The Evolutionary Perspective of Gender Role

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The Evolutionary Perspective of Gender Role


Division of labour

> The traditional picture is of man being the hunter & woman being the gatherer/domestic goddess.

> The role division of labour may have evolved because women would've spend most of their time pregnant/caring for children; if a woman spent time hunting it would reduce the group's reproductive success - she'd usually grow vegetables at home.

> This division of labour is important in avoiding starvation as well, which is an adaptive advantage (if women went hunting and got killed then they couldn't produce milk for any babies at home and therefore they'd die off).

> KUHN AND STINER suggest that this gender division of labour might actually explain why humans survived, whereas Neanderthals didn't. Neanderthals = meat eaters & both men and women hunted. Didn't farm and so if unsuccessful hunters then they didn't eat (died).

Mate choice

> BUSS found that men look for women who're physically attractive whereas women are concerned about the resources a partner can provide.

> Males do well to mate as often as they can & select women who're more fertile (young & healthy) - women are also concerned with health & physical attractiveness but are more worried about resources a man can provide.

> We expect men to seek attractiveness & women seek to enhance their appearance whilst women seek a partner who's wealthy/powerful & men advertise their status.

Cognitive style

E-S theory - 

> Research shows that women are better at empathising (understanding what other people think/feel) whereas men are better at systematising (understanding & building systems).

> BARON-COHEN came up with E-S theory & proposes this gender difference may be the result of a selection pressure for males (who develop better hunting strategies) & females (who're focused on rearing children).

> BARON-COHEN suggests that males who were better at systematising (had greater precision) would have gained an evolutionary advantage.

Tend and befriend -

> Women may not…


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