Monday, October 13, 2014

Female desire and male entitlement

This article from 2013 in Salon is one of the better refutations of evolutionary psychology that I've seen. Evo Psychos constantly attempt to present virtually all modern sexual mores and practices as the result of evolution, so not likely to change as a result of social conditions. But this study on female desire presents evidence that animal studies - which Evo Psychos usually like to point to as evidence of the naturalness of male dominance in humans - have been consistently misinterpreted thanks to the pervasiveness of patriarchy.

And the Salon article itself, illustrated with a beautiful swooning woman, demonstrates the dominance of the male gaze even in an article about female desire. But anyway:
...The force of culture puts some level of shame on women’s sexuality and a fantasy of sexual assault is a fantasy that allows for sex that is completely free of blame. So that’s one reason. Another, which Meana brings up, and which I think is very compelling, is this idea that the feeling of being desired is a very powerful one, a very electrical one. And I think at least at the fantasy level, that sense of being wanted, and being wanted beyond the man’s self-control is also really powerful. 
That brings up another theory, which is that there’s something “narcissistic” about women’s desire. Can you explain the thinking behind that idea?Yes, it’s important to underline here that I don’t think Marta Meana, who first introduced that to the conversation, meant narcissistic in a condemnatory or critical way at all, just in a descriptive way that a really powerful engine for female desires is being desired, is being wanted. It’s both — it is a powerful feeling, I think, to have that level of desire coming at you, and an electrifying one. 
Is this narcissistic desire innate or is it a cultural byproduct?I think that was one of the things I wrestled with most in the book, and I can still visibly remember wrestling with it as I was turning in final chapters. I kept thinking back to Deidrah, our monkey, and thinking, OK, that is not a sexuality that seems to depend on being desired. She has a desire; she is going out and getting what she desires. I can’t describe to you how clear that drama was as we watched it. If you’re talking about innate patterns of sexuality, how do you get from that to us? One of the answers is that the force of culture has, to some degree, inverted things. And, you know, maybe that’s the only wise answer, if you want to talk about innate factors.
The entire purpose of evolutionary psychology is an attempt to bolster the once completely entrenched dominance of men. And as far as I know, none of the promoters of Evo Psycho has acknowledged the studies mentioned in this article.

One of the main problems with the way men have run the world is the persistence of male entitlement. If you are involved in any way with online dating sites, and you are a woman over the age of 21, male entitlement will hit you square in the face:
"From the time you're 22 you'll be less hot than a 20-year-old, based on this data," Christian Rudder said at a recent talk. "So that's just a thing.
The Daily Mail quotes Rudder:
On his blog, OKData, he delves into this pattern even further, explaining that as men get older they tend to search for younger and younger women.
'The median 31-year-old guy, for example, sets his allowable match age range from 22 to 35 - nine years younger, but only four years older, than himself,' he writes.
'This skewed mindset worsens with age; the median 42-year-old will accept a woman up to 15 years younger, but no more than three years older.'
And he doesn't mention all the men in their 40s and up who won't even consider a woman his own age, much less even a few years older. Plenty of them set their oldest match age as ten years younger than them.

This is why more often than not after being on a dating site for any length of time I come away really hating men. And I was extremely gratified by the Daily Mail's headline: 

Are you a girl over 22? Then don't even bother with online dating: Hilarious graph shows men prefer young women - however old THEY are

Of course 20-something women are looking for 20-something men not 30 and older, but since when do men actually care what women want? 

As someone commenting in the Daily Mail article said:
Yeh, I get the feeling the deluded 50 year old trawling the site for 20 year olds will remain single for the remainder of his rather sad, grimy life.
That does make me feel a little better about male entitlement.

Christian Rudder of course is a huge fan of Evo Psycho to explain the way things are. So from his perspective it's get used to it ladies, "science" says you're an ugly old hag after 21, and men are never going to change.