Chapter 22: Evolution of Sexism

We watched a movie in evolution a couple of days ago on sex. Beyond the usual John Travolta and peacock scenes, it got to talking about different evolutionary changes due to sex, and the sexes. In chimpanzees the males are the dominant of the two sexes, and the whole species is violent, with the females being beat by the males in shows of dominance.

The Bonobos on the other hand, fairly close relatives to chimps, have the roles reversed. The females are dominant, and the whole species is calmer and much more cooperative. One interesting fact that was drilled into our heads during the video by countless scenes is the fact that Bonobos like to have sex. They have sex for pleasure, sex for food, sex for power, sex between guys, sex between girls, and sex with the kids hanging on the backs of the two lovers. This whole lifestyle has come about logically from the fact that they have more food, and less competition for it. The males don’t need to fight, giving the women who bear the offspring the power. The chimps must compete for food with gorillas, so they end up living in the food scarce trees, fighting for every scrap, leaving the women to fend for themselves AND their young. The fact that women tend to be dominant in one case and tend not to be in the other case came about due to evolution and the environment, not any distinct advantages of a sex.

If you draw the lines to human evolution, humans grew up on the plains, with the male hunters hunting for food and competing for the women. What evolutionary advantage could be better for a male than to have the females not have a choice on whether to mate with him or not? If he was big enough and mean enough, he could pick the woman he wanted and unless she could get away, there wasn’t much she could do about it. Knowing this, I am not surprised that the bias of the sexes has existed through the times. Given the current environment we live in, the most well suited male is not the biggest and the meanest (maybe for football), but someone more equal to the females. The real reason sexism exists today is that evolution selected for the biggest men who were the best hunters, and for the most caring women that raised the children best.

That’s just what I think, I could be wrong.






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