Stop Using “Science” to Justify Your Sexism

It’s an age-old justification: women are inferior to men in aspects such as physical and intellectual abilities, a reasoning for misogyny against the female species. Those who use this theory claim it as science, implying that it is an undebatable matter.

This is not science. This is sexism. And here’s real science to prove it.

The ideology of female inferiority as a whole goes back through centuries of time, but it was birthed as a scientific theory in 1871 by evolutionary psychologist Charles Darwin. Darwin, who is iconically known for his theory on biological evolution incorporating survival and adaptation, wrote a book called The Descent of Man, in which he applies his natural biological theory to the human race. In it, he claims, “The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is [shown] by man attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than woman can attain–whether requiring deep thought, reason or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman.”

From there, social Darwinism was used to be applied to not only gender but race as well, enforcing the idea that humans (typically white males) are superior to others, just as a predator would be to its prey in biology.

The reality is that Charles Darwin was extremely sexist, making a battle for civil rights that much more challenging for women in his time and was an example of just how dangerous “science” with unproven facts can be, for now, although his theory is dramatically incorrect, we are left with a plethora of those who continue to believe otherwise.

On the other hand, it was highly likely for Darwin to believe just that. He lived from 1809 to 1882, a time in which women had little to no rights and hardly any opportunities compared to the men. In fact, in 19th century Britain, doctors even believed that when females studied, it would have a detrimental effect on their ovaries and turned attractive women into “dried-up prunes.”

And now the year is 2018, yet there continue to be some evolutionary psychologists who utilize their position as scientists to enforce gender inequality. Although many of us trust science as the objective truth in fact, sexist ideals without proof are still being classified as scientific findings in today’s society.

Evolutionary psychology promotes gender stereotypes as fact, pinning the sexes against each other and conjuring up a false reality in which males and females are completely separate entities.

The study itself is essentially theories claiming to be scientific facts. In 2000, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller wrote in his book The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped Evolution of Human Nature, “Men write more books. Men give more lectures. Men ask more questions after lectures. Men dominate mixed-sex committee discussions.” In 2012, Harvard professor Marc Hauser, evolutionary psychology practitioner, was caught fabricating evidence to deliver faked conclusions. Diederik Stapel, social and evolutionary psychologist, admitted in 2011 that his evidence was completely invented from his imagination. For a classification of what is designed to be objective, evolutionary psychology has a track record of publishing theories as facts with no evidence to substantiate it.

In August, a Google engineer by the name of James Damore sparked controversy by producing a memo in which he claimed that women are not represented in engineering because they are biologically less capable of engineering than men are. In the widely-circulated memo, he argues that women are less ambitious and are subject to “neuroticism.” He even justified his argument by citing- you guessed it- evolutionary psychology. And although Google fired him after the controversy, many came forward through social media and letters to express their agreement with Damore.

But just how accurate is this theory scientifically anyway? Could it possibly be true that men thrive more both intellectually and physically?

To build off of Damore’s memo, he claimed that women are more prone to neuroticism, writing, “Women, on average, have more neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high-stress jobs.”

Scientifically, yes: females do, in fact, have greater anxiety tendencies than males. But also scientifically, women are much more likely to experience physical and/or emotional abuse, a large contributor to anxiety. This, therefore, is a more probable cause than some unprovable chemical imbalance between the sexes.

There is a noticeable yet generalized difference between sexes that has been proven by science. At a younger age, girls develop larger vocabularies and express more complex language skills, while boys tend to be less communicative. Females excel in bilingualism while males tend to struggle more. Boys do tend to lean towards skills in mathematics and sports while girls lean more towards language and arts. Boys are more interested in systems while girls are more interested in emotions and effects.

Aside from decreased opportunities available for women, the sexes are essentially equal. While in a general sense, both sexes have their stronger points, they both perform equally.

Aside from decreased opportunities available for women, the sexes are essentially even. While in a general sense, both sexes have their stronger points, they both perform equally.

To exemplify this idea, one may look at a study published recently in the journal Intelligence. Of the investigators were Dragos Iliescua and Alexandra Ilieb from the University of Bucharest, Romania, Dan Ispasb from Illinois State University, Anca Dobreanc from Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, and Aurel Ion Clinciud from Transylvania University, Romania. The experiment was carried out by examining intelligence measurement data of approximately 15,000 women and men in Romania, all from ages 2 to 99. They found that in 90% of these intelligence measures, there was no difference between the sexes. Any differences that were found were inconsistent and ultimately random.

A paper from Personality and Individual Differences, as well as many other scientific findings, proved the common theory of “men’s larger brains contributing to their superiority” to be void, as the size of the brain does not matter nearly as much as previously thought.

Another common ideology that men use to defend their supposed “scientific” superiority is that, as a result of biology, they are simply stronger than women.

Even as a girl myself, I believed that the reason the boy next to me was stronger than myself was a result biology- that, sure, women may be more advanced emotionally and linguistically, but we just did not have the capacity for the same strength as men.

Science says otherwise.

Even as a girl myself, I believed that the reason the boy next to me was stronger than myself was a result biology- that, sure, women may be more advanced emotionally and linguistically, but we just did not have the capacity for the same strength as men. Science says otherwise.

“Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men,” Steven Austad, an international expert on aging and chair of the biology department at the University of Alabama, said as a deduction of the study as to why women live longer than men.

And in retrospect, this is accurate. According to the Gerontology Research Group, there are 43 people in this world currently that are living past 110, and 42 of them are women. On the other side, in childbirth, with the same exact care, male babies are at a 10% greater risk than female babies in the entry to life.

Even throughout life, women thrive physically more than men. Austad also found that in the United States, during the year 2010, “women died at lower rates than men from 12 of the 15 most common causes of death, including cancer and heart disease, when adjusted to age.

“Once I started investigating, I found that women had resistance to almost all the major causes of death,” said Austad.

Kathryn Sandberg, director of the Centre for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Ageing and Disease at Georgetown University, even found that women react much differently to most diseases than males. “If you look across all the different types of infections, women have a more robust immune response,” said Sandberg. “If there’s a really bad infection, they survive better. If it’s about the duration of the infection, women will respond faster.”

In final analysis, the theory that men are biologically superior to women is, for lack of a better phrase, complete nonsense, and if you are still using it as a justification of gender inequality, you’re not scientifically-inclined.

You’re just sexist.

Comments

comments

  1. Hi, your source about girls being better suited to emotional things and boys being better suited to “systems” is totally unreliable. The article itself has zero sources, and it is on PsychologyToday, which is well-known for being popular science mixed with speculation. Not to mention that you totally ignored societal factors, such as gender expectations and things like the “boys don’t cry” idea. I find that this is detrimental to your piece, considering you wanted to use ‘actual’ science.

    1. Hi! I was focusing on the evolutionary psychology theory of men being physically superior to women. Yes, there are other aspects of how boys have gender roles and how society does not portray them properly, but that was not the point of the article. PsychologyToday cited a study in which they tested younger children, who do not yet know what societal roles are. The article actually does have a plethora of legitimate sources, if you did actually look at them, and the science of girls being more likely to be emotional at a young age and boys being more interested in systems has been a universally acknowledged object of behavioral science. Thank you for your feedback.

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