On January 30 2015, Laura García-Favaro presented a paper entitled “The ‘truth’ cannot be sexist?: Postfeminist biologism in transnational technologies of mediated intimacy”. This was part of the Critical Sexology Seminar ‘Feminist Encounters with Evolutionary Psychology’, which was convened by Rachel O’Neill and took place at King’s College London.
This seminar examined the social life of evolutionary psychology from feminist perspectives, bringing into focus the historical, cultural, and political continuities between evolutionary psychology and contemporary postfeminism. With contributions from Professor Deborah Cameron (University of Oxford), Dr Celia Roberts (Lancaster University) and Laura García-Favaro (City University London), discussions facilitated at this event explored questions such as: In what ways do evolutionary narratives contribute to the naturalisation of sexual difference that has become a pervasive feature of postfeminist media culture? How, in particular, do evolutionary and biological logics manifest within and across sites of mediated intimacy, from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus to Fifty Shades of Grey? Further, how might narratives from evolutionary psychology serve to consolidate market-orientated approaches to sex and relationships being elaborated under contemporary capitalism? Can the persistence of evolutionary psychology as a framework for understanding social life be mapped onto the broader conjuncture of neoliberalism? Are there unexamined continuities between evolutionary psychology and neoliberal rationalities, particularly with regard discourses of individualism, hierarchy, and meritocracy? Finally, how can feminists negotiate the double complexity of evolutionary psychology as both an academic field and a repository of popular narratives of gender and sexuality as they attempt to challenge relations of inequality and oppression? (O’Neill, 2014)