We trust our sciences to operate on a plane of objectivity and fact in a world of subjectivity and cultural ideologies, but should we? In The Age of Scientific Sexism, philosopher Mari Ruti offers a sharp critique of the gender profiling tendencies of evolutionary psychology, untangling the insidious threads of various gender mythologies that have infiltrated-or perhaps even define-this faux-science.
Selling stereotypes as scientific facts, evolutionary psychology continually brings retrograde models of sexuality into mainstream culture: it insists that men and women live in two completely different psychological, emotional, and sexual universes, and that they will consequently always be locked in a vicious battle of the sexes. Among these regressive arguments is the assumption that men's sexuality is urgent and indiscriminate, whereas women are "naturally" reluctant, reticent, and choosy-a concept constructed to justify masculine behavior, such as cheating, that women have historically found painful.
On its most basic level, The Age of Scientific Sexism explores our impulse to "explain" romantic behavior through science: in the increasingly egalitarian gender landscape of our society, why are we so eager to embrace the rampant gender profiling that evolutionary psychology promotes? Perhaps these simplistic gender caricatures owe their popularity, at least in part, to our overly pragmatic society pragmatic society, which encourages us to search for easy answers to complex questions.
Mari Ruti is Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Toronto, Canada, and Director of Graduate Studies and Visiting Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University, USA. She is the author of five academic books, including The Summons of Love (2011), The Singularity of Being: Lacan and the Immortal Within (2012), and The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living (2013). She has also published a trade book: The Case for Falling in Love: Why We Can't Control the Madness of Love - and Why That's the Best Part (2011).
Introduction 1. The Myopia of Men versus Women 2. The Ideology of Gender Difference 3. The Arrogance of the Backlash 4. The Downfall of the Coy Female 5. The Cruelty of Optimism Conclusion