Peacocking or The Enticement, Perhaps Foolishly, of the Opposite Sex

The woman adorns her face in make-up, covers herself in perfume, removes all “unnecessary” hairs, puts on a most flattering outfit and enters the field. The man grooms himself, applies a hearty amount of cologne, and drapes himself in his finest clothing, entering that same realm. These are the stereotypical, if abbreviated, versions of preparation each human gender takes to make themselves a viable option for the opposite sex, a process that has only gotten more complex. Yet despite the understood belief, this is not the only species that undergoes such strenuous enticement methods. It exists everywhere regardless of the harm it may cause!

A grand example would be the peacock. This lovely creature is known for its noticeable plumage, an addition that both attracts the opposite sex as well as makes them a target for any predator on the prowl. This attachment has remained despite the danger it poses because of the higher probability of being chosen by the females for the proud honor of fatherhood. (No female can resist beautiful plumage.)

But why pick the incredibly-feathered peacock ? Or the cologne laden male? It can all be attributed to the implication. The female peacock will pick the male because if such a gentleman could survive despite the hindrance the tail causes and maintenance energy it requires, the female can safely assume this fellow is of a strong caliber and in possession of a quality genotype. This choice of the fittest mate, despite its troublesome side effects, is necessary in ensuring the peacock’s survival. Now if we look to humans, it must be acknowledged that there are somewhat more complex methods put in place but it is the same at heart. By primping oneself, it also implies the same strength and quality genome as the peacock feather. But here lays the greatest difference: humans have evolved the ability to mislead quite a bit better, meaning that such preparations may cover up an unflattering truth. (A thing no peacock can muster.) 



On a final note, the lady’s choice in mate is also chosen in consideration to the way their offspring will come out. A female will choose an attractive mate to give birth to others who will prove just as attractive, to ensure they will also be chosen. However, in the case of the male peacock and countless other species, these “attractive” traits are detrimental to their continued existence, yet they are chosen nonetheless. Oh how curious it is…

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Huk, T, & Winkel, W. (2008). Testing the sexy son hypothesis- a research for       


empirical approaches. Oxford Journals, 19(2), 456-461.