September 8, 2008

"As Barriers Disappear, Some Gender Gaps Widen"

In the New York Times, John Tierney reports:

When men and women take personality tests, some of the old Mars-Venus stereotypes keep reappearing. On average, women are more cooperative, nurturing, cautious and emotionally responsive. Men tend to be more competitive, assertive, reckless and emotionally flat. Clear differences appear in early childhood and never disappear.

What’s not clear is the origin of these differences. Evolutionary psychologists contend that these are innate traits inherited from ancient hunters and gatherers. Another school of psychologists asserts that both sexes’ personalities have been shaped by traditional social roles, and that personality differences will shrink as women spend less time nurturing children and more time in jobs outside the home.

To test these hypotheses, a series of research teams have repeatedly analyzed personality tests taken by men and women in more than 60 countries around the world. For evolutionary psychologists, the bad news is that the size of the gender gap in personality varies among cultures. For social-role psychologists, the bad news is that the variation is going in the wrong direction. It looks as if personality differences between men and women are smaller in traditional cultures like India’s or Zimbabwe’s than in the Netherlands or the United States. A husband and a stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge.

These findings are so counterintuitive that some researchers have argued they must be because of cross-cultural problems with the personality tests. But after crunching new data from 40,000 men and women on six continents, David P. Schmitt and his colleagues conclude that the trends are real. Dr. Schmitt, a psychologist at Bradley University in Illinois and the director of the International Sexuality Description Project, suggests that as wealthy modern societies level external barriers between women and men, some ancient internal differences are being revived.

The biggest changes recorded by the researchers involve the personalities of men, not women. Men in traditional agricultural societies and poorer countries seem more cautious and anxious, less assertive and less competitive than men in the most progressive and rich countries of Europe and North America.

To explain these differences, Dr. Schmitt and his collaborators from Austria and Estonia point to the hardships of life in poorer countries. They note that in some other species, environmental stress tends to disproportionately affect the larger sex and mute costly secondary sexual characteristics (like male birds’ displays of plumage). And, they say, there are examples of stress muting biological sex differences in humans. For instance, the average disparity in height between men and women isn’t as pronounced in poor countries as it is in rich countries, because boys’ growth is disproportionately stunted by stresses like malnutrition and disease.

For my upcoming review of the remake of "The Women" with Meg Ryan, Annette Bening and the traditional all-female cast, I rented the 1939 George Cukor-directed original (based on the play by Clare Booth Luce), which is so good that my wife watched it three times over the weekend. It's the story of Park Avenue society ladies who can afford to indulge in every rococo frill of femininity. When all the ladies who lunch end up at a dude ranch in Reno for six weeks so they can qualify as Nevada residents and get quick divorces, their cook is a tough old cowgirl (played by Marjorie Main, who went on to star in the lucrative "Ma and Pa Kettle" comedies about a clan of hicks) who thinks the ultrafeminine New York women are silly and spoiled.

Ma and Pa Kettle both got a heap of farm chores to do, and don't have time, energy, or money to waste on, say, tiny purse dogs or playing Grand Theft Auto, so they might be more similar in important ways than a wealthy couple.

“In some ways modern progressive cultures are returning us psychologically to our hunter-gatherer roots,” he argues. “That means high sociopolitical gender equality over all, but with men and women expressing predisposed interests in different domains. Removing the stresses of traditional agricultural societies could allow men’s, and to a lesser extent women’s, more ‘natural’ personality traits to emerge.”

I'm not a big fan of self-reported cross-cultural personality tests because you're always seeing oddities, such as Danes and Swedes showing up at opposite ends on some personality trait. What Freud called the narcissism of small differences can have a big impact on these tests, where people compare themselves to other people they know, not to people around the world. Moreover, the problems of translating text about emotions can throw monkey wrenches into the results.

Fortunately, there is some objective data on ... track and field! (And you were looking forward to a 3 year and 11 month respite until the next Olympics.)

But he notes that there’s already an intriguing trend reported for one trait — competitiveness — based on direct measures of male and female runners.

Competitive running makes a good case study because, to mix athletic metaphors, it has offered a level playing field to women the past two decades in the United States. Similar numbers of males and females run on high school and college teams and in road races. Female runners have been competing for equal shares of prize money and receiving nearly 50 percent more scholarship aid from Division I colleges than their male counterparts, according to the N.C.A.A.

But these social changes have not shrunk a gender gap among runners analyzed by Robert Deaner, a psychologist at Colgate University, who classifies runners as relatively fast if they keep close to the pace of the world’s best runners of their own sex. When Dr. Deaner looks at, say, the top 40 finishers of each sex in a race, he typically finds two to four times as many relatively fast male runners as relatively fast female runners.

This large gender gap has persisted for two decades in all kinds of races — high school and college meets, elite and nonelite road races — and it jibes with other studies reporting that male runners train harder and are more motivated by competition, Dr. Deaner says. This enduring “sex difference in competitiveness,” he concludes, “must be considered a genuine failure for the sociocultural conditions hypothesis” that the personality gap will shrink as new roles open for women.

In other words, while there are quite a few women who like to compete and win, there aren't as many women as men who will repeatedly compete, lose, and compete some more. Women who are good but not great athletes tend to go do something else, while more men will continue to bang their heads against the wall out of an urge to compete.

(This gender gap is actually even bigger than the track results show because American male distance runners can't really compete with Kenyan men on the world class level, but there are fewer Kenyan women running, so American women would have more of a chance than American men at the 800m to 10000m distances.)

Clare Booth Luce said it well (hat tip to Christina Hoff Sommers):

"It is time to leave the question of the role of women in society up to Mother Nature--a difficult lady to fool. You have only to give women the same opportunities as men, and you will soon find out what is or is not in their nature. What is in women's nature to do they will do, and you won't be able to stop them. But you will also find, and so will they, that what is not in their nature, even if they are given every opportunity, they will not do, and you won't be able to make them do it."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

43 comments:

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"As we age, we tend to become more like the genetic blueprint with which we started life." - Pierce Howard

One reason being, I suppose, that we are free from influences forcing us against our natures - parents, siblings, school and fellow students, etc. Remove us from involuntary environments and place us in environments of our choosing and we become more like what we want t be. And women don't want to be like men (and vice versa).

robbie1687 said...

Culture isn't the only environmental factor that influences gene expression.

In this case, I'd be curious to see how testosterone levels correlate with this personality gender gap.

(Diet affects testosterone levels.)

TH said...

I remember reading that in egalitarian Northern European countries some gender gaps in the job market are larger than in the more macho Southern Europe. For example, the wage gap between men and women is larger in a country like Finland than in Italy. Similarly, the segregation of the job market into "men's jobs" and "women's jobs" is stronger in Northern Europe than in Southern Europe.

This is in part because a larger percentage of women in the North work outside home than in the South, where the women who have jobs perhaps tend to represent the most masculine subsection of the female population. Another explanatory factor could be the one proffered in the NY article: in a society where people can freely choose their occupation, men and women gravitate towards fields and positions where their natural strengths can be put to use, bringing about the gender gaps.

Jacques Barzun has said that increased primitivism is the big trend in contemporary society. In many ways, the modern period and especially the post-WW2 era are characterized by an incessant de(con)struction of the traditional societal rules and structures that have developed since the Neolithic revolution. We're becoming hunter-gatherers once again.

neil craig said...

You have suggested previously that womens athletics have, in the past & to some extent stiil, been more heavily influenced by doping than mens, if only because steroids help bulk up women more than men. It could be that the leading women are often on steroids, whereas those running for fun aren't. This would explain the proportionate difference between top & median performers among both sexes.

halfbreed said...

Claire Booth Luce came from an era when Time Magazine, headed by her husband, was actually conservative. Speaking of which, the Science Times section of the NY Times has always been its least PC section (even though their liberal leanings creep in there too). Their second least PC section would probably the business section. Their main section, metro section, and arts sections are of course very PC, and even the sports section is heavily tilted. I'm not sure how to rank the NYT Sunday Magazine, which is basically Zionist in its viewpoint (I can't remember the last time I saw a positive article about a non-gay Anglo or a negative article about someone who's Jewish.) I look forward to the crossword puzzle every weekend but only skim the rest of the Magazine to satisfy myself that it's remaining true to form.

halfbreed said...

As far as the example given for sex differences in competitiveness -- the gap between the top forty runners in a college race and their respective world records -- is not a good one. It's easily explainable by the fact that so many of the world records were set by juiced athletes. As Steve and many others have pointed out, steroids have a disproportionately larger effect on women, since they have less testosterone in their bodies naturally. Thus, the top forty runners in any given college race for women, few of whom are likely to be doped, are going to be further from their respective world record, not because of a lack of innate competitive fire, but simply because the record they are being compared to is tainted.

A better example of gender differences might be participation in masters sports, which is not limited by college scholarships, pressure from coaches, etc., and is pretty much purely voluntary. Look at any masters national championships in swimming or track, and you'll see more men competing than women (I've noticed there tends to be roughly 50% more men). And it's my impression that the men who compete there tend to take the competition more seriously, whereas the women seem to see it more as a social gathering, a chance to hang out with their teammates, etc. Like most gender differences, it's not true across the board -- but it's usually the case.

Or take another example. Most of us know at least a few people who are sports statistics nuts -- people who are endlessly fascinated by baseball (or track) results. Now: can you name a single one of those people you know who is a woman? This is far more a male preoccupation than a female one. Granted, being fascinated with results is not exactly the same thing as participation in the sport, but it is indicative of interest, and virtually all sports "nuts" are male.

RGH said...

My my son (age 10) and daughter (age 14) have both recently taken up tennis, and each enjoys it for different reasons. My daughter doesn't care about playing games and just wants to volley, the goal being to keep it going as long as possible (I guess you could call it cooperative tennis). My son just wants to play games so he can win. They don't enjoy playing with each other much.

outlaw josey wales said...

Women shouldn't be leaders, they should be in the kitchen making pies.

Leave all the stress of decision making to men. I bet the stress of being governor contributed to Palin's Down's Syndrome child.

We would all be better off if traditional roles were maintained.

Anonymous said...

The final quote is perfect. Mother nature does not mask her intentions. Women are smaller and less physical because that is the strategy that optimized human survival and reproduction.

Acknowledging that would help the blank slate theorists deal with reality and find better understanding of human nature.

I'll be holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

Concerned said...

The business about men from traditional societies being more like the women of their societies is dead-on accurate. The more tradition and custom-bound a society is, the more men & women act similarly. The more dynamic and inventive, the more sex differences assert themselves.

That said, I think that a Sarah Palin type works out best in a wild place like Alaska, where she married young and had lots of kids. There are SP types in the East Coast and they all end up like Hillary. Ugh.

Josh said...

I thought "The Women" was a movie about a man in a plane crash and three women who loved him await word on his fate together?? dsmh I never heard of this movie,and I wonder why does there have to be a remake?

testing99 said...

Steve --

You leave out important motivating factors behind the huge personality differences between the sexes: SEXUAL SELECTION.

What has happened in the wealthy, modern societies is that women, having wealth and power of their own, can select on only what they want (this accounts for the death of the nuclear family and single motherhood all around the globe) -- which is the most testosterone high, competitive, aggressive, and dominant man.

Not for a life-time mate, which is something out of the past, but rather a short-term sexual partner and father of her children. After all, illegitimate births according to the US Census Bureau total 41% among Whites, in 2006, around 70% nationwide (90% Urban Core) for Blacks, and over 50% according to various reports among Whites in the UK and Scandi nations.

White men will "bang their head" against competition because the point is to display testosterone, physical strength, and dominance. Women are not selecting just the winners, rather those who compete at a high level versus those who don't.

Women would far much prefer a second team football player who never gets much game time, to an engineering student who might well step into a very good paying job. Because all women want, given financial/social security, is the physicality of a short-term relationship.

You noted once that it's puzzling that women (and men) don't pay much attention to each other, with particularly Anglo women not caring much about nerdy men. Well, duh. Nerdy men are lower in testosterone (higher intelligence correlates, according to GNXP, with lower testosterone).

The modern world has moved into a "soft" polygamy effectively, much like that of West Africa. This is not going to change and we'll just have to live with the consequences.

roissy said...

"Removing the stresses of traditional agricultural societies could allow men’s, and to a lesser extent women’s, more ‘natural’ personality traits to emerge."

steve, as the stressors of traditional society are removed and men and women regress (progress?) to hypergender versions of themselves, we will see, as i've amply documented through my slice of life reporting in the courtship trenches of DC, a trend toward women favoring serial hookups with alpha males at the expense of "two is better than one" monogamous pairings.

i deliver the Good Word of Game to help level this emergent playing field. bonus: it works!

food for thought said...

"Women would far much prefer a second team football player who never gets much game time, to an engineering student who might well step into a very good paying job. Because all women want, given financial/social security, is the physicality of a short-term relationship."


Oddly enough, perseveration doesn't correlate with intelligence either, Testing. This big man meme is a little worn. I thought you big brained guys gathered here in the search for truth using the instruments of science and the revelations of statistics not to circulate some dubious anthropological theory.

I myself often avoided dalliances with the muscular vein popping types in my younger days for fear that if there was a breakdown in communication I'd either get hit or be cheated on. And to the extent that the guy either already had a girlfriend or was nonverbal, I was making a very good guess at the outcome.

The truth is that a nerdy guy who has poor social skills or who is a JERK probably won't compete with a moronic muscular type but it's a question of a woman choosing what she considers to be a lesser evil. At least your friends will envy your short-term relationship with Mr. Universe. You just look like a masochist enduring verbal abuse from a nerd. Women do compete but in different ways than men. Trust me.

T. said...

"The narcissism of small difference." Damn. So simple, but makes so much sense.

Bill said...

On average, women are more cooperative, nurturing, cautious and emotionally responsive. Men tend to be more competitive, assertive, reckless and emotionally flat.

Where to start with this?

Men are far more cooperative in large endeavors, more cautious in family matters, and in many cases more nurturing (e.g. animal husbandry, automotive mechanics and farming).

As for competitive, have you ever noticed that a nice rack inspires at least as much attention from competitive women as it does from admiring men?

Reckless? Ever seen a young woman in Nordstrom's with a credit card?

Men emotionally flat? Ever noticed how cool women can be about the destruction of a man's life during divorce?

Just another culturally biased piece. I am starting to agree with the radical womyn about gender stereotypes.

michael farris said...

Once more, you need to look at Geert Hofstede's work. One of the dimensions he looks at (misleadingly called 'masculinity') has to do with how different mens and womens values are in given cultures.

In pretty much every culture women (as a group) care more about relationships, security and taking care of the human and natural environment while men care more about achievement, fulfilling ambition through competition and display. Actually everybody cares about all of those things to some extent but on average men and women prioritize them differently.

Overall, womens' values differ less across the globe while mens' values vary more, mostly by being closer (Scandinavia, Netherlands) or further away (Japan, most English speaking countries) from the baseline feminine values (which themselves drift toward the masculine side in very masculine countries).

His work is based on surveys that ask indirect questions related to individual values that correlate highly with cultural features (a premium on acquiring and using skills in a job correlates highly with the importance of extended family structures strangely enough).

Anyway, in feminine cultures women don't necessarily find greater political representation and aren't necessarily represented in management at higher levels than in masculine countries. He explains this in terms of a lower overall level of ambition (which children are socialized against expressing) in feminine countries while women in masculine countries often have tougher values and are less hesitant to stand out, though often in masculine societies womens competition is channeled into husbands and (especially male) children.

Carolyn said...

Bitter Nerd Alert!!! Testing 99, I'm talking to you.

Google an article by Kay Hymnowitz called Marriage and Caste (she also followed up with a book). You'll learn that marriage and legitimate children are still what that college educated women want (and have). The rise in single parent homes is mostly among blacks and the uneducated.

You need to stop slumming and find an educated woman who appreciates your big brain and paycheck.

Svigor said...

Testing99 off in lala land again.

Women seek high-status men, first and foremost.

Remove the STATUS from athletics and they'll drop all athletes (first string, second string, fiftieth string - without the money and status who gives a shit?) like hot rocks.

Women will take a high status nerd over a low status jock any day.

SFG said...

That said, I think that a Sarah Palin type works out best in a wild place like Alaska, where she married young and had lots of kids. There are SP types in the East Coast and they all end up like Hillary. Ugh.

you know, you may be right. I've sometimes thought in a red state I might have picked up just enough athletics to actually be successful in life.

Environment matters.

none of the above said...

I love the final quote, since it's just exactly right. For all the group differences we expect and don't, the best answer is our best attempt at a level playing field for all involved. That way, you don't have to know what the aptitudes and desires of women vs men, blacks vs whites, gays vs straights, etc., are.

If lots of East Asians and Ashkenazi Jews end up in math, lots of black guys end up in marketing, women end up dominating medicine and psychology while men end up dominating engineering and chemistry, OK, that's what happens. And if all that is some temporary social stuff that will blow over one day, then it just does. There's no real penalty for being wrong about our guesses, whether those guesses are that races and genders are equal, or that they're unequal, when your goal is a meritocracy. Plenty of people probably thought blacks couldn't compete with whites in baseball. They were wrong. A level playing field meant that their wrongness didn't mess things up, as keeping the races separated did.

blode said...

As to the status vs. athletics debate, I think it's worth pointing out that the same tendencies for or against monogamy in men surely exist in women as well. There's no reverse-gendered term for "womanizer", but maybe there should be ... the women who actively seek to sleep with and bear the children of the Big Men that would have been most appealing to women from pre-monogamy civilizations. Then they can "change tastes" and find a completely different sort of man to be the child's stepfather. I suspect these are the folks testing99 is thinking of.

In my estimation, they're not extremely common and can be avoided. The main problem is their drain on the budget ... after all, a Servile State makes a plenty compliant husband.

The OTHER main problem is that there are a lot of women who seem genuinely surprised that having children makes them less competitive in dating. I think someone should mention that to the manizers out there ... bringing children from a previous "relationship" (esp. if it's more of a one-night-stand than a relationship) is the equivalent of asking Mr. Right to think about adopting at the same time he's thinking about dating; these days, "step-daddish" roles may begin before marriage. (Unless casual sex is all the manizer is interested in ... not unknown.)

testing99 said...

Food --

You just made my point. As Dalrymple said, even his educated, professional nurses chose abusive, hyper-masculine men who beat them at work, in front of colleagues, and found normal, nice men "boring."

That preference, writ large, equates to a Big Man society. If your friends envy Mr. Universe, then women will get a society of Mr. Universe, with resentful men unattached to women as the rest. A version of Saudi Arabia, writ soft.

What could go wrong!

Misogyny IS a problem, a natural result of the aggregate of women's choices, and they will just have to live with it. It's only going to get worse (those unattached men won't care if women continue NOT to sleep with them).

Carolyn -- Hymnowitz is just wrong. The Census Bureau (I know, actual real facts) shows among White women, 41% illegitimacy rate. Among West Side Women in NYC, it is probably even higher (and as noted, more likely to be a 43 year old women IVF with a sperm donor). Minnie Driver noted that she's a single mother, and women don't need men. As a rule, they don't when given enough wealth -- or rather more accurately they DEMAND a Much Higher Status relative to their own to get married, otherwise they'll simply go the single motherhood route.

Which is the majority of births among Scandis, Brits, and most of the Western World. PARTICULARLY among EDUCATED WOMEN.

No SFG, Nerds = "low testosterone" and thus, women avoid them. Real life shows this -- anything speaking of nerdiness will repel women, even if associated with wealth. Even great wealth. Why? Because women have their own wealth and see no reason to compromise on testosterone, aggression, masculine attributes.

food for thought said...

"The OTHER main problem is that there are a lot of women who seem genuinely surprised that having children makes them less competitive in dating."

This goes both ways, Blode. I'm no more interested in being a stepmom than the average man is in being a stepdad.

"You just made my point. As Dalrymple said, even his educated, professional nurses chose abusive, hyper-masculine men who beat them at work, in front of colleagues, and found normal, nice men "boring."'

Stretching here, Testie. I said nerds are capable of being abusive as well. Nothing worse than a guy with brains always with an eye to upgrading to the perfect trophy wife. Intellectual complexity can make a guy a better wage earner but also a fetishist with a driving need for perfection in himself as well as everyone around him.

I've found the slightly unkempt teddy bear type with an IQ between 125 and 135 to make the best mate. This is a guy smart enough to get a good paying job but who isn't too concerned about appearances so his wife can grow old gracefully. Other traits of this guy include owning a reliable used vehicle and an unwillingness to trade his old clothes for more fashionable ones.

I bet Testing owns a sports car that goes real fast and is incredibly fastidious. Do you take a change of clothes everywhere just in case you spill coffee on yourself? Gym membership even though you aren't a tough guy? Subscribe to GQ? Fired several secretaries for offenses like sloppy dresser, gum chewing, etc? Shake Dalrymple at me all you want, I've got your number.

Anonymous said...

I am still curious about the effect on society of this single-motherhood trend.

Will the male children all (except for the children of the elite) become gang-members?

What happens to gang-members as they move into adulthood?

What are the ramifications for an advanced society when the male children grow up uneducated, in large numbers?

Anonymous said...

"Concerning bill's comments about men and farming."

Most tradtional, non-grain (except maize) farmers were women. In Africa, they still are, as they were among American Indians and Pacific islanders.
Also, rice farming. Hakka women in China were renowned for not binding their feet because they did the rice farming. The husbands looked for work elsewhere--cities as I recall. And this was centuries ago.
Even in grain producing cultures, often the men would plow and the women carried on with the rest.
Farming was always bi-sexual....no,there must be a more appropriate term than that?

David Davenport said...

I bet Testing owns a sports car that goes real fast and is incredibly fastidious. Do you take a change of clothes everywhere just in case you spill coffee on yourself? Gym membership even though you aren't a tough guy? Subscribe to GQ? Fired several secretaries for offenses like sloppy dresser, gum chewing, etc? Shake Dalrymple at me all you want, I've got your number.

I doubt if that's his number. T99 is probably a lowly geek who spends most of his time in the server room.

Bill said...

Anonymous said...

"Concerning bill's comments about men and farming."

Most tradtional, non-grain (except maize) farmers were women. In Africa, they still are, as they were among American Indians and Pacific islanders.


Agriculture and horticulture are different. Only in Africa does one see women engage in agriculture to the same extent as men.

Also, rice farming. Hakka women in China were renowned for not binding their feet because they did the rice farming. The husbands looked for work elsewhere--cities as I recall. And this was centuries ago.

Hakka, or "Jiake", (Means "guests" because they are recent arrivals from the north) are renowned because they were the exception that proves the rule. One of the main reasons Hakka didn't bind feet was that many of them lived in hill country in Fujian. It's a real pain to carry one's wife up and down mountains. Hakka women are particularly attractive, BTW. Yes, women are engaged in farming in China. I've seen it myself. However, the traditional basic unit of Chinese society is the "cowboy and weaver girl" i.e. the man plows the fields with the ox and the woman makes the clothes.

Quibbles about details aside, there truly is a cultural bias in America that casts men as fighting, working, and screwing automatons. Personally, I think it's a disgusting characterization, as well as a reason boys are treated so poorly by our society today. Maybe it's some vestigial barbarism that we haven't yet flushed out.

kijkfaas mcgee said...

As society levels the gender gap in the workplace etc., men and women are asserting 'personal' gender differences because (hetero)sexual attraction requires it.

Further, this is one of the few differences considered acceptable in multiculti society. Indeed, gender differences can bring men and women of different races and cultures together as individuals of each sex respectively and together bemoan the annoying traits of the opposite sex.

So the pinkos were right when they said that a lot of gender traits are socially constructed; they were not just wrong but completely and typically insane when they imagined that that fact obviated those constructions. It doesn't. They're necessary, even if they're made up.

Stressing 'personal' gender differences like 'female emotionality' or 'male reticence' is not as necessary in traditional society, where men and women are distinguished from each other in many obvious ways.

Anonymous said...

T99,

No SFG, Nerds = "low testosterone" and thus, women avoid them.

Why shouldn't they? Who wants to date a skinny, flabby man who never goes outside? And aren't you also the one screaming that women hate Palin's blue collar, non-nerdy husband?

Real life shows this -- anything speaking of nerdiness will repel women, even if associated with wealth. Even great wealth. Why? Because women have their own wealth and see no reason to compromise on testosterone, aggression, masculine attributes.

I disagree with this on two levels. First, plenty of nerds manage to get hooked up, wealthy or not. Second, nerdiness, i.e., intelligence, and masculinity are not mutually exclusive. There are enough smart, physically fit, sexually attractive men making sufficient dough in the Information Age without women having to accept crawling into bed with some sickly nerd, no matter how rich he is.

--Senor Doug

Svigor said...

Why shouldn't they? Who wants to date a skinny, flabby man who never goes outside? And aren't you also the one screaming that women hate Palin's blue collar, non-nerdy husband?

Bingo! Women do not flock to low-status high-testosterone men.

Anonymous said...

Testing99:
Commentators here moan so much about the perfidies of women that if the sexes were switched one would think this were a feminist blog. You have problems in the mating game thanks to modern America's shallow, anti-intellectual culture. That NEVER happens to women. Fat women, socially awkward women and single mothers are NEVER ignored in favor of their slender, socially adept, and childless counterparts.

I have several girlfriends who are in your shoes and they constantly complain about how miserable and lonely they are. When they ask me what I think of their situation, I (as sensitively as possible) advise them to lose weight, dress better, get a flattering haircut/highlights, think positively and not complain so much, and to think twice about nice guys that they might initially dismiss as too short and nerdy. A college-educated woman under 35 who does these things is bound to attract a guy, usually more than one, even if the relationships don't resemble romance novels. However, this advice is rarely welcomed and my friends tell me that they are happy with their looks and if men don't want them the way they are -unibrow and all- they are better off single. I always wonder why they think a man would want a woman who makes no effort to be attractive to him, but after the previous upsetting advice such a comment would decimate the friendship so I keep quiet.

The guys on this blog would say that my friends are feminist losers who deserve to stay single if they aren't willing to attract men., But by that standard I suspect there's far more feminism on this blog than you'd think. Guys, have you had orthodonture or contacts/laser surgery? Have you read a book on how to dress well and applied those principles? Have you asked friends for advice on flirtation and witty banter? Have you learned how to make sufficient small-talk so that women will be comfortable with you? Most importantly, have you looked at women who aren't as young or pretty as your ideal and considered that their intelligence and character make up for it?

If you've done all of this and still have not found a partner, I'm genuinely sorry for you. Romantic happiness is unfortunately very dependent on others' actions. However if you have made no effort to woo women and simply expected them to be so awed by your jaw-droppingly large... brain that they would beg to have your babies then you deserve to be alone. No one is obligated to love you, and you must at least meet a woman half-way if you want to attract and keep her. Obviously you must respect yourself in the dating world, and pretending to be someone you're not is counterproductive. But no one's individuality has ever been fatally punctured by wearing leather shoes instead of sneakers.

Lastly, if you aren't Brad Pitt you aren't going to end up with Angelina Jolie unless you are very rich. I know I sound screechingly retrograde, and not unlike Mr. Elton from "Emma", but everyone has their level. There are exceptions (see Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson or Pierce Brosnan and his overweight wife) but they are rare. Please do not wail about the shallowness of women unless you personally want to marry butter faced quadruple amputees who moonlight as part-time escorts. Both sexes have standards and both sexes can be quite cruel in rejecting or exploiting people who don't meet them. But connecting with someone like you can help you to truly overcome the superficiality that has given you low self esteem. If you want a compassionate woman who will look beyond appearances to see "the beauty within" and accept you along with your flaws you have to do the same. On the other hand if you prefer porn to the flesh and blood women that you have a realistic chance of marrying, then I can only hope that you avoid carpal-tunnel syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Bill,
If a woman was raped and became an intense manhater afterwards you'd say that despite her pain she was wrong and immature to become perpetually enraged at 50% of the popluation. Divorced men are the worst in this regard. I'm sorry that you were hurt in your divorce but, if only for your clarity as a thinker you should really get over it. Don't give blacks advive you're unwilling to take yourself.

Bill said...

Anonymous said...

Bill,
If a woman was raped and became an intense manhater afterwards you'd say that despite her pain she was wrong and immature to become perpetually enraged at 50% of the popluation. Divorced men are the worst in this regard. I'm sorry that you were hurt in your divorce but, if only for your clarity as a thinker you should really get over it.


Time will take care of that. But I am worried for my boy -- the one I'm going to have to raise by myself I'm afraid. Boys without their fathers around have a hard go of it; I know that well. Yet so many here and elsewhere spout off about how men aren't nurturing and have little to offer children.

Well, want to see a stereotypical aggressive, testosterone-soaked brute? Try taking my kids from me.

Don't give blacks advive you're unwilling to take yourself.

Blacks? When did I give blacks advice?

Anonymous said...

I always wonder why they think a man would want a woman who makes no effort to be attractive to him, but after the previous upsetting advice such a comment would decimate the friendship so I keep quiet.

No s***. I am a male in his 40's who commits the time and energy that we, ahem, middle-aged men must in order to remain fit. I am shocked at the number of women my age who seem to have just given up on ever being sexually attractive again. Sad and frustrating.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

On one of the boards I frequent, the regulars were surveyed about their Myers Briggs Personality Inventory results. About two thirds of the (all female respondants) were introverts; a majority were NTs, meaning they preferred intuition to sensing and thinking to feeling. The results were heavily skewed since introverts are a minority in the general population. I'm a woman and an INTP, which should represent only about 2 percent of the population as a whole but was very well represented on this particular board. The Internet is flooded with INTPs and INTJs. It's probably the ideal form of communication for us. But I have encountered very few of them in the real world. Most other women do seem to be feeling and sensing types.

Anonymous said...

"One of the main reasons Hakka didn't bind feet was that many of them lived in hill country in Fujian. It's a real pain to carry one's wife up and down mountains."

Mountains undoubtedly complicated the matter, but this custom took hold against all logic in many parts of China, even non-Han people, and among many classes where you'd think it would never have worked. One book on the subject, has sepia photos from the early 20th/late 19th c., showing bound footed women resting. They had just climbed some sort of sacred mountain which most people today would wear studded boots to scale. Bound footed women got around, depending probably on how bound they were. I've studied the subject and read interviews of women with bound feet.
One 19th c. missionary from Australia noted that bound feet probably prevented Chinese women from being the "beasts of burden" he'd seen in other eastern countries, and that they seemed to have less expected of them generally speaking, as far as hard, physical labor. I don't know what countries he was talking about. India comes to mind.

Some people would think of African farming as "horticulture" since it involves a lot tubers. Native American women did the farming among many tribes. Roles changed after the men's way of life change.
If people are supporting themselves from the fruits of the earth and they are planting, tending and harvesting those fruits (and veggies) for their sustanance, then they are farmers. Common sense dictates "roles" to a great extent.
As far as men being drinkin', fightin' automotons...?...!
I thought it was the overly sensitive man that was in excessive supply these days... I don't know. I have limited social contacts and get most of my information from the written word.

Anonymous said...

oh and bill,
You may have some info I don't, but in all my studies and research, I have never heard of a husband carrying his wife. I think he would have found that degrading.
I know you are in martyr-mode (no snark intended; I've been through some ghastly stuff myself and it does take time), but if footbinding had forced Chinese husbands to carry their wives about, I'm sure footbiding would have died out much, much earlier.

Blode said...

Are you folks serious about the whole "based on his comments about dating and mating, Testing99 must be from the ____ demographic?" I'm just curious because this always seems to happen when a (likely) male says anything negative about the way women making dating & mating choices. Doesn't happen in any other kind of debate, that I've noticed. I mean, nobody ever said, "Based on his views on monetary policy (which included several nerdy and/or negative comments!), Blode is obviously a 53-year-old Asian lady living in Belfast with a hamster and a frisky young dogfish named Spot."

Does it generally make people uncomfortable when people criticize the d&m choices of women? Do you get equally (or less, or more) uncomfortable when someone says "men are too shallow and too obsessed with attractiveness (or [*gasp] thinness)" in d&m?

Okay, I'm going to go give Spot his scoop of chum now.

Bill said...

-anon

Mountains undoubtedly complicated the matter, but this custom took hold against all logic in many parts of China, even non-Han people, and among many classes where you'd think it would never have worked.


One theory I have seen was that foot-binding made a cultural distinction between Chinese and Manchu. Despite the dubious logic of foot-binding, Chinese are largely a settled, agricultural people. They tend to live in plains where intensive agriculture can be practiced. Foot-binding serves to differentiate the male and female roles firmly in such circumstances.


One book on the subject, has sepia photos from the early 20th/late 19th c., showing bound footed women resting. They had just climbed some sort of sacred mountain which most people today would wear studded boots to scale.

Trust me, it wasn't as hard to climb the mountain as you may think. Unless they have to, Chinese do not hike (although that may be changing now).

As far as men being drinkin', fightin' automotons...?...!

Maybe I'm extrapolating from my own roots.

I thought it was the overly sensitive man that was in excessive supply these days... I don't know. I have limited social contacts and get most of my information from the written word.

Honestly, I'm just reacting to the circumstances I'm in. It seems like an insult when all these people talk about how women are nurturing and men are competitive and out in the world even as I change diapers and take my kids to the park. Here I am, taking care of my kids, often while their mother is gone without a trace for days at a time. Maybe I should just put on a flower-print dress...

Seriously, though, I am far from an effeminate guy, but I do care a whole lot about my kids and it seems that there's a measure of contempt for men who feel that way. Maybe the phenomenon of absent fathers has something to do with a cultural sickness in our country. One certainly doesn't see that in traditional patriarchal societies, although it is common in matriarchal societies, which, not coincidentally, are all characterized by barbarism.

Truth said...

Wow:

(Presumably) white males and females are as caustic and confused about their relationships with the others as blacks, according to this thread. In a strange way, I'm ashamed to say that's almost comforting.

Anonymous said...

"One certainly doesn't see that in traditional patriarchal societies, although it is common in matriarchal societies, which, not coincidentally, are all characterized by barbarism."

You'll have to provide a list of said societies and their barbaric deeds, so I can check them out. I do know about mythic blood-thirsty goddesses, but they usually have thrived in societies that were not really very female-friendly, like India. Certain anti-feminist anthropolgists (who should be on your reading list if you can get a break from child care) have argued convincingly that there never were any truely matriarchal cultures. There were and are matrilineal cultures, a different thing.
bill. Fatherhood is as much a necessary institution in human society as motherhood and societies who don't recognize that have men who don't know what their place is, have no sense of purpose. You're absolutely right about that.
That said, I don't think either gender has a monopoly on being the biggest, meanest, baddest badass on the block. But I do know which one has been more likely to consider such a reputation a compliment, and that is indeed, a shame.

nzconservative said...

"Jacques Barzun has said that increased primitivism is the big trend in contemporary society..."

That would explain the resurgence of body piercing and tatoos.