I have bad news. Men and women are different. Oh, I don’t mean that – vive la difference, right? – I mean men and women are different in the way they relate to others, the way they relate to society, the way they present.
Is some of that culturally set? Well, no sh*t Sherlock. The “revolutionaries” and “daring innovators” of the sixties kept coming up with ridiculous things like you know, in some cultures wearing pants would make you non-womanly, and in Scottland men wore kilts. Well, again, no sh*t Sherlock. A lot of the external signaling of gender and the way people er… for lack of a better phrase, strut their stuff for the opposite gender (or the same) is different depending where you are. (I had the d*mndest time convincing my parents that no, Dan wasn’t gay, because he doesn’t drink alcohol, or not a lot of it.)
Do these differences in the way gender is expressed invalidate the concept of gender and make us all tabula rasa? Can we raise boys to behave as women and women as boys and nothing at all will be different?
I’d ask how stupid you have to be to believe that except that I know most psychologists and sociologists practicing today were TAUGHT that – whether they believe it or not depends, I guess on how much exposure they’ve had to the real world. And I know places like Sweden and Holland and Germany and other “enlightened” locations have swallowed this hook line and sinker, which is why we have “gender neutral” toys and the idea that kids get to choose their gender as adults, kind of like some “enlightened” parents let kids choose their own names “when they’re old enough”. As though it were just some accoutrement, and not an essential part of who you are, formed and molded into muscle and thought and hormonal load from the time you were in the womb, and formed before that over millennia of evolution.
Yes, men and women had different evolutionary pressures. There is a pattern to humanity.
Yes, yes, I know. If you look hard enough you’ll find a tribe in Africa where, if you squint kind of sideways, the women hunt and the men look after the children. Humans are very plastic and in unusual circumstances or do to some external reason, that pattern can emerge. Yes, yes, there have always been women warriors, and I’m sure there have always been men who spun and sewed and looked after the kids, too, though those aren’t nearly as celebrated as the “warrior women.” Because in these enlightened feminist times, women who act like men are celebrated, but never men who act like women. There is no worst chauvinist than a “feminist” for devaluing traditional female roles and valuing male ones.
HOWEVER those are outliers, whether tribes or individuals. Throughout most of human history and pre-history, men did the outdoor/dangerous/difficult work and women the boring/annoying/indoor work.
It all comes down to men hunted and women gathered. Neither work was – before I get jumped – easy or what we’d call safe, but they presented different kinds of danger and different kinds of overcoming it, which in turn led to very different group mechanics.
Men needed to trust each other absolutely; needed to know their place in the hierarchy; and allowed for innovation in the service of group success. Women, on the other hand needed to have a cohesive group, meaning you had to behave like the rest of the group. Sticking out was bad because it didn’t materially help the group – you didn’t have to corner berries together, or … And striking out on your own was bad because, if we see the patterns in the rainforest today, for instance, the berry-gathering group is also the child watching group. Mothers like me, who rather preferred not to be submerged in a ‘mommy group’ would either have to be beyond very good, or they’d lose the vast majority of their kids, and thereby not pass on their genes.
More than that, when it comes to the relationship between men and women, it is marked by the fact that they outweigh us, out-lift us and out-run us. We can outlast them both in effort and in longevity, for what consolation that’s worth. BUT physically they’re stronger than us, even at the same size. (I had a moment of shock when my then 11 year old son, who was still shorter and slimmer than I, could easily lift 100 pounds in a dead lift which I couldn’t do.)
This means in interactions between men and women – as adults and partners – men must modulate their strength and women must find non-physical ways of projecting theirs. We see women doing this as far back as pre-history. The wise counselor. The advisor. It’s in all our legends and quite a few of our histories. The man goes home and consults with his wife.
I’d say our “civilization” – our road to being human – started when hominid males decided to court women rather than simply overpowering them.
Is it evolutionarily favored? It would seem to be. Women are more likely to raise to adulthood children willingly conceived.
Not to say that rape isn’t good reproductive strategy – if it weren’t, the Vikings wouldn’t have left swathes of blue eyed people all across the shores of Europe. I’m just saying it’s not EFFICIENT. Unless you’re going to make rape a way of life, and have a way to spread the damage across the world, then I wouldn’t recommend it, because I’d guess a lot fewer children conceived of rape reach healthy reproductive maturity.
So overall the men who courted won out over the men who raped. Regardless of the whole culture of rape thing, very few men want to pursue rape as a reproductive choice.
But… women don’t understand this.
Heinlein had something in Stranger about men and women each being locked in his own way of being in the world and unable to understand the other gender. This is not true at least for some of us who grew up with mostly members of the opposite sex, and who still have members of the opposite sex as close and trusted friends.
A while back there was a book about a woman who dressed up and passed as a man – I think it’s called Self Made Man – and the revelations she got this way. The things that “wives can’t know about husbands” type of revelations. By and large, she got me to blink and go “you didn’t know that?” or “You mean most women don’t know that?” Because I already did. But I might be a different case. As I said I grew up around my brother and his friends, and they tended to think it didn’t matter what they said in front of me. And my husband and I talk about just about everything.
BUT that said, there is a group of women, we’ll call them “the sob sisters” who are really really dumb about this. They either view men as a sort of hairier woman with a penis, or they wish he were so. These are the women who fight you tooth and nail on things like “Men are truly different” and “No, gender is not all ‘social construction’.
I never understood their psychology, though I’ve been interacting with them since Kindergarten. They were the little girls who wanted to boys to admire their pretty frocks, but didn’t want to play rough lest they tore the frills, and therefore demanded that boys not be “rough” around them. (Which largely amounted to their not being boys.)
They don’t understand that the decision to court rather than rape is built in very deeply in a man’s psyche, layered by thousands of years of evolution and – yes – sexual conditioning. It is a gentleness born of strength. Men who know themselves to be stronger than any woman they want, discipline themselves to go slowly, to court her.
Even in the most primitive tribes, rituals are instituted to bend men into this civilized mold. Because when the mold is broken, the result is that men abuse women, women abuse children, and the world goes to hell.
The sob sisters don’t get this. They are gentle because they’re weak and this forces them into being gentle. Hell hath no fury and ability to oppress as one of these weak, die-away sisters given some power, but every woman here will know what I’m talking about, because sooner or later you find yourself fin a group where one of these has got the bit between their teeth. Their power is mostly gossip and back stabbing and unbelievable psychological abuse, but they use it to the hilt.
Which is why they think that if men aren’t using their superior strength, it must be because they’re weak, and the “solution” to society (they nurse in their black little hearts the hope of not just making women equal but reversing society and having women do all the masculine jobs and men do the feminine ones. It’s nuttiness) is to raise men to be weak and not to know their own strength. Hence the entire “rise of the sensitive male.”
The problem is this – you don’t reverse evolution in two generations. Even if you could, it would be stupid, mind, since there are muscular and hormonal reasons for men’s strength, but the point is you can’t do it, anyway.
So when you educate children to believe it’s all a social construction and there’s no difference, you run up against the fact that there’s differences.
Yes, girls can sleep around as much as men, but since our endocrine system predisposes us to attachment after sex, this means the majority of women CAN’T do that and be happy… Even when they tell themselves they are.
And yes, boys can be taught to act weak and much like the sob sisters. The problem is they aren’t. Not even when they’re raised to act that way.
The end result is that they don’t know how to express their strength and they’ve never been taught to modulate it.
Men who have only been taught to “act sensitive” but have no other discipline, no other moral, no other idea of what it means to be a man, will in fact hoist the pirate flag.
Whenever a memoir surfaces from the sixties, the thing that always strikes me is how these men who were considered champions of women were in fact nasty little petulant creatures, taking advantage as much as possible. Say, the story of Ayers raping a girl and then making her sleep with someone she had no interest in, by bullying her with the idea that not to do so would be unenlightened.
I often think that the people now controlling education were women who went through this, and therefore want to stop boys from being… well boys. But what they’re doing in fact is creating more sociopathic males who will act as you want them to, but will take as much advantage as possible.
If they’re going to be considered criminals for being males; if none of their good qualities (their superior strength, their loyalty, their protectiveness) are appreciated; if they’re told they can only be this sort of inferior ersatz female… what is there for them to control themselves for? Why not present the face the world wants and take advantage of women behind it?
Chivalry and the code thereof was the laying down of those good reproductive (and civilizational) rules that make for a functioning society that passes on its values to its young: men who put their strength at the service of the weaker; women who praised them and admired them for it; and children who were raised to do the same.
Tearing it down might seem like freedom, but you can’t remove the walls and wish the roof would remain standing.
This has nothing to do with women working (women always worked, at least in the lower classes. And in the upper classes they often helped administer domains) though working outside the house is a new thing for both men and women, frankly. What it has to do with is the relationship between men and women.
Men and women are not the same. They are different at the sinew level, at the hormonal level, and yes, at the brain level. Different signals of dominance and submission are baked into each of them by thousands of years of evolution.
You can’t upend it quickly or efficiently and the attempt is likely to reduce to rubble everything built since the first proto-human gave a girl a flower instead of throwing her to the ground and having his way with her. You’ve been warned. Disregard it at your own risk.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit Readers and thank you Glenn Reynolds for the link.