Since the beginning of the “Me, too!” movement, “patriarchy”and the very idea that females prefer to be feminineis under attack as never before. The Swedish capital Stockholm has banned ads that portray female stereotypes [Stockholm bans “sexist” and “degrading” adverts from public spaces, By Sara Malm, Daily Mail, 13 June 2018]. An Austrian museum about James Bond will cut out “sexist” aspects of the movie series about the Alpha male and his assorted scantily-dressed Bond girls [Not Licensed to Offend, By Tim Walker, Guardian, June 11, 2018]. On Father’s Day, fathers were supposed to receive “feminist” gifts, to undermine the patriarchal undertones of the celebration [9 Feminist Father’s Day 2017 Gifts For The Dad Who Believes In Equality, By Lindsay Mack, Romper, 7 June 2017, ].
But if a theory recently presented by two female researchers from Britain is correct, then patriarchy only evolved because of the male need to give women what they wanted, females are literally evolved to like and accept the patriarchal system, and, by implication, we’d have no civilization if it hadn’t developed.
Grant and Montrose argued that patriarchy is, therefore, entirely understandable in evolutionary terms. In China, women’s feet were bound so they couldn’t run away and have affairs. In the Islamic world, women are concealed in public so that no potential cuckolder can be attracted to them. Religions render these traditionsas well as general obedience to the male willas the desire of the gods, making it even more likely to be obeyed.
And females who fail to obey risk severe punishment, including simply being killed to restore the families’ honour. There are, the authors report, about 300 honour killings in Pakistan annually, with sentences being very lenient compared to those for other murders. In the Middle East, women are killed for actual or alleged adultery, for refusing arranged marriage, for not being virgins when they get married and for being raped, as this implies that they were not being chaperoned by a male relative as mandated. Most societies give daughters far less freedom than sons. Not only are daughters worth morein the sense that their child will definitely be your grandchildbut we’ve been selected to control them.
The fascinating result of this, argue the authors, is that females are literally evolutionarily selected to accept patriarchy. Those who refuse to have their feet bound, or be circumcised so they can’t enjoy sex, will not be able to get married and so won’t pass on their genes. Such refusal to obey the rules also elevates the likelihood that they’ll be ostracisedin societies where laws make it very hard to be an independent femaleor directly killed. Grant and Montrose argue that abortion is particularly problematic in patriarchal societies because it allows women far too much control over themselves.
What this system means is that malestrusting that their investment in the female and her offspring will be worth itcan afford to be less violent, less jealous and more cooperative. They will invest more of their energy in looking after their children, making these children less short-term oriented, able to create stronger social bonds, and likely to be more cooperative.
And so a civilization will duly be able to develop.
This is a compelling theory and the authors also present some clear ways that future researchers can test it: Cuckoldry rates should be lower, and fertility higher, in more patriarchal societies and fundamentalist sub-cultures; the more fundamentalist and patriarchal a society the faster growing its population will be, as women will have no control over their bodies and no option but motherhood; and patriarchy will be stronger in polygamous systems, like Islam, because there will be more women for a husband to control.
Anecdotally, at least, this all these seems to be the case.
So, reducing these findings down to their basics, patriarchy is a result of the evolved psychology and physiology of females. Its development has, in turn, pushed females, for biological reasons, towards being more accepting of patriarchy.
Could it be that the rise in “feminism” is not just due to the collapse of patriarchy but, more profoundly, due to weakened Darwinian selection, due to the less harsh life created by the Industrial Revolution? (See Social Epistasis Amplifies the Fitness Costs of Deleterious Mutations, Engendering Rapid Fitness Decline Among Modernized Populations, By Michael Woodley of Menie et al., Evolutionary Psychological Science, June 2017).
This would mean more “mutant genes” not being removed through high child mortality or spinsterhood for “undesirable” women, such as those which might make people challenge patriarchy?
The authors insist “It’s a Man’s World” but it only became that way due to the power women have over men to force them to bend to their evolved desires for investment and status, as evidence of the ability to invest in resources in their children.
“It’s a Man’s World”and it’s Women’s Fault?