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Understanding Women: Female Rivalry
June 17, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm PDT
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In this salon, Raven Connolly leads a discussion that will address the following questions: What can female rivalry tell us about the nature of women? How do women express aggression, and under what circumstances? Why is beauty and sexual reputation such a focus of female scrutiny? How do our social environments encourage or discourage rivalry between women? How is digital media influencing the expression of female rivalry?
Loved, hated, misunderstood, women are subject to scrutiny by men and women alike. Opinions about how women are, how women should be, and what to do about it are in great abundance. It’s no surprise then, to find contradictions in the chorus of opinions and assertions, and for the topic to provoke emotional reaction when discussed. Naturally, woman is a hugely complex and multifaceted subject whose very nature challenges our capacity to have rational discussion. Any attempt to uncover truth systematically is bound up with the emotional attitudes developed in our relationships with the women we know. To complicate things further, woman is a highly contested ideological symbol that is utilized for political and tribal purposes, making the search for truth threatening to competing social ecologies. However difficult to address, the question persists: what is woman’s nature? And what do we do about it?
So where do we begin with such a complex and contested inquiry? Rather than looking at male-female relations as a way of understanding female nature, this salon will focus on female-female dynamics. We hope that by looking at women and how they interact in exclusively female relationships, we will be able to reduce some of the complexity in the topic, and clarify our understanding of female nature. Women rely on their social networks for status, information and mating opportunities. However, women are also in competition with other women in their network for access to these resources. It is from this entanglement of converging and conflicting interests that we will explore female rivalry.
During the salon, we will discuss the basic principles underlying female competition using conceptual frameworks from evoluntionary biology. We will discuss direct and indirect aggression, bidirectional mating, mate poaching and the female proclivity to focus on the beauty and sexual reputation of other women. We will confront contemporary views and explanations of female nature and discuss our own experiences trying to make sense of female rivalry.
This event will be followed by a future salon on Male Rivalry.
- Competition Throughout Women’s Lives
- Feminist and Evolutionary Perspectives on Female-Female Competition
- Female Competition: Causes, Constraints, Content and Contexts
- Female Virtual Intrasexual Competition and Its Consequences
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