Ladann Kiassat //
The human species love putting themself above the wild animals they abuse, torture, and eat. You’ve often heard a rendition of “man looks into nature and finds himself” in one context or another. Well this is quite literal. A lot of the evolutionary behaviors that animals display in the midst of the “wild” animal kingdom are behaviors that we display in a “tame” human-centered society. Evolutionary behavior ranges from the way we defend ourselves in times of danger to the vultnerabilthy we feel when someone hugs us.
One thing I am particularly interested in is how we attract potential mates. In nature, animals have creative ways of getting their crushes to notice them. From crazy features to bright colors that represent signs of strength. Songs of rhythmic sounds, special odorants, and displays of aggressive mating behaviors all play into impressing future mates. Humans, in a sense, do the same thing. I think it is really hard to talk about any type of gaze, without establishing what drives the gaze and what appeals to the gaze. I have thought about it for a long time now, and after taking EEMB 2 which focuses on evolutionary biology at UCSB, I have realized my position in perspective to the gaze.
Because of our biology, a woman’s traditional attractive features subjects them to the gaze, hence we have what appeals to the gaze. What drives this gaze is libido. We are animals, and we want to procreate. Our natural drive is to have sex. This is an evolutionary instinct that propels our species forward. Without the desire to procreate, we would eventually go extinct. We see someone attractive and we naturally gravitate towards them because of our libido. This dynamic pairing is misunderstood and is associated wrongly with how we view the male gaze.
For me personally, when I see a man get hard, I see biology. If my boobs are visible and a man glances at them and he gets hard, I understand why. I don’t necessarily like it, but I understand. There is a lot of biology on why we are considered wild as to why that happens. The aspect of the male gaze that I believe is being amplified by society is the inherent right for some men to act on their gaze and embody what is ubiquitous in nature; true wild behavior. This is not anything particularly shocking, but what sets us apart from wild animals is our ability to rationally make sense of the changing world around us.
I think this is an interesting perspective because with this explanation, we can see why men get hard, for example, but not really understand why they think they have the right to transgress the regulations of society. Although we can understand the biology of the male and female that propels our existence, it is really important to realize the root of the problem. In given circumstances, the biology of a man cannot really be “controlled”, but rather “tamed.” It is quite obvious that our biology gives us no right to act in immoral ways in the realm we occupy.
The problem specifically revolves around men because evolutionary biology has shown that when we look into nature, men present themselves as suitable mates, then women are given the task of choosing. Given the development of our rational brains, it makes sense that this becomes a frustrating system for the sensible-thinking men of our society over time. This system involves giving power to women rather than power to men, which is the root of the problem. The human species rationalize the world around them, taking into account their worldly feelings. These behaviors then manifest themselves within their evolutionary mechanisms. Animals stick to their core evolutionary mechanisms without looking at extraneous factors such as culture, history, or social practices. The evolving modern world has shaped a society in which women should succumb to a man’s will, and the societal progression of this notion has been in the works from the beginning of time. Our evolving theories around gender and sexuality have become associated with a mark of inferiority through space and time.
In nature, a woman must choose a male for reproduction. She has many options, and the act of a male inserting their genitalia into her is a privilege based on being selected as the optimal mate. Today, this idea still exists, but since we are rational beings in an imperfect society, “consent” has become just another barrier for men to surpass. With this mentality, it makes sense why many women consider “consent” to be an attractive attribute in a man because it restores the power that women are supposed to have in nature. Just as men have evolutionary tendencies based on the hormones they produce, women are the same. They don’t deem a man worthy of their womanly stature if they don’t have the right to choose and consent to the advances of a man because, in that sense, the women have lost all the power that nature has granted them.