Let’s get nerdy: The evolution of catty

Brace yourself, I’m going to get all nerdy on you now.

A recent study published in a small, seemingly obscure journal attempted to explain why women have a tendency to be catty.

Alpha males get the girl by acting like a peacock, being strong, aggressive and confident – exactly the kind of guy you’d want in caveman times. Apparently, alpha girls get the guy by disparaging her competition and making herself look good—passive aggressiveness that doesn’t involve fist fights because cave women must be nurturing the young cave kids. It’s all about creating the best offspring and then making sure they succeed in the wilderness.

“Do human females use indirect aggression as an intrasexual competition strategy?”

Sounds like a hot evening of journal reading, doesn’t it?

This particular study suggests that cattiness is passive aggressive behavior to make a woman look better to a potential mate.

The author’s description of “indirect aggression” includes:

1. Criticizing a competitor’s appearance

2. Spreading rumors about a person’s sexual behavior

3. Social exclusion

Sounds like catty to me.

Making yourself look good while tearing down other females around you is one sure way to get a man, right?

The author had noted a series of experiments to study passive aggressive behavior in women. She found that attractive teens were 35 percent more likely to be bullied by their plainer counterparts, which I found odd, but believable. And women were less friendly to a sexily dressed secretary, which I found totally believable.

Frankly, I think we’ve moved past fighting each other over sperm.

Please let me know if you disagree, but I don’t feel that catty behavior from women is because of a biological need to hook the alpha male. I think it’s much more about having one feel better about herself by making everyone else around her feel frumpy, incompetent and dense. It also makes me wonder about our pack mentality – are we more prone to be catty as a group? Gossip session, anyone?

It’s less about the man now, but more about other women, it seems.

The authors did suggest that cattiness is a trait found mostly in adolescent and young women – when females reach their reproductive peaks.

As for myself, I’ve moved beyond catty behavior. I have matured into a compassionate and understanding woman who values female friendships. Or maybe my eggs are just dying out.

Now, if you’re talking about the last size 8 pair of Manolo Blahniks at the sample sale at Nordstrom’s… it’s every woman for herself. And I think some of us may not be above a fist fight for that.


One response to “Let’s get nerdy: The evolution of catty

  1. A lot of pressure is put on women to make them feel insecure, might it be a byproduct of that, the same way painting their face every day and wearing a miniskirt is in 30 degree weather is a byproduct of that? Evolution is sound science, but when you don’t have fossils and genes to test your theory it’s just story telling.

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