Active males, reactive females: stereotypic sex roles in sexual conflict research?

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Active males, reactive females: stereotypic sex roles in sexual conflict research? / Karlsson, Kristina; Madjidian, Josefin.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 81, No. 5, 2011, p. 901-907.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Active males, reactive females: stereotypic sex roles in sexual conflict research?

AU - Karlsson, Kristina

AU - Madjidian, Josefin

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - Sexual selection research has always been a subject for debate. Much of the criticism has concerned the imposition of conventional sex roles based on an anthropomorphic view of animals imposed by the researcher. This conventional view may have hampered research, for example from acknowledging male mate choice. Sexual conflict theory is a fast-growing research field, which initially stems from sexual selection research. We investigated how the sexes are described in sexual conflict research and what characteristics they are assigned. We assessed these topics with literature studies of (1) the terminology used and (2) what parameters are incorporated in sexual conflict models. We found that males and females are consequently described with different words, which have different connotations regarding activity in the conflict. Furthermore, theoretical models mainly investigate conflict costs for females, although costs for both sexes are necessary for coevolutionary dynamics. We argue that sexual conflict research uses stereotypic characterizations of the sexes, where males are active and females reactive. Thus, previous discussions on the use of anthropomorphic terms in sexual selection seem not to have had any impact on sexual conflict research, which is why the topic of stereotyping the sexes is still of current importance. We suggest that scientific gains can be made by eliminating a sex-stereotyped perspective. (C) 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

AB - Sexual selection research has always been a subject for debate. Much of the criticism has concerned the imposition of conventional sex roles based on an anthropomorphic view of animals imposed by the researcher. This conventional view may have hampered research, for example from acknowledging male mate choice. Sexual conflict theory is a fast-growing research field, which initially stems from sexual selection research. We investigated how the sexes are described in sexual conflict research and what characteristics they are assigned. We assessed these topics with literature studies of (1) the terminology used and (2) what parameters are incorporated in sexual conflict models. We found that males and females are consequently described with different words, which have different connotations regarding activity in the conflict. Furthermore, theoretical models mainly investigate conflict costs for females, although costs for both sexes are necessary for coevolutionary dynamics. We argue that sexual conflict research uses stereotypic characterizations of the sexes, where males are active and females reactive. Thus, previous discussions on the use of anthropomorphic terms in sexual selection seem not to have had any impact on sexual conflict research, which is why the topic of stereotyping the sexes is still of current importance. We suggest that scientific gains can be made by eliminating a sex-stereotyped perspective. (C) 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KW - gender bias

KW - male cost

KW - philosophy of science

KW - semantics

KW - sexual

KW - conflict

KW - sexual selection

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.01.033

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.01.033

M3 - Review article

VL - 81

SP - 901

EP - 907

JO - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

JF - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

SN - 1095-8282

IS - 5

ER -