Sample Cultural Studies Paper on Infanticide


Infanticide is the act of causing the death of very little or young children; deliberately, this action was mostly done to archive some special by a concerned society. It was mostly practiced in the past. Many societies permitted this exercise around the world, and it was spread widely to many communities. It is true to say that Infanticide or this killing of younger children was a pathological behavior that was being caused by the high increase of the human population.  This practice was mostly done by many communities to get rid of a very high population or to get rid of a certain gender that can act as a threat to the society or the government or kingdom. An infanticide is an act that goes against human rights and the right to life. Although this act was mostly practiced in the past, today we can still see infanticide cases for many reasons, particularly against the females. In the past, a lot of infanticide cases was practiced by to the males who posed a lot of fear and troubles the society government or ruling due to their power of conquering or taking over the seat of a certain ruler or taking over the government(Hausfater & Hrdy, 2008).

Infanticide is the earliest known source form of sexual conflict, which was Infanticide by males, which imposed a serious cost on the female reproductive cost. Two bodies show how Infanticide practiced evolved around males and females. From the studies of captive and wild primates see that Infanticide improved male mating by accelerating the return of female to the fertilizable condition that has been supported by the primates(Hausfater & Hrdy, 2008).



In many primate families, Infanticide had many significances; for example, In males in various taxa Infanticide it improved the breeding status or improved the female breeding condition. Infanticide to its highest level is the murdering of the newborn individually by a conspecific; this killing of the newborns has biological importance. This act came to be broadly defined as any behavior makes a direct and significant contribution to the immediate death of an embryo born member of the concerned species. Infanticide was practiced by parents of the offspring or the kin, was also done by the kin of the baby, by the person that is unrelated to the victim these actions was also were also being done under the influence of range aseasonal breeding regimes and straddling primates(Engelhardt, 2004).

The best example of the adaptive form of Infanticide is the killing of infants by unrelated males. By giving out an example in 450 BCE, Herodotus documented the behaviors of the Egyptian cats, which explained the male trick to get sexual access to females to otherwise preoccupied with maternal duties(Delibes et al. 2012).

Among the communities of the myriad in the sociobiology in the year 1970, the Infanticide was a way of male strategy to improve reproductive success at the cost of the female fitness ( Hrdy 1974). This was the 1st example or evidence of the battle of all saxes developed by  Trivers  (Trivers & Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences Robert Trivers, 1985).


The sexual conflict of Infanticide ( the male strategies).

Many hypotheses and shreds of evidence have been created through research. They all try to explain the male Infanticide in the primate’s history. The sexual selection hypothesis is the best and special infanticide practice that was shown by the primates. In the primate families, the Infanticide had a huge biological significance, which was originally said by Hrdy in 1974 and 1977.  Hardy argued that the killing of the premature infant ended the locational amenorrhea, which can be the ending of the ovulatory cycles during nursing in its mother; hence it was important in the advancing time when the mother is present for fertilization by the perpetrator. The potential benefit of such a strategy for male fitness depended on different and many variables. The variables can be male to male completion of the reproductive life history of females. In primates, it is observed that those living in animals, polygynous groups, male Infanticide was seen to be in almost all the other forms of social systems located in mentioned orders of the society in the primates communities(Schaik & Janson, 2000).

Infanticide in the female communities.

Female Infanticide is a very common form of Infanticide both in the present-day and in the past in the primates life, mostly the humans. Infanticide in females was mostly practiced in many communists because the male was considered to be valuable and very important in society as compared to the females. Female Infanticide was related to a way of controlling the population of the society; for example, women in India undergo violence which caused their deaths at the rate of 41%, and in China, Infanticide is mostly practiced due to the reason being everyone should have one child hence many women tend to have an abortion before the birth of the child if they know that the child is a girl. Female Infanticide has caused a great imbalance of sexes in many primate communities regions(Muthulakshmi, 1997).

Due to female Infanticide some regions have a very high population of the male gender than the female gender. Approximately a hundred million girls worldwide disappear, and 80 million come from China and India. In 1978 the greatest anthropologist Laila Williamson she vividly showed how there is a great widespread Infanticide; she showed how Infanticide of females has taken place in every continent of the world and was all done by the hunters and gatherers to the highest level of the society rather the primate societies. Laila shows us how female Infanticide is common in many primate societies and such practices are among the indigenous people of Australia, barbara miller, and south Asia. In 1990 Amartya sen wrote that there are 100 million fewer women than men in Asian regions due to the high amount of missing women in the societies(Bhatnagar & Dube, 2012).

Causes of Infanticide in humans.

In very many communities, mostly those communities that date back to the past, the practice of Infanticide was routinely practiced as a way of controlling and regulating the population of the concerned society. Infanticide was mostly done to women because they were the source of children. By them becoming low in the population, the society could reduce its population when needed to. Unwanted pregnancies were the main and common cause of the Infanticide in the human life. Infanticide was caused when families do not have enough resources to look after their children(Hausfater & Hrdy, 2008).

Abortion was done, which caused a lot of death for both the infant and the mother when there are wrong or improper abortion treatments. Other infanticides due to pregnancies were illegitimate births, which meant that the pregnancies were not the result of the marriage that is recogniz3d by the girl; hence the embryo was supposed to be removed(Hausfater & Hrdy, 2008).




Infanticide in male primate society is one of the best examples of sexual conflict. There is a lot that we do not understand about the behavior of the system that practices male Infanticide. The significance of the male Infanticide does not come clearly in many situations in the primate life. The benefit of male Infanticide causes substantive fitness cost in the female’s species in the primates and all the captive societies, especially in slowly reproducing societies species. One sexually selected sex is chosen to operate in solo. Female Infanticide relies not only on counter strategy but also on an array of counterstrategies, and lions provide the best example of this strategy(Smith, 2009).

Infanticide has helped many societies both in recent times and the history time to manage population density and reducing overcrowding in very many communities. I can say that Infanticide can be an advantage or disantavantege in many communities. The main disadvantage of the Infanticide is the loss of the mother’s life during an abortion and the cause of the sex imbalance in some regions. Millions of female sex have lost their lives due to the female Infanticide because women are not considered special in their communities. Rather, they are seen as workers and not providers of their homes; hence many women are killed cause they are seen as useless(Goswami, 2007).




Bhatnagar, R. D., & Dube, R. (2012). Female Infanticide in India: A feminist cultural history. SUNY Press.

Engelhardt, A. (2004). The significance of male and female reproductive strategies for male reproductive success in wild long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Cuvillier Verlag.

Goswami, S. (2007). Female Infanticide and child marriage.

Hausfater, G., & Hrdy, S. B. (2008). Infanticide: Comparative and evolutionary perspectives. Transaction Publishers.

Hausfater, G., & Hrdy, S. B. (2008). Infanticide: Comparative and evolutionary perspectives. Transaction Publishers.

Muthulakshmi, R. (1997). Female Infanticide, its causes, and solutions. Discovery Publishing House.

Schaik, C. P., & Janson, C. H. (2000). Infanticide by males and its implications. Cambridge University Press.

Smith, H. J. (2009). Parenting for primates. Harvard University Press.

Trivers, R., & Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences Robert Trivers. (, 1985). Social evolution. Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company.