The caveman rapist theory is stupid.

Sarah Sydney Lane, on Feminspire, wrote an entry on evolutionary psychology bullshit on the subject of rape, and why the supposed evolutionary origin of rape is nonsense used to support masculinity and the rape culture.

Popular culture reproduces this caveman story through magazines, media, and pop psychology books, among many other mediums, all of which offer up a caveman ethos for masculine identities where “heterosexual male readers can experience their sexuality as acultural, primal.” There are caveman fitness programs and cavemen diets that assume that being a caveman is a healthy existence for men. Popular texts reproduce “scientific” discourses and claim it is natural for a man to stare at a strange woman whether committed or not, take her if she is unwilling, then go to consume large quantities of meat before heading to the gym to lift weights to the point of injury while watching football which is the contemporary equivalent of prehistoric sparing. Man exclaims, reinforced by cultural images, that either his DNA or the devil made him do it! “Ideas that count as scientific, regardless of their truth value, become lived ideologies” (McCaughey).

Evolutionary stories have an appeal to many men who feel as though they are like caveman. They feel as if their identity is a bodily reality that is “backed by the authority of science.” Instead, what is happening, arguably, is men are adopting the mannerisms, tastes, textures of body, and fantasies of a particular constructed social group. We all want to be part of a community. They are unconsciously internalizing and embodying “popular manifestations of scientific evolutionary narratives about men’s sexuality” (McCaughey). These are not fresh ideas about humanity’s predilection for scripted performance, the artificial character-roles we confuse for our natural selves. Pierre Bourdieu already explored how a person’s socioeconomic class becomes personified “at the level of the body, including class-based ways of speaking, postures, lifestyles, attitudes, and tastes” (McCaughey). The circulation of evolutionary narratives becomes a sort of negative feedback loop in which pop-Darwinist evolutionary theories give men the tools to pleasurably formulate the “male identity and the performance of accepted norms of heterosexual masculinity.” Men appear a certain way, and therefore adopt specific attire, consumption practices, and lifestyle practices and further shape their body to the idealized image. “[The] image of the caveman circulates through popular culture becoming part of natural perception, and consequently is reproduced by those embodying it” (McCaughey). Simply put, if you repeat a lie enough times, you and everyone else you tell it to will believe it.

One thought on “The caveman rapist theory is stupid.

  1. […] the example of rape, about which evolutionary psychologists make up the stupidest stories. Stupid or not, though, the point of any just-so story about rape would be to justify, from the […]

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