Monday, November 18, 2013

Evolutionary Psychology as the Justification for Real-World Misogyny

Here we go!  One of those misogyny sites you don't want to visit without a hazmat suit gives us a list of principles their members believe in.

The list is straight out of the ass of the worst kind of Evolutionary Psychology (EP)*, the kind Satosi Kanazawa practices, the kind which is mostly focused on justifying various kinds of stereotypes about men and women and the most archaic gender roles as biologically innate (even when those roles keep changing).  That the work uses neither genetics nor any data from prehistory (when we supposedly were hard-wired, immutably) and is therefore a bunch of JustSo stories doesn't stop it from being used to justify an unequal and oppressive world view as scientific.

Thus, the list from that site I will not link to (it's a hate site) gives us a very crude (normative?) version of the arguments in much of EP:

A woman's value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty.  A man's value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character.

Translation:  The guy who wrote this values people on those terms.

Note how men get to be judged  by their  intellect and character, women not so much.  But that's because the view of the world on that site is one where women are commodities, men are human actors.  But even the narrowest commodified definition of how women's values are defined doesn't give women with lots of children the greatest respect among women in reality.  Those would be the most fertile women, in terms of output.

Here's a set of three further principles from the site.  Taken together, they are a word soup with poop dumplings in it.

 Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them.
Women are sluts if they sleep around but men are not.  This fact is due to the biological differences between men and women.

Elimination of traditional gender roles and the promotion of unlimited mating choice in women unleashes their promiscuity and other negative behavior that block family formation.

Men are naturally polygamous, goes the first statement in that set of three, except that, very oddly, and in complete contradiction to almost all EP, men here are not interested in reproduction!  How does that work, in practice?

Men need to be bribed into monogamous marriage, because they are inherently promiscuous.  But women are not naturally polygamous, goes the second statement, because of somethingsomethingbiological.

Then the third statement upends the second statement.  If eliminating "traditional"** gender roles unleashes promiscuity in women,  women were always biologically as likely to sleep around as men.  Remember that these beliefs are based on everything being fixed once, a long time ago.  Everything that is biological, in any case.  So whether you call women sluts and men not-sluts has nothing to do with this so-called biological argument.

The second contradiction in that set of three is between the idea that men don't want to form families, to begin with, what with wishing to pollinate one flower after another, but that it's unleashing women's promiscuity which blocks family formation.  And again:  Men will opt out of reproduction without incentives?  Really?

My apologies for writing about a hate site (mostly full of rage at stuff like women not getting pregnant enough).  But the way EP is employed, and by what types of people it is employed is worth pointing out.  In short, EP offers a scientific-seeming crutch which is used to whitewash existing misogynistic beliefs. 
*I call the kind of subset of evolutionary psychology which people like Satosi Kanazawa practice Evolutionary Psychology, with capital letters.  The work in that field usually begins with some stereotypes about men and women (almost always negative stereotypes about women, by the way) and then tries to prove that the stereotype is well and alive today and then argues that this proves its evolutionary origins. Much of the work in this field pays little attention to alternative explanations.
**What they mean is Victorian gender roles, pretty much.