Anthropologically speaking

What is the process of mate selection among humans?

Does the guy choose or does the girl choose or is it mutual??? I think unlike all other species, among humans it’s the male who chooses his mate. While peacocks and male robins and lions are gifted with features that make them attractive, among humans it’s the female who has to preen and prettify herself so that she can attract a suitable mate, despite the fact that it is the female who is sought after….

And while among all animal species it’s the female who chooses her mate, chooses when she wants to mate, and who typically chooses none other than the alpha male – it seems to be completely opposite with humans. The dowry system proves that its a matter of honor and prestige for the female to be chosen… and I guess the more ‘endowed’ she is (pun intended), the greater are her chances of being selected.

So is it really a mutual thing??

Is there a concept of an alpha female among humans??? I guess not…why was she dragged from caves by her it cos there is no concept of ‘consent’ in human mating? You mean to say she preens herself to attract the male but then has no say as to whether she is ready to mate or not?? (as against lions, tigers, even iguanas) Is it the same with chimps and gorillas, our distant cousins?? Or does she make herself attractive to show that she is ready to mate??

Or is female preening an after-effect of civilization???

What about an alpha male…is James Bond an alpha male? Does the perfect combination of power, prestige and money make a man an alpha male??? Is that why he gets all the girls???

I’m extremely confused and I guess watching discovery channel and bond movies will only confuse me more.

11 Responses to “Anthropologically speaking”

  1. udita the anthropologist Says:

    hi dear, this was very interesting. and yes i was laughing. the trauma in your language was so obvious. ha! ha!. nevertheless, on your a serious note i know of this concept for quite sometime. and i guess i do accept that this happens to a certain extent. nevertheless there is also a mutual selection. the reasons for this could also be that only humans are such where male female dependence is in a ratio which is mostly not proportionate. and cannot be defined also. and yet males do not have all the power to decide and select their spouse and have her just like that. societies have formulated varied ways of regulatiing the choice of both male and female. now there is another point to it which is of power. men exercise power by subjugating women and properties (land). so it is not only in the hand of the male who wants to marry you or “choose the mate” but rather a transaction between two men (your DAD and the man in question) whether they agree to the ‘trade’ or not. actually in that we go from one male subjugation to another.and it involves a constant struggle to have the most favoured place in the lives of all our “masters”. i hope you understood.and u know what keep it light. this space is negotiable and there are many men ready to share a position of equality.

  2. suku the sociologist Says:

    i think i will get into an extremely anti feminist role and try and bring you down from your jhola toting, male bashing, nari mukti mood 🙂 .. just for the heck of it and to get an argument going .. and so the view expressed below are not entirely mine .. so you asked why should a woman “preen” herself and i ask why shouldnt the female preen herself … i mean, do you ever ask yourself why you dress up for a party .. its the same .. the male in the human provides more than the male in the animal kingdom is asked to provide … in the animal kingdom, the male’s duty is to help in procreation and thats about it .. the woman tigress teaches her little ones how to hunt and hunts to feed them .. in our world the man, provides food, shelter, and is expected to protect his female counterpart .. i think more than anything women love to preen and use the male as an excuse .. :-p and who says the male in the humans doesnt prettify himself .. i mean we are the only “animals” who take a razor and go after our hair .. ask a chimp to do that .. or a lion to cut off his mane .. who said the men arnt supposed to be endowed .. the men were always expected to be endowed .. in the earlier days, they were either good warriors, rich business men, intelligent brahmins, or had some trait which made them “endowed” .. this need not have been a physical trait but something which would help provide for a comfortable life for the females .. and the females and their families are always on the look out for such traits … ask your friends whose mums are looking out for a “suitable” boy .. i think preening is not something to do with civilisation .. if in the animal world the dogs lick their skin to keep it shining we use body wash .. the laws of nature are still more or less the same, civilisation just results in us temporarily forget the reason behind the logic and make some of us start andolan’s to question the logic .. does it matter so much if a woman cooks .. i mean my grandmother only cooked and took care of the house .. and my grandfather only worked and taught his kids how to swim and drive .. and took the family on holidays which he took responsibility to plann .. there was clarity in their work roles and happiness in performing them .. i mean does a cow say i wont bear any calves, i would only work in the field .. as far as the alpha male .. i dont think there is any such thing .. you know very well that james bond is a fictional character .. an alpha male is a possible concept where the ratio between the male and females is lopsided .. we humans have too many skills, talents, qualities which are likeable .. the permutation and combinations are too many .. and no one is perfect at everything .. selection in the humans is more evolved and we really cant compare 2 animals, leave alone human’s with animals ..

  3. Trauma Queen Says:

    suku – i specifically stated i was in an anthropoligical mood…this had nothing to do with male bashing…..if i was male bashing i would not have been so confused and asked so many q’s..i would have just made statements..all this started when i was watching a programme on iguanas on the discovery channel…the monotonous commentator said one line which made me laugh n think a lot…basically for the iguana “food is more important than sex” if she’s ready to mate but then decides she is hungry,..the male iguana just has to wait for her majesty to be in the mood…n even among the igunanas, it’s the female who chooses who she wants to mate with…it need not always be the strongest hunkiest iguana……n then i thought about tigers n buffalos n peacocks n watched goldfinger soon after….so now u know the history behind this thought process 😛i like the points u have put forth…as to how a larg(er) responsibilty falls on the male…but we r not talkin about marriage or socially related stuff..were just talking about mate selection…. now preening is not the same as basic hygiene..preening is the unecessary use of cosmetics or surgery n blah blah to look wear clothes n do stuff tu ur face n hair to make urself look attractive..dogs n cats do not lick themselves when they’re all set to mate…they do it to keep themselves do not confuse preening with hygiene. peacocks preen…they have pretty feathers so that can look attractive n all…have u ever wondered why the pea-hen is so ugly (in comparison to her hansdomer half)?? but if a peacock licks its feather to make a maggot fly away…(assuming maggots bother peacocks and assuming maggots know how to fly )that’s not preening 😛 human preening, i am beginning to think, is the result of social conditioning….but im not sure myself…the tigress might teach her cubs to hunt…just like how all females teach their lil ones to survive…just as much as the hu-man does..i guess as u said since humans r so smart n all..the duties r divided…n i guess while preening is predominantly also do stuff to prettify themslves (shaving n waxing n the axe effect n all) james bond may be fictitious/fictional, but i still wanna know why he gets all the girls…i would think james bond is like an alpha male, cos he is endowed with brains, brawn, charm n everything that makes him the DUDE in the human world…. dats why he always gets the girls….perhaps the alpha male does not exist in reality…but the very fact u have the porn industry…with a million woman sleeping with one man..why a male slut is just a good kisser..perhaps all this show that in natural conditions an alpha male would exist, but society has tried to make things very equal n mutual n blah…i mean our cousins the apes have alpha what happend to humans???? then again, the existence of orgies suggests that human mating is very mutual, and fair to everyone…no alpha male-female..everyone is happy….now u know very well i did not question roles n mores n feminism masculinism n blah…i just wnated to know what is the NATURAL process of mate selection…not socially, but anthropologically 😉

  4. Siva Sivaaa Says:

    <><>And while among all animal species it’s the female who chooses her mate, chooses when she wants to mate, and who typically chooses none other than the alpha male – it seems to be completely opposite with humans. <>/<>Surprised to see how you missed to mention that some females of species like spiders kill and eat away their ‘alpha’ males after the dating-mating session. Thankfully, this ain’t the case with homo sapiens. BTW, first time here through my cousin theanalogkid. Nice blog.

  5. SaraS-P Says:

    wow, others have said so much…even though most females adopt the passive preener role wholeheartedly, there are those who reject it, and there are the males who don’t fall for preening…

  6. Trauma Queen Says:

    hehe..nice one about the black widow….i purposely did not include that cos insects are in a different league..andthe wholepoint being..females of most speciies have somany privileges when it comes to mating..whatever happened to humans?so we all know things ahve changed due to civilization etc…but im is it meant to be .naturally’?

  7. autogato Says:

    True, I’ll second Sara. Others have said so much. I might not have much else to add. I loved this post, though!

  8. autogato Says:

    Have you ever read the work of David Buss? I think you’d really like it. Let me know if you would like me to send you an article. It relates to this.

  9. Canary Says:

    So much talked about women, makes me feel important on Women’s day today! 😛

  10. autogato Says:

    THe more I think about this…I know that evolutionary pressure shapes so much of our behavior – it is the reason why our brains work the way they work, why we do so many of the things that we do. But I can’t get past the fact that we also have these fabulous higher cognitive processes – so we get to exercise a bit of choice in how all of this plays out. We can choose to go against a great deal of it (ex: how evolutionarily, men are not prone to monogamy, yet they can do it). Hm.

  11. autogato Says:


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