Politics of Rape Science (was Re: After the Fall)

Joanna Sheldon cjs10 at cornell.edu
Wed Jul 12 08:21:03 PDT 2000


>Your enthusiasm for biological explanations for rape

..enthusiasm is probably not the right word...

>make a lot more sense if rape was a cultural universal of
>about equal prevalence throughout the world and history.
>However, the evidence on this point is clear: the prevalence
>of rape varies dramatically across culture, history, and
>economic conditions.

I argue in favour of keeping in mind that we're animal as well as conscious beings. It's one of those things that gets you into all kinds of trouble when you lose track of it. I also make a case for our ability to write our more unlikeable animal tendencies out of our history. It makes sense that this ability should express itself variously across varying conditions.

In fact, in the human world you
>live in, I think it's quite plausible that changing social
>practices and institutions-- as with the Victorian
>scientific ideology about women's delicate constitutions--
>will lead us to laugh and shake our heads in disbelief
>100 years from now about the blatant sexism of evolutionary
>psychology "theories" of gender and rape.

Since there are folks who do that even now, I guess we have to figure there always will be, eh?



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