As a woman who is just over six feet tall, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with what you are saying. I’m simply pointing out that it’s not that cut and dried. Our society is based in social hierarchy, where nearly everyone is always comparing themselves to the people around them to judge relative status and power. This is a big part of this equation. There is some evolutionary psychology aspects in there, but mostly that also comes out of patriarchal norms as well (patriarchy being essentially a dominance hierarchy all around, and not just between men and women. Patriarchy is a very new way of relating to each other).

Prior to about 6–12K years ago, depending on where you were, most people lived in highly egalitarian societies that didn’t have different classes.

“ But before twelve-thousand years ago, humans basically were egalitarian (Knauft 1991). They lived in what might be called societies of equals, with minimal political centralization, and no social classes.” In Paleolithic communities (2.6 million years ago until about 12,000 years ago) there was no impetus to mate with the best provider because a clan of about 20–50 would have shared nearly all resources. The person with the most status would have probably been the Clan Mother, the oldest woman in the clan.

So, this notion that women only want the highest earning, best status man they can get and men only want the most beautiful woman they can get is a bit oversimplified. It’s a very recent phenomenon as far as human history goes, and is absolutely part of the more general stratification of patriarchy. It’s largely a function of our current society and not really how humans are wired.

The Pew study found that both men and women agreed that having a caring and compassionate partner was more important than having the man be a “good provider.”

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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