles (gene pairs). Each gene has two options it can choose from. Selection: 1. Natural selection by interaction with the environment 2. Sexual selection by relevant gender for reproductive activities
  5. 5. Sexual Selection Origin of Species “…struggle between males for possession of the females. The result is not death to the unsuccessful competitor, but few or no offspring.” (Darwin, 1859). Descent of Man “…when the males and females of any animal have the same general habits of life, but differ in structure, colour, or ornament, such differences have been mainly caused by sexual selection; that is, individual males have had, in successive generations, some slight advantage over other males, in their weapons, means of defence, or charms, and have transmitted these advantages to their male offspring.” (Darwin, 1871)
  6. 6. Evolutionary psychology is.. The subsection of evolutionary research involved in the study of mate choice Or The study of traits or behaviours that are sexually attractive to potential mates But Based on the Origin of Species version alone until turn of 21st century.
  7. 7. In over 80% of species, males bling and females booty call According to Darwin in Descent of Man (1871) in over 80% of species, the females decide: a) Which males will be selected b) What is defined as attractive in a male c) The direction of evolutionary drift d) Development of traits and behaviours difficult to explain in natural selection terms, e.g. wings, large brains, eyes… So evolutionary psychology is all about…..
  8. 8. What women want
  9. 9. Not what women want “The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can women – whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands.” Darwin (1871) Descent of Man
  10. 10. What is missing from this picture?
  11. 11. Oh, I know…I know….
  12. 12. Boobies! Vaginas! Clitorises!
  13. 13. Line!
  14. 14. What women want? Tosh Traditional Ostensibly Sensible and Historical view of mate selection
  15. 15. Classic Tosh The Superior Genetic Specimen • Men with “good genes” are sexually attractive to women • Sexually attractive males have “good genes” • When a woman selects a male to reproduce with, she does so on the grounds of his superior genetic material. • He will pass on “good genes” to their children
  16. 16. Let’s Play Spot the Genome!
  17. 17. The Tosh of Genome (…just south of the Great Glen?) We don’t know the details of a potential mate’s genome We don’t know the details of our own genome Even if we did know our genomes, the recombination process would mix genomes up in a potentially unpredictable way We are not completely sure what “good genes” are.
  18. 18. What is a genome anyway? • The total amount of genetic information in the chromosomes of an organism, including its genes and dna sequence … the human genome is made up of about 30,000 genes • American Heritage Dictionary of Student Science, Second Ed. (2014)
  19. 19. Motherless genetics 1. Most research effort is focused on male genes and what women might find attractive in a potential baby-father. Attributes of a potential baby-mother are less attractive as a source of evolutionary psychological interest. 2. The female attributes that males tend to find most attractive are difficult to relate to mothering ability. Often these attributes are the negative of fertility, e.g. small waist; pert breasts. However, healthy mothers is not a popular research subject. 3. Male sexual selection of females is difficult to ground in evolutionary advantage. Females cannot increase their reproductive rate by attracting more males. In other words, bling on a woman is like a turbo button on a car without a turbo charger
  20. 20. Where is my genome radar? Mine doesn’t work properly I don’t pick up males unconsciously Well, not always The attraction tends to wear off a bit after a while with most of them If I made the right choice all the time, why are there abortions?
  21. 21. Should I stay or should I go? Co-evolution • Co-evolution describes how one gender evolves in relation to the other gender • Evolutionary changes need to be suitable to the reproductive capacity of the other gender ..the giggle stick needs to fit the flying fandango.. Two types of co-evolutionary theory • Cooperative model: males and females evolve in ways that facilitate reproduction. • Competitive model: males and females are in an evolutionary arms race. Both genders develop strategies that might allow them to reproduce their genetic material but with the minimum of responsibility for the upbringing of the offspring.
  22. 22. Should I stay or should I go? Trivers 1972 Parental Investment Theory Pregnancy is a bigger responsibility for the female than it is for the male. This is why females are “more choosy” than the males As the male invests almost nothing in the reproductive process, it would be to his best advantage to inseminate as many women as he can. (Trivers, 1972).
  23. 23. Should I stay or should I go: Jared Diamond Why is sex fun? (1997) • Pregnancy is a risk of coitus, not the sole reason for doing it. • Fun is the reason for doing it, even for women! • Males and females are in an evolutionary arms raceto develop strategies to get their genes into the next generation without being saddled with the responsibility for the offspring. That means that it is possible for the control of mate selection to shift between genders: This is the ‘battle of the sexes’
  24. 24. The Wild Oats Hypothesis • If a male is evolved to push to minimise his responsibility for childrearing and run away to the next female, he is not evolved for monogamy. Is there an agreed time between philandering males that nobody will rape or pillage each other’s baby-mothers so that they can all play coital musical chairs? Three til five on Tuesdays, everybody? • If females are evolved for the majority of the responsibility after a male runs away, they are also naturally evolved to be able to care for and protect their offspring either alone or with a kith or kin group. Females can run away from males too, of course • For every male that runs away from female A to female B there is another male running away from female B to female A. Paternal identification becomes impossible. Singing “I will if you will, if you will, so will I….”
  25. 25. The Language of Love? The Mating Mind Geoffrey Miller (2000) • Sexual selection is a great theory after all • Human females really should be doing the booty calling and males should be in possession of the bling . That way, males can: 1. Claim ‘ownership’ of intelligence and elaborated language as male sexual selection bling 2. Claim that females find intelligence and elaborated language sexy Aka Intelligence and elaborated language are human male bling Human females booty called for them
  26. 26. Miller’s Bling • Poetry • Love songs • Pillow talk • Sweet nothings • Law • Religion • Science • Social mores • Knowledge • Academia • Evolutionary psychology theories
  27. 27. Violence is not the answer New gynaecentric theories are
  28. 28. In other words…(sic) Evolutionary psychology theories are forms of elaborated language They are the AK47s of a competitive co-evolutionary arms race in humans aka Current evolutionary theories favour male dominance over the reproductive process Aka Evolutionary psychology itself is a way of reinforcing male control of reproduction through elaborated language.
  29. 29. The Bliss Model: Bipedalism • A move to bipedalism alters the bodily positioning of genitals: male genitals become more prominent; female genitals become less accessible. • Female control of coitus increases as males are less able to engage in ‘guerrilla’ jumping from behind. • Females addressed face to face have the opportunity to rebuff coital advances, potentially targeting male genitals, which are now in a rather more vulnerable position.
  30. 30. The Bliss Model: The Flitoris • Male orgasm remains associated with reproductive function of ejaculation • Female orgasmic and reproductive functions diverge • Female orgasmic experience during reproductive activity is optional whereas male orgasmic experience remains relatively constant • The divergent clitoris allows females to experience orgasm without the risk of pregnancy • A prominent clitoris can be used to discriminate between prospective male mates • Females only need to engage in coitus with males when they (the females) are broody.
  31. 31. Female Booty Calling • Female manual stimulation can be tricky for males to achieve • (Rachel Maines (1999) The Technology of Orgasm: ‘Hysteria, the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Johns Hopkins University Press) • Rachel! Rachel! Sing it with me now! I love you Rachel! • This difficulty can create a very effective sexual selection test for females to use on males • This test can increase the control of the reproductive process by females • In order to counter this difficulty, males need to find a way to ace the test without being any good at it. To cheat.
  32. 32. Male Bling • Geoffrey Miller: elaborated language is a sexual selection bling in males that was selected by females. • As with eyes and wings, elaborated language developed over time • The initial conditions for the evolution of elaborated language require the development of physical equipment and acquisition of skills. • Why did male linguistic skills increase, and how? • That is: • What kind of action could a male perform that would result in his tongue being sexually selected by a female? • Using her flitoris?
  33. 33. Cunning Linguistics • Males eventually bypass the sexual selection test by developing linguistic skills • Females are persuaded to engage in coitus on the assumption that males would be able to pass the test • Males regain control over reproduction by using language to reduce the importance of female orgasm • The clitoris is demonised and female intelligence and elaborated language is devalued.
  34. 34. If it was up to me….. …..Hold on, it is up to me Hoorah!
  35. 35. Thank you and Good Night Evolutionary theories are “Just So” stories Current evolutionary psychology theory describes evolution from a male point of view Female evolution needs to be described from female point of view A combination of these two views would provide a more complete and balanced view of evolution
  36. 36. Get in contact! Doreen Soutar fb: Evolving for Girls Website: Evolvingforgirls.wordpress.com Email: Ygdish@gmail.com A great sleeping aid!

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