Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 7–8, pp 482–491 | Cite as

Can Darwinian Feminism Save Female Autonomy and Leadership in Egalitarian Society?

Original Article

Abstract

As a Darwinian feminist I welcome any attempt at correcting the historical neglect of women’s roles in human evolution, as Rebecca J. Hannagan (2008, in this issue) does in her paper “Gendered Political Behavior: A Darwinian Feminist Approach.” There is much to be said for the view that women’s political agency in foraging societies has systematically been underestimated, due to a combination of researcher bias and the lesser visibility of women’s political strategies. As a feminist Darwinian, however, I must conclude that wishful thinking seems to have led Hannagan into overestimating the degree of female autonomy and leadership in these societies.

Keywords

Darwinian feminism Gender Politics Autonomy Leadership Egalitarian society 

References

  1. Begler, E. B. (1978). Sex, status, and authority in egalitarian society. American Anthropologist, 80, 571–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blackwell, A. (1875). The sexes throughout nature. New York: Putnam.Google Scholar
  3. Boehm, C. (1999). Hierarchy in the forest: The evolution of egalitarian behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Buss, D. M. (2008). Attractive women want it all: Good genes, economic investment, parenting proclivities, and emotional commitment. Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 134–146.Google Scholar
  5. Buss, D., & Malamuth, N. (1996). Sex, power, conflict: Evolutionary and feminist perspectives. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, A. (1999). Staying alive: Evolution, culture, and women’s intrasexual aggression. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 203–214.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell, A. (2002). A mind of her own: The evolutionary psychology of women. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, R. (1978). Reply to Leacock. Current Anthropology, 19, 257–259.Google Scholar
  9. Dasilva, G. (1992). Review of The egalitarians—Human and chimpanzee: An anthropological view of social organization. The Journal of Animal Ecology, 61, 800–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Waal, F. (1998). Chimpanzee politics: Power and sex among apes (Rev. ed.). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Eller, C. (2000). The myth of matriarchal prehistory: Why an invented past wont give women a future. Boston, MA: Beacon.Google Scholar
  12. Fedigan, L. M. (1994). Science and the successful female: Why there are so many women primatologists. American Anthropologist, 96, 529–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fried, M. H. (1967). The evolution of political society: An essay in political anthropology. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  14. Gamble, E. B. (1894). The evolution of woman: An inquiry into the dogma of her inferiority to man. New York: Putnam.Google Scholar
  15. Geddes, P., & Thomson, J. A. (1889). The evolution of sex. London: Walter Scott.Google Scholar
  16. Gilman, C. P. (1898). Women and economics. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  17. Goldberg, S. (1993). Why men rule: A theory of male dominance. Chicago, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
  18. Gowaty, P. (1997a). Feminism and evolutionary biology: Boundaries, intersections, and frontiers. New York: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  19. Gowaty, P. (1997b). Introduction: Darwinian feminists and feminist evolutionists. In P. Gowaty (Ed.), Feminism and evolutionary biology: Boundaries, intersections, and frontiers (pp. 1–17). New York: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  20. Hannagan, R. J. (2008). Gendered political behavior: A Darwinian feminist approach. Sex Roles, 59(7/8).Google Scholar
  21. Harris, M. (1993). The evolution of human gender hierarchies: A trial formulation. In B. D. Miller (Ed.), Sex and gender hierarchies (pp. 57–79). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hrdy, S. B. (1999a). The woman that never evolved (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hrdy, S. B. (1999b). Mother nature: Natural selection and the female of the species. London, UK: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  24. Kelly, R. L. (1995). The foraging spectrum: Diversity in hunter–gatherer lifeways. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  25. Kember, S. (2001). Resisting the new evolutionism. Women: A Cultural Review, 12, 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leacock, E. (1978). Women’s status in egalitarian society: Implications for social evolution. Current Anthropology, 19, 247–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee, R. (1979). The !Kung San: Men, women, and work in a foraging society. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lee, R. (1982). Politics, sexual and non-sexual, in egalitarian society. In E. Leacock & R. B. Lee (Eds.), Politics and history in band societies (pp. 37–59). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Low, B. (1987). Pathogen stress and polygyny in humans. In L. L. Betzig, M. Borgerhoff Mulder & P. W. Turke (Eds.), Human reproductive behaviour: A Darwinian perspective (pp. 115–127). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Low, B. (1989). Cross-cultural patterns in the training of children: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 103, 311–319.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Low, B. (1992). Men, women, resources, and politics in pre-industrial societies. In J. van der Dennen (Ed.), The nature of the sexes: The sociobiology of sex differences and the “battle of the sexes” (pp. 149–169). Groningen, The Netherlands: Origin.Google Scholar
  32. Low, B. (2000). Why sex matters: A Darwinian look at human behaviour. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Low, B. (2005). Women’s lives there, here, then, now: A review of women’s ecological and demographic constraints cross-culturally. Evolution and Human Behavior, 26, 64–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Malamuth, N. M., Huppin, M., & Paul, B. (2005). Sexual coercion. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 394–418). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Moore, J. (1992). Review of The egalitarians—Human and chimpanzee: An anthropological view of social organization. American Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 88, 259–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Morbeck, M. E., Galloway, A., & Zihlman, A. (1997). The evolving female: A life-history perspective. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mukhopadhyay, C., & Higgins, P. (1988). Anthropological studies of women’s status revisited: 1977–1987. Annual Review of Anthropology, 17, 461–495.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Pinker, S. (2002). The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: /The Penguin.Google Scholar
  39. Power, M. (1991). The egalitarians—Human and chimpanzee: An anthropological view of social organization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Ragins, B. R., & Sundstrom, E. (1989). Gender and power in organizations: A longitudinal perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 105, 51–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Romanes, G. J. (1887). Mental differences between men and women. The Nineteenth Century, 21, 654–672.Google Scholar
  42. Rosener, J. B. (1990). Ways women lead. Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec, 119–125.Google Scholar
  43. Scott, J. W. (2001). Millenial fantasies: The future of gender in the 21st century. Die Zukunft von Gender: Fantasien zur Jahrtausendwende. In C. Honegger & C. Arni (Eds.), Gender. Die Tuecken einer Kategorie. Joan W. Scott, Geschichte und Politik—Beitraege zum Symposion anlässlich der Verleihung des Hans-Sigrist-Preises 1999 der Universitaet Bern an Joan W. Scott (pp. 19–37). Zurich, Switzerland: Chronos.Google Scholar
  44. Segal, L. (2000). Gender, genes and genetics: From Darwin to the human genome. In C. Squire (Ed.), Culture and psychology (pp. 31–43). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Shackelford, T. K., Pound, N., Goetz, A. T., & Lamunyon, C. W. (2005). Female infidelity and sperm competition. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 372–393). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  46. Shostak, M. (1981). Nisa: The life and words of a !Kung woman. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  47. Shumaker, P. (2008). From ideologies to public philosophies: An introduction to political theory. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  48. Smith, E. A. (2004). Why do good hunters have higher reproductive success? Human Nature, 15, 343–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smuts, B. (1995). The evolutionary origins of patriarchy. Human Nature, 6, 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smuts, B. (1996). Male aggression against women: An evolutionary perspective. In D. M. Buss & N. Malamuth (Eds.), Sex, power, conflict: Evolutionary and feminist perspectives (pp. 231–268). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Spencer, H. (1862). First principles. London: Williams and Norgate.Google Scholar
  52. Stanford, C. (1993). Review of The egalitarians—Human and chimpanzee: An anthropological view of social organization. International Journal of Primatology, 14, 259–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Strum, S. C., & Fedigan, L. M. (1999). Theory, method, gender and culture: What changed our views of primate society? In S. C. Strum & D. G. Lindburg (Eds.), The new physical anthropology (pp. 67–106). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  54. Tybur, J., Miller, G., & Gangestad, S. (2007). Testing the controversy: An empirical examination of adaptationists’ attitudes toward politics and science. Human Nature, 18, 313–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vandermassen, G. (2004). Sexual selection: A tale of male bias and feminist denial. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 11, 1–26.Google Scholar
  56. Vandermassen, G. (2005). Whos afraid of Charles Darwin? Debating feminism and evolutionary theory. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  57. Waage, J., & Gowaty, P. (1997). Myths of genetic determinism. In P. Gowaty (Ed.), Feminism and evolutionary biology: Boundaries, intersections, and frontiers (pp. 585–613). New York: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  58. White, F. (1993). Review of The egalitarians—Human and chimpanzee: An anthropological view of social organization. Biological Anthropology, 95, 165–166.Google Scholar
  59. Wolin, S. S. (2004). Politics and vision (Exp. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Yanca, C., & Low, B. (2004). Female allies and female power: A cross-cultural analysis. Evolution and Human Behavior, 25, 9–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Gender Studies, Department of EnglishGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations