Monday, June 24, 2013

Evolutionary Psychology is not Feminist



A pseudo-scientist on the normally-worthwhile blog Psychology Today wrote an atrocious article claiming that evolutionary psychology is compatible with feminism.  Glenn Geher, a psychology professor at State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, introduced the Feminist Evolutionary Psychology Society (FEPS).  While evolutionary psychology endorses double standards and strict gender roles by making them seem natural via extremely vapid experiments, Geher quotes Kramare and Treichler (1996) who stated, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

Wrong.   

Feminism is about more than women being people.  Is anti-racism merely the notion that minorities are people?  While anti-racism is a united front, feminism is so fragmented into twenty-two different branches (from cultural to individual) precisely because everyone and everything is supposedly feminist.  The only thing that unites them is the notion that women are people, as if anti-feminists don’t believe that women are people.  There are probably even pro-life feminists, even though someone else tried to reduce the entire movement to choice.

Here’s what my favorite blogger had to say:

“Feminism” does not mean “believing that women shouldn’t be treated like sh**.” That’s called “being a decent human being,” not “being a feminist.” To be a feminist entails a lot more beyond that; it entails wanting the elimination of gender roles, wanting to end the exploitation of women, and recognizing Patriarchy in our daily lives. A pornographic movie that doesn’t treat women like sh** is not a “feminist porn,” it’s just a movie that was made by decent human beings. That’s nice, but not feminist. Calling anyone or anything “feminist” because they exhibit the most basic human decency is profoundly insulting to, well, pretty much everyone, including feminists.

I have already blogged on my feelings about the evolutionary “just-so stories”.  But as a refresher, here’s what I wrote: 

Evolutionary psychology is a pseudo-scientific branch of inquiry notorious for “just-so stories”, or stories we are expected to believe because someone said it occurred "just-so".  Another example is the even more ludicrous “theory” that women prefer pink because they need to be able to recognize flushed faces and to select berries while gathering. This is when evolutionary psychology encounters the problem of not being able to explain anything that isn’t global or that exists in varies degrees, like said double standard, with burkas and mutilation on one side of the globe and serial monogamy on another...

That should help resolve the "controversy".  So I will wrap up with an outraged response to the Psychology Today article on the part of the aforementioned blogger.  I presented it to him two days ago, and he was floored.  He immediately wrote a feverish comment on the Psychology Today blog.  He had this to say;

I find it astonishing that PT would publish such an ignorant article.  Evolutionary psychology has nothing to do with evolution or actual human behavior. Evolutionary psychology is an ultra-conservative apparatus of political rhetoric.  While the point that a lot of evopsych "researchers" are liberal is repeated over and over int he article, this is absolutely and completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter if all evopsych researchers are bomb-throwing black flaggers, evopsych as a discipline is still an ultra-conservative apparatus of political rhetoric and will always return ultra-conservative results. That's what it does. That's the point.  Associating feminism with evolutionary psychology is a vicious slap in the face of all women. It would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous in its cooptation of feminist concepts for anti-feminist ends.



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