We trust our sciences to operate on a plane of objectivity and fact in a world of subjectivity and cultural ideologies, but should we? In The Age of Scientific Sexism, philosopher Mari Ruti offers a biting critique of the gender profiling tendencies of evolutionary psychology, untangling the insidious threads of various gender mythologies that have infiltrated-or perhaps even define-this faux-science.
Cloaked in the guise of fact, evolutionary psychology continually brings retrograde models of sexuality into mainstream culture: it insists that men and women live in two completely different psychological, emotional, and sexual universes, and that they will consequently always be locked in a vicious battle of the sexes. Among these regressive arguments is the assumption that men's sexuality is urgent and indiscriminate, whereas women are “naturally” reluctant, reticent, and choosy-a concept constructed to justify masculine behavior, such as cheating, that women have historically found painful.
On its most basic level, The Age of Scientific Sexism explores our impulse to “explain” romantic behavior through science: in the increasingly egalitarian gender landscape of our society, why are we so eager to embrace the rampant gender profiling that evolutionary psychology promotes? Perhaps these simplistic gender caricatures owe their popularity, at least in part, to our overly pragmatic society, in which we live in constant search for easy answers to complex questions.
About the Author:
Mari Ruti (PhD, Harvard University) is Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Toronto, Canada. She is the author of five academic books, including The Summons of Love (2011), The Singularity of Being: Lacan and the Immortal Within (2012), and The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living (2013). She has also published a trade book: The Case for Falling in Love: Why We Can't Control the Madness of Love – and Why That's the Best Part (2011).