Eva Kamerer

Gender Identity from an Evolutionary Point of View (overview)

The aim of my lecture is to show how sexual selection shaped certain sexual characteristics and in what relations that process stands to human gender identity.

According to Darwin, sexual selection involves “competition between individuals of the same sex, generally the males, in order to drive away or kill their rivals, the females remaining passive, and female choice, being competition between individuals of the same sex in order to excite or charm those of the opposite sex, generally the females, who are no longer passive”. Contemporary sociobiologists use Darwin’s theory of sexual selection to explain why in patriarchal social systems men seek to control women. That kind of adaptive explanation should demonstrate why males are promiscuous and females are “coy” and choosy, or, in other words, why our sexuality depends upon our reproduction. Recent debates separate female sexuality from women’s reproductive function and show how social biases influence evolutionary explanations of that subject.

The conclusion of my analysis is that woman’s identity can not be defined in terms of her reproductive function, which is often the case in evolutionary psychology and sociobiology.

Eva Kamerer, PhD, is a philosopher. She had received her PhD from the Department for Genetics and Evolution, Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade.