Sex Roles

, 64:768 | Cite as

Evolutionary Psychology and Feminism

  • David Michael Buss
  • David P. Schmitt
Original Article


This article provides a historical context of evolutionary psychology and feminism, and evaluates the contributions to this special issue of Sex Roles within that context. We briefly outline the basic tenets of evolutionary psychology and articulate its meta-theory of the origins of gender similarities and differences. The article then evaluates the specific contributions: Sexual Strategies Theory and the desire for sexual variety; evolved standards of beauty; hypothesized adaptations to ovulation; the appeal of risk taking in human mating; understanding the causes of sexual victimization; and the role of studies of lesbian mate preferences in evaluating the framework of evolutionary psychology. Discussion focuses on the importance of social and cultural context, human behavioral flexibility, and the evidentiary status of specific evolutionary psychological hypotheses. We conclude by examining the potential role of evolutionary psychology in addressing social problems identified by feminist agendas.


Evolutionary psychology Feminism Sexual strategies Gender differences 



The authors wish to express deep thanks to colleagues who commented on previous versions of this paper: Laith Al-Shawaf, Jaime Confer, Judith Easton, Irene Frieze, Cari Goetz, Cristine Legare, David Lewis, Carin Perilloux, Christine Smith, and Griet Vandermassen.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.Bradley UniversityPeoriaUSA

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