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Women's and Gender Studies
Anissa Talahite- Moodley

Chapter 1: Psychological Sex Differences through Sexual Selection − both sexes have sweat glands because both sexes have faced the adaptive problem of thermal regulation − both sexes have similar (although not identical) taste preferences for fat, sugar, salt, and particular amino acids because both sexes have faced similar (although not identical) food consumption problems − both sexes grow calluses when they experience repeated rubbing on their skin because both sexes have faced the adaptive problem of physical damage from environmental fiction − in the physical realm, women have faced the problem of childbirth; men have not − women, therefore, have evolved particular adaptations that are absent in men, such as a cervix that dilates to 10 centimetres just prior to giving birth, mechanisms for producing labour contractions, and the release of oxytocin in the bloodstream during childbirth − because fertilization occurs internally within the woman, men have faced the adaptive problem of uncertain paternity in putative offspring − men who failed to solve this problem risked investing resources in children who were not their own − all people descend from a long line of ancestral men whose adaptations (i.e., psychological mechanisms) led them to behave in ways that increased their likelihood of paternity and decreased the odds of investing in children who were putatively theirs but whose genetic fathers were other men − this does not imply, of course, that men were or are consciously aware of the adaptive problem of compromised paternity − women faced the problem of securing a reliable or replenishable supply of resources to carry through pregnancy and lactation, especially when food resources were scarce (e.g., during droughts or harsh winters) − all people are descendants of a long and unbroken line of women who successfully solved this adaptive challenge – for example, by preferring mates who showed the ability to accrue resources and the willingness to provide them for particular women − those women who failed to solve this problem failed to survive, imperiled the survival chances of their children, and hence failed to continue their lineage Sexual Selection Defines the Primary Domains in Which the Sexes Have Faced Different Adaptive Challenges − Darwin sculpted what he believed to be a second theory of evolution – the theory of sexual selection − sexual selection is the causal process of the evolution of characteristics on the basis of reproductive advantage, as opposed to survival advantage − sexual selection comes in two forms − first, members of one sex can successfully out-compete members of their own sex in a process of intrasexual competition − whatever characteristics lead to success in these same-sex competitions – be they greater size, strength, cunning, or social skills – can evolve or increase in frequency by virtue of the reproductive advantage accrued by the winners through increased access to more numerous or more desirable mates − second, members of one sex can evolve preferences for desirable qualities in potential mates through the process of intersexual selection − if members of one sex exhibit some consensus about which qualities are desirable in the other sex, then members of the other sex who possess the desirable qualities will gain a preferential mating advantage Hypotheses about Psychological Sex Differences Follow from Sexual Asymmetries in Mate Selection and Intrasexual Competition Paternity Uncertainty − because fertilization occurs internally within women, men are always less than 100 per cent certain that their putative children are genetically their own − women are always 100 percent certain that the children they bear are their own Identifying Reproductively Valuable Women − because women's ovulation is concealed and there is no evidence that men can detect when women ovulate, ancestral men had the difficult adaptive challenge of identifying which women were more fertile − although ancestral women would also have faced the problem of identifying fertile men, the problem is considerably less severe both because most men remain fertile throughout their life span, whereas fertility is steeply age graded among women, and because women invest more heavily in offspring, making them the more 'valuable' sex and more intensely competed for by men seeking sexual access Gaining Sexual Access to Women − because of the large asymmetry between men and women in their minimum obligatory parental investment – nine months gestation for women versus an act of sex for men – the direct reproductive benefits of gaining sexual access to a variety of mates would have been much higher for men than for women throughout human evolutionary history − therefore, in social contexts that allowed some short-term mating or polygynous mating, men who succeeded in gaining sexual access to a variety of women – other things being equal – would have experienced greater reproductive success than men who failed to gain such access Identifying Men Who Are Able to Invest − because of the tremendous burdens of a nine-month pregnancy and subsequent lactation, women who selected men who were able to invest resources in them and their offspring would have been at a tremendous advantage in survival and reproductive currencies compared to women who were indifferent to the investment capabilities of the men with whom they chose to mate Identifying Men Who Are Willing to Invest − copulating with a man who had resources but who displayed a hasty post-copulatory departure would have been detrimental to the woman, particularly if she became pregnant and faced raising a child without the a
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