Female Choice — Evolutionary sexuality patterns and how they shaped our civilisation

Let’s talk about sex — female choice and male competition

Since the relationship between the two heterosexual genders is strongly influenced by sexuality, we have to start there to understand how our civilization and its current crises are linked to it. However, before we go there, let me say something about gender diversity. Even though I will talk mainly about the binary concept of male/female, so-called cis-men and -women, I know that there’s more to gender than just a uterus or testicles. Not only is our understanding of gender shaped by cultural influences, but several biological (i.e. physical) factors lead to what we see as typical male/female. For example, chromosomes, prenatal testosterone, and post-natal hormone levels have a massive impact on our sexual identity and orientation. So please keep in mind that the lack of diverse genders in this text does not mean that I deny their existence; I simply focus on evolutionary sexual behaviour that depends on just two complementary genders.

  • One gender gets pregnant and one gender impregnates. Typically, the gender that gets pregnant is the female.
  • Very few female egg cells meet millions of sperm cells in a mating act. Compared to the cheap and live-long produced sperm cells, eggs are a precious and rare treasure.
  • These egg cells are only fertile during a short period of time: the ovulation.
  • No further ovulation occurs until birth or even until the end of nursing, e.g. in mammals.

The ugly consequences of an opposed sexuality

Everything about FC sounds like a bad joke, but what really makes it difficult to swallow is the uneven access to sex/reproduction for males. As a rule of thumb, 80% of the females are interested in only 20% of the males: the beautiful ones, the strong ones, the intelligent, healthy, and skilful ones — the so-called alpha males (since the term is pretty contaminated by certain ideological groups, I’ll call them premium or high-quality males or men from now on). This leads to a majority of males who don’t find a partner. Sometimes they’re just too young, and ageing will favour them in the future, but some are so unattractive for females that they die without offspring.

From FC nomads to monogamous farmers — money makes the world all-male

Before humans lived in settled agricultural communities, they roamed the earth as hunters and gatherers. They followed large animal herds, which provided them with food and work materials. Even though there was a division of labour, both genders lived egalitarian because both contributed to the group’s survival in their own way. Women gathered a significant amount of vegetarian food for the group, while men hunted for meat. Judging from the few hunter/gatherer tribes still existing today, FC was probably in full effect with women or their mothers arranging relationships. The men most desirable were skilled and successful hunters. Women gave birth every three to four years (in mammals, ovulation typically pauses until the end of lactation/breastfeeding) and chose a new partner after that time. When the children were old enough, the whole group took care of them. The reason why the early male nomads didn’t oppress women in the same way later settled cultures did was the lack of: a) personal property and b) private households.

The modern world

That’s it. That’s the civilization made by men based on their male interests, reducing women to give birth to (legitimate, male) offspring, provide sexual relief for their husbands, and live their life humbly and gratefully in the dependency men created for them. One could even call the whole civilization an alternative mating strategy since its main goal is to overcome the nasty female choice and give undesirable men a chance to reproduce. This system, the male civilization, was efficient as hell. It started in the south-eastern Mediterranian and moved westwards like a bushfire (bushfire, of course, still means thousands of years). Migration, trading, and military expansion brought it to ancient Greece and Rome, the two empires that became the most influential forces of the ancient world. They are the blueprint of western democracies and serve as fundaments of western philosophy, science, religion, and art. Every generation of men slightly refined the system, adding, for example, monotheistic religion. But the basic principle — the oppression of female choice — was never touched. Women in ancient Rome lived the same disenfranchised life (with some minor improvements) as, for example, Babylonian women roughly 3000 years earlier. Monotheistic religions, foremost Christianity and Islam, provided extra to keep women from protesting their treatment.

But what now?

My book received much criticism for being biologistic or even fascist. That’s because the public discourse about human societies is strongly influenced by socio-cultural sciences, which treat human needs, behaviour, physics as a result of culture. Bio-sciences were expelled from that discourse long ago because of the terrible crimes committed in their names. When you say “biological“ in a room full of sociologists and philosophers, they’ll immediately think about the Nazi ideology of superior races and inferior life.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Meike Stoverock

Meike Stoverock

Sexpositive feminist, biologist, religion critic, evolution fanatic. I think in Gaussian bell curves. Germany. Author of "Female Choice", Tropen Verlag 2021.