Thursday, January 8, 2015

Looking For Feminism's Lysenkos

I was having a Twitter conversation with @facerealitynow, who brought to my attention this post about the (literal) cartoonish sexual dimorphism present in the Disney feature film, Hercules, and in particular, this graf:
In the more mundane aspects of relationships — attraction and mate selection — this thinking helps set up the ideal in which women should be smaller than men, the result of which is pairing couples by man-taller-woman-shorter much more than would occur by chance (I reported on this here, but you also could have read about it from 538’s Mona Chalabi 19 months later). The prevalence of such pairs increases the odds that any given couple we (or our children) observe or interact with will include a man who is taller and stronger than his partner. This is also behind some notions that men and women should work in different — and unequal — occupations. And so on.
Which is to say, they have a rather radical notion that everything is socially constructed, even things like height and physical build. We have heard this before from other sources, in other times, particularly from Trofim Lysenko, whose politicized views were enforced within Soviet agrarianists by jailing dissenters. This isn't to say that culture could have no influence in such matters, but to claim it's a primary one, as a Swedish documentarian recently suggested, is simply absurd. Sexual size differential is a consequence of reproductive advantage; all the primates have males larger than females. The necessity of perverting all features of life into cultural constructs seems to be a necessity for third-wave feminism generally, because otherwise, what is the point of the feminist endeavor?

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