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Sexual Selection Revisited — Towards a Gender-Neutral Theory and Practice

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Ah-King, Malin

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Abstract In a recent issue of this journal, Vandermassen suggested that feminists should include sexual selection theory and evolutionary psychology in a unifying theory of human nature. In response, this article aims to offer some insight into the development of sexual selection theory, to caution against Vandermassen's unreserved assimilation and to promote the opposite ongoing integration — an inclusion of gender perspectives into evolutionary biology. In society today, opinions about maintaining traditional sex roles are often put forward on the basis of what is natural and how animals behave. However, the natural sciences have proved to be pervaded by gendered values and interests; Darwin's theory of sexual selection has been criticized for being male biased, and partly due to the unwillingness of Darwin's scientific contemporaries to accept female choice, research has been overwhelmingly focused on males. More recently, theory has become less gender biased and research has come to include a large variety of issues not present in the first version of the theory. However, there is a need to increase the awareness of gender bias in order to develop a gender-neutral evolutionary biology.
Free Keywords androcentric bias; evolutionary biology; evolutionary psychology; history of science; sexual selection;
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 341-348
Journal European Journal of Women's Studies, 14 (2007) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)