FAQs about Evolutionary Feminism
Q: is it true that only males go off
"Only two species of mammals have ever been observed to form aggressive coalitions against other members of their own species: Chimpanzees and humans. The male of our species has recurrently engaged in warfare over recorded human history, whereas, there is not a single documented case of women forming same-sex coalitions to go to war. " David Buss quoting Tooby and Cosmides (The evolution of war and its cognitive foundations. Institute for Evolutionary Studies, Technical Report #88-1, 1988)
Well, today in 2008, it's about 99% correct. And if you're an evolutionary feminist purist, then they believe, that because of female choice in choosing the most aggressive males to help them assist in raising their progeny, that the female of our species is responsible for passing this aggressiveness on to males. So, if "woman created man," then it's the female of the human species that is responsible for creating the men who go off to war.
Now, just calm down - obviously, men throughout history have held the lion's share of responsibility, on a social scale, of starting wars. We're basically talking about the 40% biological core behavior behind the selection of males from the primal past - you still have to take inconsideration the other 60% of social psychology behavior. It did take enormous strength, skill, and cunning to become alpha males in their group. And by becoming alpha male meant many advantages including access to the best foods, sleeping areas, and of course, access to the most desirable of your primate sisters.
The untold story here is that usually male participants in war fall into a category called surplus bachelor males. Generally, these males who could not find suitable females to mate are undereducated or barely literate and tend to be easily exploited by war rhetoric and propaganda. Their vast numbers were too hard to resist by dominates to do their bidding against other city-states, provinces, or nations. War gave our ancient bachelor males an opportunity to go to war; return victorious with resources that would attract a female, and participate in the human cycle of life.
Yes, men have dominated, raped, abused, and used women for their advantage -- yet there is an undeniable hidden truth that lies at the core of evolutionary feminism that many females in general, and in particular radical feminists, have not yet faced a cold reality: That the majority of women found within each culture currently prop up this behavior by men for the long-term strategy of progeny assistance. Let me quote from the insightful book, Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, by Judith L. Hand, Questpath Publishing, San Diego, 2003.
"Women are "the hand that rocks the cradle" and thus they supposedly rule the world. There is truth in this phrase. Who bound the feet of girl children in China? Not men. In cultures that exposed newborn girls to die, who did the exposing? Not men, but rather a mid-wife or perhaps the grandmother. Who performed, and still does perform, operations on little girls so they cannot experience pleasure in sex as an adult? Until the recent introduction of modern medicine and clinics, it wasn't men.
Women in every generation have proudly sent sons they nursed off to war after war.
Why have women been so willing to collaborate in so many ways in their own degradation and the loss of their sons? Well, women are not saints. And they have been as much constrained by their biology as men, only in different ways. The need to reproduce successfully, by whatever means possible, has been the driving force in their evolution and behavior as well as the evolution and behavior of men (see Hrdy's Mother Nature). When they find them selves without power, as they have been in so many cultures, women do the best they can. For too many millennia, the "best they can" was a rule that reads much like, "Get as close as you can to the most powerful male you can and keep in the good graces of the males that run the system." The result has been collaboration with males in a way that reinforced male-dominated systems." P. 139.
I think that is extremely important at this point to
turn to the Social Dominance
Theory by Sidanius and Pratto. It isn't just females "attaching"
or "catching" the most powerful male with the most resources, it's
about mating with males in a dominate vs. a subordinate position in life;
its about resource retention within one's community and keeping those who
are below you in a social hierarchy away from those resources. All these things
benefit your progeny if you live in a dominant position, your children go
to better schools, live in a better house, eat better food, have access to
better health care. And if it means voting for conservatives who cut taxes
for your dominate social group while blocking welfare assistance for a poor
women of color -- so be it - it's your children that will benefit. But, of
course, that is the old conservative way of thinking that leads us back to
the primitive; it works in the short term, but not in the "big picture"
reality of the approaching future.
It reads almost like conservative males making political policy doesn't it?
So, behavioral choices that females make start in the biological, but are overshadowed by social norms within one's community and hierarchical positioning.
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