Discuss evolutionary explanations of gender

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Discuss evolutionary explanations of gender (8+16 marks)


According to the evolutionary explanations of gender, the reasons behind gender roles and characteristics seen today is due to the passing down of genes through natural selection from our ancestors who were able to successfully survive and reproduce over 500,000 years ago.

Natural selection is the process of physical and psychological traits being passed down from one generation to another due to it being advantageous to survival and reproduction. For example humans with a wider hand shape were able to toss spears better when hunting and therefore were able to successfully survive and reproduce resulting in humans today particularly men having larger and wider hands.

A stem of natural selection is known as sexual selection. Sexual selection is the process of passing down traits both physical and psychological that are an advantage for attracting mates for reproduction. The evolutionary theory for gender believes that due to sexual selection gender behaviours, such as females being child-rearing and males being workers occur.

From these processes, evolutionary psychologists developed the hunting hypothesis. The hunting hypothesis states that the men who were hunters during the evolutionary stages and were successful due to their strength, aggression and spatial skills were able to survive and pass on their genes. The weaker men who were less aggressive and had less spatial skills were unable to survive and reproduce meaning these genes died off thus resulting in men today being more aggressive, strong and having good spatial skills. As woman did not hunt and we more likely to be raising the children and caring for others, they were less aggressive, strong, and had less spatial skills. Instead woman during these days had better communicational skills and according to this theory, it is due to this that woman today are better at communicating than men and are usually also weaker and less aggressive.
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Another theory supported by evolutionary psychologists as an explanation for gender is known as the parental investment theory devised by Trivers (1972) which states that the differences in the investment in a child and future reproduction are due to evolutionary differences. For example, during the evolutionary ages men were likely to have sex with numerous women in order to successfully pass on their genes. Therefore these characteristics were passed down in natural selection and can be used to explain why men today tend to be far more promiscuous than women.

In females, during the evolutionary ages woman ...

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