November 18, 2013

Girl-on-girl catfights

I'm guessing these are the same girl, just with and without heels, push-up bra, etc.
John Tierney writes in the NYT:
A Cold War Fought by Women

By JOHN TIERNEY

How aggressive is the human female? When the anthropologist Sarah B. Hrdy surveyed the research literature three decades ago, she concluded that “the competitive component in the nature of women remains anecdotal, intuitively sensed, but not confirmed by science.”

Science has come a long way since then, as Dr. Hrdy notes in her introduction to a recent issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society devoted entirely to the topic of female aggression. She credits the “stunning” amount of new evidence partly to better research techniques and partly to the entry of so many women into scientific fields once dominated by men. 

The field of evolutionary psychology (i.e., the study of sex differences) is a product of academic gender diversity. For example, the name was made up by the husband-wife team of John Tooby and Leda Cosmides.
... Now that researchers have been looking more closely, they say that this “intrasexual competition” is the most important factor explaining the pressures that young women feel to meet standards of sexual conduct and physical appearance. 
... To see how female students react to a rival, researchers brought pairs of them into a laboratory at McMaster University for what was ostensibly a discussion about female friendships. But the real experiment began when another young woman entered the room asking where to find one of the researchers. 
This woman had been chosen by the researchers, Tracy Vaillancourt and Aanchal Sharma, because she “embodied qualities considered attractive from an evolutionary perspective,” meaning a “low waist-to-hip ratio, clear skin, large breasts.” Sometimes, she wore a T-shirt and jeans, other times a tightfitting, low-cut blouse and short skirt. 
In jeans, she attracted little notice and no negative comments from the students, whose reactions were being secretly recorded during the encounter and after the woman left the room. But when she wore the other outfit, virtually all the students reacted with hostility. 
They stared at her, looked her up and down, rolled their eyes and sometimes showed outright anger. One asked her in disgust, “What the [expletive] is that?” 
Most of the aggression, though, happened after she left the room. Then the students laughed about her and impugned her motives. One student suggested that she dressed that way in order to have sex with a professor. Another said that her breasts “were about to pop out.” 
The results of the experiment jibe with evidence that this “mean girl” form of indirect aggression is used more by adolescents and young women than by older women, who have less incentive to handicap rivals once they marry. Other studies have shown that the more attractive an adolescent girl or woman is, the more likely she is to become a target for indirect aggression from her female peers. 
“Women are indeed very capable of aggressing against others, especially women they perceive as rivals,” said Dr. Vaillancourt, now a psychologist at the University of Ottawa. “The research also shows that suppression of female sexuality is by women, not necessarily by men.” 
Stigmatizing female promiscuity — a.k.a. slut-shaming — has often been blamed on men, who have a Darwinian incentive to discourage their spouses from straying.

As I've been saying for a long time, contemporary feminism is quite simple:

• If men are at fault for you not being able to do whatever it is you want to do, blame men.

• But if women are at fault, blame society or American culture or the media or institutional sexism or whatever.
But they also have a Darwinian incentive to encourage other women to be promiscuous. Dr. Vaillancourt said the experiment and other research suggest the stigma is enforced mainly by women. 
“Sex is coveted by men,” she said. “Accordingly, women limit access as a way of maintaining advantage in the negotiation of this resource. Women who make sex too readily available compromise the power-holding position of the group, which is why many women are particularly intolerant of women who are, or seem to be, promiscuous.” 

It's cartel behavior: How are we going to keep the price up if you keep giving it away?

It's also cartel behavior intended to keep down the cost and time invested in appearances. Hair care, for example, can chew up a lot of a woman's day. If you are a woman, would you rather live in a culture where all the women wake up a half-hour early to do their hair (e.g., Italy, Dallas) or one where everybody sleeps in (e.g., Sweden, Boston)? The latter, certainly.

But what if you were the only woman who got up a half-hour early? You'd be like the one Beyonce in a world of Rachel Maddows! That would be totally worth it! But what if everybody gets up a half-hour early? Well, then you could get up an hour early! And so on ...

So, cartels form of women who agree to limit their competitiveness over men. But they have to be constantly checking for cheaters.

81 comments:

Chimfish said...

I've noticed this effect going in the other direction as well. For example, when a woman cuts her hair boyishly short, it always seems to be only other women who are eager to tell her how cute she looks.

Anonymous said...

The field of evolutionary psychology (i.e., the study of sex differences) is a product of academic gender diversity. For example, the name was made up by the husband-wife team of John Tooby and Leda Cosmides.

What they really did is come up with the name "evolutionary psychology." It was just called "sociobiology" before.

countenance said...

Feminist claim: There would be no wars if women ran the world.

Reality: If every head of state was a woman, a world war would break out in a chain reaction to one head of state saying of another, "bitch stole my man."

Kaz said...

Ehh.. What a destructive arms race. Bullshit cosmetics industry is the only victor.

If only they focused on the parts that improve themselves as human beings, but I guess that's where guys fail because societally they don't reward women for doing that.

cyril said...

Reminds me of this great mini-segment from Family Guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypWaLxo32mE

The human sciences: trying to catch up with comedians since 1700.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

At the risk of sounding like a prude, the girl on the left IS dressed like a whore. Maybe the good news here is that without the blinding spotlight of the PC thought police, woman are actually capable of detecting something awful like that.

Anonymous said...

"whose reactions were being secretly recorded during the encounter and after the woman left the room."

Isn't this unethical?

Anonymous said...

>>"So, cartels form of women who agree to limit their competitiveness over men. But they have to be constantly checking for cheaters."


Ok, hol hol hol hol hold it. Hold it a second. Steve, you're confusing me with this sentence. Because on face value, it appears to contradict what you've always stated: "The feminist movement as a whole would probably get farther except that there's so much fraternizing with the opposition." Something along those lines is what I recall that you've stated on numerous occasions.

So what's going on here at NYT? Another slow news day?

Talk about Sweden just reminded me. My brother just got married in Las Vegas to someone from Sweden. They tied the knot at the chapel/church that Elvis Presley got married back in 67.

Maybe the "constantly checking for cheaters" means its more of a personal nature. The individual woman will resort to 'slut-shaming' and various tactics if she senses that a BFF has designs one stealing away her husband/sig. other from her. It's a way of self-preservation.

Anonymous said...

If you are a woman, would you rather live in a culture where all the women wake up a half-hour early to do their hair (e.g., Italy, Dallas) or one where everybody sleeps in (e.g., Sweden, Boston)? The latter, certainly.

There's undoubtedly some truth to this, but women are more interested in fashion and grooming than men even after accounting for their efforts to attract men. If men vanished from the face of the Earth tomorrow, I think the cosmetics industry would survive. I mean, women's attempts at fashion seem mostly aimed at impressing other women. If a woman wants attention from straight men, some cheap yoga pants and a crop top are sufficient. Haute couture is superfluous.


"whose reactions were being secretly recorded during the encounter and after the woman left the room."

Isn't this unethical?


Not at all. Presumably the recordings were only used by the researchers for their study. It's not as if they were posted on Youtube.

Anonymous said...

Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Voh's paper on Sexual Economics touches on cartel behavior when it comes to sex:

http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/assets/71503.pdf

wren said...

Was it Tooby and Cosmides who wrote that paper on female primate infanticide?

They'd wait for their enemy's friends to get out of range and then all of a sudden their allies would help in killing the kids. It took the researchers a while to figure out who friend and foe were, because it usually would not be obvious to outsiders. Their takeaway was that female primates are always trying to figure out who friend and foe are, and constantly trying to keep the balance in their favor.

Or something like that.

I've read that 90% of HR people are female, and one of their goals is keeping attractive women out of the company.

Could be true.

Anonymous said...

While about everyone knows that there is infanticide by lions who take over a pride, lionesses will gladly kill cubs from other prides too.

Feminism has to tread lightly lest the woman-woman intra-group struggle becomes evident to men and they lose the very useful misogyny narrative and find themselves facing male hostility.

It's not hard to see which group of women men will choose, even today.

Medlar Lucan said...

The phenomenon of women lavishing praise on other women who get their hair cut short is very noticeable, and it's hard not to conclude that it's a fairly basic piece of sexual competition - encourage your rival to lower her value relative to yours. For the bob is not flattering for all but a small minority of women - and those are very pretty ones who would still look better with longer hair.

I think your 'whom to blame' model can be simplified - if women are responsible, well still blame men (or perhaps The Patriarchy) for forcing women to be that way.

I used to enjoy reading RadfemHub, which I saw memorably described as 'Stormfront for feminists'. It was unintentionally hilarious at times.

Anonymous said...

"90% of HR people are female"

...and the other 10% are gay men.

Anonymous said...

Steve, regarding your Italy-Boston point: I remember reading a book about Saudi Arabia where some dude was claiming that the ones who put up the most resistance to loosening things up a bit are the women.

Marlowe said...

The great re-learning proceeds. Eric Berne in the pages of his bestseller on Transactional Analysis, Games people play, published during the 60s, reported the 'ladder' game played by women where one would draw attention to her legs by commenting that she had a run in her stocking. It served to arouse the men in the vicinity and anger the women present.

Travis Bickle: I realize now how much she's just like the others, cold and distant, and many people are like that, women for sure, they're like a union.

Anonymous said...

Is Miss "Hrdy" trying to concoct a last name without a vowel?

Is "Hardy" or "Herdy" or "Hirdy" or "Hordy" or "Hurdy" just too patronizingly patromonially phallocentric for her ilk?

I don't get it.

There are literal ZERO hits at google:

+"hrdy" +"genealogy"

Google just naturally assumes that it was a typo, and immediately switches you over to +"hardy" +"genealogy".

Or maybe the editors at Ye Ole Gray Yenta are so lazy nowadays that they don't even notice errors like that?

Anonymous said...

It's funny how many assumptions this gets wrong. For instance, men covet sex, but so do women. It makes just as much sense for men to limit female access to sex as it does for women to limit men. In the Middle Ages and in most societies, women were considered sexually insatiable, not the men. The idea that men are incredibly horny and not women began to exist only in proto-feminist societies like Victorian Britain and became established only in fully feminist societies. Even today in non-feminist societies men aren't considered more horny than women. It's just another example of misandry in today's society.

Then the assumption made by Steve that women dolling themselves up is all about getting men and women would rather not if left to themselves. Wait, but that sounds like a rational decision, and isn't everything governed by "instincts"? According to evo-psyche, if a strong innate desire to self-beautify were to confer a mating advantage, shouldn't it have been selected for by now? It's funny how an evo-psycher can explain anything in any way he feels like in that moment without record for consistency. As a man, what I discovered living in countries where beauty and grooming is prized is that it becomes a a pleasure. When I returned to America, I deeply regretted that I could not longer do it here, or at least not nearly to the same level, because self-beautifying is frowned upon in America. No, there are other reasons for why women in America don't self-beautify than that they can find a way to collectively not do it, they'll take that way because they really don't want to do it. They really do want to do it.

Evo-psyche is such a bag of garbage. It gets it so wrong so often, and then it can take a long time for anyone who once took it seriously - like I did - to learn that the real world doesn't work like it's "supposed" to i evo-psyche. Women are supposed to like bad boys, but somehow, in the real world, they just don't. I've done best with women when I was nice. It's bad enough that it's speculation - that's one thing. The really bad thing about it that it tries too hard to make "sense" of human behavior - it's operating principle is that human evolution produced these neat, tidy, and well run little packages, when in fact there is no reason evolution worked that way. Evolution worked by producing sub-optimum adaptations - why must everything be an optimum adaptation? It all it needs to be in many cases is "good enough" - and organisms with very powerful adaptations in one direction might have survived with some terrible maladaptations in other directions. In reality, we humans are FAR more messy and senseless than the rationalistic scheme of evo-psyche would have us believe, and this account for all the frustratingly contradictory and senseless behavior of humans, and the incredible variability. We are messy, contradictory creatures with many traits that are maladaptive and others that are sub-optimum and some that are great. We make very little sense at the end of the day and people always surprise.

Problem is few people can accept that the world is in large part unknowable on principle - physics is beginning to teach this hard truth, but it seems true to a large part of human behavior as well. Obviously we can know some things and accept the randomness of the rest - but evopsyche as a "science" - ha!

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding like a prude, the girl on the left IS dressed like a whore

So who exactly was in the room when you opened that Alban Syrah?

Andrew Sullivan and David Brock and Gore Vidal and Kevin Clash?

I mean, you didn't drink it by yourself, did you?!?

Rohan Swee said...

If men are at fault for you not being able to do whatever it is you want to do, blame men.

Both sexes slut-shame (NTTAWWT).

Charitably assuming that the existence of female cattiness toward sexual rivals is a question yet unsettled and in need of way more research dollars, I would hope that the "other research suggest[ing] the stigma is enforced mainly by women" is better designed than this one. If I saw some chiquita rolling around an academic laboratory setting in that tacky hooker get-up on the left, I'd roll my eyes and ask wtf, too. Under those conditions, the comments about "dress[ing] that way in order to have sex with a professor" and “her breasts were about to pop out” look like neutral, objective observations to me.

Anonymous said...

The human race is stupid!

Andrea Castillo said...

Yep. Baumeister provided a theoretical framework for this behavior some time ago, I wrote about it a few months ago: http://theumlaut.com/2013/07/02/the-economics-of-slut-shaming/

The Z Blog said...

I find it funny that social science is now geared toward reminding people of the vast amount of human understanding liberalism flushed down the drain over the last century. In this case, proving that no one buys the cow if the milk is free. Women compete for high status men, often by sabotaging rivals.

Mr. Anon said...

Male realpolitik: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Female realpolitik: The friend of my friend is my enemy.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/TIP6hhtjIF4

Another 'leapfrogging' idiot.

That said, Walker made two interesting films.

Chasing Sleep is genuinely lynchian and Price Check is like a cross between Broadcast News and Office Space.

Perhaps, the problem isn't so much 'leapfrogging' as self-criticizing. In a way, northern european types made the most progress by taking a cold hard look at their own faults and doing something about them. Thus social reforms.

But here's the problem. Many
non-northern-europeans are not self-critical and try to take advantage of northern european accomplishments. So, while northern europeans obsess over their faults or imagined faults, non-northern europeans are only thinking 'gimme what's mine(even when it is not theirs)'. One should only be principled with other principled people, not with sharks and weasels.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

She credits the “stunning” amount of new evidence partly to better research techniques and partly to the entry of so many women into scientific fields once dominated by men.

LOL. Ahh, women. I love 'em I love 'em I love 'em.

We must do Whatever It Takes to get more women into science so they can study other women and tell us what we already know about them.

Anonymous said...

It is possible that some women are annoyed by the sexy dress not because of competition, but it makes life harder for all women when she plays to the stereotype. The woman who always dresses this way has drunk the koolaid that men provide.

Anonymous said...

"So, cartels form of women who agree to limit their competitiveness over men. But they have to be constantly checking for cheaters."


"Ok, hol hol hol hol hold it. Hold it a second. Steve, you're confusing me with this sentence. Because on face value, it appears to contradict what you've always stated: "The feminist movement as a whole would probably get farther except that there's so much fraternizing with the opposition." Something along those lines is what I recall that you've stated on numerous occasions."

You're confusing the feminist movement with feminine movement.
One is ideological, the other is biological. Call of sisterhood vs call of womanhood.

Anonymous said...

"The research also shows that suppression of female sexuality is by women, not necessarily by men."


The experiment does not show that, it simply suggests that women in general do not approve of female exhibitionism.

If a man dressed in overly tight and revealing clothes he'd get plenty of negative feedback from other men: this would not mean that men are "suppressing male sexuality". It simply means that there are appropriate and inappropriate times and places for men (and women) to show off their sexuality.

The implication of the study is the common feminist one that "Women should be able to dress however they damn well please whenever and wherever they like and all must react to them with approval". The reality is that a lot of women dress stupidly and they should be discouraged rather than encouraged.

gubbler said...

It could be that the reactions had less to do with 'cat-fighting' emotions than with the natural preference for some kind of order.

If these girls had seen a woman dressed sexily at a dance club, they would have been cool with that. But she seemed out-of-order at a work place setting.
It's like we don't mind guys wearing Hawaiian shirts and colorful shorts at a picnic, but we would notice(negatively) at a funeral or church service.

Or imagine if someone came dressed as batman to a Star Trek convention. Or if someone wore Christmas themed outfit during the middle of summer.

In the test with the girls, suppose the woman showed up dressed extremely unsexily--in nun's outfit--than in mini-skirts.
She would have posed no sexual competition, but the girls might still have spoken ill of her because her manner of dressing was out of order at a work place setting.

So, the human mind prefers the compatibility of presentation and place. What we want at a rock concert is not what we want at a library.

Anonymous said...

Ahem. Sluts are a lot more likely to have venereal disease. If they attract 'your man' and he cheats on you with her, you're going to get it, too. This may kill you or impair your health, or kill your child in the womb if you're pregnant.

In a state of nature, a slut could wipe out an entire community through disease, unless the men had enough self-discipline to resist her.

At the very least, she could break up your marriage, and make you one of those women who has to struggle alone her whole life to raise her kids.

Women see sluts as a threat to themselves, and they're correct about that.

Anonymous said...

As a woman who can be fairly clueless to what other women are up to and their motives, I appreciate this distilling of intra-female behavior.

One little remarked upon aspect of immigration is how South American women bring their high stakes vanity with them. In an earlier era, American women used cosmetics, clothes, and hair styles to make the most of their natural looks. And for the most part, they were satisfied with the end result. South American women significantly up the ante by treating plastic surgery as de rigeur. Recently my 19 year daughter asked me if I found some starlet pretty and I answered that I found her very obvious plastic surgery distracting, particularly her nose job. My daughter answered that since "everyone" gets nose jobs nowadays, that she does not consider that plastic surgery. Really? Are we now in a time when nose jobs are the equivalent of braces? Somethings girls of a certain class are required to do to compete?

If that is the case, I will now consciously employ the "shaming" strategies exposed by the study to try to tamp that down. Women need to draw the line at cutting themselves for vanity.

slumber_j said...

In my experience, Italy isn't at all like Dallas in terms of the prom-readiness of the female population.

Having for example attended a sort of sweet-sixteen party in Sicily for the half-sister of a Palermitan woman I dated years ago, I'm pretty confident here: even the Southern-Italian teenage girls weren't nearly as primped-out as your classic Dallas chick. Of course, the male half of the Italian population more than make up for it...

Fun and telling Italian teen party fact: they had decided there would be one cocktail available, and so there were pitchers of Gin Fizz all over the place in addition to the beer and wine. Unlike me, not a single teenager got even remotely drunk as far as I could tell.

slumber_j said...

Medlar Lucan said: "For the bob is not flattering for all but a small minority of women - and those are very pretty ones who would still look better with longer hair."

I agree with the first part but not the second: it depends on the face, and especially on the neck. Audrey Hepburn comes to mind as a famous and obvious counterexample, but I've known others.

Marc B said...

"They stared at her, looked her up and down, rolled their eyes and sometimes showed outright anger".

This what the woman in my girlfriends family call "the look."

Mike said...

North of Waxahachie, east of old Cowtown
Them Dallas wmoen standin' up beat the others lyin' down
Well God bless the Trinity River and the man who is unaware
Of the Northeast Texas women with their cotton candy hair

Anonymous said...

>There's undoubtedly some truth to this, but women are more interested in fashion and grooming than men even after accounting for their efforts to attract men. If men vanished from the face of the Earth tomorrow, I think the cosmetics industry would survive. I mean, women's attempts at fashion seem mostly aimed at impressing other women. If a woman wants attention from straight men, some cheap yoga pants and a crop top are sufficient. Haute couture is superfluous.

Height and build of men still influences their status even if men do not pick fights daily.
Similarly a woman's appearence influences her status even though women do not try to seduce eachother's partners daily.

>If a woman wants attention from straight men...

The kinds of attention you would get depends on the woman's appearance.
The difference between a Chanel dress and a "cheap yoga pants" maybe the difference between Holly Golightly and a streetwalker.

The article also confuses sluttiness and attractiveness.

Using different terminology to facilitate clearer reasoning:
From the point of men, doing basic cost benefit analysis
Sex Appeal = (Beauty + expected Loyalty + etc) - (expected His-Effort etc)

From the point of woman:
Maximize Sum(Man's-Effort=time,gifts,loyalty, etc)- (Her-Effort + Societal-Cost)

I do not want to go the whole general equilibrium length.

The point is: "Women do not disdain other women for looking better,
they disdain other women for being easy".

Coming to Steve's haircare example,
women do not criticize for women for having well groomed hair, just the opposite.
In fact the adjective "slovenly" may be used to describe both unkempt hair or a slutty woman.

I suspect that is not the whole story though.

There should be two local maxima in the womans solution:
As we already know WIFE strategy maximum, and WHORE strategy maximum.
We also observe WIFEs should be the majority, but should not dominate WHOREs totally. (similar to evo-psych analysis of sociopathy)
as number of WHOREs rise expected benefit of WIFEs should fall.
WIFEs impose societal costs to keep WHOREs' number small etc.

Now women incur almost only societal cost by becoming easier.
But they have to put much effort to become more attractive than they would normally be.
In other words, doing yoga is much more difficult than getting a pair of "cheap yoga pants".
Also a woman becoming fitter, or having silkier hair, etc through effort, if she is monogamous, do not decrease other women's expected benefit as much.

To sum up: All deadly sins are deadly, but let's be honest, vanity is nowhere nearly as deadly as lust.

Anonymous said...

I like Steve's cartel theory, but it's not just a matter of keeping prices high and services low. It's also about affirmative action for the ugly. Without beer goggles, a man will probably notice only about one in a hundred women -- gussied up or not. The rest on the narrow beauty curve are various permutations and combinations of flabby upper arms, flat chests, big butts, over sized calves, man hands, pot bellies, toasted hair, and faces that look like they were drawn by a police sketch artist who flunked night school. Of course, the uglies fight a two front war -- putting down attractive well dressed women and any men who express an interest in them. Their delusion is that the sexual revolution should be a cultural Marxist revolution where the people on the top of the attractiveness hierarchy -- you know, the ones who get lots of great sex with many attractive partners -- are denounced as having unfair, unearned advantage. And that 45 year old hags should be able to bed handsome 21 year old jocks.

heartiste said...

Most people would be surprised (or not, if they're being honest with themselves and are still in the dating market able to observe the goings-on) how often and how deliberately women will take a stab at trying to sleep with a boyfriend of one of their supposed BFFs. Female friendships are rife with this sort of tacit disloyalty. So, yeah, slut-shaming is a big part of a woman's world, both as a means to ease the intensity of competition and as a defense against poachers in BFF clothing.

Mark said...

One obvious example of the cartel behavior of women is that a lot of the impetus to criminalize commercial sex (in strip clubs, massage parlors, escorts etc.) comes from female voters who see that as potential competition they want to stamp out. You'll often see liberal feminists and female social conservatives who are usually on opposite sides of the political fence coming together on this issue. It's difficult to enforce a cartel on a free market. To be effective, a cartel needs to have government enforcement and laws outlawing these activities is a classic case of this.

Modern Abraham said...

Wow, file this under D for 'Duh'. We upscaled our house recently, so there are a lot of trophy wives and MBA mommies jogging in the neighborhood all the time. Can't tell you how often I get some variation of "that bitch think she skinny!" from my wife as we drive past these women without so much as exchanging a glance.

I used to think my wife was being ridiculous until I thought more about it from her perspective and realized she was right. Women choose very carefully how they wish to look to others, and when and in what manner they want to be seen, all the while maintaining plausible deniability to everyone except other women. True microagressions in action!

And we guys do similar things, even in trivial matters of appearance. Imagine if it was a guy rather than a girl who walked into the room and he had a guitar strapped to his back- a sunburst Les Paul no less. He asks where the researchers are, and then maybe one of the girls already in there asks if he can play and he starts strumming the one set of chords he knows while warbling a song barely in key. Wouldn't most of the guys in the room roll their eyes and mutter "douche" as soon as guitar guy left?

Bill said...

Anonymous said...

"whose reactions were being secretly recorded during the encounter and after the woman left the room."

Isn't this unethical?


Institutional Review Boards are extremely willing to let Psychologists lie to, trick, secretly record, and otherwise be not nice to their subjects. There is no reason to believe anything a Psychologist tells you when you are his research subject.

Corn said...

As for this discussion about women cutting their hair short, the blogger Sunshine Mary had a great discussion about this on her site a few days ago.
And as for women instigating slut-shaming along with/instead of men..... no surprise to me. If I don't like a woman I call her a bitch. If my sister doesn't like a woman she calls her a whore or a ho.

Harry Baldwin said...

You'd be like the once Beyonce in a world of Rachel Maddows!

Too many variables for that analogy to work.

Steve Sailer said...

"Hrdy" is her husband's name. From Wikipedia:

Sarah Blaffer was born on July 11, 1946, in Dallas, Texas. She was raised in Houston, and attended St. John's School there....

Family life[edit]
Blaffer met Daniel Hrdy at Harvard. They married in 1972 in Kathmandu. They have three children:

daughter Katrinka, born to Hrdy at age 31
daughter Sasha, born 1982, a week before Hrdy was scheduled to present a paper at Cornell University
son Niko, born 1986, when she was 41

She lives with her husband in Northern California, where they operate the Citrona Farms walnut plantation.[2] She is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California at Davis, where she remains involved with the Animal Behavior Graduate Group.

Me, again: I read her book "Mother Love" which included the insight that you can get a lot more work out of an 11-year-old daughter than out of a 15-year-old daughter. (Presumably, there are no end of chores on a walnut orchard.) At 11, your daughter will more willingly take care of younger siblings, while at 15 she'll loll around reserving her energies and devoting her attention to looking attractive and socializing.

slumber_j said...

Blaffers tend to benefit from their extended family's big-time Texas oil fortune.

Cail Corishev said...

(Presumably, there are no end of chores on a walnut orchard.)

Heh, believe it or not, there's a good MST3K skit on that very subject.

Anonymous said...

"Kiss me, Hrdy"


"But what if you were the only woman who got up a half-hour early? You'd be like the once Beyonce in a world of Rachel Maddows! That would be totally worth it! But what if everybody gets up a half-hour early? Well, then you could get up an hour early! And so on ..."

The late Janis Joplin found that the early bird catches the "talent".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1jAvGeY51I

Anonymous said...

"Without beer goggles, a man will probably notice only about one in a hundred women"

I think someone's being a bit too fussy. Must be coming from a mindset of abundance, as Roissy would say.

Anonymous said...

"in a state of nature, a slut could wipe out an entire community through disease, unless the men had enough self-discipline to resist her."

Or an Oxford college :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuleika_Dobson

Gubbler of the Society of Reformed Chechenistics said...

What may be at work here is the Law of Cartoonics.

The essence of humor is exaggeration. So, political cartoons exaggerate the features of powerful men: big noses, big ears, high foreheads, fat torsos, etc.
Humor ridicules people and ideas by exaggerating them all out of proportion.

Thus, it could have been the disproportionate factor that made the girls talk about the sexpot bimbo. Maybe they weren't so threatened as amused by a woman who dresses up like a cartoon character.

It's like we don't laugh at blacks who dress normally but laugh at some black guy with fuzzy dice, giant afro, gold teeth, and huge bling. It's too much.

In the film CARRIE, the poor girl was no sexual threat to the good-looking popular girls, but they put her down because she was a walking exaggeration of loserdom. She wore no makeup, wore the plainest clothes, had no social graces(and was shy), was awkward, and plain-faced. Again, the Law of Cartoonics. Carrie was too cartoonish with her image of loserdom.

We feel the same about the rich. There are rich with class and style, and we might admire them. But when we see Russian nouveau-riche or Tony Montana in SCARFACE with with a big cadillac with leopard skin seating, it's laughable. It's so gauche.

It's like when Bella arrives to school on the first day in TWILIGHT. She drives into the parking lot with a Sanford and Son truck, and some kids make funny remarks or funny faces.

So, the females in this test might have been reacting to the woman's cartoonics than her threat as a sexual competitor.
I mean it's one thing to be attractive, but it's ridiculous to turn oneself into Betty Boop.

Glossy said...

"Fun and telling Italian teen party fact... Unlike me, not a single teenager got even remotely drunk as far as I could tell."

Mediterraneans have low susceptibility to alcoholism, yet Arabs are the world's most strident teetotalers. How did this come about? Why ban something that doesn't even harm you?

Gubbler of the Society of Reformed Chechenistics said...

Maybe what is operative here is the Law of Discrepancy.

Just look at the woman in the photo. She's sort of attractive but no great beauty.

So, it may have been the discrepancy between her natural looks(not so hot) with her getup(oh-so-hot) that made the girls say all those not-so-pleasant things about her.

Imagine a bunch of guys in a bar. Suppose someone who looks like Clint Eastwood enters dressed real macho-like. Guys might look at him and think, 'really cool dude'.
But suppose Billy Crystal enters a bar dressed real macho. Guys would crack jokes. The Law of Discrepancy.

Suppose the girl in the test was someone like Brooke Shields in her prime dressed real sexylike. The girls might have thought 'WOW, she is really awesome.'
But when they saw a woman who was somewhat attractive but hardly hot stuff trying to look like hottest stuff, they might have found it rather funny and deserving of mockery.

In highschool, there was this Jewish girl who was unbelievably gorgeous(and really smart too). If she had gone into movies, she'd be a big star. No question about it.
No one ridiculed her.
But there was another girl who was pudgy, plain-faced, and not-so-hot. But she put on so much make-up and tried to look like hot stuff. She was a joke, and everyone knew it.

Same thing goes with intelligence. If a bunch of people meet a real smart guy, they might think, 'the dude is really smart'. Envious or not, they'll take him seriously.
But if a unsmart guy tries to sound smart and puts on a smartaleck act, the other guys are gonna crack jokes about him later.

The funny thing about Quayle and Bush II was they tried so hard to be presidential but came across as awkward and stupid. Such huge discrepancy between their positions and their skills as public figures.

Steve Sailer said...

In 1990, I overheard salesgirls at Barney's try to make fun of Brooke Shields after she had walked by. "Did she look fat to you?" "She could use to lose 5 pounds."

But, they sounded pretty discouraged by trying to be catty about Brooke Shields' looks, and soon gave up.

E. Rekshun said...

W@wren: "I've read that 90% of HR people are female, and one of their goals is keeping attractive women out of the company. Could be true."

100% of the HR staff at my workplace are female. And,yep, it is true at my workplace.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how many assumptions this gets wrong. For instance, men covet sex, but so do women. It makes just as much sense for men to limit female access to sex as it does for women to limit men.

Can you really be this clueless?

Women want sex, but men have a far greater interest in casual sex. If that were not the case, I think we would have to discard the entire theory of evolution, as it is virtually unimaginable that men and women could have evolved to have precisely the same attitude towards sex.

The reason is simple. Up until very recently in human history, sex usually involved a risk of pregnancy. From an evolutionary standpoint, knocking up a woman is a tremendous victory for a man. It costs him nothing, and he gets a child out of it. If he so chooses, his investment in the child can end at ejaculation. The minimum cost for a woman, on the other hand, was a nine month pregnancy. Furthermore, unless she decided to commit infanticide after birth, she was stuck raising the child, which likely included several years of nursing.

Therefore, indiscriminate "hooking up" was a horrible evolutionary strategy for women and an excellent strategy for men. Women should strongly prefer sex in committed relationships, and men should have a strong interest in no strings attached sex with a multitude of partners (note: that does not preclude male interest in serious relationships as well; men would have benefited from pursuing both). That is exactly what we observe today.

Note: Everything I've said holds only in a statistical sense. Also, I've only provided a basic overview, there's much more that could be said on this topic.

In the Middle Ages and in most societies, women were considered sexually insatiable, not the men... Even today in non-feminist societies men aren't considered more horny than women.

This is almost certainly pure bullshit. I would love to see an example of a contemporary society in which women are widely believed to be more prurient than men. Regardless, even if it were true it would not contradict the fact that men are more interested in casual sex. People in primitive societies have held many absurd beliefs.

Then the assumption made by Steve that women dolling themselves up is all about getting men and women would rather not if left to themselves. Wait, but that sounds like a rational decision, and isn't everything governed by "instincts"?

Absolutely no one argues that "everything is governed by instincts". This is just the typical "genetic determinism" straw man used by every opponent of the concept of biological influences on human behavior. People can have instincts and engage in rational thought and cultural practices. There is no contradiction there.

Women beautifying themselves could be an entirely rational and non-instinctual response to men's innate preferences for female beauty. That would make it inevitable in a secular, prosperous, individualistic society like the contemporary US, but it wouldn't be hard-wired. That is possible, but I believe females in other great ape species are more concerned with grooming than are males, which suggests women may have an innate instinct for it.

According to evo-psyche, if a strong innate desire to self-beautify were to confer a mating advantage, shouldn't it have been selected for by now?

Not necessarily, as most beautifying techniques are the products of recently developed (on an evolutionary timescale) technology. Make-up and hair spray weren't available on the savanna 100,000 years ago. But see the above discussion.

I'm afraid I don't have time to reply to the rest of your comment. Your misconceptions are so numerous and so profound that correcting them would be a lengthy task.

Harry Baldwin said...

I've read that 90% of HR people are female, and one of their goals is keeping attractive women out of the company.

The HR person at my old company was nicknamed Fiona because she resembled Mrs. Shrek in the movie.

Anonymous said...

It baffles me why any young attractive woman would cut her hair short. Isn't it a universal fact that long hair is sexy? Didn't nuns used to shave their heads for this? Weren't female collaborators who bedded German soldiers in occupied Europe head- shaven and publically humiliated after liberation?

Anonymous said...

Female aggression is as bad for a society as male aggression. Men beat people with their hands, women beat people with their tongues. Men do physical damage - women do psychological damage. Both hurt the future.

Except for maybe Eastern Europe, most men in Christian Western culture has given up their aggressive intimidating physical behavior. The opposite has happened with the Western woman.

Clearly feminism is an aggressive intimidating negative force that is destroying Western family culture.

Christianity says that we must love our neighbor - feminists hate half the human race - how can this be good - how can this be right?

p.s. When a life has been lived - the only thing that is left is one’s family - that is the only thing that 99% of us will ever produce that has lasting consequences. Abandoning a child to go back to work within months of its birth hurts both mother and child, and it wounds society.

wren said...

"In 1990, I overheard salesgirls at Barney's try to make fun of Brooke Shields after she had walked by. "Did she look fat to you?" "She could use to lose 5 pounds."

But, they sounded pretty discouraged by trying to be catty about Brooke Shields' looks, and soon gave up.


I was once in the same shop with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was surprised by how small he looked up close. I've been telling people this for 10 years, but now I read that he is 6'2"

Oops.

Anonymous said...

Don't men police each other too? It may be unique to lower/ middle class American culture, but from what I've observed men are pretty quick to condemn other men who seem "metro." Tailored clothes and any artistic or sophisticated interests are viewed with suspicion. I bet a guy who dressed/acted like Edward Cullen would be ostracized pretty fast by his fellow men.

Joe Schmo types sometimes mock runners and bikers, who are more physically fit than 80 % of the over 25 adult male population.

Young guys compliment each other on large, unkempt beards. Seems like a parallel to the short hair thing with women.

Maybe I'm off target and men just really don't want to be associated with anything that remotely smacks of the gay. But there does seem to be some unconscious competition at work.

David said...

>Steve, you're confusing me with this sentence.<

He means there's a cheater born every minute.

>I've read that 90% of HR people are female, and one of their goals is keeping attractive women out of the company.<

And keeping out beta males (as well as any white men at all, unless the guy is so overwhelmingly good that the CEO simply orders HR to hire him).

>The experiment does not show that, it simply suggests that women in general do not approve of female exhibitionism.<

WHY don't they approve of it? Move to the next level of thinking. Steve and the people he discusses in the article already have.

>If a man dressed in overly tight and revealing clothes [like a woman]<

Read Modern Abraham's comment. He nails it.

>the world is in large part unknowable on principle - physics is beginning to teach this hard truth<

Always said by someone who doesn't like x conclusion. "No, no, no - nobody knows the truth, knowledge is vain!"

1. How do you know the world is unknowable and that this is a "truth" and that it is "hard"? From knowing the known discoveries of known physics?

2. What is meant by "in large part" here? That most of the world is unknowable - or that the world is mostly unknowable? The latter meaning is absurd ("mostly pregnant"). In any case, where is dividing line between the unknowable and the knowable, and (again) how is it determined? If you don't know where it is, what is your evidence that it is? Don't say "the line is: I know x but don't know y"; that would be equating "unknown" and "unknowable."

If you can locate the unknowable, it isn't unknowable: you know one thing about it.

"The unknowable" is mystical nonsense like most of the concepts of God discussed by George H. Smith. (I believe in a Force-like providence or auspiciousness, but not in the aforesaid concepts.)

David said...

>I was once in the same shop with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was surprised by how small he looked up close.<

I briefly worked with Mel Gibson in Nashville in the early '90s ("The Gambler") and he would probably have to crane his neck to look at our Steve. No really. Mel is 5' 9.5", dude!

Ya might not want to mention it to him, though.

David said...

>Maybe I'm off target and men just really don't want to be associated with anything that remotely smacks of the gay.<

Cary Grant claimed that the origin of the rumor (?) that he was gay was that he was successful with women.

ben tillman said...

But what if you were the only woman who got up a half-hour early? You'd be like the once Beyonce in a world of Rachel Maddows! That would be totally worth it!

Oh, yeah. I took a Kappa from Ole Miss to Oktoberfest once. She was the belle of the ball.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe I'm off target and men just really don't want to be associated with anything that remotely smacks of the gay."

It's more about effeminate guys mimicking female characteristics to get the nooky instead of playing by the male hierarchy rules where they'd be decimated.

http://blogs.smh.com.au/lifestyle/allmenareliars/archives/2007/02/sneaky_fucker_t.html

The female analog would be a tomboy who starts to become cute instead of the rough and tumble 'one of the boys'.

Chosen water said...

The one in the pink shirt definitely gets me going. More of the attractive women should dress this way to undercut the abuse from the jealous 5s and 6s. Enough 8s, 9s, and 10s doing this and they normalize it to the point where the catty backhanded comments from the others lose their effectiveness.

ben tillman said...

Without beer goggles, a man will probably notice only about one in a hundred women -- gussied up or not.

I'm not sure you're justified in egomorphizing. I certainly notice a lot more than that.

ben tillman said...

I was once in the same shop with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was surprised by how small he looked up close. I've been telling people this for 10 years, but now I read that he is 6'2"

Oops.


I went to law school with a Miss Columbus (Georgia) who met him in Columbus, Ohio, at a Columbus Day celebration. She reported that he was 5'8" or so.

Anonymous said...

And it gets worse with age as a males attention gets divided between hot 20-something females and vintage automobiles.

Anonymous said...

"“Sex is coveted by men,” she said. “Accordingly, women limit access as a way of maintaining advantage in the negotiation of this resource.."

Well, this jibes with my experience. I dont' know if it needed a scientific discovery. (The feminists won't wanna hear it anyway).

As War Nerd said - you might pick up a lot bout human nature if you pay attention in High School (may it rot in hell).

wren said...

I went to law school with a Miss Columbus (Georgia) who met him in Columbus, Ohio, at a Columbus Day celebration. She reported that he was 5'8" or so.

There's really no arguing with the Triple C seal there, I feel.

Wikipedia reports 6'2" but that is forgetting that as an elite, Arnold may have ways around mere facts.

Further research indicates a great conspiracy, and a website dedicated to it.

http://arnoldheight.com

From their FAQ:

Q. How Tall is Arnold Schwarzenegger?
A. We don't know. But we can safely say he is somewhere between 5'9" and 6'2".

Q. Why an entire website dedicated to one man's height?
A. It may seem a tad excessive, but this is one of the world's most puzzling questions for many people. With no definitive answer, message boards across the internet have been flooded with posts offering discussion on this matter. It was only a matter of time before a website dedicated to 'the eternal question' would appear.

Q. Is Arnold Schwarzenegger's height important?
A. Yes and no. As one of the world's most famous action stars, his physical stature is considered to be immense, so it is no wonder that a lot of people are shocked when he doesn't appear as a 'giant' and in this sense his image may become damaged by him being shorter than we think. However, I think that most people realize that height generally does not make a person stronger or 'better' than anyone else. If Mr. Schwarzenegger turned out to be of 'average' height then this would not take away from any of his many accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

Didn't David Buss write an entire book about this back in the mid-1990's? It was pretty much ignored by both the media and academia. In fact I think he devoted almost an entire page to listing all the numerous demeaning insults women typically use on other women they consider to be easy. Remember those are just the insults in English, since some languages have far more obscene words in total than English does, who knows how many exist in all the myriad languages of the world.

PD said...

"I've noticed this effect going in the other direction as well. For example, when a woman cuts her hair boyishly short, it always seems to be only other women who are eager to tell her how cute she looks."

And also to hint at rivals with longer, more beautiful hair that shorter cuts are trendy, doncha know?

Actually had that happen to me earlier this year - my hair is down to my waist and in pretty good condition. I was at an event where I ran into a snotty little brat who'd stolen my former flame from me. Her hair is short and in a rather unflattering punky style, and she made a point of gushing over her friend's newly shorn hairdo, all the while giving me the evil eye.

Guess my ex must have made some comment about my hair at some point, since around the same time, said brat took to wearing super long extensions on occasion and making a big deal about it.

Last I heard, he'd moved on to some new girl, who has blonde hair halfway down her back.

Anyway, hair is a woman's crowning glory, and if a woman is lacking in that department, she has some incentive to try to bring the competition down to her level by encouraging them to hack theirs off. Meanwhile, I recall my brother once telling me to never cut my hair beyond maybe some layers and shorter bangs - you can always pin long hair up if it's in the way, but why handicap yourself by cutting it off?

Anonymous said...

Fun fact: I "dated" one of the Hrdy daughters back in college.

Anonymous said...

For myself I really like girls with short hair.

Winona Ryder

Carey Mulligan

Jessica Fox

Emma Watson

Anonymous said...

"It baffles me why any young attractive woman would cut her hair short. Isn't it a universal fact that long hair is sexy?"

Different women look different with different hair styles or lengths.

Louis Brooks looked great with short hair.
So does Alice Cullen.
Jean Seberg looked better with short than long hair.
Mariette Hartley looked good with short hair. She had a great tomboy look in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.

It's like Yul Brynner looked better bald than with hair.
Some men look good with beards, some don't.


Truth said...

"Oh, yeah. I took a Kappa from Ole Miss to Oktoberfest once. She was the belle of the ball."

An Alpha Kappa Alpha? I can see that.

Truth said...

Schwartz is about 6'0 tall, I rode in a van with him on Universal Backlot with a bunch of studio execs and some actors once. It was during the filming of Jingle all the Way. The guy insists on driving, then he lights up a fat smelly stogie and child-locks all of the windows (in one of those big 4 seat vans) to show everyone who is in charge. Then he takes us on a nice long leisurely tour at 20 miles an hour while he holds on a long conversation in loud German with his buddy Roland Kickinger another Austrian bodybuilder in the passenger seat. Heartiste would have shot a load in his pants.

Anonymous said...

"Carey Mulligan"

I really don't get this. She looks like Fatty Arbuckle.

Callowman said...

Maybe it's because I'm a Bostonian who lives in Sweden, or maybe its just conservatism and (puritanical?) modesty, but the girl above is much more appealing to me in the version at right, where she's not tarted up.