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.