Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

"Courtship today" is a long but tight article summarizing several academic schools with positions and theories relating to marriage & the like. Including this about sociobiology vs. feminism:

Given these courtship dynamics, sociobiology predicts the emergence of a "marriage gradient" with women "marrying up" and men "marrying down." This puts a "marriage squeeze" on high-status women. High-status males have an immense pool of potential female mates from which to choose, but high-status women seeking to "marry up" face a very restricted pool of available males. The male tendency to "marry down" tends further to sideline high-status females. Feminists often disparage this pattern as a patriarchal strategy aimed at female subordination: Men socially entrench the subordination of women by marrying down and ruling over their younger and lower-status women. This male strategy also contributes to the social marginalization of high-achieving women.

Sociobiologists smile at these expressions of moral outrage. From their perspective, feminists are usually high-status women with careers, resources, and power; however, feminists predictably refuse to "marry down." They are in the market for "challenging" men -- a feminist euphemism for "dominant males." In his 1998 book What Women Want, What Men Want, John Townsend notes that the feminist disparagement of "marrying- down" males echoes the age-old rhetorical strategies of high-status females, who typically denigrate low-status female competitors while simultaneously berating high-status males for daring to overlook them.

These courtship strategies have a profound impact on hierarchical structuring of human societies. Male and female mate preferences generate very different social outcomes. The traits that men value (female youth, health, and attractiveness) have relatively little impact on social order, aside from the impetus they give to the development of cosmetic and clothing industries. But the traits that women value- -- status, productivity, dominance, resources -- fire up the male "will to power." Men need to make a difference in the world if they are to be noticed by women. Mary Batten, author of Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose Their Mates, argues that female mating strategies play a major role in driving men to compete for power and wealth, thereby fostering in all human societies the "social dominance orientation" of men.
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