Abstract

In this article I argue that evolutionary theorizing can help sociologists and feminists better understand gender inequality. Evolutionary theory explains why control of the sexuality of young women is a priority across most human societies both past and present. Evolutionary psychology has extended our understanding of male violence against women. Here I add to these theories and present a sexual selection argument to postulate possible evolved predispositions that promote young female deference to adult males in interaction and the converse, lack of male deference to young females. According to this argument, the pattern of greater female deference disappears when the women involved are past menopause. Put together, these ideas form an evolutionary account of gender inequality that complements and extends traditional sociological and feminist theories.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-7605
Print ISSN
0037-7732
Pages
pp. 1845-1871
Launched on MUSE
2009-08-15
Open Access
No
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