Few pseudo-entities spook the spinster butt-boils like pseudoscience, and few pseudosciences are as a hot spork in a spinster’s obstreperal lobe like evolutionary psychology.
Evolutionary psychology rests on the shaky (often enpornulated) hypothesis that modern human social behaviors are actually species-preserving adaptations. Because evolutionary psychology, like all psuedoscience, is administered by jackasses who are heavily invested in patriarchy, the behaviors in question just happen to be the very same behaviors commonly observed to be beloved of patriarchyists. And also of sexists, misogynists, horndogs, militarists, straight people, politicians, consumers of pornography, consumers of “beauty,” racists, godbags, liberal men, Hollywoodists, homophobes, matrimonialists, and other cogs in the megatheocorporatocratic machine. Everybody who loves the current world order loves the romantic myth that it is the result of the random interaction of mindless genes, or biological “design.” Sadly, the world order is actually the result of something way more sinister: the completely arbitrary social construct of the culture of domination and submission.
Here are some of the modern human social behaviors explained by evolutionary psychology as the result of natural impulses that apparently evolved around the ancestral campfire: rape, heterosexuality, shooting innocent Texas Hill Country deer with crossbows and consuming the meat at tailgate parties conducted in parking lots at football games, femininity, etc.
By invoking no less an indomitable and popular force of nature than evolution itself, evolutionary psychology confers upon itself the gravitas of scientific holy writ. And for sheer gravitas, you can’t beat the American periodical Psychology Today.* Check out this illustration accompanying a Psychology Today article on the effects of women’s menstrual cycles on their hotness:
Nothing says “take this research seriously” like photos of pornulated women gettin it on with giant plushies.
Like many articles in popular magazines, the aforementioned “The Double Life of Women” by Annie Murphy Paul** unlocks for the pornsick psychology buff the sexy mysteries of those ineffable bizarros, women. Annie Murphy Paul uses revelations facilitated by evolutionary psychology to make the (tired old) case that women are pretty much prisoners of biology, or, more specifically, of the menstrual cycle. Her apparent thesis: ovulating women are constrained by biological impulse to go to bars, wear tight dresses, and emit musical, magical laughter, whereupon they become attracted to male lantern-jawed superheroes. Non-ovulating women, on the other hand, are practically a different species. They are drab and dull and fail to effervesce or mate, and prefer pansy-ass dudes.***
Paul cites research conducted, unfortunately, by psychologists and “dating advisers,” since who else would know from this shit? One researcher dude juxtaposed menstrual cycle data with the nightly revenues of (a whopping) 18 lap dancers. Awesome.
Research dude: Hmm. I wonder where we could conduct some research on ovulating women?
Grad student dude: How about a strip club? We can totally multitask by working and abusing the sex class at the same time.
Research dude: It’s pure genius! I’ll take full credit.
In this case research dude concluded that not only do strip club clientele discern whether lap dancers are ovulating, but that pervs lavish more cash on ovulating lap dancers than they do on dull old non-ovulating ones. Paul calls this “one of the most arresting studies of male responses to female fertility cues.”
Female fertility cues! Apparently women who work in strip clubs are not, contrary to what spinster aunts have maintained through the ages, just trying to make the best of their fucked-up sex class status by working themselves through law school or a drug habit or a musician boyfriend. These hotsy-totsy babes are in fact sending their slavering clients “female fertility cues.” Furthermore, strippers who take birth control pills are “‘shooting [themselves] in the foot,’ since [they'll] miss out on the bountiful tips garnered by women in estrus.” That’s right. Sexploitation isn’t about male domination, it’s about human reproduction. Human reproduction is natural. Natural is good. Therefore sexploitation is good.
And that, young onions, is how ev-psych shills for patriarchy.
Meanwhile, so strong is the ovulating human female’s instinct for total sexiness, it turns out, that its expression is involuntary and entirely automated by evolutionary design. Even if she does not wish to advertise her ovulational status, apparently the truth will out. Ovulating women sparkle, they physically morph into hotter versions of themselves, and they take “social risks.”
“It’s difficult for women to fully conceal all signs of fertility — some of them inevitably leak out. [...] We call this ‘leaky cues hypothesis’.”
Ovulating women are not in control of their cues! They simply cannot resist the primal urge to exude pornulated dudefantasy. They are hardwired for hustling! That’s why you see so many drunk women in bars, their fertility cues puddling up at their feet.
“With her tight clothes, alluring scent, and seductive waist-hip ratio, a woman in estrus is sending out a signal not unlike the chimp or the cat in heat.”
It will amuse the patriarchy blamer to note that Paul here reprises one of her earlier remarks, wherein she alluded to the “genitalia of female chimps” which “swell and turn a dramatic shade of pink”. It is a fact — documented by the Spinstitute for the Study of EvPsych Clichés — that no author contriving an antifeminist paean to evolutionary psychology can ever resist comparing sexxed-up women to the dramatically pink butts of chimpanzees. The yowling feline trope, tired and moldy though it is, is a pure bonus track.
So, to recap: women are completely at the mercy of the menstrual cycle, which makes them awesome sexbots one day, and spineless mice the next.
But isn’t this just a reiteration of the hysterical women stereotype? Not at all, says one of the kindly dude researchers.
“The traditional and rather patronizing male view was that women are fickle, that their preferences are random and arbitrary. Now it turns out that what looks like fickleness is actually deeply adaptive and is shared with the females of most animal species.”
OK, let’s get this out of the way first: does Dude even realize that ‘most animal species’ are either arthropods or nematodes, depending on which geek you’re talking to? Together they number in the millions. As in, millions of species. Here at Spinster HQ we were unable to locate any research on, for example, the fickleness of female flatworms. Maybe they like to sport around in spandex when it’s that time of the month, but published studies omit to mention it. So this guy, in his attempt to science-ize an enormously detrimental sexist stereotype, grossly mischaracterizes the scope of the planet’s animalian diversity to further his own anthrocentric worldview.
And also, do not speak to me, dude, of “the rather patronizing male view.” How fucking patronizing is it to argue that ‘fickleness’ is a fucking adaptation shared by all females everywhere? That women’s behavior is, in fact, irrational, only now this irrationality has scientifically proven reasons? This dude is killin’ me!
Oh, and you’ll love this: the helpful suggestion that women can keep themselves out of harm’s way by not “drinking too much at a bar or party at that time of the month.” I’m not even kidding. Dudes cannot resist violating fertile females, so lock yourself away from life’s rich pageant when you’re ovulating or you’re just askin’ for it.
Thus we see that evolutionary psychology attempts to rationalize the worst aspects of humanity by asserting, essentially, this:
Boys will be boys.
* I found my copy of Psychology Today in the checkout lane at Whole Foods. Pop psychology is apparently a good fit with $27 apples and biohealthy yeast-o-matic colon-cleansing pills. The instances of heteronormative dudecentricity exhibited by this magazine cover are too numerous to list. Help me out!
** Paul, Annie Murphy. “The Double Life of Women.” Psychology Today Dec. 2010: 72-79. Print.
***Naturally, because evolutionary psychology cannot satisfactorily explain homosexuality, no mention is made of the randy double lives of ovulating lesbians, even though they are women. After a fashion.
Photo: Miller, Greg. “The Double Life of Women.” Psychology Today Dec. 2010: 77. Detail. Print.