Just when we thought we were running out of fun topics at the site coffee hour, we ran into “Epigenetics is oppressive to women?” — and wondered what we were going to do for our next snack bite. Until this Darwinian explanation of premenstrual syndrome:
Imagine that a woman was pair bonded with a sterile or infertile male. Then, even in the past, they would have had regular cycles. If women in these relationships exhibited PMS and this increased the likelihood of the pair bond dissolving, this would be a huge reproductive advantage.
Rubbish. From periods for which we have evidence – infertility was usually blamed first on the woman. She might end up divorced if she didn’t conceive, but it isn’t clear that she would benefit much from being divorced. Quite the opposite. The divorced woman was an image of scorn, shame, poverty, and neglect.
All above assumes that not conceiving was even viewed as a problem. Yes for sure … sometimes. But in many generally monogamous cultures, a man was allowed a late-life second wife. And if he already had several grown sons by his first wife, the fact that his second wife never had children might be a solution, not a problem. Especially with respect to contestable estate issues, like how much to leave to each one.
But why is it assumed so breezily that women who were hard to live with, due to PMS, could usually just change their mates?
Okay, so men don’t talk much. But … about stuff like that?
Hey, Darwin is hard at work with your tax dollars.
Watch for my upcoming series on what happens when Darwin goes to work on the mind.
Meanwhile, the Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)
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