Is Modern Human Evolution a Social Construct?

Posted by in Introduction

Darwin believes that creatures, including us humans, adapt and evolve accordingly to the changes in our surroundings. Natural Selection as Darwin calls it, is every living creature’s struggle towards survival in this world. Taking this concept and applying it in a more contemporary setting such as a high school classroom, we see an ecosystem where societal trends govern the lifestyle of children. Mainstream media manufactures a definition of acceptable, ostracizing children that deviate from the norm, branding them as “weird” and “unacceptable,” leading these children to be bullied. Thus people change to adapt to these standards chosen by the society, in order for them to survive and be welcomed. However, this example is seen in a very magnified perspective, and a way to see it through retrospect is to see how societal trends affect sexuality.

Darwin’s view on sexual selection when see through a contemporary context is very much relevant to the issues on feminism and sexism. Sexual selection influences evolution in a much greater scale than we think. Just by observing animals, we see how most of their actions and habits are influenced by their method of mating. Not only does sexual selection affect physical attributes among creatures, it also affects preferences and abilities. Darwin realized this and in his words he says:

“Courage, pugnacity, perseverance, strength and size of body, weapons of all kinds, musical organs, both vocal and instrumental, bright colors and ornamental appendages, have all been indirectly gained by the one sex or the other, through the exertion of choice, the influence of love and jealousy, and the appreciation of the beautiful in sound, color or form and these powers of mind manifestly depend on the development of the brain.”

Given this thought, we can see how it is difficult to attain a certain level of equality among genders. However, I say this not in contradiction to the thought of feminism, as feminism argues the social, political, and economical equality among genders. Rather so, I believe that equality cannot be attained in a physical and mental level, as we are not biologically and physically made alike, therefore although we can be treated equally, as feminism suggests, a man cannot act the same manner as a woman, the same way a woman cannot act the same manner as a man.

In the 21st century, social trends have dictated much of our personal lives, and now we must question the extent of its influence in our humanity. Changes however, do not come overnight. Even if the entirety of the world decides that we start changing our views on sexuality, we do not simply wake up biologically and physically different. Social trends, if it exists long enough, could certainly affect us as humans, although it would take generations before actual significant change is seen.