For International Women’s Week, I went to the lecture called “Sex, Lies, and Evolution”. The purpose of the speech was to debunk some of the arguments used against feminism based on supposed “human nature”. In other words, the speaker wanted to explain any stereotypes that people used when explaining why the gender roles are the way they are. One misconception that we’ve been taught to believe is true would be that all human societies since the beginning of time have been dominated by men. Another misconception that is more commonly known, is that men have led all the major cultural advances, such as hunting tools, and making the creation of fire.
I liked this speaker because he didn’t just assume we knew everything about this topic. He didn’t assume that we took an anthropology course before, which was perfect for myself because I never did! He described anthropology as “the scientific field that studies humans, past and present, as biological and cultural beings”. I also learned what a meta-narrative was for the first time, because this term came into the lecture very often. A meta-narrative is a widely accepted story about why things are the way they are in the “grand scheme of things”. They’re composed of a multitude of unproven stories that appear factual.
A common portrayal of evolution is a picture of a man evolving. But why is this iconic picture of evolution solely based on men? (picture is shown below). My favorite meta-narrative story that he discussed was titled; Woman the Child Bearer. Women can’t hunt or make tools because they are busy reproducing and taking care of children. However, women performed importance subsistence tasks, with their kids! So where did the “fact” that women had no purpose in the society come from?
This event was really well done, and I think he was able to portray it in a way that kept the listeners interested. I actually did learn a few things, and even some ideas of which I always believed to be true about the portrayal of men turned out to be completely false. I would definitely recommend this event to a friend, because he addressed a lot of stereotypes and false information that we have been tricked to believe for years.