Over the last decade, philosophers of education have begun taking a renewed interest in Rousseau’s educational thought. This is a welcome development as his ideas are rich with educational insights. His philosophy is not without its flaws, however. One significant flaw is his educational project for females, which is sexist in the highest degree. Rousseau argues that females should be taught to “please men…and make [men’s] lives agreeable and sweet.” The question becomes how could Rousseau make such strident claims, especially (...) in light of his far more insightful ideas concerning the education of males. This paper attempts to make sense of Rousseau’s ideas on the education of females. While I maintain that Rousseau’s project for Sophie ought to be rejected, I argue that we should try to understand how this otherwise insightful thinker could make such surprising claims. Is it a bizarre inconsistency in his philosophical reasoning or an expression of his unabashed misogyny, as so many have claimed? I argue that it is neither. Rather, it is a product of his conception of human happiness and his belief in the irreducible role human sexual relations has in achieving and prolonging that happiness. For Rousseau, sex, love and happiness are inextricably connected, and he believes that men and women will be happiest when they inhabit certain sex roles—not because sex roles are valuable in themselves, but because only through them can either men or women hope to be happy. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the role of freedom in the justification of prohibitions on discrimination. As a case study, I focus mainly on U.S. constitutional and employment law and, in particular, restrictions on sex-stereotyping. I present a new argument that freedom can play at least some important role in justifying these restrictions. Not just any freedom, I claim: the Millian freedom to challenge existing stereotypes and contribute to social change. This ‘social change account’, I argue, can be a useful (...) supplement to the existing theories where their explanations run out. It also draws support from familiar liberal justifications for speech and other liberties, and provides an attractive role for the courts. (shrink)
Earlier evidence predominantly supports that women are more ethical than men. With the replication of such a hypothesis for testing, this study further examined whether feminine gender roles are a better predictor of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Four hundred ten management students from two technical institutes in eastern India participated in this study. Along with the socio-demographic variables in the questionnaire, inventories were used to assess gender roles, ethical attitudes, ethical (...) behaviors, and corporate responsibility values. The inventories had acceptable reliability and validity. The results suggested that when the confounding effects of age, caste, and rural/urban origin are controlled, women manifest higher corporate responsibility values than men, but they embody similar ethical attitudes and ethical behaviors as men. Furthermore, the feminine roles of the participants were found to be more consistent, potent, and direct predictors of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Hence, individuals with feminine roles may be better suited for ethical responsibilities. (shrink)
The ultimate causes of sex differences in human aggressive behavior can lie mainly in evolved, inherited mechanisms that differ by sex or mainly in the differing placement of women and men in the social structure. The present commentary contrasts Campbell's evolutionary interpretation of aggression sex differences with a social structural interpretation that encompasses a wider range of phenomena.
The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI; Simpson & Gangestad 1991) is a self-report measure of individual differences in human mating strategies. Low SOI scores signify that a person is sociosexually restricted, or follows a more monogamous mating strategy. High SOI scores indicate that an individual is unrestricted, or has a more promiscuous mating strategy. As part of the International Sexuality Description Project (ISDP), the SOI was translated from English into 25 additional languages and administered to a total sample of 14,059 people (...) across 48 nations. Responses to the SOI were used to address four main issues. First, the psychometric properties of the SOI were examined in cross-cultural perspective. The SOI possessed adequate reliability and validity both within and across a diverse range of modern cultures. Second, theories concerning the systematic distribution of sociosexuality across cultures were evaluated. Both operational sex ratios and reproductively demanding environments related in evolutionary-predicted ways to national levels of sociosexuality. Third, sex differences in sociosexuality were generally large and demonstrated cross-cultural universality across the 48 nations of the ISDP, confirming several evolutionary theories of human mating. Fourth, sex differences in sociosexuality were significantly larger when reproductive environments were demanding but were reduced to more moderate levels in cultures with more political and economic gender equality. Implications for evolutionary and social role theories of human sexuality are discussed. Key Words: culture; gender; mating; reproduction; sex differences; sex roles; sexual strategies; sociosexuality. (shrink)
John Millar's Origin of the Distinction of Ranks contains one of the first extensive and systematic discussions of the status of women in different societies. In this paper I attempt to show first that a combi nation of circumstances associated with the teaching of moral philos ophy at Glasgow and with the reform of Scots law undertaken by Lord Kames made the status of women a critical problem for Millar. Second, I attempt to demonstrate that Millar drew heavily upon the (...) resources of associationist psychology to explain how female status changed from hunting to pastoral to agricultural to commercial societies and that in doing so he diverged substantially from the perspectives developed by his mentor, Adam Smith. Finally, in view of Millar's extraordinarily positive reputation throughout Europe prior to the French Revolution and in view of the potential relevance of his analysis to early feminism and to mid-19th-century anthropological discussions of early matri archy, I seek to account for why his work was virtually ignored from around 1802 to 1960. (shrink)
John Millar's Origin of the Distinction of Ranks (1771) contains one of the first extensive and systematic discussions of the status of women in different societies. In this paper I attempt to show first that a combi nation of circumstances associated with the teaching of moral philos ophy at Glasgow and with the reform of Scots law undertaken by Lord Kames made the status of women a critical problem for Millar. Second, I attempt to demonstrate that Millar drew heavily upon (...) the resources of associationist psychology to explain how female status changed from hunting to pastoral to agricultural to commercial societies and that in doing so he diverged substantially from the perspectives developed by his mentor, Adam Smith. Finally, in view of Millar's extraordinarily positive reputation throughout Europe prior to the French Revolution and in view of the potential relevance of his analysis to early feminism and to mid-19th-century anthropological discussions of early matri archy, I seek to account for why his work was virtually ignored from around 1802 to 1960. (shrink)
Although robust sex differences are abundant in men and women’s mating psychology, there is a considerable degree of overlap between the two as well. In an effort to understand where and when this overlap exists, the current study provides an exploration of within-sex variation in women’s mate preferences. We hypothesized that women’s intelligence, given an environment where women can use that intelligence to attain educational and career opportunities, would be: (1) positively related to their willingness to engage in short-term sexual (...) relationships, (2) negatively related to their desire for qualities in a partner that indicated wealth and status, and (3) negatively related to their endorsement of traditional gender roles in romantic relationships. These predictions were supported. Results suggest that intelligence may be one important individual difference influencing women’s mate preferences. (shrink)
Neuroscience research examining sex/gender differences aims to explain behavioral differences between men and women in terms of differences in their brains. Historically, this research has used ad hoc methods and has been conducted explicitly in order to show that prevailing gender roles were dictated by biology. I examine contemporary fMRI research on sex/gender differences in emotion processing and argue that it, too, both uses problematic methods and, in doing so, reinforces gender stereotypes.
The neuroscientific investigation of sex differences has an unsavoury past, in which scientific claims reinforced and legitimated gender roles in ways that were not scientifically justified. Feminist critics have recently argued that the current use of functional neuroimaging technology in sex differences research largely follows that tradition. These charges of ‘neurosexism’ have been countered with arguments that the research being done is informative and valuable and that an over-emphasis on the perils, rather than the promise, of such research threatens (...) to hinder scientific progress. To investigate the validity of these contrasting concerns, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) investigations of sex differences and citation practices were systematically examined. In line with the notion of neurosexism, the research was found to support the influence of false-positive claims of sex differences in the brain, to enable the proliferation of untested, stereotype-consistent functional interpretations, and to pay insufficient attention to the potential plasticity of sex differences in both brain and mind. This, it is argued, creates a literature biased toward the presentation of sex differences in the brain as extensive, functionally significant, and fixed—and therefore implicitly supportive of a gender essentialist perspective. It is suggested that taking feminist criticisms into account would bring about substantial improvement in the quality of the science, as well as a reduction in socially harmful consequences. (shrink)
I argue that the magnitude and nature of sex differences in aggression, their development, causation, and variability, can be better explained by sexual selection than by the alternative biosocial version of social role theory. Thus, sex differences in physical aggression increase with the degree of risk, occur early in life, peak in young adulthood, and are likely to be mediated by greater male impulsiveness, and greater female fear of physical danger. Male variability in physical aggression is consistent with an alternative (...) life history perspective, and context-dependent variability with responses to reproductive competition, although some variability follows the internal and external influences of social roles. Other sex differences, in variance in reproductive output, threat displays, size and strength, maturation rates, and mortality and conception rates, all indicate that male aggression is part of a sexually selected adaptive complex. Physical aggression between partners can be explained using different evolutionary principles, arising from the conflicts of interest between males and females entering a reproductive alliance, combined with variability following differences in societal gender roles. In this case, social roles are particularly important since they enable both the relatively equality in physical aggression between partners from Western nations, and the considerable cross-national variability, to be explained. (shrink)
In Wilkinson v. Kitzinger, the petitioner (Susan Wilkinson) sought a declaration of her marital status, following her marriage to Celia Kitzinger in British Columbia, Canada in August 2003. The High Court refused the application, finding that their valid Canadian marriage is, in United Kingdom law, a civil partnership. In this note, I focus on Sir Mark Potter’s adjudication of the human rights issues under Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (E.C.H.R.), highlighting his restatement of (...) the ideology of the ‹traditional’ family as natural, normative and desirable. I argue that this case shows that the exclusion of same sex couples from marriage is a feminist issue, because denying same sex couples access to marriage works to sediment patriarchal ideas and re-inscribe gender roles within the family. (shrink)
This anthology brings together original essays and selections from important recent articles and from books that are classics in the field. The topics covered are sexual roles, equality, and social policy; sexual norms and ethics; erotic love; and friendship and familial love. This will be the most up-to-date and comprehensive anthology in the field. It will be suitable not only for courses on the philsophical aspects of sex and love, but also for courses in applied moral and social philsophy.
This article utilizes three premises. There are commonly ecologically oriented, naturally selected specialized differences in frequency and/or quality as well as sexually selected differences between the sexes. Sex in the sense of coming together and going apart or going apart and coming together is trade in these naturally selected differences, i.e., there is a mating market in sexual species. While such trade is beneficial to the population as a whole, sexual competition and selection is conflict over the profits of that (...) trade and can be detrimental to the population as a whole. These premises yield a naturally selected sex allocation theory of the possible directions and forms of sexual selection, i.e., one that includes costs as well as frequencies. This can explain conventional sex roles, the sex-role reversed, inter- as well as intrasexual selection, and passive as well as active choice. Any of these alternatives may be over mates, over gametes, or both. A hypothetical example based on density dependence relative to resources is provided, one that suggests that centrioles may be a cytoplasmic resource in males in multicellular animals, and which are the target of active choice and the mechanism of manipulation in passive female choice. As a whole, the approach yields a truly general theory of sexual selection, provides an alternative to the mechanism for Fisher’s principle, and gives a theoretical explanation for Mayr’s biological species definition. (shrink)
Unjustifiable assumptions about sex and gender roles, the untamable potency of maleness, and gynophobic notions about women's bodies inform and influence a broad range of policy-making institutions in this society. In December 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit continued this ignoble cultural pastime when they decided Everson v. Michigan Department of Corrections. In this decision, the Everson Court accepted the Michigan Department of Correction's claim that “the very manhood” of male prison guards both threatens the (...) safety of female inmates and violates the women's “special sense of privacy in their genitals” and declared that sex-specific employment policies for prison guards is not impermissibly discriminatory. I believe that the Court's decision relies on unacceptable stereotypes about sex, gender and sexuality and it significantly undermines Title VII's power to end discriminatory employment practices. (shrink)
Non-medical sex selection is premised on the notion that the sexes are not interchangeable. Studies of individuals who undergo sex selection for non-medical reasons, or who have a preference for a son or daughter, show that they assume their child will conform to the stereotypical roles and norms associated with their sex. However, the evidence currently available has not succeeded in showing that the gender traits and inclinations sought are caused by a “male brain” or a “female brain”. Therefore, (...) as far as we know, there is no biological reason why parents cannot have the kind of parenting experience they seek with a child of any sex. Yet gender essentialism, a set of unfounded assumptions about the sexes which pervade society and underpin sexism, prevents parents from realising this freedom. In other words, unfounded assumptions about gender constrain not only a child’s autonomy, but also the parent’s. To date, reproductive autonomy in relation to sex selection has predominantly been regarded merely as the freedom to choose the sex of one’s child. This paper points to at least two interpretations of reproductive autonomy and argues that sex selection, by being premised on gender essentialism and/or the social pressure on parents to ensure their children conform to gender norms, undermines reproductive autonomy on both accounts. (shrink)
We surveyed 223 APA members to investigate the roles of therapists' sex, theoretical orientation, interpersonal boundaries, and clients' sex in predicting therapists' assessments of the ethicality of nonerotic dual relationships with their clients. Results indicated that therapists' sex, interpersonal boundaries, and theoretical orientation influenced ethical judgments of these relationships. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.
The lack of importance traditionally ascribed to human-nonhuman animal relationships in the social sciences has meant that while commercial sex in the human realm has been well documented, very few socio-cultural studies of commercial sex involving nonhuman animals have been undertaken to date. However, the growing recognition that nonhuman, as well as human, animals are “actors” means that their role in the sex trade, becomes problematic and eminently worthy of academic attention. This article considers a very particular instance of commercial (...) animal sex—that practiced on stud farms in West Wales, where the breeding of autochthonous Welsh cobs is of immense political, social, economic, and cultural significance. This study found that in this context Welsh cobs are expected to embody specific gender ideals in what is an inherently inter-subjective relationship. Through their animals' performances, human caregivers are able to negotiate their own ideas about gender roles, and these in turn determine those individual animals used for breeding and those not. (shrink)
Although physicians have attempted for centuries to uncover the biological differences between men and women with regard to mental illness, they continue to face the challenges of untangling biological factors from social and cultural ones. This article uses examples from history to illustrate three common problems in trying to establish biological differences: identifying factors as sex-based when they are really gender-based; overlooking changes in masculine and feminine roles over time; and placing too great an emphasis on hormones. By using (...) the benefit of hindsight to identify problems from the past, we can think more critically about these issues in the present and the future. (shrink)
Vigil's socio-relational framework of sex differences in emotional expressiveness emphasizes general sex differences in emotional responding, but largely ignores the social context in which emotions are expressed. There is much empirical evidence showing that sex differences in emotion displays are flexible and a function of specific social roles and demands, rather than a reflection of evolutionary-based social adjustments.
Since the early 2000s, zombies have become an increasingly significant presence in popular culture. Zombies are social monsters, epitomizing aspects of social horror. What is at once central and yet strangely absent from current debates about zombies is any detailed consideration of sex and sexuality. This oversight is startling, not least since sex is arguably the most intimate form of social engagement, and is a profound aspect of human social identity. What makes the omission even more remarkable is how appositely (...) the zombie reflects socio-sexual desires and fears. Sex and love play crucial roles in numerous zombie narratives. Moreover, the undead have sex with each other and with humans in many contemporary zombie narratives. The unpalatable combination of zombies and sex is provocative, triggering a multitude of questions about the nature of desire, sex, sexuality, and the politics of our sexual behaviors. This chapter outlines the zombie’s historical development towards sex/uality, setting the context for the various approaches to sex/uality – queer and straight, romantic and pornographic – explored in contemporary zombie media. (shrink)
Viet Nam has experienced rapid social change over the last decade, with a remarkable decline in fertility to just below replacement level. The combination of fertility decline, son preference, antenatal sex determination using ultrasound and sex selective abortion are key factors driving increased sex ratios at birth in favour of boys in some Asian countries. Whether or not this is taking place in Viet Nam as well is the subject of heightened debate. In this paper, we analyse the nature and (...) determinants of sex ratio at birth in Viet Nam, including a small family size norm, recent reinforcement by the Government of the "one-to-two child" family policy, traditional son preference, easy access to antenatal ultrasound screening and legal abortion, and an increase in the proportion of one-child families. In order to prevent an increased sex ratio at birth in Viet Nam, we argue for the relaxation of the one-to-two child family policy and a return to the policy of "small family size" as determined by families, in tandem with a comprehensive approach to promoting the value of women and girls in society, countering traditional gender roles, and raising public awareness of the negative social consequences of a high sex ratio at birth. (shrink)
Vigil's socio-relational framework of sex differences in emotion-expressive behavior has a number of interesting aspects, especially the principal concepts of reciprocity potential and perceived attractiveness and trustworthiness. These are attractive and potentially heuristic ideas. However, some of his arguments and claims are not well grounded in research on early development. Three- to five-year-old children did not show the sex differences in emotion-expressive behavior discussed in the target article. Our data suggest that Vigil may have underestimated the roles of epigenetic (...) and cultural factors in shaping emotion-expressive behavior. (shrink)
The interaction between school pupils’ schematic representations of ‘social’ and ‘technical’ roles and the impact that the ‘sex‐typing’ of careers has on occupational choice were investigated using stimulus vignettes. Questionnaire data pertaining to occupational choice were collected from first‐year university students enrolled on courses designated as either ‘social’ or ‘technical’. The prototypical in‐group positions for the two occupational areas were calculated and used as the basis of vignettes depicting either a male or female school pupil experiencing difficulty in deciding (...) whether to pursue a technical or socially oriented career. The vignettes were presented to 107 school pupils aged 16‐18 who were asked which career area they thought the target pupil was likely to choose. Results indicate that subjects were able to identify correctly the prototypical characteristics utilised in the vignettes and that these were of greater importance in their expectation of course choice than the ‘sex’ of the target pupil. (shrink)
Given the strength of Archer's case for a sexual selection account, he is too accommodating of the social roles alternative. We present data on historical changes in violent crime contradicting that perspective, and discuss recent evidence showing how an evolutionary perspective predicts sex similarities and differences responding in a flexible and functional manner to adaptively relevant triggers across different domains.
Many women today prepare for a big meeting by reading a stack of folders and applying lipstick. They order their male colleagues around, then wait for those same men to help them on with their coats. They have higher-status jobs than some of the men they date, yet they never call men socially or ask them out. What's going on? Why such seemingly contradictory behaviors? Have women completely failed feminism--or has feminism failed them? In The Lipstick Proviso , Karen Lehrman--hailed (...) by the New York Times as the "sharpest" of the new feminist thinkers--shows that women today are failing neither feminism nor themselves. Rather, they've entered a new stage of feminism, one in which the personal is not political, differences between the sexes need to be respected, and courtship, chivalry, and the nuclear family don't have to be jettisoned just because they existed before the sixties. Thirty years after the women's movement liberated women from narrowly defined roles, Lehrman argues, we are finally beginning to see which traditionally feminine behaviors are more deeply rooted in biology and which are more heavily influenced by culture. Lehrman asserts that the result--whatever it is--will not undermine feminism as long as women still retain equal rights, opportunities, and responsibilities. Dispensing with the outdated notion of sisterhood, Lehrman offers women a "lipstick proviso": women don't have to sacrifice their complex individuality in order to be equal. As the first book to move beyond a critique of orthodox feminism, The Lipstick Proviso sets a radically new course for the future of the women's movement. While there's still much political work to be done, Lehrman argues that women should now focus on the personal sides of their lives. Women can't rightly be called autonomous if they stay with abusive or even emotionally challenged lovers; say "yes" to sex when they really mean "no"; overeat or undereat to hide their sexuality. With wit and grace, Karen Lehrman offers in The Lipstick Proviso a way to complete the feminist revolution, and clearly establishes herself as the definitive voice of the next generation of feminism. (shrink)
Despite the centrality of sexuality and love to human life, western history's great philosophers have not produced anything like a detailed and systematic approach to these matters. From Plato's emphasis upon the importance of eros, to the insistence by today's feminists on gender equality, philosophy's interpretation of eroticism and love has been as diverse and explosive as the subject itself. It is this imposing variety of approach and interpretation that makes a lucid, comprehensive anthology on the subject essential. Reflecting the (...) trend over the last twenty years to examine more thoroughly the nature of love and sexuality within a philosophical context, this eclectic anthology presents numerous perspectives on sexual roles and norms, eroticism, pornography, feminism, prostitution, perversion, friendship, and familial love. Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love is the most up-to-date appraisal of these central human experiences, featuring the work of thinkers from antiquity to the modern era. On the subject of erotic love, the text offers insight from Plato's Symposium, as well as the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Nozick, and Robert C. Solomon. There are also reflections on sexual perversion from Thomas Nagel, Jerome Neu, and Michael Ruse. The views of Aristotle and contemporary authors on the morality of friendship and family are presented in a section wholly devoted to those issues, while David Hume and Immanuel Kant investigate the ethics of sexuality in selections from their writings. Care has been taken to present different positions on the most controversial issues, and most selections are offered in their entirety. Invaluable for courses in social philosophy, sexuality, social ethics, and feminism, no other volume can give students a more comprehensive discussion of love's countless dimensions. (shrink)
Recent breakthroughs in stem cell differentiation and reprogramming suggest that functional human gametes could soon be created in vitro. While the ethical debate on the uses of in vitro generated gametes (IVG) was originally constrained by the fact that they could be derived only from embryonic stem cell lines, the advent of somatic cell reprogramming, with the possibility to easily derive human induced pluripotent stem cells from any individual, affords now a major leap in the feasibility of IVG derivation and (...) in the scope of their potential applications. In this paper we develop an ethical framework, rooted in recent scientific evidence, to support a robust experimental pipeline that could enable the first-in-human use of IVG. We then apply this framework to the following objectives: (1) a clarification of the genetic parenting options afforded by IVG, along with their ethical underpinnings; (2) a defence of the use of IVG to remedy infertility, broadening their scope to same-sex couples; (3) an assessment of the most far-reaching implications of IVG for multiplex parenting. These include, first, the liberation of parenting roles from the constraints of biological generations in vivo, allowing multiple individuals to engage in genetic parenting together, thus blurring the distinction between biological and social generations. Second, we discuss the conflation of IVG with sequencing technology and its implications for the possibility that prospective parents may choose among a hitherto unprecedented number of potential children. In view of these perspectives, we argue that, contrary to the exhausted paradigm according to which society lags behind science, IVG may represent instead a salient and most visible instance where biotechnological ingenuity could be used in pursuit of social experimentation. (shrink)
This article returns to a philosophical conundrum that has troubled feminist theory since the topic of sexual violence has been taken seriously, what I call the problem of the “heteronormative sexual continuum”: how sexual assault and hegemonic heterosex are conceptually and politically related. I continue my response to the work of Nicola Gavey, who has argued for the existence of a “gray area” of sexual interactions that are ethically questionable without rising to the category of sexual assault, but whose analysis (...) did not explicitly articulate what these two categories share or what distinguishes them from each other. After summarizing Gavey's position, I summarize my previous articulation of the common ground between instances of sexual assault and examples of sexual interactions in the “gray area.” I then develop a theoretical account of how the two categories differ, arguing that the victim's agency plays different roles in the two types of interactions. Both the fact of that distinction—that we are capable of providing a philosophical account of the difference between sexual interactions that fall into the gray area and those that constitute sexual assault—and its particular content are crucial for the development of a tenable feminist sexual ethics. (shrink)
Medical and/or social gender transition need not involve denial of one's biological sex, but raises other taxing ethical issues. These range from sexual ethics issues narrowly understood to consideration of the claims of any spouse or children and indeed, of gender‐discordant younger people who may follow one's example. As with intersex conditions, not all crossdressing or use of cross‐sex hormones is excluded absolutely. Detransition, for example, could be rightly deferred for various reasons. However, as illustrated by the analogy of an (...) infertile woman wanting to present as the pregnant mother of a child she plans to adopt, there is a significant social value in accurate bodily and other outward communication of one's actual/predominant sex (and occupancy of key allied roles). (shrink)
Think of this paper as an exercise in applied philosophy of language. It has both semantic and deontic concerns. More than about the meaning of ‘marriage,’ it is about how one goes about determining the meaning of social kind terms like ‘marriage’. But it is equally about the place of philosophy of language in the legislative sphere, and inter alia, about the roles and responsibilities of philosophers in public life.