scientism: evolutionary psychology


Nature or nur­ture? Dis­pelling mis­con­cep­tions behind the gen­der dif­fer­ences debate– Part I by Cimorene

… regard­ing women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the work­force, many have argued that women are bet­ter suited to being home­mak­ers because the divi­sion of labor between the sexes is “nat­ural”, mean­ing that it hails from ‘prim­i­tive’ times when men were hunters and women were gath­er­ers. Jobs are the mod­ern day equiv­a­lent of hunt­ing, and stay­ing at home is akin to mind­ing the cave and the lit­tle cave-​toddlers, the only dif­fer­ence being that women now do their gath­er­ing at super­mar­kets. First of all, the hunter/​gatherer sexed divi­sion of labor isn’t actu­ally a sci­en­tific fact, there are some sci­en­tists who con­test it. Sec­ond, even if we were to take this nar­ra­tive of human his­tory as given, it’s not really clear to me why we can accept changes like the devel­op­ment of eco­nomic sys­tems or med­i­cine as human inge­nu­ity, and yet when it comes to elim­i­nat­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion and sex­ism we seem to be tied up by “nature” and our pri­mate ancestors.

Nature or nur­ture? Dis­pelling mis­con­cep­tions behind the gen­der dif­fer­ences debate– Part II

When Dar­win coined the phrase “sur­vival of the fittest” he wasn’t refer­ring to whether or not you should only date women who look like Lolo Jones. What he meant by ‘fit’ was ‘bet­ter suited’ to an envi­ron­ment, not phys­i­cally fit or attrac­tive, which is the mod­ern sense of the term. It’s tempt­ing to think of the strongest and fastest as the ones who are best adapted. If you think of lions or tigers, this might seem to make sense, but all sur­vival of the fittest means is that an organ­ism has adapted to live well in its envi­ron­ment. The dung bee­tle in the savanna is as fit as the lion. One of the ways organ­isms “adapt” is through nat­ural selec­tion, which involves cer­tain traits being “selected” over time because the organ­isms that carry them sur­vive and repro­duce and make the trait more com­mon, so much so that the pop­u­la­tion changes to fit its envi­ron­ment. Many biol­ogy text­books use the pep­pered moth to explain nat­ural selec­tion. Orig­i­nally, pep­pered moths were light in color which allowed them to cam­ou­flage well on light trees and lichens in the region where they lived. The indus­trial rev­o­lu­tion and the pol­lu­tion it pro­duced, how­ever, caused many of the lichens to die out and the tree trunks to darken with soot. Lighter moths then stood out and died off because of pre­da­tion. Mean­while dark col­ored moths flour­ished because they then were the ones that could cam­ou­flage easily.

sociology. gender stereotypes. “the masculine mystique”.


The Mas­cu­line Mys­tique and Imag­i­na­tion by Ewen Stewart

…in 1963, Betty Friedan’s The Fem­i­nine Mys­tique argued that the dis­sat­is­fac­tion women felt with their lives wasn’t due to a “mod­ern lifestyle” dri­ving them away from an ideal fem­i­nine iden­tity, but rather their inabil­ity to even imag­ine liv­ing full, inde­pen­dent lives. Friedan called upon women to rec­og­nize this pos­si­bil­ity: a life free of gen­dered expectations.

Today, Stephanie Coontz sug­gests the media blitz over the “cri­sis of boys” (lower grades, reduced col­lege grad­u­a­tion rates, and slip­ping eco­nomic prospects for men) stems from a sim­i­lar prob­lem with gen­der roles:

In fact, most of the prob­lems men are expe­ri­enc­ing today stem from the flip side of the 20th-​century fem­i­nine mys­tique — a per­va­sive mas­cu­line mys­tique that pres­sures boys and men to con­form to a gen­der stereo­type and pre­vents them from explor­ing the full range of their indi­vid­ual capabilities.

The mas­cu­line mys­tique promises men suc­cess, power and admi­ra­tion from oth­ers if they embrace their sup­pos­edly nat­ural com­pet­i­tive dri­ves and reject all forms of depen­dence. Just as the fem­i­nine mys­tique made women ashamed when they har­boured feel­ings or desires that were sup­pos­edly “mas­cu­line”, the mas­cu­line mys­tique makes men ashamed to admit to any feel­ings or desires that are thought to be “feminine”.

high heels. gender.

from the bbc: why did men stop wear­ing high heels?

A wave of inter­est in all things Per­sian passed through West­ern Europe. Per­sian style shoes were enthu­si­as­ti­cally adopted by aris­to­crats, who sought to give their appear­ance a vir­ile, mas­cu­line edge that, it sud­denly seemed, only heeled shoes could supply.

As the wear­ing of heels fil­tered into the lower ranks of soci­ety, the aris­toc­racy responded by dra­mat­i­cally increas­ing the height of their shoes — and the high heel was born.

Although Euro­peans were first attracted to heels because the Per­sian con­nec­tion gave them a macho air, a craze in women’s fash­ion for adopt­ing ele­ments of men’s dress meant their use soon spread to women and children.

In the 1630s you had women cut­ting their hair, adding epaulettes to their out­fits,” says Semmelhack.