Discuss Evolutionary Explanations of Gender (24)

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  • Created by: TFoulg
  • Created on: 08-01-15 00:49

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According to Charles Darwin, we ‘naturally select’ genes and behaviours that prove to be advantageous to a species. This means that if a genetic mutation occurs and it causes a physiological or psychological change in a species e.g. height or strength, these changes over time will become a permanent part of the species if it heightens the species survival in some way. The traditional idea of gender roles is of man as the hunter and the woman as the gatherer and child-rearer. This may have evolved as women would have spent most of their life either pregnant or producing milk. If a woman was a hunter, it would reduce her reproductive success. This division of labour is also important in avoiding starvation; a further adaptive advantage. This is because men and women both acquire food, men by hunting and women by growing plants. The evolutionary theory also promotes the idea of sexual selection when explaining how mating roles have developed. Since men can never be sure of the paternity of their children, their physiology has evolved to enable them to produce as much sperm as possible and to have sex as much as possible to ensure they do eventually father a child and pass on their genetic information. Females are always sure about maternity, however they only have approximately 300 chances to conceive a child. Females are less fertile than men and become infertile sooner, therefore they are more selective about their mating partner. They generally seek monogamy, strength and resouces, and have evolved this way to ensure her and her offspring will survive. This decreases the chance of abandonment and poverty.


The idea of sex differences in mate choices is supported by Buss, who explored for what males and females look for in a marriage partner across 37 different cultures. Women look for financial prospects whereas men look for physical attractiveness, which is what was predicted in the evolutionary theory. Men also wanted…


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