Men Women Sex and Darwin
No man or woman completely understands what it is that the opposite sex actually desires. There have been countless studies on the desires of humans, yet no one truly knows what it is that drives humans sexually. Natalie Angier challenges the common sexual misperceptions that scientists and psychologists think they know about the opposite sex in her essay, “Men, Women, Sex, and Darwin. ” There are an infinite number of factors that play into the chemistry of a man and woman, which couldn’t possibly be recognized in scientific research.
In this case, Angier’s essay “Men, Women, Sex, and Darwin,” contains three defining characteristics of sexual misconceptions by the generalization of the sexes, overwhelming social standards, and the consistent sexual messages. Throughout Angier’s essay, she discusses the idea of the needs and desires of both men and women. What she fails to address, however, is the notion that these theories are simply generalizations. While our cultural norms dictate our attention towards a social standards, there are a great number of exceptions to these rules.
The customary models of our society may deem that men should be attracted to women; however, this may not ring true in other societies. For instance, in Afghanistan, it is considered normal for men to be attracted to the same sex, but to only mate with women for reproduction purposes. This model directly contrasts as a misconception relative to the American notion. In keeping this in mind, it is important to realize that these concepts will always be theories, as they do not relate to the individual; they only relate to the masses.
Within the same vein of social generalizations, Angier’s essay additionally relates to the principle of social standards. Such standards are set by the society in which they are formed. Within American society, it is traditional to give young girls dolls, while offering young boys toy cars. This greatly feeds into cuing children of the social standards that their society holds as norms. As they grow older, they will slowly learn to understand gender-appropriate habits as deemed by their culture.
In a sense this subtle learning process breeds the misconception into the newer generations of what men and women are supposed to be like. As a result of this development, our society continues to set social standards in accordance to a traditional perspective. While social standards continually fuel our perceptions of gender, the sexual messages that we receive from the media greatly enhance this misconception. Countless media outlets that feed messages to society regarding cultural expectations of gender continually flood American society.
These frequent sexual messages flood society with an image of the acceptable or desired characteristic of the said gender. As society continues to be drowned out with these sexual messages, the misconceptions of sexual genders grow. Angier’s essay strongly addresses the idea of sexual desires of men and women, yet fails to touch on the importance of sexual misconceptions. While it is important to understand the social patterns of the masses, it is of similar import to acknowledge that these are generalizations that do not address the individual.
Similarly, the effect of social standards additionally creates discrepancies in accordance to cultural norms. Such social standards work in conjunction with the sexual messages that continually fuel society’s misconceptions of gender appropriateness. In taking these themes into account, it may be possible to begin the process of breaking down the walls of sexual misperceptions while moving towards better understanding of human sexuality.