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Unformatted text preview: Throughout history women have been denied the same social status as men and have been repeatedly excluded from things such as education, politics, and science. This has allowed men to have control over gender roles by controlling the laws, ability to obtain knowledge, and history. Until now, women have been historically excluded women from participating in science which has created a male-dominated and gender biased perspective of science. In the evolutionary sciences such as Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology, this male-dominated perspective continues to prevail in its biased reductive portrayal of gender roles which brand females with false stereotypes. In the article “An Evolutionary Perspective on Physical Attractiveness”, Doug Jones advocates a modernization of Darwin’s theory of sexual selection; the theory that individuals of a species possess certain traits which can increase their mate value, which causes them to be more successful in mating than other members of the same sex. Jones defines mate value as “the expected reproductive success from mating with a given individual...” (Jones 1996:97). This adaptationist approach claims that mate choice is caused by certain adaptations which accurately assess the mate value of the potential mate. Simply put, these adaptations or traits which the potential mate possesses are supposed to reflect the expected reproductive success of that potential mate. Jones argues that in light of recent empirical and theoretical data, this modern theory of sexual selection is applicable to human physical attraction. Jones argues that in human sexual selection the mate value of a potential mate is heavily dependant upon fecundity; the probability that mating will succeed in conception and the birth of offspring. According to Jones, physical attractiveness is particularly relevant to fecundity because humans use certain physical traits as cues in assessing a potential mate’s fecundity. Jones begins by relating age to fecundity; arguing that the data implies age as an important determinate of fecundity. According to the data evidence, males have a higher preference for youthful partners than females do and that an increase in age causes a decrease in physical attractiveness, especially for females. Jones argues that humans have a universal adaptive response to age; we associate growing older as being an unattractive quality which reduces fecundity. Furthermore, Jones argues that in addition to being a universal trait of female attractiveness, a major correlate of female fecundity is waist-to-hip ratio, which is the ratio of the circumference of the narrowest part of the waist and the widest point in the hips. Jones makes the claim that because fat distribution is sensitive to ratios of estrogen to androgen, a high estrogen/androgen ratio causing a low waist-to-hip ratio is therefore associated with high levels of ovarian function and fecundity. Therefore Jones’ makes the critical argument that the “strong of ovarian function and fecundity....
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course ANTHRO 243 taught by Professor Weinstein during the Spring '06 term at Dickinson.
- Spring '06