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Evoloutionary Explanation

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By kaanu
Words 593
Pages 3
The evolutionary theory basically suggests that our main goal in life was to pass on our genes to healthy offspring’s and continue our legacy, and this idea shapes up how gender development is explained using the evolutionary theory.
As our main goal would be to successfully reproduce, the female would be seen and the gatherer who would be responsible for making food, clothes and shelter, as they will spend most of their time being pregnant or taking care of the children. This would the make the men the hunters, who provide food for the family. This division of labour is what Kuhn and Stiner (2006) argue allowed us to survive as a species, as the Neanderthals, (a species very close to us), did not divide their labour up and both the man and woman would hunt and this ultimately resulted in the Neanderthals becoming extinct.

As the evolutionary theory suggests that our goal is to maximize reproductive success, this would be the key for gender development Males have evolved to be promiscuous. As paternity can be uncertain for males, it is logical that they maximize the number of potential pregnancies. Various male strategies have developed, such as searching for females displaying signs of fertility such as youth, health, and childbearing hips. Singh’s evidence supported this as it found that men are attracted to women with low waist to hip ratio, a sign of childbearing potential. Mating with women displaying the features described above enhances the chances of reproduction. Women have evolved different strategies to maximize their chances of sexual reproduction. As a woman spends nine month, as well as a costly egg, on creating a child; she must be careful to choose a mate whose genes are healthy, and whom will be committed to her during pregnancy and child rearing. Females therefore tend to value qualities such as health, ability to protect, and resource potential when selecting a mate. Females also use courtship to assess potential mates. During this process, males invest resources, time and effort in the female, thus increasing the chance that the male will not desert the female and her offspring.

A study conducted by Bus et al, shows that indeed men look for physical attractiveness in a female, where as a female seeks for security and resources in a male. As Buss’ study drew information from 37 cultures, the results gained possess high cross-cultural validity; showing that the traits desired by men and women are universal rather than culturally specific. This implicates an evolutionary link. However, Buss’ use of questionnaires to collect data could reduce the validity of the study due to social desirability issues and linguistic barriers. People may not have felt that they could give some answers, and others may simply have misread the questions.

The evolutionary theory is a biological explanation of gender development and therefore can be seen as very deterministic and reductionist. It can be considered reductionist in that it does not consider other factors affecting the development of gender roles such as socialisation and cognitive factors as it is usually thought that socialisation forms much of our early gender behaviour and attitudes. To be a comprehensive theory, it would have to account for the influence of such factors on our behaviour. The theory is also extremely deterministic. It states that gender roles are biologically inevitable and disregards the role of free will in breaking stereotypical roles. For example, it cannot explain how women such as Hilary Clinton are successful; stating that they should be nurturing children and advertising themselves to men.

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