Pussyhat Psychology

Many people dislike the idea of Evolutionary Psychology but it can be a fun game to play. Find a current situation and then create a self-referential “explanation”.

Take this for example. My inner Evolutionary Psychologist would theorize thusly:

Women are selected for silly behavior in public because this helps convince men that they aren’t threatening. It also helps activate warm and protective feelings in men (the same way foolish plans of children can charm their parents). Surely this is why thousands of women are knitting “pussyhats”. They have no intention whatsoever of being taken seriously. Instead they’ll look for all the world like a bunch of 10 year olds in cute little cat hats that remind men of their sexual value (in an oblique, tasteful way).

Seen this way, the entire Women’s March on Washington seems like a group mating tactic, signaling to men that the Women’s Movement is no threat to them: “See we’re funny and kooky and if we were left to our own devices we’re doomed! Protect us from ourselves!”

I never would have made the Darwinian connections without a flip comment from Marginal Revolution about the NYT article. On the other hand, I’m very sure that Evolutionary Psychologists have theorized about public silliness as a feature of sexual selection.

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