Charles Darwin views on women | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin views on women

What Did Darwin Say about Women's Emancipation?

What Did Darwin Say about Women’s Emancipation? And Why Don’t We Hear More about Clémence Royer?

All around the western world, scientists, museums, and others are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the English scientist whose Origin of Species (1859) forever changed the way we think about evolution and set off a huge protest by fervent Christians threatened by the notion that creation was not entirely the work of God, accomplished in six days some 6000 years earlier, and authoritatively documented in the Bible. Conflicts between defenders of Biblical creation and advocates of evolution filled the press for years thereafter. Not only that, but the very thought that man might have descended from the apes made traditionalists extremely nervous.

But Origin had not directly broached another subject that was already on many people’s minds from the 1830s – the evolution of humankind and the emancipation of women. What did Darwin say about women’s emancipation?

Darwin clarified his views on human evolution in a new landmark work, The Descent of Man (1871). There he proposed the evolutionary importance of sexual selection, or choice of mate, for increasing the differentiation between men and women – not only physiologically but also mentally and emotionally. Darwin was no misogynist but found it difficult to accept the arguments for women’s emancipation of such liberal thinkers as John Stuart Mill, author of The Subjection of Women (1869) and proponent of woman suffrage in the British Parliament a few years earlier. In Darwin’s eyes, historically speaking, women, however much preyed upon by men, had become increasingly protected by them as societies grew more complex. This suggested to him that women had lost the necessity of having to sharpen their faculties in the unremitting struggle for survival, thereby assuring their relatively inferior development; he was convinced that the results of evolutionary sexual differentiation could never be undone, whatever 19th century women’s rights advocates might desire.

This set off a stream of scientific investigations by physicians and others to measure skulls found in anthropological digs and to hypothesize about the relative size of women’s and men’s brains; these were the early years of physical anthropology. Some years later other scientists, such as Dr. Léonce Manouvrier, took women’s side, pointing out that relative to women’s body size, their brains might actually be larger than men’s. Partisans in controversies over providing secondary and higher education for women invested heavily in these arguments, on both sides of the question.

See also:



Routledge Sex Theories and the Shaping of Two Moderns: Hemingway and H.D. (Studies in Major Literary Authors)
Book (Routledge)

"Age of Consent" is an arbitrary rule

by all_things_being_equal

Particularly in an age where
sexual-oriented “hot-spots” like gay marriages are changing our perception of what is acceptable in society, will our views on underage sex also need to undergo an overhaul?
Roman Polanski is a case in point. His tryst with a 12 year old girl forced him to flee the U.S. Some thirty years later, the “victim” (now an adult woman) says she has no issue with Polanksi. If the “victim” of the crime is ready to forgive and forget, should we still enforce the punishment? To this day, Polanski chooses to stay out of the U.S. to avoid prosecution.

While we can legislate for the age of consent

by --

It’s virtually impossible to enforce those laws when both parties consent in private. So are we focusing on the symptom rather than the cause? Are we enforcing out-dated moral standards on youth who are living in a completely new world? In an age where sexual-oriented “hot-spots” like gay marriages are changing our perception of what is acceptable in society, will our views on underage sex also need to undergo an overhaul? Roman Polanski is a case in point. His tryst with a 12 year old girl forced him to flee the U.S. Some thirty years later, the “victim” (now an adult woman) says she has no issue with Polanksi

The Polanksi case also raises the question

by PavlovsDong

Of the “victimless” crime. While we can legislate for the age of consent, it’s virtually impossible to enforce those laws when both parties consent in private. So are we focusing on the symptom rather than the cause? Are we enforcing out-dated moral standards on youth who are living in a completely new world? In an age where sexual-oriented “hot-spots” like gay marriages are changing our perception of what is acceptable in society, will our views on underage sex also need to undergo an overhaul?
Roman Polanski is a case in point. His tryst with a 12 year old girl forced him to flee the U

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