What you want is in the blood, Senators (demonista) wrote,
What you want is in the blood, Senators
demonista

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update on evolutionary psych post

my post yesterday on evolutionary psychology resulted in several comments on facebook, and several replies by me. so i'll post them here for people who aren't friends with me on fb:

Krystle: "the men that theorized this bullshit must really have a really poor opinion of themselves. they're basically making themselves out to be uncontrollably raging with hormones and "biological" criminals. do these men live up to their theory by going out and raping women? honestly, now."

Farzan: "I'm trying to catch up on this "evolutionary psychology so bear with me...
"One problem I see with your analysis is that you assume that when men are committing rape they’re doing it out of a specific and calculated sense of wishing to reproduce when really the male sexual drive isn’t as discriminating as you make it out to be. It’s really not a rational thing, more of a vague urge. I forget what the exact term is, but there are many human behavioral and biological traits (such as rape for example) which at some point (10s of thousands of years ago) may have been necessary for reproduction but are no longer needed. Regardless of their… obsoletion?... they continue to persist because evolution as current science describes it is a very slow process taking sometimes millions of years before we see significant changes, although my brother’s the bio/nano expert.
"Also, it should be acknowledged that while Men and woman may be equal before the law, there are biological and physiological differences; we’re not the same. The male faculty to control aggression is much weaker (err… sorry for the poor referencing, but whichever part of the brain moderates aggression is smaller and less developed in males). Our physiology leads us to be more aggressive and competitive… Most men learn to control themselves, but in situations when rape becomes socially acceptable (i.e. mainly during wars or internal conflicts) instances of rape increase astronomically among conscripted troops who in their normal social situation would be considered decent men.
"I've done some experimental neuroscience but this really isn't my field so I would need an hour or two to come up with something good, but your rant is all rhetoric and dogma and lean on analysis... you have it in you to do much better. I think your conclusion is as about as valid as saying that all gays have a choice about their sexual orientation; I think many gay men are biologically predisposed to be the way they are. In the same way aggression may not be a choice for many males, simply the way they are. Do you think something like 93% of violent crimes are committed by males because we've chosen to be violent? I'm not saying conditioning isn't important, but at a certain level its our biology.
"'if men are as awful as the theory suggests, wouldn't men be better off killing themselves off?' Why would we kill ourselves off? Its our priority to survive. Its like if you were a vampire, even though your prey might consider you evil it doesn't mean you hate yourself, you're just trying to fulfill one of your most basic needs, in this case the lust for human blood.
"You should read a piece by William S. Burrough's titled Woman: A Biological Mistake, I think it gives some good insight on why woman aren't necessary for the continued survival of the human species."

Lauren: "I agree with Farzan. I don't think explaining the evolutionary process that leads to an instinct should be misconstrued with justifying it. Trying to understand the complexities of human actions, even those we don't like, is a necessary part of the process of putting a stop to those actions."

Farzan:  "Well taken Lauren - the point hear isn't to justify the behaviour but understand it. I think to a large degree we can control and curb this particular form of aggression through conditioning and environmental factors. I don't think rape is an inevitable condition of our evolution and needs to be combated vigilantly, but this can't be done by accusing men of being evil but by understanding both the social and biological root causes of sexual crimes."

Winnie (aka demonista):

ok, i think sexuality is a social construction. i certainly am not arguing that men rape out of a need to reproduce--i'm arguing that evolutionary psychology is wrong in part because rape has so LITTLE to do with men's wish to reproduce. evolutionary biology makes the claim that rape exists to increase men's chances of reproduction. but wouldn't a woman be more likely to carry to term and not kill a fetus then potential child who was created out of a great, willing sexual experience with a man than rape?

i think men rape out of sheer enjoyment of it, power-tripping, belief in rape myths, belief in male superiority, because male approval matters in patriarchy, the low chance of being jailed, etc.

the view that men are biologically programmed to rape does nothing to explain why it was men who were so programmed. why weren't women? if a woman repeatedly forcibly enveloped a man (fear can cause erection), she'd probably get pregnant, thereby helping to continue the species. the counterargument is that women are "naturally" monogamous. that is also never actually explained. again, if a woman raped only one man repeatedly, that would have her remain monogamous. and if monogamy in women is natural, why have so many women not been so, throughout history? so, the argument may turn to women's natural nonviolence. what about the amazons? they were very well-known for their prowess in battle, and there were stories about them torturing, raping, and killing the men they captured. those latter were largely false, but they did create a female-supremacist tribal system.

also, if men are biologically more violent, why are there female sex abusers (remember they are 15-20% of the sexual abusers of boys), abuse in lesbian relationships, female guards in nazi concentration camps, women who abuse their children, etc, etc

if men are innately rapists, why do so many men report never wanting to rape women? why are men raised by single moms and lesbians less violent, having better relationships with women, etc? why do so many young boys feel a revulsion to violence, eg the boy, with his dad on his first hunting trip, who sees that a duck is still living, wants to bring em home and nurse em back to health, and starts to cry when his dad's friend bashes the ducks brains out an a rock? why did jean piaget find that children, including boys, instill life like their own into all other humans, trees, the earth, dogs, etc? why some men are absolutely repulsed by rape?

men are violent to the extent they've been conditioned to be such and to the extent they do not reject such training.

shere hite, andrea dworkin, and john stoltenberg provide some of the best explanations on how men become violent. i advise reading hite's the hite report on male sexuality, and the hite report on the family, andrea dworkin's pornography--an online excerpt is here: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/PornMen&Boys1.html, and stoltenberg's refusing to be a man and the end of manhood.

to quote dworkin:

"How does it happen that the male child whose sense of life is so vivid that he imparts humanity to sun and stone changes into the adult male who cannot grant or even imagine the common humanity of women?
"...the boy has a choice: remain loyal to the mother who is in reality degraded, without authority against the father, unable to protect the child from the father's violence or the violence of other adult men, or become a man, one who has the power and the right to hurt, to use force, to use his will and physical strength over and against women and children. Be the mother--do the housework--or be the father--carry a big stick. Be the mother--be fucked--or be the father--do the fucking. The boy has a choice. The boy chooses to become a man because it is better to be a man than a woman.
"Becoming a man requires that the boy learn to be indifferent to the fate of women. Indifference requires that the boy learn to experience women as objects. The poet, the mystic, the prophet, the so-called sensitive man of any stripe, will still hear the wind whisper and the trees cry. But to him, women will be mute. He will have learned to be deaf to the sounds, sighs, whispers, screams of women in order to ally himself with other men in the hope that they will not treat him as a child, that is, as one who belongs with the women."

in respect to your vampire comparison, there are vampire slayers. so i suppose their should be women to be "rapist slayers."

in respect to burroughs, that man was a misogynist, racist, homophobic pedophile. of course he would argue women are a mistake--he wants to justify the creation of a world without women, and the presence of "lesser" males only to the extent they provide fodder for male orgasm and otherwise serve the "supermen."

if one or the other is superfluous, men are. their contribution to reproduction is miniscule--sperm. women could freeze a few thousand men's sperm, kill all the men, and then keep reproducing for millenia. it is a male phantasy/phallacy that women are the mistake, that women are the one's not needed for survival.

for example, take our differing relationships with blood. most women and pubescent girls bleed for several days each month. this blood is not the blood of injury, but of life, strength, artistry, etc. boys are taught by men to see menstrual blood as ugly, poisonous, dirty, and the women who bleed but do not die as untrustworthy and malignant. they are told to worship the blood that men can bring forth: the blood of suffering and death. in war, hunting animals, murder, rape, and so on blood is rendered. a boy's first kill is an initiation into manhood, crossculturally. what does that say about manhood (as opposed to being male-bodied), that it can only fully realise itself by causing another's destruction?

this was not to say that men are redundant, or that men are doomed to remain in such a state, or that they cannot cultivate a more women-centred relation to blood, but to say that men can be different. if i didn't think so, my politics would not be what they were; feminism would have no chance of ever changing things.

Komal: "The thing is, even if a theory is patriarchal, made by upper class white men etc. that doesn't make it false. It can still be true, in spite of being hegemonic or whatever.
"Secondly, to describe an evolutionary basis for rape is not to justify it. Rape could be biologically ingrained but still morally wrong. Aggression has an evolutionary origin (it's in our genes) but nobody describes that finding as an attempt to justify aggression.
"Also, having sex with dead bodies could be a release for sexual frustration or an expression of psychopathology. There could be more than one reason for deviant sexual behavior. The desire to reproduce may not even be at play here, it may the genes' 'desire' to reproduce, but the individual animal (in this case human) may not desire to reproduce at all, but simply to rape.
"Interestingly, though, from a radical feminist viewpoint (which I have) there is a symbolic space of narratives, themes and archetypes that show themselves in our symbolic expression, for example language, fiction, music videos etc. This is systematically connected to physical reality, including socioeconomic and biological reality. Where radical feminism is superior to liberal feminism is the recognition of this connection. That being said, how do you reconcile the fact that in the patriarchal imagination rape is a tool of domination (e.g. in the documentary Dreamworlds 3 men say they want to 'fuck women' as a way of keeping them down) and the plausible hypothesis that there could be an evolutionary imperative to rape? I can think of two ways:
"1. There can be more than one motivation to do the same act at different times, and
"2. It could originate as a biological drive, but recognizing that it is humiliating could lead to its usefulness as a tool of domination."
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