Cinderella, for example, revolves around the perniciousness of what researchers call “female intrasexual competition”—the often-underhanded ways women compete with each other. While men evolved to be openly competitive, jockeying for position verbally or physically, female competition tends to be covert—indirect and sneaky—and often involves sabotaging another woman into being less appealing to men…
Psychologist Joyce Benenson, who researches sex differences, traces women’s evolved tendency to opt for indirectness—in both competition and communication—to a need to avoid physical altercation, either with men or other women. This strategy would have allowed ancestral women to protect their more fragile female reproductive machinery and to fulfill their roles as the primary caretaker for any children they might have.
This piece is well worth reading in full. The quote above struck me, since I’ve been writing lately about the UBC study saying millennial males place lower value on competitiveness and independence (for two things) than openness and empathy. Presumably, there is a cultural influence at work, and I suspect it is tied into the Feminist push to raise all children to see the world with female eyes.
But competitiveness and independence, and openness and empathy are not the exclusive property of one sex. That competitiveness is considered a ‘male’ trait is true for only the male competitiveness style (open). Female competitiveness is just as intense. It just takes a different, and one could argue, less healthy form.
I could hear Jordan Peterson’s voice in the discussion of the evolutionary biology involved in creating the Cinderella/Snow White archetypes. I was also reminded of his discussion of highly-competent women, in high-pressure professions, he’s helped with assertiveness training. Understanding why one might need assertiveness training would be beneficial, and flatly denying evolutionary lessons in favor of a political agenda would not.