- Gebundene Ausgabe: 272 Seiten
- Verlag: Mit Press (30. April 2000)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0262201259
- ISBN-13: 978-0262201254
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 2,3 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 57 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 472.835 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. April 2000
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Evolutionary psychology often stomps where other branches of science fear to tread. Case in point: A Natural History of Rape. Randy Thornhill, a biologist, and Craig T. Palmer, an anthropologist, have attempted to apply evolutionary principles to one of the most disgusting of human behaviors, and the result is a guaranteed storm of media hype and debate. The book's central argument is that rape is a genetically developed strategy sustained over generations of human life because it is a kind of sexual selection--a successful reproductive strategy. This runs directly counter to the prevailing notion--that rape is predominantly about violent power, and only secondarily about sex.
The authors base their argument partly on statistics showing that in the United States, most rape victims are of childbearing age. But disturbingly large numbers of rapes of children, elderly women, and other men are never adequately explained. And the actual reproductive success of rape is not clear. Thornhill and Palmer's biological interpretation is just that--an interpretation, one that won't withstand tough scientific scrutiny. They further claim that the mental trauma of rape is greater for women of childbearing age (especially married women) than it is for elderly women or children. The data supporting these assertions come from a single psychological study, done by Thornhill in the 1970s, that mixes first-person interviews with caretaker's interpretations of children's reactions.
While Thornhill and Palmer claim that they are trying to look objectively at the root causes of rape, they focus almost entirely on data that support their thesis, forcing them to write an evolutionary "just-so" story. The central problem is evident in this quote, from the chapter "The Pain and Anguish of Rape":
We feel that the woman's perspective on rape can be best understood by considering the negative influences of rape on female reproductive success.... It is also highly possible that selection favored the outward manifestations of psychological pain because it communicated the female's strong negative attitude about the rapist to her husband and/or her relatives.
Women are disturbed by rape mostly because they are worried about what their husbands might think? In statements like this, the authors repeatedly discount the psychological aspects of rape, such as fear, humiliation, loss of autonomy, and powerlessness, and focus solely on personal shame.
A Natural History of Rape will no doubt have people talking about rape and its causes, and perhaps thinking about real ways of preventing it. In fact, the authors suggest that all young men be educated frankly about their (theoretical) genetic desire to rape. And it reopens the debate about the role of sex in rape. But without more and better data supporting their conclusions, Thornhill and Palmer are doing the very thing they criticize feminists and social scientists of doing: just talking. --Therese Littleton
"This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal--to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world."--Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"Alle Produktbeschreibungen
I'm not sure if some of the other reviewers have actually read this book, because nowhere in it do the authors assert that women are to blame for their rapes or that they provoke them through sexy clothing. They do suggest that sexy clothing might be one of many factors that lead men to rape and that women may CHOOSE to use this knowledge when deciding how to dress for certain situations. Why this particular issue is so offensive boggles me. I have had many people suggest that I take a women's self-defense class to help me avoid and/or survive an attack. But that suggestion in no way implies that if I *don't* take a self-defense class I am somehow responsible for causing my own rape. Similarly, women can arm themselves with the knowledge that how they dress may have an effect on how some men behave towards them, without being responsible for that behavior in any way.
I'd advise anyone interested in this topic to read the book carefully and thoroughly. Does the book prove that rape is an evolutionary adaptation? Of course not, but it certainly offers some compelling evidence and an interesting alternative to current theories on rape.
In this book, we seem to go from the position commonly attributed to feminist thinkers, that "rape is about men hating and wanting to control women," to that supposedly espoused by those friendly to evolutionary psychology, that "rape is a reproductive strategy." We're far from being able to say that human motivation and capacity for rape is entirely defined by either one of those views.
The strength of this book is that the authors had the cahones to say the things they do, especially to oppose the common but extreme view that rape is nothing more than a calculated power play intended to humiliate and socially dominate women. This should spark some useful discussions and interest as well as controversy.
The weaknessses of the book are that not only does it ignore virtually the entire body of research on human behavior related to crime and sexual coercion, but it does not even adequately represent current evolutionary thinking about complex behaviors. It covers far too narrow a range of scientific data to be considered representative of scientific thought in evolutionary biology.
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