Tag Archives: sexual selection

‘The Evolution of Woman’ versus ‘The Descent of Man’

Women have interpreted and applied evolutionary theory in arguments about women’s nature for over a century. Eliza Burt Gamble (1841-1920) was a pioneer in this endeavor. Gamble was an advocate of the Woman Movement, a mother, a writer, and a … Continue reading

Harvard Project #3: An address to the National Science Foundation

Following the success of last year’s collaboration, the Darwin and Gender project is delighted to team up again with students at the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University.   Students of Prof. Sarah Richardson’s Sex, Gender and Evolution course have used the correspondence to produce a … Continue reading

Women, Fashion and Frivolity

If, as we saw in an earlier post, evolutionary theory could account for the peculiarities and embellishments of men’s dress, what about women’s fashion? In “Development in Dress,” George Darwin argued that the apparent fancy points of men’s coats, hats, and cloaks … Continue reading

What’s the difference between a peacock and a pocket flap?

Why do hats have hatbands? Why are there buttons on a cuff, or tails on a coat? What does a peacock have in common with a pocket flap? According to Charles Darwin’s son George, the answer to all these questions … Continue reading

Women and peahens: Darwin on sexual selection

What’s the difference between a woman and a peahen?   Seems a silly (if not insulting) question.  But in Descent of Man Darwin proposed a theory which, uncharacteristically, set women decisively apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.   According to … Continue reading