Acting like Animals

This semester I am taking an Animal Behavior course for my Biology major.  While the title of the course clearly indicates that it applies to animals, there have been many mistaken anthropomorphizing thoughts running through my mind and lots of anthropomorphic jokes made by my professors and other students.  In the interest of Penn’s call to make academics more interdisciplinary, I feel that I can take the time here to ruminate and play with the concepts I have learned in Animal Behavior in light of human gender in society today.

When we first began exploring the definition of gender, the scientific tendencies in my mind kept demanding that there has to be an obvious reason for two genders and the division of gender roles that exist today.  Or at least, there has to be some very clear scientific origin.  Learning about male birds and mammals developing “sexy” characteristics to attract females, and females being “choosy” in their selection of mate seemed very much reminiscent of the activities of Penn students preparing for a Friday night.  With more consideration, I realized that the maintenance of strict gender roles is a lot closer to animal behavior than human reason.  Perhaps we have come to a time in human evolution to consider more than just the need to make offspring.

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One Response to Acting like Animals

  1. jmickey317 says:

    Haha! Yes, This is very interesting. I too have taken a biology course in which I learned about the females investment in offspring and the reasons for the behaviors in courting between males and females of the animal kingdom. While I can appreciate the idea that perhaps higher reasoning should allow us as humans to overcome the basic instincts of sex drive, I fear you forget that we are indeed animals as well. Like the phrase “animal” urges, we have drives like an other animal, and the fact that we have higher reasoning does not take away from the fact that those needs exist, and should be met for our overall health and wellbeing. Now in a perfect world perhaps such grave importance wouldn’t be placed on the preparation for a friday night, but I do believe that we, as humans, get some kind of fulfillment from even this socially enforced, socially constructed phenomena of having to perform a certain way at a friday night party. 😀 Thanks for the spark! It’s very interesting.

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