Sunday, May 22, 2011

The wonderful uses of evolutionary psychology

Blog comments on posts about gender invariably give you a sense of just how popular evolutionary psychology is as a justification for male privilege. The NYTimes ran an article about the culture of harassment at the IMF, and this comment illustrates how it works:

Genetically and culturally, most men are always in the prowl for women (which doesn't necessarily mean that it is done in an overt or unwelcomed manner), and despite the abundance of sanctimonious comments we might read or hear about, the overwhelming majority of women, love it!

The "genetics made them do it" explanation is often used by people who don't actually know the term is "evolutionary psychology" but they know that there's a general theory out there that when men behave badly, they are just expressing their natural natures as full-blooded he-man males.

You can see why many men will use anything, including the pseudo-science of evolutionary psychology to try to bolster the cause of male privilege. Privilege is nice to have, and a real ego-boost. It's the ego-enhancing effects of traditional male privilege that convinced Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his lawyers that they could get away with claiming that a gross old man like Strauss-Kahn can accost a maid busy making her rounds and immediately have "consensual" sex.

Certainly there are plenty of women who will prostitute themselves to ugly old men in exchange for money and other perks, but not the majority, by any means.

But morons like the commenter quoted above persist in believing that the "majority" of women "love it" when men are on the prowl. A woman loves it when a man that she likes is on the prowl for her. But most women don't want most of the men who are on the prowl - especially the old men at government institutions like the IMF. But it's the delusions of male privilege that make these old men persist in the belief that women - especially young women - want them for their personal charms.

The maid's allegation is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn came out of the shower naked after her. I've seen pictures of Strauss-Kahn and it makes me sick to think about it. The only way it could have been consensual is if she was a prostitute. Once Strauss-Kahn's lawyers' realize that most people - especially women - are laughing at the idea of consensual sex with Strauss-Kahn, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if their next strategy is to try to paint the maid as a prostitute.

Maids have to put up with plenty of shit from male hotel guests.

'Allo baybee, Ah know you wanna see me nahked, hawn hawn hawn!