Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 1995 Mar;6(1):1-32.
doi: 10.1007/BF02734133.

The Evolutionary Origins of Patriarchy


The Evolutionary Origins of Patriarchy

B Smuts. Hum Nat. .


This article argues that feminist analyses of patriarchy should be expanded to address the evolutionary basis of male motivation to control female sexuality. Evidence from other primates of male sexual coercion and female resistance to it indicates that the sexual conflicts of interest that underlie patriarchy predate the emergence of the human species. Humans, however, exhibit more extensive male dominance and male control of female sexuality than is shown by most other primates. Six hypotheses are proposed to explain how, over the course of human evolution, this unusual degree of gender inequality came about. This approach emphasizes behavioral flexibility, cross-cultural variability in the degree of partriarchy, and possibilities for future change.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 23 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Hum Nat. 1992 Sep;3(3):217-49 - PubMed
    1. Can J Psychol. 1958 Sep;12(3):159-64 - PubMed
    1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Feb 1;89(3):987-90 - PubMed
    1. Violence Vict. 1993 Fall;8(3):271-94 - PubMed
    1. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1987 Apr;55(2):162-70 - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources