I’ve certainly been doing a lot of contemplation on gender roles and mainly the evolutionary origins of male behavior, motivation and desires. Particularly those that have completely led to the complete involuntary, or even voluntary depending on how you look at it, subjugation of women. A moral plague that has been the norm for the vast majority of human history. Subjugation in respect to how women are seen, and voluntary subjugation in regards to the motivation behind how they dress, behave and what they prioritize in their lives. All of these behaviors are simple responses to primitive and disturbing male desires, which has been the basis to human gene propagation from well before were even humans.
Sam Harris mentioned something off hand in a talk he gave in Australia on freewill about the likelyhood that rape was indeed an evolutionary strategy, one which my interpretation on the evidence would indicate was widely employed in the distant past. It was but a passing comment however it planted seeds of contemplation in me and I began to devote a few hours of each day to looking through the lens of this reality. Recently it’s been particularly in relation to what our society values more than anything in terms of beauty in women. Through this lens of reality I began to see the now obvious pattern emerging in women who were perceived as beautiful, the main commonality of them all that really points to a long history of forced impregnation was physical weakness. There are clearly other attributes that are high on the list as well, I will make no claims that the perceived weakness of a woman is the only thing or even the most important thing that stimulates men sexually, but what I will argue is that it is one of the more important attribute and that understanding this is key to unraveling the psychopathic behavior in men towards women that has permeated our civilization from the start. Now obviously things like symmetry to indicate gene quality, a child-like appearance to indicate a good many child-bearing years ahead, bust and hip size to indicate fatty reserves that can sustain offspring in times of great scarcity, and countless other factors are all taken into account when the male brain quickly assess a woman’s ability to successfully raise and care for offspring. Something I’m calling the propagation probability subroutine. Some might say that breast size is instinctually equated to milk production but it has long been proven that breast size prior to pregnancy has no biological link with the volume of milk a woman produces during and immediately after pregnancy. I can’t be led to believe that the forces evolution would have created a false expectation in this area as we’ve had millions of years to be subconsciously taught it’s falsity. Yet they are arguable the most important part of a woman’s body in terms of attracting the attention of men and clearly this is for damned good reason. If not milk production, as there’s no biology basis for this belief then what? They are in essence large fatty reserve and as such breast and hip size is seen, from a instinctual perspective, as more like camels humps in that they are an indication of the amount of stored nutrients a woman can carry in times of starvation or drought, increasing the chances of survival for her offspring. A factor, I would say, that is calculated hundreds of times per day subconsciously by men as they walk through this world. One factor which I argue forms one of two, or maybe three pillars of the male ego.
What are our brains besides insanely complicated pattern recognition and risk-analysis machines? Our species’ meteoric rise to top of the food chain is a simple matter of us having a brain that does these 2 things better than anything else on the planet as it’s been widely shown that we are hardly the only species to use and make tools, hell even Bonobo’s have demonstrated the ability to not only learn and use language but even recognize human speech in complex sentences and commands such as ‘Can you go in the shed, get the water and put out the fire?’ (www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8nDJaH-fVE). When a man see’s a woman his brain performance a risk calculation, or alternatively a propagation probability, subroutine at insane, almost instantaneous speeds. In fact, I would say that this subroutine is in essence the male ego in it’s entirety with it being the absolute core and origin of every male instinct. So much so that it even trumps the survival instinct in many cases and seems to be the cause of seemingly every mythical conflict in ancient times. The male brain has evolved in almost every regard with this single subroutine in mind, no pun intended, and regarding the calculation of a woman’s attractiveness it boils down to the value of a simple equation with 3 parts(in order of importance):
- Number of potential offspring
- Survival rate of potential offspring
- Probability of propagation by potential offspring, Completely physically speaking of course.
It would be the work of painstaking science to determine the exact value each of these factors and their exact relation to each other but I believe this is the basis of the propagation probability subroutine.
I want to come back to the weakness being perceived as beauty in the male brain as that reality has been the reason for much of my contemplation and lies at the core of inequality and the mistreatment of ½ of the human race since, no doubt, the dawn of our species. In this case I think weakness and helplessness can be easily interchanged here. I say this because when we look at fundamental Islamic cultures, as well as many others throughout history, where ½ the population is forced, under the threat of violence or death, to live in cloth bags their entire public life, it could be argued that a woman’s physical weakness would be quite difficult to ascertain. However a woman that has been subjugated in such an overt way is putting on one of the most obvious displays of helplessness we can see in humanity today. Returning back to more subtle displays of weakness in our western culture we need just look at which women are ranking the highest in attractiveness(http://ca.askmen.com/specials/2012_top_99). Clearly we are seeing a trend that doesn’t take a ph.D to deduce. I don’t propose that perceived physical weakenss is the only attribute that men look for, or even that it takes the biggest slice of the pie in the equation for attractiveness, but for the sake of this exercise I’m putting it in the limelight. I certainly acknowledge that a thin woman, requiring less resources (and therefore leaving more for offspring), is also something we have come to value from our days as hunter and gatherers but thin women haven’t always been the staple of pop-cultures idea of beautiful, physically weak women however have. Whether you have Marylin Marone with a BMI of 22.9 or Kate Moss with a BMI of 16.4 you are still looking at 2 physically weak women in regards to actual muscle strength. What I postulate that puts perceived physical weakness so high on our list of valued attributes is that a weak woman represents a much lesser challenge for a potential ‘suitor’ to rape and impregnate. Before anyone thinks to argue that we are simply looking for physical health above all else, which I can certainly concede is an attribute that we instinctually value to a degree, I would like to point out that we’ve never seen the craze of hyper-fit women, those who take physical exercise(aerobic and/or anaerobic) to the extreme, sweep the fashion, model and , let’s be honest, adult entertainment industries. If physical fitness were our evolutionary measuring stick for beauty then woman of great strength and fitness, rather than near anorexic, would dominant the beauty and fashion scene. We would be dealing with the epidemic of insecure and misguided teenage girls spending 6 hours a day in the gym lifting weights, chugging protein shakes and running marathons on a weekly basis. This unfortunately isn’t the case, instead what we see here are women who fantasize about surviving on a celery only diet and while their outward appearance certainly does show potential suitors just how little resources they would need in times of starvation, I think the major draw of women like this to men is the obvious physical weakness and therefore ease at which they can be impregnated, by force if necessary. I’m not saying that men find anorexic women attractive, quite the opposite by-and-large, but what I am saying is that anorexia is a psychological condition where women are taking the pervading male desire for weakness, coupled with a small resource footprint, to the absolute extreme. Bust and Hip size may top the list of valued attributes but women have far greater and far easier control over their BMI than they do the size and shape of their bust and hips.
As a man this certainly isn’t something comfortable to come to terms with but the more contemplation I do the more I see this as truth and can recognize male motivations for what they are. Merely a probability equation being calculated and then acted upon. The probability of impregnation, the probability of the long term survival rate of offspring, and finally the probability of propagation by said offspring. The saddest part is that there is no biological programming in us for probably of increased well-being or happiness, this quest only arises through our actions that we do in the face of our biology like contemplation, meditation, et cetera. Actions which lead to a deeper understanding and consequential emancipation, of the unseen motivations behind what we do, think and feel in our lives.
The crux of my entire proposition is that, in males at least, I would characterize surface level happiness(the level at which the vast majority of men experience happiness at all) as being the chemical release/reward triggered by our internal subconscious awareness of the probability of gene propagation. Nothing more, nothing less. I postulate that at the core of the male ego is a running equation with a multitude of inputs, many faulty in our day and age, resulting in an outputted value that correlates to the effectiveness at which we are or can be propagating our genes in the present moment or near future. All based on the 3 factors mentioned above: Number of offspring, survival rate of offspring and the future propagation rate/potential of the offspring. I would hypothesize that the value of this equation is precisely the biological means from which men derive surface level happiness and a woman’s perceived effect on this value is precisely the means by which we gauge physical attractiveness. I believe that our many cultures have experimented with many ways to increase a woman’s perceived positive effect on their propagation potentiality. In the west women have thrown themselves wholeheartedly on the physical side of things. In the east, or at least middle-east the strategy has been more of a psychological one in which the women show a far greater, if not the maximum, degree of public submissiveness in order to demonstrate that the risk of cross insemination is as low as possible for men choosing them as mates.
While I don’t subscribe to a neat and tidy definition of ‘enlightenment’ I do subscribe to Jed McKenna’s prescribed path to ‘enlightenment’ above all others which states that in order to become ‘enlightened’ you simply need to ask ‘why’ consecutively again and again and again until you arrive at the root of all things. Clearly this is the epitome of the phrase ‘easier said than done’ and is truly an undertaking that could take a lifetime or longer of dedicated practice to achieve. However this method does lie at the core of my contemplative practices and in terms of our behavioral patterns, as complex, insane and even psychopathic as they appear on the surface, once taken back far enough they all have very very simple origins. All one needs to do is ask ‘why’ enough times and go back far enough into our evolutionary history to see the ‘positive’ role certain traits would have played in the propagation of our species. This goes hand in hand with the argument against Free Will. Neurological anomalies aside, everything we do, think and feel has it’s roots in the fact that at some point along the way over the past few million years it helped someone at sometime make more babies than the next guy. As a man or a woman, I believe it is through this lens of understanding that we are able to step out of our primate selves and achieve true well-being and fulfillment.