The "Bitch" Evolved

An interesting read. Speaks my sentiments.

The "Bitch" Evolved: Why Girls Are So Cruel to Each Other
By Jesse Bering, in Scientific American


Butters said…
Are you serious?

The article was typical ev-psych, misogynist, anti-feminist, reductionist tripe.

No offense :P
Awais said…
None taken :)

But my observations of such nature as mentioned in the article have been too many to ignore, if i am to be honest with myself. I don't dare to say that girls are by "nature" like that or that such behaviour is hard-wired into them. Maybe the society makes them so. I don't know. But i know such behaviour exists more prominently in the social setup that i am directly exposed to, and i would be dishonest if i refused to acknowledge that due to the fear of being labeled anti-feminist.

As the article says:

"If that strikes you as misogynistic, rest assured it’s merely an empirical statement.""Let me attempt to preempt the obvious criticism that this is not, of course, to say that all teenage girls are catty—need I really point out the obvious that many are of course wonderful, thoughtful and mature people? Nor is it to say that teenage boys are never socially aggressive or that girls don’t occasionally display physical violence. But the culturally recurrent findings of female social aggression, and the largely invariant age distribution where such behaviors and attitudes are especially prominent (flaring up between about age eleven and seventeen in girls), do suggest a strong psychological bent in the fairer sex that leads “naturally” to these types of catty displays."
Butters said…
It was a misogynistic article. The use of misogynistic words is enough to remove it from the territory of impartial observation to one of using science to make social or political commentary, and at worst, even ideological assertions.

Nothing is merely an empirical statement where the words have connotation, and that involve interpretation (which all statements do). If I say 'some women are bitches and whores', and then follow that up with 'oh but that's merely an observation', it is clear I'm making an insultingly unclever excuse, one that no reasonable person should buy into.

Evolutionary psychology has largely been used to perpetuate patriarchal narratives that reinforce the status quo. As an approach to human psychology, it has been overrepresented for precisely this reason. Don't forget that the ability to manufacture scientific 'facts' and ideas about human nature is itself differentially distributed in society, with the powers-that-be having the highest level of that ability.
Butters said…
I've observed that women tend to put each other down, especially around a certain age. However, there are myriads of radical feminist articles on this topic, as well as articles of a non-misogynistic quality that may not be rad fem. That you picked the most misogynistic of all interpretations and descriptions of this phenomenon is a bit disappointing, to be totally honest.

Sorry to sound like I'm being the PC Police, but the article was so offensive I can't even talk about it with my usual reserve.
Awais said…
I'm not a big fan of evolutionary psychology, but i also don't dismiss it as such. It has the window of abuse in it, and its theories should not be taken as definite. But neither should they be dismissed for that reason.

About evolutionary psychology on this particular matter, i am very uncertain about it, because honestly, i haven't read or studied much about it. I didn't particularly "pick" this article over other articles by 'feminist' writers. I simply happened to come across this, and liked the fact that someone is speaking up about women tend to put each other, and so i linked it.

Nothing is merely an empirical statement where the words have connotation.That means your problem is mainly with the phrasing of the article? Okay, that i admit was probably misogynistic.

the article was so offensive I can't even talk about it with my usual reserve.I am sorry you feel that way.

It would be great if you can share some article with us, which is also about female 'aggression' and does not come out as misogynistic, so that i can make the comparison and maybe enlighten myself.
Butters said…
Ok, but I am just surprised you liked an article that was misogynistic both in its wording and in its interpretation of female aggression, merely because the phenomenon was mentioned at all.

Radical feminists tend to hold that female aggression toward one another is a classic case of members of the oppressed class internalizing the hatred against them. Black men, for example, tend to perpetrate enormous amounts of violence toward one another. In an ideal feminist society women will no longer be aggressive toward one another. I guess look at radical feminist blogs for stuff like this.

Here's the abstract of an article, the only scholary article I could find that wasn't coming from an ev psych perspective:

You might also find this interesting:

"Animal Sociology and a Natural Economy of the Body Politic, Part II: The Past Is the Contested Zone: Human Nature and Theories of Production and Reproduction in Primate Behavior Studies", by Donna Haraway. It's in two parts.
good going bro!
absolutely enjoyed it!
Anamika. said…
I agree with your post here. :|

Keep them coming :)