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Female Imposed Sexual Conformity Mostly Responsible for Pressure to Fit In

Female Imposed Sexual Conformity Mostly Responsible for Pressure to Fit In

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Published by diligentpurpose
The pressure women face to fit in sexually is due to mainly other women not men according to the latest research.
The pressure women face to fit in sexually is due to mainly other women not men according to the latest research.

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Published by: diligentpurpose on Nov 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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November 18, 2013
Cold W 
ar Foug
ht by W 
How aggressive is the human f 
emale? When the anthropologist Sarah B. Hrdy surveyed theresearch literature three decades ago, she concluded that “the competitive component in thenature of
 women remains anecdotal, intuitively sensed, but not conf 
irmed by science.”Sc
e has come a long way since then, as Dr. Hrdy notes in her introduction to a recent issueof
Philosophical Transactions of
the Royal Society  devoted entirely to the topic
emaleaggression. She credits the “stunning” amount of
new evidenc
e partly to better researc
hniques and partly to the entry of
so many women into scientif 
ields once dominated by men.The existence of
emale c
ompetition may seem obvious to anyone who has been in a high-sc
eteria or a singles bar, but analyzing it has been dif 
icult because it tends be more subtle andindirect (and a lot less violent) than the male variety. N
ow that researchers have been lookingmore closely, they say that this “intrasexual competition” is the most important f 
actorexplaining the pressures that young women f 
eel to meet standards of
sexual conduc
t andphysical appearance.The old doubts about f 
emale competitiveness derived partly f 
rom an evolutionary analysis of the reproductive odds in ancient polygynous soc
ieties in which some men were lef 
t single because dominant males had multiple wives. So men had to compete to have a c
e of reproducing, whereas virtually all women were assured of
it.But even in those societies, women were not passive trophies f 
or vic
torious males. They hadtheir own incentives to c
ompete with one another f 
or more desirable partners and moreresources f 
or their children. And now that most people live in monogamous societies, most women f 
ace the same odds as men. In f 
act, they
e tougher odds in some plac
es, like the many college campuses with more women than men.To see how f 
emale students react to a rival, researchers brought pairs of
them into a laboratory at McMaster University f 
or what was ostensibly a disc
ussion about f 
emale f 
riendships. But thereal experiment began when another young woman entered the room asking where to f 
ind oneof
the researchers.
Read More
This woman had been chosen by the researchers, Trac
 y Vaillancourt and Aanchal Sharma, because she “embodied qualities c
onsidered attractive f 
rom an evolutionary perspective,”meaning a “low waist-to-hip ratio, clear skin, large breasts.” Sometimes, she wore a T-shirt and jeans, other times a tightf 
itting, low-cut blouse and short skirt.In jeans, she attracted little notice and no negative c
rom the students, whosereactions were being sec
retly recorded during the encounter and af 
ter the woman lef 
t the room.But when she wore the other outf 
it, virtually all the students reac
ted with hostility.They stared at her, looked her up and down, rolled their eyes and sometimes showed outrig
htanger. One asked her in disgust, “W 
hat the [expletive] is that?”Most of
the aggression, though, happened af 
ter she lef 
t the room. Then the students laughedabout her and impugned her motives. One student suggested that she dressed that way inorder to have sex with a prof 
essor. Another said that her breasts “were about to pop out.”The results of
the experiment jibe with evidenc
e that this “mean girl” f 
orm of
indirectaggression is used more by adolesc
ents and young women than by older women, who have lessincentive to handic
ap rivals once they marry. Other studies have shown that the moreattractive an adolescent girl or woman is, the more likely she is to bec
ome a target f 
or indirectaggression f 
rom her f 
emale peers.“W 
omen are indeed very capable of
aggressing against others, especially women they perceiveas rivals,” said Dr. Vaillancourt, now a psycholog
ist at the University of
Ottawa. “The researchalso shows that suppression of
emale sexuality is by women, not nec
essarily by men.”Stigmatizing f 
emale promiscuity a.k.a. slut-shaming — has of 
ten been blamed on men, whohave a Darwinian incentive to discourage their spouses f 
rom straying. But they also have aDarwinian incentive to encourage other women to be promiscuous. Dr. Vaillancourt said theexperiment and other researc
h sugg
est the stigma is enf 
orced mainly by women.“Sex is coveted by men,” she said. “Accordingly, women limit acc
ess as a way of
maintainingadvantage in the negotiation of
this resource. W 
omen who make sex too readily availablecompromise the power-holding position of
the group, which is why many women areparticularly intolerant of
 women who are, or seem to be, promisc
uous.”Indirect ag
gression can take a psychological toll on women who are ostrac
ized or f 
eel pressuredto meet impossible standards, like the vogue of
thin bodies in many modern societies. Studieshave shown that women’s ideal body shape is to be thinner than average — and thinner than what men consider the ideal shape to be. This pressure is f 
requently blamed on the ultrathin

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