[T]he evolutionary roots of [competitiveness in males] seem clear to anthropologists like Helen Fisher of Rutgers University.Tierney is responding to the criticism his earlier column on the subject touched off. I wrote about that column myself, saying:
"Evolution has selected for men with a taste for risking everything to get to the top of the hierarchy," she said, "because those males get more reproductive opportunities, not only among primates but also among human beings. Women don't get as big a reproductive payoff by reaching the top. They're just as competitive with themselves - they want to do a good job just as much as men do - but men want to be more competitive with others."
Evolutionary psychologists see two kinds of payoffs that traditionally went (and often still go) to victorious men. Women have long been drawn to men at the top of a hierarchy (a clan leader, Donald Trump) who have the resources to support children.
And when women pursued what's called a short-term reproductive strategy - a quick fling - then presumably evolution favored the woman who was attracted to a man with good genes, as manifest either in his looks or in some display of prowess. If the theory's right and the unconscious urges persist in women, you can begin to understand why some women wait in hotel lobbies looking for rock stars.
The usual strategy for talking about sex differences.
A modern convention: To write or talk about how women and men are different, make sure you portray whatever attribute you ascribe to women as better.
And wouldn't you know, the female expert Tierney finds to say the theory in today's column has written a book called:
better than men. On a genetic level. A woman scientist says so.
Sorry, I'm not buying this sugar-coated stereotyping. It will hurt women!