Ragged University’s “Evolving for Girls”: some personal comments 

I went to a great talk with Doreen Soutar called “Evolving for Girls” as part of the Ragged University series on Thursday evening. If you get a chance, check them out. It’s an awesome concept, bringing topics of interest such as feminist concepts in a free forum, and opening them to discussion.

I’ve never exactly been one to choose sexual partners on the basis of a particular aesthetic “type”, and I find it quite offensive when it’s implied that my personal choices are determined by some latent irrational concept of attraction that is deemed something to deride in females, but is accepted in men. Recently someone I know saw a photo of one of my exes and commented that “he doesn’t seem like someone I could see you with”. Based on a photograph, taken 4 years ago.  Why did someone I don’t know particularly well think they could make a sweeping, unsolicited comment on my personal choice?

A thing that struck me was when Doreen mentioned that genomes, which are commonly perceived in a male-centric analysis of sexual selection (with the premise that the female does the choosing whilst the male is “selected”), might not be the be-all-end-all determinant, one of the barmen got his hackles up. Essentially he tried to counter that certain physical characteristics such as height were factors in the unconscious or subconscious selection process, essentially arguing that the female selection process is arbitrary and irrational. So why are certain traits concerning power and status in women attributed to “random” factors in an attempt to downplay their validity?

It’s not that I don’t believe that initial attraction plays a role in sexual selection, because of course it does. However the concept that when that choice is at the hands of a woman is always superseded by an assumption that all females are ruled by some illogical requirement to find the biggest, strongest alpha in a “pack” (ie what traditional methods of describing evolutionary psychology try to tell us), is what I find to be a big steaming pile of horse crap.

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