oh goody, it’s another evo-psych article; or, as it’s more commonly known: “science for douchebags”

Evolutionary psychologist\'s ideal modern psychologyHave you noticed how this recent spate of “evolutionary psychology” research all seems to be saying the same thing? Namely, that men are jerks because it’s in their genes (they just can’t help it, yall!), and women are hardwired to like jerky behavior. And also to enjoy mopping, baking cookies, and popping out offspring; as opposed to doing anything else that’s even remotely self-fullfilling.

Where all these articles fall down is in presupposing that women enjoy this patriarchal bullshit because it’s part of their DNA, instead of being forced to accept it because most of us are trained from Day 1 to do so. “Women are hardwired to like pink!” Are they? Or is it more likely that if you wrap a baby in a pink blanket the day she’s born, then subtly pressure her to like the color in a thousand different ways for the next several decades, she’ll eventually start to think she likes it? I know anecdotes are not proof; but my parents never gave a damn what color I wore, and I’m a 33-year-old woman who really doesn’t care for the color.

Nice guys knew it, now two studies have confirmed it: bad boys get the most girls. The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the “dark triad” persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs.

This recent article in New Scientist, that purports to prove–basically–that women dig assholes, makes a lot of the classic douchebag-based science mistakes. Foremost, and most ridiculous, is the usage of fictional characters to confirm their hypothesis:

James Bond epitomises this set of traits, Jonason says. “He’s clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things – killing people, new women.” Just as Bond seduces woman after woman, people with dark triad traits may be more successful with a quantity-style or shotgun approach to reproduction, even if they don’t stick around for parenting.

Jesus H. Christ, you guys are supposed to be scientists. James Bond isn’t real. The reason his popularity has endured for 50 years is precisely because he’s a total male fantasy.

Jonason and his colleagues subjected 200 college students to personality tests designed to rank them for each of the dark triad traits. They also asked about their attitudes to sexual relationships and about their sex lives, including how many partners they’d had and whether they were seeking brief affairs.

And we all know that people who score high on the “dark triad” of narcissim, deceit, and exploitation are totally trustworthy and not at all likely to conflate or lie about their number of sexual partners!

The study also makes the time-honored male-centric error of thinking women only fuck guys they love and want to marry and have a hundred babies with. This may come as a big shock to you white-coated dorks, but sometimes women fuck guys just because they want to fuck. You know, kind of like you seem to take for granted most men do.

It’s easy to brush these articles off as so much poorly-researched, causation/correlation confused crap, which they certainly are, but the trend is troubling to me nonetheless. They’re strengthening the feeling that women not only deserve to be abused, but somehow enjoy it. I’m sick of this “science” that seems intent on proving that our proper place in society is being mistreated by jerks. It’s bullshit, and it’s dangerous, and I’m going to continue to call it out for the lazy intellectual garbage it so obviously is.

Hat tips to Feministe and Pandagon.

ETA: While I think it’s adorable that a bunch of neo-troglodytes have stopped dragging their knuckles long enough to want to tell me how wrong I am, you should know that I consider the one comment I approved and replied to to be a more than sufficient representation/rebuttal of the MENZ RITEZ!!1! faction. All further comments from them will be unnaproved and ignored. In case your unfrozen caveman misogynist brain hasn’t grasped it yet: I have comment screening on this blog, which means none of your comments will show unless I want them to. If any of you circle jerkers could ever refute me without voicing grotesquely crude opinions about my intelligence, pulchritude, or sexual preference, I would probably approve your comments. But until the magical day when you show yourself to be capable of rational rebuttal without resorting to poo flinging, you can all go fuck yourselves.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Knarf
    Mar 10, 2009 @ 23:30:31

    You’re obviously not familiar with the work of Camille Paglia, who more or less says that a truly liberated woman ought to ENJOY a dehumanizing sexual relationship, because it’s a sign that she’s a) fully openminded and free of prudish hang-ups and b) in tune with the Natural Laws of the Universe.

    Actually, I am quite familiar with Ms. Paglia, and I know she says what she does because she’s a) fucking insane; and possibly b) a collaborator with the patriarchy. Hey, here’s a radical thought that’s probably never occured to you: Just because someone thinks something that you and your fellow douchebags agree with and writes it down somewhere, IT’S NOT AUTOMATICALLY TRUE.

    Also c) You’re a stupid fucking caveman asshole, and d) Any further comments from you will be unapproved and deleted.

  2. Renan
    Jun 14, 2009 @ 22:25:47

    Don’t give up on the guys yet, miss. Although those douchebags are always fucking around with their alpha-male bullshit, there are good guys around, me being one – if I do say so myself -, that doesn’t think woman are just a disposable walking party favor. Me as long as woman doesn’t think I’m a walking dildo, I’m fine. I’m a fan of woman.

  3. pinstripebindi
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 10:25:56

    I haven’t “given up on guys” and I don’t know what would make you think I have. I have 2 older brothers and lots of male friends; I know perfectly well not all guys buy into this evo-psych horse pucky. I’m not anti-man, I’m anti-douchebag.

  4. Renan
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 09:07:20

    I see. I said that because most woman I know dismiss man with that comment “man are all the same” , I’m kinda sick and tired of taking the blame for those macho assholes.

  5. Renan
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 09:09:51

    Also I’m terribly sorry about my english, I’m not american or british and sometimes my english slips.

  6. Dan
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 04:12:28

    I have personally done research in this area, and find that women liking jerks not only CONTRADICTS evolutionary theory, there are truckloads of excellent research that refutes such notions. I have personally done research in this area (soon to submit for publication)….and I have found, In fact, the majority of women (according to data, not opinion) crave PRESTIGE in men not aggression. In other words women seem to prefer a guy who is dominant AND kind, not dominant and a jerk (for more on this see an article by Snyder and colleagues in a journal called Personal relationships in 2008). However, it is the dominance that seems to be the sought after trait.

    Incidentally, there are types of women who like guys who are jerks….and types of guys who like jerky women….and those men and women are both sexually promiscuous and psychopathic themselves. In other words, psychopaths seem to want each other.

    Oh, one last fact….psychopaths seem to report having more sex partners, but Machiavellians and narcissists don’t really have more sex (this is true when you take into account their overlap with psychopathy using regression statistics)…However, work that I’m putting out in the next couple of months will show that psychopaths have more partners simply because they have NO STANDARDS, and this may (at least partially) account for the higher number of sex partners psychopaths report having. In other words, there are no benefits to being a jerky guy except sleeping with unattractive women and living most of your life alone.

    I will grant that this strategy can work for reproductive purposes (according to an article by Linda Mealey in 1995 published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences), but it is BY NO MEANS the norm, nor the best strategy for most effective reproduction. Linda Mealey tackled all this a while back in fact. She says for guys who can’t make it as a nice guy, they might take an “antisocial” approach. in other words, it is the loser men who act like a psychopath….not the nice guys who just have what it takes.

    I hope I have shed some light on this issue!

  7. Dan
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 04:27:01

    Oh, one more thing…..I can see your frustration with sciences like psychology (because I share them sometimes)….particularly evolutionary psychology….however, don’t give up on a discipline just because of the gender of the authors or the field they are in. Although I am not in the field of evolutionary psychology as a focus, but I’m sure you would agree that all good scientists studying humans NEED to know about evolutionary concepts and should incorporate them into their theories.

    I think the biggest problem is that people assume that something in a “peer reviewed” journal is something like divinely inspired gospel. Nothing can be further from the truth…In my opinion the problem is that there is a circle of “good ol’ boys” in evolutionary psych that just publish each other’s research. These authors know that the person you cite most in an article is likely to be the peer reviewer for that article….so naturally, science SOMETIMES progresses in a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” fashion. It should be noted that opposite political circles such as liberals and feminists also do the same thing. I am not pointing fingers, merely pointing out that people who share a particular political motivation to see research get out there can sometimes overlook the research itself because they want to see the desired impact the research will have on the public. It is just human nature, and I know for a fact that evolutionists do this.

    Granted, MOST psychology journals use a blind peer review system, meaning that they don’t know they identity of the author submitting the article….but most people take a reasonable guess 😉 ….so I think psychology’s system is more desirable than a field like economics (for example), where they do NOT do blind peer review, and often base publication on the reputation of the author, and not on the merits of the article.

    Nevertheless, WE need to evaluate research on a case by case basis, and not merely passively accept what is published. Just because an article reaches press DOES NOT MEAN that it carries scientific merit. EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, just because the news picks up on an article means NOTHING about its scientific merits. For example, one of my weakest and worst papers was featured in the Boston Globe…and I was kind of embarrassed because I don’t really believe what I wrote anymore 😛 ……So in the case of some bad articles that get through the system: Reviewers could have gotten lazy, missed things, or have a hidden agenda.

    I also think in many cases of these “sexy stories” that seem to ring true to people….we need to take a closer look at HOW the study was run and what it is saying.

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