Ready, Aim, Puke
Fig. 1. An artist's impression of how the women's rights movement might have proceeded, were the real world remotely similar to Nick Neave's delusions.
Amanda and the Pandagon commenters already gave this a good thwacking, but I couldn't help joining in. Dr Nick Neave of Northumbria University has been writing for the Daily Mail (never a good sign) about the evolutionary psychology (bad sign) of the innate differences between the sexes (sirens, flashing lights, heavens rolled up like scroll).
"At the risk of sounding extremely sexist," Dr Neave asserts that women are fundamentally programmed to depend on men, so that all women, all the time, live in terror of abandonment and would never be happy with a lower-earning partner (note to self: am man. must stop going to wrong toilets.) So they should just shut up and go home and make him a turkey pot pie, because men don't like clever women and anyway only stay with their wives because they're forced to - he doesn't say by whom, but it certainly can't be women because they are weak and feeble.
Read the article if you're suffering from low blood pressure, but there's no real need. It's the standard roll-call of evo-psych errors: gross generalisations, no consideration of obvious mundane reasons for human behaviour, dodgy "experiments", complete denial of the existence of sexism, confusion of natural with desirable, and a level of anthropological and primatological expertise gained through occasional viewings of Captain Caveman while high on Sugar Puffs. Yes, it's depressing that attitudes like this persist, but it's also kind of sweet when their holders convince themselves that they're bold, unorthodox mavericks for trotting them out in the Daily Mail.
However, my main point is this: If women didn’t at heart want to live independent lives, we wouldn't currently have the choice to do so. Men didn’t invite us politely into the professions and the parliaments and the learned societies, nor did we breeze in on a whim one day when we felt like slacking off the ironing. Women struggled bitterly for the rights to work, own property, borrow money under their own names, and go into higher education even if it meant being taught, grudgingly, by open misogynists. And it has been largely women who have worked to make divorce easy and socially acceptable, which rather splats Dr Neve’s "naturally clingy" crap. We fought, and are still fighting, for these things because (oddly enough) we want to do them. The Dr Neaves of the world are like boys in a treehouse, determinedly stamping on our fingers as we climb the ladder, all the while shouting that we're scared of heights.
Incidentally, I'm relatively soft on evo-psych in general. I think it's a shame that what could be an exciting and rigorous new discipline has become Justify Your Tired Old Cliche-Omics. So here’s a piece of evo-psych I do believe: young people are genetically preprogrammed to feel happier when the people in authority over them have respect for their life decisions. So, if there are any A-level students reading this, remember - UK universities are finding it increasingly difficult to make up student numbers, especially in the sciences. There’ll be plenty of places free at universities where the teaching staff think you are a real human being.