Melvin Konner M.D. Ph.D.

The Official Website of Melvin Konner, M.D, Ph.D.

Welcome to my website. Its purpose is to encourage a scientific approach to human nature and experience and to explore the interaction between biology and behavior, medicine and society, nature and culture. Throughout a long life I've been fascinated by why we do what we do, think what we think, feel what we feel. I've sought answers in anthropology, biology, medicine, evolution, brain science, child development, history, and culture...
You are here: Home Is Misogyny Maladaptive?

Is Misogyny Maladaptive?

September 9th, 2012

islamic_womenPart of my friend’s question that I didn’t answer last time was about misogyny, which he hopefully speculated is now maladaptive. I deferred this because from an evolutionary viewpoint it is in a different category from xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. Let me state clearly at the outset, as I did about the other categories of prejudice: I think we are gradually creating conditions in which misogyny is maladaptive, and we must continue to do that.

However, it has to be recognized that for the long span of human evolution some aspects of misogyny were adaptive—not for women, but for men. As with xenophobia and racism, we can’t use “adaptive for the species” as a starting point, because that is not the main unit of evolution. Some individuals or groups have succeeded at the expense of others, as with the ill-gotten gains made by men at women’s expense.

Except, of course, women are not over the hill in the next valley, they are in an intimate and unavoidable entanglement with men on which reproduction depends. Both must reproduce and need each other to do it. But unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily mean full cooperation and fairly shared gains. From the viewpoint of natural selection, it can mean equality and joint commitment to offspring, but it can also mean exploitation.

Men have gained at women’s expense by controlling them, making them dependent, making them work, ignoring many of their needs, accumulating two or more women as sex or marital partners, coercing them into sex, and even kidnapping them from their villages, in which case they really are over the next hill. Often in the historical and anthropological record, this last tactic has been a byproduct of xenophobia—you attack the enemy, try to kill the men, and take their women for yourselves.

In fact, the whole of human evolution and history can be seen as the playing out of strategies by which men tried to control uteruses. The myriad kinship and marriage rules of traditional societies have attempted to regularize this control, and in most such cultures the best protection women had against men was to rely on other men—fathers and brothers—whose interests might be more aligned with theirs. But fathers and brothers too have their interests and try to use their daughters or sisters to their own advantage, by essentially trading them for alliances or aid. If you think this is something primitive, take a look at the whole history of Europe’s royal families.

Now in some hunting-gathering societies, like the !Kung (Bushmen) I lived with for two years, women drew natural power from two main sources. They made a very large contribution to subsistence—hunting is great but chancy, gathering a steady meal ticket. And they raised their voices around the fire every night, and their intelligence and wisdom were obvious and valued. If they were lucky enough to raise several children to adulthood, these became another source of status and power.

But in many more “advanced” societies, relying on agriculture, animal husbandry, and military strength, men found it possible and advantageous to control and suppress women. This is a deep part of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, and other religious traditions, several of which allowed (and in their fundamentalist branches may still allow) a man to have more than one wife, and all of which went to much greater lengths to control female than male sexuality. Requiring women to cover themselves from head to toe, restricting their movements outside the home, and severely punishing them for immodesty or other violations of restrictions were only some of the tactics men used—always in service of the ultimate goal of keeping women in a childbearing mode as frequently and as long as possible.

Some fundamentalist Muslims and Mormons still have polygamy, and fundamentalist Jews and Christians impose severe controls on women. At the extremes, you have young teenage girls forced into plural marriages in a fundamentalist Mormon splinter group; Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men spitting and throwing feces on little girls whose modest dress is not modest enough for them; the aborting of far more female than male fetuses in China, even late in pregnancy; and the so-called “honor killings”—really dishonorable murders—of women by male family members among certain groups of Muslims. Invariably, misogyny or oppression of women and predicts physical and sexual abuse.

Is misogyny becoming maladaptive? Yes. Legal and moral traditions in favor of women’s equality have gained ground almost everywhere in the world. But they are up against male tendencies honed by evolution, so we still have a long way to go.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

99 Responses to “Is Misogyny Maladaptive?”

  1. It’s in fact very complicated in this full of activity life to listen news on TV, therefore I
    just use internet for that purpose, and obtain the most up-to-date information.

    For an awesome answer please click the link to this page :: l a Weight loss

  2. Christal says:

    Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve be aware your stuff prior
    to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what you have
    acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the way during which you are saying it.
    You’re making it entertaining and you continue to take
    care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more
    from you. This is actually a great web site.

    Here is my blog; webpage - Christal,

  3. The objective of a business intelligence project plan is
    to outline the fundamental values of the BI applications to an organization. She vows that prenatal vitamins keep her double processed blonde long locks
    looking untouched and not damaged. People are more likely to pay attention to a beautiful women sitting by herself than an ugly woman who
    is feeding the homeless.

  4. The dedicated team of AVG professionals can be acquired here all round the clock, whom you can reach by calling
    around the AVG tech support number. Businesses are going to
    heavily depending on customers for survival, without customers a small business would cease to exist.

    If you’re still with a loss, you can contact the customer care team either
    by email, live chat, or phone during standard west coast business

    Feel free to visit my web site ::

  5. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for joomla

  6. Bulks with the advertisers are primarily private
    house owners, letting managers and property agents. Investors are there to assist the
    entrepreneur and to gain a make money from their investment from your entrepreneurs
    company. ” The company sees innovation as one of its core organizational competencies.

    Feel free to visit my website -

  7. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this site are in fact remarkable
    for people knowledge, well, keep up the good
    work fellows.

    Feel free to surf to my website - hostgator promo code

  8. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d
    like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find
    out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    suggestions or hints? Thank you!

    Feel free to visit my web-site; 24 hour heating and ac repair miami beach

  9. Ezra says:

    Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting
    anyplace, when i read this post i thought i could also make comment due to this
    good post.

  10. Internet Home Careers Reviews…

    Is Misogyny Maladaptive? » Melvin Konner’s Blog…

  11. Rejuvius says:


    Is Misogyny Maladaptive? » Melvin Konner’s Blog…

  12. Adell says:

    Currently it seems like Wordpress is the top blogging platform
    available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    my web page: Adell

  13. Wonderful article! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

  14. alleure Review…

    Is Misogyny Maladaptive? » Melvin Konner’s Blog…

  15. If you wish for to increase your experience just keep visiting this site and be updated with the
    newest gossip posted here.

    Here is my site;

  16. laryjaka says:

    Hurrah! After all I got a blog from where I be able to truly take helpful information concerning my
    study and knowledge.

  17. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired!
    Extremely helpful information particularly the final section :) I deal with such info
    a lot. I used to be looking for this certain info for a very lengthy time.

    Thank you and good luck.

  18. Velour Skin says:

    Velour Skin…

    Is Misogyny Maladaptive? » Melvin Konner’s Blog…

  19. Hello my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all significant
    infos. I would like to look extra posts like this .

  20. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a superb
    article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and
    never seem to get nearly anything done.

  21. Very soon this site will be famous among all blogging viewers,
    due to it’s pleasant articles

    Here is my web page - Weighted Vest Workout, http://Www.Youtube.Com,

  22. I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I am hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to
    get my very own website now ;)

  23. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful information particularly the last part :)
    I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular info
    for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  24. In one of the practical tests carried out, 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon were given to 2 sets of volunteers for over a period of 40days.
    All that you have to do is to follow him what he says in the
    proper time. A product called Genera Sylvestra also known as Sugar
    destroyer is found in Indian forests and is prescribed in Diabetes by Ayurvedic doctors
    which is taken with coriander juice.

    Here is my web-site: diabetes miracle cure download

  25. It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our discussion made here.

    My web-site: buy instagram followers and likes (

  26. Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying these details.

  27. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally
    right. This post actually made my day. You can not
    imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  28. Right now it sounds like Wordpress is the top blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  29. Ola says:

    Currently it appears like Expression Engine is the best blogging platform out there right
    now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your

    My web-site pantel; Ola,

  30. I used to be able to find good information from your
    blog posts.

    Feel free to visit my web-site; fitness goals

  31. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content to suit
    your needs? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on a number
    of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome web log!

  32. SkinRevive (Skin Revive) Reviews…

    Is Misogyny Maladaptive? » Melvin Konner’s Blog…

  33. What’s up, after reading this amazing article i
    am as well cheerful to share my familiarity here with friends.

  34. Green rooftops also help roofs last longer by
    adding a layer of protection between the rooftop and the wear-and-tear of the sun,
    wind, and rain. This is not a pleasant situation to be in, but the
    reality is that you simply have to choice. The stress factor is relieved from you, as your decision will be only
    to determine which the most favorable estimate for your needs.

  35. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it,
    you will be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back later
    in life. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!

  36. Derma Scoop says:

    Fabulous, what a web site it is! This weblog provides valuable information to us, keep it up.

  37. always i used to read smaller articles or reviews that also clear their motive, and
    that is also happening with this paragraph which I am
    reading at this place.

  38. Review says:

    Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed
    reading it, you may be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will come back very soon. I want to
    encourage continue your great writing, have a nice

  39. The surface often had crater like irregularities resembling the
    surface of the moon. Occurrences of some occasions are doomed to be memorized
    in a lifetime, such as birthday, engagement ceremony, wedding day, graduation anniversary, to name just a few.
    Ivanka Trump is one of many really great high end jewelry stores on the scene.

  40. always i used to read smaller content that as well
    clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece
    of writing which I am reading at this time.

    My page; home business

  41. here says:

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before ending I am reading this wonderful article to improve
    my experience.

  42. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it
    seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to
    your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  43. If your site include WC3 validated this iss oone of tthe best means of usung a CSS gallery.

  44. I ddo believe all thee ideas you’ve offered ffor
    your post. Theyy are very convincing and caan certainly work.
    Still, tthe posts aare too quick for starters. May just
    you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  45. Gale says:

    If you abc choose to use only one servers one server or two
    servers are actually answering your query. A reconstruction of the historic Stangenwald Building
    at 119 Merchant Street, the tour takes in buildings designed by Antomi Gaudi.

  46. ksiegowosc says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this site
    needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read
    more, thanks for the info!

  47. More Help says:

    I think the admin of this website is genuinely working hard in favor of his web site,
    as here every stuff is quality based stuff.

  48. roll-off service…

    Is Misogyny Maladaptive? » Melvin Konner’s Blog…

  49. The will to fight and live on has carried so many cancer survivors to victory over the disease.
    This condition may cause pain, difficulty during urination.
    No surgical process is used in dissolving or
    extracting the tumor is slowly absorbed by the veins and lymphatic,
    expelled out of the body.

Leave a Reply

Blog Navigation

Selected Books

  • JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator
  • JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator
  • JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator
  • JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator
  • JoomlaWorks Simple Image Rotator

Login Form