Only sisters, doing it for themselves??
Females can be just as competitive and aggressive about their lives in terms of careers, finances, partners, home and health, as their male counterparts. So, why has it taken us more than a hundred years to find this out?
Last year, we reached the centenary milestone of women securing the vote and, while we may have achieved plenty when it comes to equality, I’m afraid the 21st century still sees us as having some way to go.
Historically, Darwin’s theory of sexual selection has left us with the idea that the male of the species must possess weapons of brightly coloured adornments in order to seduce the more reticent female into mating – just look at the strutting peacock, showing off in front of the peahen, for proof! Seen as bashful & coy, as opposed to forthright & initiating, endeavouring to escape the clutches of the aggressive male, the female of the species hasn’t always been shown in the most favourable of light.
Whilst many of Darwin’s theories caused controversy among the Victorians, some were viewed as very welcome – the image of vigorous males competing for aloof, disinterested females fitted the mindset of the time, at least that of men. Women’s opinions were rarely heard, few of them went to university, let alone attend or debate at formal scientific meetings.
Thankfully, times have changed, however, throughout history and across the globe, many cultures and most world religions have attempted to impose lifelong monogamy – on women, at least. Female monogamy is enforced in most so-called patrilineal societies, where wealth is accumulated for only the men to inherit from their parents. Not so many cultures exist today that are matrilineal, where the daughters do the inheriting!
Some say that the world would be at peace if women were in charge. Possibly, ……but when looking at life within some societies where good, male partners are thin on the ground, the girls don’t band together when competition for partners or resources becomes limited, they actually turn on each other!
Watching chimpanzees in action (or simply tuning in to some of today’s TV reality shows!), we can learn an awful lot about our own species. Although biology can help us understand where our more unpleasant tendencies come from, it never prescribes how things ought to be. On the contrary, understanding why people, both men and women, feel or act in such ways, may help us deal with it.
Ultimately, the same applies to men as it does for women – we see male behaviour, all the time, that can be described as unnecessary or unpleasant, in animals and elsewhere – surely, our aim is for all of us to be able to do better than that!