Hot flashes, moody outbursts, shriveling boobs… You’d think that with stuff like childbirth, stilettos and the gender pay gap already on the table, women could be spared that final nuisance-on-the-cake, menopause. Come on nature, can’t dudes take some of the brunt of baby-making?
Well in theory, they could — at least according to Canadian evolutionary biologist Rama Singh, who argues that menopause is caused by the social trend of older men going for younger women, and that if things were reversed — if we had more Harolds and Maudes frolicking around — it would instead be men whose reproductive capacities ended early. The conventional belief says that males prefer ripe young mates (yuck) because they’re more fertile than the older ladies and, you know, evolution. But if Professor Singh is correct, menopause is actually a result (and not the cause) of this bias.
“Natural selection selects for fertility, for reproduction – not for stopping it,” Singh said. “If women were reproducing all along, and there were no preference against older women, women would be reproducing, like men are, for their whole lives.”
He goes on to say that if women had historically opted for “boy toys” more often, men would go through menopause in their 50’s. So ladies, drop the salt-and-pepper fantasies and start patrolling the skate parks.