Sunday, February 12, 2006

wait, you mean evolutionary psychology serves the patriarchy? no way!

The woman with the very unfortunate surname is at it again.

Daphne Merkin, a contributing writer for the NY Times, recently contributed this useless article that frighteningly reminds me of the awful evolutionary psychologists (David Buss, for example) we had to read in my Human Sexuality class last year.

A disturbing little excerpt:
Men move away from older women, I would argue, almost instinctively, because they sense the impending shadow of nongenerativity like a negative pheromone. They don't need to want to have children, either consciously or subconsciously, for this to happen; they can, in fact, be childless and adamantly against the notion of procreating. Still, they like their eggs ready to rock just in case.


My first problem (of many) with evolutionary psychologists trying to explain human sexuality? They have absolutely no explanation for queerness. None whatsoever. I don't remember the exact words of David Buss, but it was something along the lines of lesbians and gay men being "mysteries" that he could not quite figure out. Mainly because they didn't fit into his bullshit evolutionary theory...which of course wouldn't mean that the theory was irrelevant, but that the queers were just, well, "mysteries" - presumably, that needed to be solved.

Second, my problem with this specific article: I've found a number of older, 50+ women very attractive. Now, maybe this is just because I'm one of those mysterious queers, but I'm fairly certain that the heteronormative fascination and lusting for younger women has less to do with the fact that her eggs are ripe for the fertilizin', and more to do with the societal construction of "sexy" young women as Teh Sex Objects.
If this "ripe eggs" theory really worked, you would see men lusting after the 230-pound 20-year-old girl in equal numbers as the 110-pound 19-year-old. Medically speaking, the not-super-thin girls are better equipped to perpetuate the species than the super-thin girl who could ostensibly be America's Next Top Model.
And then, of course, if this theory really worked, there'd be no queers. And we're back to where we started.

And then, there's this little piece, which bothers me to no end:
The distinction between women as sexual beings and maternal figures that men, poor befuddled creatures, are prone to confuse is that much harder to parse as women begin to look less like Lolita and more like Charlotte Haze, Lo's hapless mother — which brings up the specter of incest. And although some transgressions beg to be violated, I don't think sleeping with their mothers rates high on the list for most men.

Oh, so many problems...
First: Just because a woman is a sexual being doesn't make her any less maternal, and vice versa. I don't understand why the line between the two is so thickly drawn. Perhaps if we didn't valorize motherhood into this Cult of Republican Motherhood, women would be able to be both sexual and maternal at the same time.
Second: The Lolita reference? Just creepy in the context of this article. It's all about how men lust after younger women because they're fertile ground to plant their seed in...but Lolita is a 14- or 16-year-old girl (depending on which version you see). Not exactly the typical "ripe for the plucking" woman.
Third: All of this hearkens far too closely with Freudian concepts of maternal desire and the Oedipus complex. And, as I loathe (but respect) Freud, this doesn't really convince me.

I could go on and on, but my brain is starting to hurt.

What confuses me most? The picture accompanying the article, which is really, really homoerotic:

Seriously. Go ahead, try to tell me that's not two (older?) women gettin' it on.


thespartantruth said...

Lolita, your right, was portrayed as young. Perhaps she was not. She was wise beyond her years. Smart like a fox.

Men lusting after youth, is that the same as women lusting after youth?

thespartantruth said...

after blogger approval, you're joking?