Let me just preface this piece with a big ol’ NOT ALL MEN because of my many, many posts in which I rag on men, this post in particular does not apply to any man I personally know and is directed solely at that certain subset of odious dudebros who crawl around under the rocks of the Internet.
Last month there was a shitpost on Twitter that got everyone all riled up.
Some scumsucking waste of space MRA-type posted “Women over 40 are useless” and then made fun of everyone who replied. I didn’t take a screenshot, because I prefer not to give the guy free publicity. Besides, this is a sentiment we’ve seen repeatedly over the past couple decades, as misogynists gradually realized that SCIENCE!!! ™ was a great way to shit on women and scientists were like, IDK whatevs, we’re mostly men too. So it was neither clever nor original, and thus deserves to fade into oblivion.
If you have been so fortunate as to never having encountered this notion before, according to some people, it doesn’t make any sense for women to stay alive and continue to function into our old age, because we’re no longer reproductively “relevant”. According to some men, women should curl up and die if we make their peepees sad because anything they can’t stick their dicks into shouldn’t exist.
Of course, men are not exactly discriminating when it comes to sticking their dicks into things, after all you can see men fucking literally insane things like vacuum cleaners (damn, I went to link to this news article I read a few years back of a man who was seriously injured pursuing carnal knowledge of a Hoover and it turns out there is an entire genre of porn based around this concept. Men, ru ok?) and exhaust pipes.
For whatever reason, rather than minding their own business and riding off into the sunset with their Dyson Humdinger, some men seem hell bent on going out of their way to tell older women that they wouldn’t have sex with them under any circumstances and using SCIENCE!!! ™ to make it seem like a logical step rather than assholery.
(brief aside – not only it is assholery, but it is assholery based on a huge and entirely erroneous assumption that older women even WANT to have sex with such men anyway, that we’re dying of a raging case of the horn-horns and crave some douchebag’s dong to make our world complete, which not so much. A whole lot of older women have experienced a series of tedious, painful romantic relationships with chronically disappointing males and have decided to take a hard pass on them in the future, and find that we do not miss them one iota. Additionally, many of us find that gray hair and wrinkles a very lovely gift that for the first time in our entire lives, allows us to navigate the world not being constantly harassed and predated. This is not a sad state of affairs, but a cause for joy, as it is a cause for joy any time one has a 250 lb tumor excised.)
Some pretty important people take this concept quite seriously.
Et tu, Discover?
As it so happens, evolutionary biology happens to be one of the 7000 subjects I am pathologically interested in. I went through a phase of several years in which I read dozens of books and articles on the topic, to such an extent that while I’d never call myself an expert, I’m certainly a knowledgeable layman. I don’t often talk about evolutionary biology though, because even though I find it a tremendously helpful lens through which to view the world, bringing it up invariably starts an argument, either with a person who cannot wrap their heads around the fact that human beings are a particular thing and thus have behaviors that are innate and not a social construct, or worse, people who think they know a lot about evolutionary biology because they read an MRA website once.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Now, the logical answer to the question of “why do human females outlive their fertility” is that obviously it helps in some way to pass down our genes to future generations. We don’t really need to know why it’s good, it’s obviously and inarguably good, because if it wasn’t beneficial, it wouldn’t BE. We mature mamas would have died out a long time ago if we were actually useless, hanging heavily around the neck of society like a pair of dimestore reading glasses dangling on a chain. If the existence of older women was truly pointless, we our genes would have not survived to this generation, not unlike the genes of a man who exclusively fucks vacuum cleaners.
You see, armchair evolutionary biologists, that’s how evolutionary biology actually WORKS when you’re engaging with it in intellectual honesty rather than as a means to an end. Women over 40 are clearly not useless, because if they were useless, they wouldn’t exist.
But that would be a really short essay. So rather than dismiss the question out of hand, because I’m an inquisitive person and I never dismiss anything out of hand, even gross and pathological ideas, let’s take a peek at the question through that useful lens of evolutionary biology, and see what lies beneath. After all, the question of why human females outlive their fertility is not actually gross or pathological because questions asked from legitimate scientific curiosity are never either of those things. Why human females outlive their fertility so significantly is completely scientifically legitimate and very intriguing, even though it’s a shame that pop-culture mansplainers choose to publicly phrase to the question as “Dude isn’t it FUCKED UP that bitches don’t just like up and DIE when we’re through shooting our penises into them?”
To start off, let me explain what I mean when I say “human beings are a thing and our behavior is innate, and not a social construct”. People sometimes get confused by this notion because it’s clear that samurais and Zulu warriors and the Kardashians are all human beings and yet they act wildly different from one another. But underneath the surface, human beings have things in common, and this is because we are all human beings. A dog has more things in common with a dog than it does with a cat, for example – even a chihuahua will bark at a stranger, and a Great Dane, even though it is as big as a lion, has far more in common behaviorally speaking with the chihuahua than it does the King of Beasts. So it stands to reason that human beings, who ARE ANIMALS, are gonna have some qualities that are innate to our species.
Scientists have compiled a list of these qualities and it’s referred to as the List of Human Universals. These things speak to what it means to be human. Every human culture ties knots, for example, isn’t that crazy?? All humans use metaphors despite the fact that they’re as unnecessary as a soup sandwich. Every human culture does their hair in SOME fashion; obviously not the same fashion across all humans, but all humans style their hair (even Nancy Pelosi; perhaps she’s not a lizard after all). Every human language has nouns and verbs, every human culture uses baby talk when speaking to infants, every human culture has some type of poetry.
There are, of course, bad things innate to humanity too, like jealousy and war and rape and greed, and they are a part of us just like it is a part of your dog’s nature to sniff the butt of any new dog he encounters. No matter how much liberals like to pretend they can erase these fundamentally human qualities if only they get the magic just right, unfortunately pretending and believing in magic are human characteristics as well and these qualities are as innate as your cat licking itself and a deer bounding along. They’re real and inarguable.
Some of these qualities are sex-based in nature. Because just like with those deer I mentioned above, where the boy deer ram their antlers into each other to win the favor of the girl deer, in the Animal Kingdom, there are things that males do that females don’t and vice versa. So, like, for example, if two human women get into a fight, neither one says “I’m going to rape you and force you to bear a child against your will”. That is something a man might say, so if you see someone saying that, they are probably a man, no matter what they call themselves.
And believe it or not, this is still Arnold Schwarzennegger:
So sometimes, it can be the case that men may not understand the value or worth or usefulness of some things women do and are, because the things that men value and find worthy and useful are not always the same thing as the things that women do. And vice versa! Sure! I guess! If you say so! Though I do find men have much better PR people than women do as a general rule and we have all long been expected to look at the amazing things men do and ooh and ahh over them, while the things women do are often denigrated and belittled. Because oohing and aahing over the stuff men do while surviving on no praise and no recognition for our own phenomenal exploits is one of the things women do best.
Anyway, a lot of men across the political spectrum like to treat evolutionary biology like an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet in which they get to pick and choose the stuff they like and leave behind that disgusting tofu-veggie stirfry because they’re scared of anything that isn’t deepfried and covered in gravy. But unlike an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet, that is not how evolutionary biology works. Evolutionary biology is not a fair weather friend in which when it works for you, you use it, and when it says something you don’t like, you ignore it. If you purport to believe in SCIENCE!!™ you have to take a bite of everything laid out on the evolutionary biology smorgasbord whether you like it or whether you’d rather have a second helping of 24 year olds.
So open wide, because here comes a great big old bite of reality!!
Why do women over 40 exist? Because society NEEDS THEM. Because our families NEED US. Because older women are protectors, providers, and preservers of the cultural wisdom that rash and inexperienced younger people may not be privy to. Because when older women survive past their fertile years, their children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and all the people in their tribe or village or nation who are distantly related to them are all more likely to survive.
Older women – we know shit and we can help you.
It doesn’t take a rocket, or any other kind of scientist either to ponder the many, many useful roles that older women fill in all sorts of cultures and societies historically and around the world. All it takes is some intellectual honesty and a smidge of knowledge that didn’t come from a YouTube video made by a guy called TestosteroneDaemonALPHA69. Older women, are, shockingly, much more valuable to the survival of the species than an Instagram model. And interestingly, women live longer on average then men – six to eight years, as a matter of fact, and no, this isn’t just because daring men die younger, SCIENCE!!! ™ has shown us that men are more vulnerable to a whole host of health issues. Which just goes to show you that older women are actually MORE valuable than older men are, since you guys weren’t even valuable enough to keep alive as long as us.
Those who live by the sword of evolutionary biology, must die by the sword of evolutionary biology, and evolutionary biology tells us that older women are super important because we keep right on existing. Things that are beneficial to the species – useful, even – survive. Things that don’t, don’t. And older women survive.
Lo and behold, the ability to shoot a feeble stream of semen into Anna Nicole Smith at the age of 89 is, evolutionarily speaking, much less useful than the ability of a 42/52/62/72/82 and yes, even 92 year old grandmother to provide childcare, gather and prepare foods, make clothes and other household goods, toss a log on the fire now and then, charm friends and form alliances with neighbors and strangers, care for the injured or sick (our superior immune systems plus a lifetime of exposure to germs give women the advantage against all sorts of bugaboos), and serve as a living font of wisdom and knowhow collected over the course of a lifetime – critical back in the days before written language was invented.
Old ladies, the world’s original memesters.
How can this be, that something many men don’t particularly want to ejaculate into has utility in other ways? Because SEX IS NOT THE ENDGAME, gents! I know some of you have had your brains addled by the supernormal stimuli of Internet porn to such extent that you think sticking your dick into a hole is the end all, be all, but it isn’t. Passing down genes to future generations is the endgame. Sex is merely the mechanism. Yes, sexual selection drives evolution, but sexual selection ain’t shit if your offspring does not survive to reproduce, themselves.
You can have the most beautiful woman in the world, let’s say IDK, Margot Robbie, or whoever, she seems hot right now, and if she was plunked down in nature, red in tooth and claw, without anyone to help her, even if she was filled to overflowing with your precious seed, she would not survive and nor would your genes. Game over, man, game over. Even if she had YOU to help her, you big strong brute you, the minute that baby started to come you would have no idea what to do and would run around boiling water and tearing sheets because you saw that on some old sitcom somewhere and you would LONG for a grizzled old gal who knew what the fuck she was doing to show up.
If a woman got to the age of 40 (really, more like 45, after all I had baby at 42 and it wasn’t even hard) and then keeled over dead the second her uterus closed up shop, what would happen to those kids she had at 39? Little tiny humans need care, a lot of care, a lot of care for a very long time, so much care you would literally not believe how much care if you have no children yet, and so it only makes sense that women would live at least a childhood’s length beyond when they can have a baby.
Fun fact, you can’t trust Debbie from the secretarial pool to raise your kid for you once you’re gone. This is because no matter how young and perky she is, Debbie is a cunt. There’s a reason why there are so many fairy tales about evil stepmothers (my stepmother is the world’s greatest, but there are a lot of fairy tales about them for a reason). And that’s because you can’t trust another person – anyone, let alone someone whose interests may run completely counter to the interests of a child she is completely unrelated to – to raise your kid.
Researchers call this “The Cinderella Effect” – stepparents are far more likely to kill their partner’s children than biological parents are. It’s gross, it’s ugly, it’s one of the harshest truths there is, but stepparents are among the most likely people to kill your offspring. It would be evolutionarily insane for nature to program women to stay fertile till 45 and then keel over dead leaving Tiny Adorable Children in mortal peril in the clutches of a 22 year old whose biggest claim to fame up till that point is that she can tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue.
And here’s the weirdest part – actually sex IS the endgame. In a world where men’s brains are not addled by the supernormal stimuli of Internet porn to such extent that they cannot wrap their peabrains around a woman having any use other than as cum dumpster, men are actually attracted to women for all sorts of reasons. Men find things like a woman being smart, hard-working, kind, generous, wise, affectionate, domestic, friendly, well-rounded and I don’t mean in a physical way – whatever, insert your fave non-sexual descriptor here – sexy. That is why, not so very long ago, people actually sought out human connections with people they found compatible and companionable rather than just swiping right on Tinder on those nights their ShopVac had a headache. Being attracted to someone is based on more than just appearance; I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
Because EVOLUTION ITSELF has programmed you, YES YOU, my masculine friend, with the desire to get with women who not only have curvy hips and glorious titties, but who are capable of surviving – not only surviving themselves and keeping your offspring alive, but even keeping YOU alive. Again, YES YOU, and any man in denial about the usefulness of his trusty ol’ wife to keep him alive has never stopped to consider that before very recently, women – those same women you like to decry as lazybone bon-bon eaters – did a huge amount of work to keep the family, up to and including her husband, alive.
Mundane shit like washing dishes and fetching clean water and keeping the fire going and milking the cow and dumping the chamber pots used to be, even just a century ago, matters of life and death. Women who were clever and creative and charming could even give their spouses a leg up on the competition by using resources frugally, gathering or creating resources herself, and forming social alliances that men could then exploit to gain more resources. And science support this too – married men make more money than unmarried men, and even live longer than unmarried men do. The longer a man is married (or in other words, the older his wife gets) the stronger the effect. That’s right, we actually get MORE useful to you over the course of time, even though we aren’t quite as shiny as we used to be.
This is a two-way street, of course. Men who stay alive are themselves able to continue to protect and provide for their wives and those little knee-biters they sired, and the more shady customers amongst the ranks of maleness may even end up with more opportunities to spread their seed because of their mate’s efforts. Because your first wife kept you alive, nursed you back to health after that nasty encounter with the saber tooth tiger and prevented you from getting intestinal parasites, even helped you to gather up scarce resources in a hard cruel world, men may be more able to take on a second wife or even a third, or at least hit a couple chicks on the side now and then.
Evolutionary biology weaves a pretty tangled web sometimes.
Bros, if you weren’t attracted to things beyond pretty faces and shapely bods, the whole human race would have died out a super long time ago. Including YOU. Especially you, my dudes, because of all the men who have ever lived, only 40% of them have genes that survived to this day and male genes dying out happens quite a bit really – not only from greater odds of accidents and disease, but because every time Genghis Khan rolls into town the first thing he does is kill off all the adult males. The truth is, it’s very, very likely those non-Margot-Robbie-esque qualities that attract you that matter the most to the survival of your genes. The things women bring to the table beyond appearance alone matter hugely and they render us very, very far from useless even once we stop releasing eggs every month.
And if that still isn’t enough, I have one more little cherry to drop on top of our evolutionary biology sundae here – when you mate with a long lived person, you ensure that your genes are then mixed with genes for a long lifespan, improving the survival and pass-down-ability of your genes even more so. Thus it is entirely possible – indeed, likely – that one of the many reasons women live as long as they do is as an advertisement of what you’re gonna get as that young nubile thing you’re smitten with, ages. For unlike Hollywood portrayals where the 16 year old nymphet inexplicably has a hideous ancient old crone for a mother, in nature, 16 year old nymphets often have 32-50 year old mothers who are still young and attractive and are able to not only help raise their children’s offspring, but are also a living testament to healthy genes running in the family.
Long story short – the question is NOT “why do human females outlive their fertility” but “why WOULDN’T they outlive their fertility, all things considered?” The answer is obvious and clearcut if you believe in evolutionary biology half as much as you claim to, dudes.
But hey. If you are a person who looks at your fellow human as nothing more than a hole to stick your genitals into and decries people as useless on that basis, may I suggest simply buying a vacuum cleaner instead?