Women and children first
Columnist Grant Brown issues the second in a three-part opening salvo for his new column on gender in the contemporary world.
Grant Brown – February 19, 2008
When the Titanic hit an iceberg in dead-calm waters in the north Atlantic, there was time but not nearly enough life boats to rescue everyone. Spaces were rationed according to the perceived value of the passengers. Those with first-class berths were more likely to have been saved than passengers from steerage. This pattern of rescue reflects the classism of British society at the time….
In the competition for mating opportunities, therefore, males tend to compete much more ferociously with each other than women do. In some species, competition for mating opportunities rises to extraordinary heights and may be the sole purpose of male existence. Male bison and sea lions, for example, engage in a series of vicious fights, often to the death, resulting in a single male victor monopolizing the entire herd of females. The benefit of “harem-building” to the females of these species is that it increases the odds that their offspring will possess the genes that produced the outstanding reproductive success of the winning male. Why settle for second best?….(Full Story)
F4L: The statement about the benefit of “harem-building” is a misperception that is being disproved time and again with respect to the differences between ostensible and real mating habit of allegedly monogamous species.
DNA-tracing is a wonderful research tool. Amongst many other species, it has been used to trace the genealogy of elk, apes and humans.
Guess what, while the bull-elk is busy posturing, bugling and fighting for dominance, some of the yearlings are busy getting it on with members of his harem. More than 60 percent of the offspring in a given year is not that of the bull-elk but that of the adolescents looking for a little bit at the outer fringes of the boss’s staging area, while the boss made sure that his does were ready to receive the sperm donation they wanted from any available source. (I tried for many hours to find the reference to the source of that information, but I had no success, so for now I have just my memory to go on.)
As to apes, in groups of chimpanzees in the wild it was found that, even though the groups were closely watched by researchers – they thought, at all times – the babies born to the mothers in the group were fathered about 60 percent of the time by males from other, neighbouring groups. There was only one possible way by which the females could have gotten impregnated by foreign males. The females used great stealth during the night to meet the fathers of their children-to-be in the bushes somewhere out of sight and hearing. (Scientific American, Jan. 1999, p. 97)
And as to humans, the story is much the same, and not just in row housing in England. On average, in supposedly stable monogamous relationships, the chances are one out of five or 20 percent that a given child is not the biological offspring of the alleged father. It appears that civilization has not quite tamed the savage in humans.
The Association of American Blood Banks found that in one year, out of more than 300,000 DNA tests for paternity, the men who were fingered as the fathers were not the biological fathers in about 30 percent of the cases. Doesn’t it make you wonder what the percentages will be if DNA testing for paternity is mandatory at the birth of every child?
The Family Research Institute identified, based on data from two large government surveys, that,
…about 2% of males and 44% of females who engaged in homosexuality, and also said that they had an “on-going sexual relationship” in the last year, were married! None of these married homosexuals reported having had sex with their spouse! Some of these are probably in ‘shell marriages,’ where two homosexuals marry for social cover but voluntarily do not have sex with each other. Others probably have mystified or troubled spouses (e.g., ‘is there something wrong with me?’).
(Quoted from Feminism and Families – Advice to Men)