The Psychology Today blog has a post from Sunday, April 19th in which author Satoshi Kanazawa argues that men sexually harass women because they aren’t sexist. He approaches sexual harassment from an evolutionary psychology perspective. Okay, so let’s see (and debunk) what he has to say:
While feminists and social scientists tend to explain sexual harassment in terms of “patriarchy” and other nefarious ideologies, Browne locates the ultimate cause of both types of sexual harassment in the sex differences in evolved psychological mechanisms and mating strategies, thereby “seeking roots in biology rather than ideology.”
It is inaccurate to attribute sexual harassment and other forms of sexism to biology. Sexism and sexual harassment exist because we live in a patriarchal society. Patriarchy is not rooted in biology. It is a social construct. Let’s revisit what patriarchy is since it looks like some people haven’t got their 101 basics down. bell hooks, an American author, feminist, and social activist defines patriarchy as:
a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence.
Essentially, patriarchy is a social and political system that entitles men to certain undeserved privileges. It is reinforced and perpetuated through socialization that indoctrinates people into patriarchal ideology: believing that upper-class, white, heterosexual, cis-gender men are superior to women and all other men. Sexism is a product of and an indication of patriarchy. There is nothing natural or biological about patriarchy and all of its manifestations: sexism, sexual harassment, racism, homophobia, classism, etc.