The debate as to whether the male species has been the most influential on the primate social structure has been on the limelight of anthropological studies for many years. There have been critics who argue that the female species still remains influentially dominant over the other species. However, there are studies that reveal that the male specie is more influential. In this aspect, the dominance of the gender variables in the society context has been used to determine the dominance of the sexes in key social structures. From a historical perspective, the society has lived to believe that males are stronger and aggressive than females ( Ash & Robinson, 112). It is in this respect that men were accorded higher status in the society, and other preferential treatment over the women. However, in recent times, the perception has faded with the development of a progressive society. One of the characteristics of a progressive society includes a fair and just treatment between men and women in the society. From this perspective, women have positioned themselves in the society in a manner that depicts them as the most influential. Without a central focus on humans, he following discussion is also based on other examples of primates. The discussion below illustrates why the males are still most influential in the society.
Studies have shown that primates’ in particular human males are strong beings, and use their physicality for purposes of protection and survival. Such an argument cannot be disputed on the basis that profession and careers that entails use of physical strength have always been accorded to men. Such professions and careers range from military, defense, production of food and construction. Studies conducted on primate animals like the chimpanzee reveals that a male chimpanzee would indulge in more fights than the female chimpanzee (Kappller, 212). In such a context, the fights are as a result of competition over female chimpanzees or food. This is a clear depiction that male influences much of what happens in a social structure.
It is a fact that the ratio of male to female primates has always been imbalanced, that is, there are fewer males than females. In this aspect, male primates have a tendency of mating with a variety of female primates, since many of the females will contend for the male attention. Such an argument can be based from the polygyny mating system observed in primates social settings. In such settings, the male species will tend to occupy a certain are in accordance with the number of females available. This means, the male will perceive the availability of females as a resource and will exclude any potential competition from a fellow male.
An in-depth analysis of the political system in the modern world is an example of how the male dominance in the society is immeasurable compared with that of the women. Most of the world society’s today has a larger percentage of men lobbyists compared to women. Such can be attributed to what is referred as male-male alliances in primates. This is mostly accomplished when the male primates have a single objective, of either to amass wealth, protect their families or to gather resources. The political dominance by males can also be derived from the male-resource control strategy, which is more observable in primates. The political dominance of male in the society also originates from an early perception of the males that women cannot be accorded leverage to political power. Perhaps such can be attributed to sexual jealousy in male primates (Phyllis, 78).
The manner in which labor is divided on the basis of gender in a human setting reveals how the male becomes influential than females. It is likely for females, in these context women to be accorded workloads that do not rely on physical strength. A historical review, would suggest that male primates could indulge in activities like hunting and war, unlike the female primates who are peaceful and distasteful to activities that bring forth harm and injuries. Therefore, females are prominent in activities that require mental strength. For example, female primates are known of taking care of offspring and reproduction.
An analysis of how females communicate through hormonal behaviors reveals that females are more stimulated by the presence of their sexual counterparts, that is, the males. In this case, primates such as the birds become more active in the presence of the male birds, particularly when laying eggs or building their nests. In this aspect, the male birds have a sexual impact on their females and a sense of protection. Such examples have been observed in birds such as the Japanese quail bird and the white-crowned sparrows. Other examples of hormonal behaviors can also be observed in tilapia fish (Robert et al, 113).
Social behavior of primates is usually involves an integration of the genetic and environmental factors. The levels of aggression and affiliation usually vary in accordance with the species and the social context. For instance in species whereby the females remain in their natal groups, female-to-female bonds tend to be more prevalent compared to male-to-male bonds. On the other hand, male-to-male bonds tend to be more prominent in cases involving female-to-female transfers. An overview of the primates as a whole reveals that females tend to exhibit aggression as male primates, but male usually wound one another compared to females, implying that male’s influence on aggression is more dominant compared to the influence of the female primates. The sex differences and their influence on primate social structure can be understood best when analyzing the reproductive strategies that are sex specific, instead of analyzing the intrinsic differences in terms of temper ( William, 211). Different primates have different variations with respect to their development of social behavior. In this context, species usually show variations in their limits and potentials regarding behavioral flexibility and learning. An important aspect is that these limits are usually determined by the underlying genetic factors that are favored over the course of an evolutionary history of the various species. The principal argument is which phenotype plays a significant role in influencing primate social behavior. The primate social structure is due to the aspect of natural selection in specific habitats, implying that natural selection plays an integral role in determining the primate social structure and behavior trends. Sex, age, aggression, intelligence and motivation are key factors that influence the dominance of the primates. In most of the primates that are non-human, males have exhibited more dominance compared to their female counterparts in terms of the primate social structure. Recent studies have revealed that the male influence on the primate social structure is increasing, a type of natural selection referred to as the sexual selection. This approach to natural selection usually focuses on one sex, the males of any primate species (Ash & Robinson, 114). The outcome of sexual selection is that it tends to increase the frequencies of traits, which in turn leads to the greater influence in the acquisition of mates. A typical scenario involving sexual selection that can result to male dominance is where mating is polygamous and there is higher male competition for female species compared to higher female competition for females. An important aspect of sexual selection is that it results to dimorphism depending on the number of traits especially the body size.
Another approach to perceive male dominance in primate social structure is due to the use of infanticide as a strategy to reproduce. Male primates may kill the infants that are fathered by other male primates (Kapller, 89). This implies that male primates usually tend to maximize their chances of reproductive success, irrespective of the effect that such actions have on the population or the survival of the species. The outcome of the death of an infant is that the primate mother usually resumes cycling, resulting to it becoming sexually receptive. When female primates have become sexually receptive, the chances of the male dominating the primate social structure are enhanced. Conventionally, the fundamental unit of a primate social structure comprises of the primate mother and her infants, with the exception of cases in which species exhibit monogamy or polyandry; whereby males do not play any role in the rearing of the offspring.
From the above examples, it is vividly clear that the male primates have are more influential than their female counterparts. Nevertheless, most of the influential aspects exhibited by the ale primates revolve around sexual interests, politics, communication and other key social structures like the economy, defense and labor workforce
Ash, patricia and David Robinson. The Emergence of Humans: An Exploration of the Evolutionary Timeline. NewYork: John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print
Kappeler, Peter. Primate males: causes and consequences of variation in group composition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print.
Phyllis, Lee. Primate ontogeny, cognition, and social behaviour. New York: CUP Archive, 1996. Print.
Robert, Jurmain, Kilgore Lynn and Trevathan Wenda. Essentials of Physical Anthropology. New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.
William, Haviland. Anthropology: The Human Challenge. New York: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.