Female Strategies

Several female strategies have evolved that maximise opportunities for mating success, including;

  • Sexy Sons Hypothesis– females select attractive males as they will produce sons with the same attractive features, increasing their sons’ and thus their own reproductive fitness.
  • Handicap Hypothesis – Zahavi (1975) believes females select males with handicaps because it advertises ability to thrive despite handicaps, demonstrating superior genetic quality. This may explain females finding males attractive who drink or take drugs in large amounts, as they are demonstrating an ability to handle toxins, a sign of genetic fitness.
  • Courtship – females use courtship to select males on the basis of reproductive fitness, through males demonstrating strength, health and ability to provide resources. Prolonged courtship rituals also benefit females, as they make males invest more time, effort and resources, increasing the chances of males not deserting after successful mating’s and so investing more resources in females and their offspring. Thus the human practice of dating, with males investing resources to females.