“Men” by Laura Kipnis – Book Review by Evan Marc Katz

This space is usually reserved for dating and relationship advice, as well as links to relevant articles from around the internet. But every once in awhile, I read something about gender relations that seems pertinent and I want to share it with you. I did this a few years back with a review of Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men,” and I’m doing it today with Laura Kipnis’ “Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation.”

Just when you think you agree with her on everything, she looks at things from a different angle, and forces you to consider a new point of view.

Kipnis is a professor, essayist and provocateur, and this is why I find her take interesting. The general argument of one of her other books, “The Female Thing” is that women are stuck between feminism and traditional femininity, which are incompatible ways of being. No argument here. “Men,” on the other hand, looks at different types of men through a critical lens: the Manly Man, the Lothario, The Con Man, the Cheater, etc. But instead of being a man-bashing fiesta, Kipnis’ observations and ruminations on gender are challenging and thought-provoking. Just when you think you agree with her on everything, she looks at things from a different angle, and forces you to consider a new point of view. And because she’s a woman, she can challenge women in a way that doesn’t sound misogynist. In one section about her interactions with Larry Flynt of Hustler, she writes:

“Hustler isn’t against women so much as sexual repression, which includes conventional uptight femininity, though within its pages, not everyone who’s sexually repressed, uptight and feminine is necessarily female: prissy men were frequently in the crosshairs, too…Once you put aside your assumptions about Hustler-variety porn aiding and abetting male power, you can’t help noticing how much vulnerability stalks these pages…The magazine is saturated with frustrated desire and uncertainty: sex is an area for potential failure, not domination.”

This would be the exact argument I would make about men’s rights activists (MRAs). They are largely sad, frustrated and impotent men who have had nothing but failed relations with women, and, as such, they are trying to reassert their own power, often in an unhealthy way. This is, of course, the flip side of a certain strident brand of feminism, which is adept at collecting grievances about men, but often fails to consider their very humanity. Men are oppressors, women are victims. If you challenge this simplified assertion, you hate women. The fact is, even if men have traditionally held power and are slow adjusting to the changes in a post-feminist world, many of them feel particularly powerless. Writes Kipnis about men’s confessional memoirs, “At least we’re getting a less mythical vantage on men’s inner lives, and closer to the gut material than the familiar Successful Guy musings about careers well played and lives fully led. There’s more vulnerability on view: anxiety and depression, divorce and destitution, urinary and other embarrassing conditions – the sorts of afflictions and woes that were once the hallmark of women’s memoirs.” Thus, it’s not that there aren’t any number of rich, white men of privilege, but there’s also a huge swath of middle-class men who, like many women, are struggling to lead happy lives.

My personal favorite chapter in “Men,” is The Lothario, in which Kipnis dives into the appeal of charismatic alpha males and calls attention to the inherently contradictory beliefs of women who dislike men but still want to be with them.

“Now that men have become less economically necessary and there’s less reason than ever to pretend to admire them, scorn for men has become the postfeminist fallback position, widely regarded as a badge of feistiness and independence. Nevertheless, men remain conduits to things a lot of women still deeply want: sex, love, babies, commitments… It’s a contradictory situation to find oneself in, to say the least….Get a bunch of women in a room, add liquor, and jokes about men’s inadequacies fly like shrapnel. When it comes to dating, single men are dogs, infants, sex-obsessed, moral rodents or emotional incompetents. And once you finally land one, nothing much improves since husbands are morons, selfish, workaholics, emotionally unavailable, and domestically incompetent. Single men lie and mislead to get sex; husbands have lost interest in sex entirely. Men are emotionally autistic, except for all the ones who want you to be their mother. Men can’t talk about their feelings! Except for all the ones who won’t shut up about themselves. They’re macho assholes, except when they’re wimps – what man could endure childbirth? And so on.”

Yes, all of the world’s problems would be solved if men were like women. Of course, they wouldn’t be like men anymore.

Kipnis points out that while the word misogyny is thrown around a lot, researchers generally find far higher levels of rage among women toward men than among men toward women. As she astutely points out in the last line of this essay, women still feel that “these errant and frustrating men could gratify female needs and desires if only they were somehow different than they are. Less like men, to begin with.” Yes, all of the world’s problems would be solved if men were like women. Of course, they wouldn’t be like men anymore. Which leads me to the only criticism I have of Kipnis as an author.

As effective as she is in flipping back and forth between different perspectives – both siding with feminists, and then turning a critical eye towards them – she starts from a misbegotten place: she thinks men and women are the same and that gender is merely a societal construct. Given this starting point, it’s going to naturally affect her observations on how she sees gender. In other words, if we’re not starting with the same definition, how can we ever come to terms with these differences? Yes, men have a feminine side and need to nurture it. Yes, there would be less war if women were in charge. This only goes to validate the perspective that men and women – for better or worse – are different.

Like Kipnis – even less than Kipnis – I’m just an amateur sociologist and observer of people. But ultimately, I try to observe things as they are, instead of how I’d like them to be. So to suggest that gender is ONLY based on what society tells us is to completely diminish the power of biology. Men have more testosterone than women, and testosterone affects men’s sex drives, confidence, aggression, focus, and health. No one is denying that culture plays a large part in gender roles. No one is denying that men and women may be 95% the same biologically. But that 5% accounts for a LOT of the differences we see in general between the genders. Just because some women are physically bigger and stronger than men doesn’t mean men, in general, aren’t bigger and stronger. Just because some women can have sex without emotion doesn’t mean that they don’t, in general, have a harder time with it. And so on. To deny this reality is to wish for the sky to be red or internet comment sections to be calm and reasonable.

With “Men,” Kipnis has written a fast, funny, provocative take on masculinity from a female perspective. I only hope that, in her future writings, she is open to the idea that men and women are not exactly the same, and willing to see how that shift filters down into her writings. I would only assume that she’d be even more incisive than she already is.

Click here to pick up a copy of “Men” and please share your thoughts in the comments below. Calmly and reasonably, of course. 🙂

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Comments:

  1. 1
    starthrower68

    Well, this is going to be an entertaining thread. *leaning back in chair, crossing hands behind head, bracing for angry rhetoric*……

    1. 1.1
      Joek

      LOL…come on star – doin’t just sit back and watch…throw some fuel on the fire! 😀
       
      Thanks for the review Evan – I hadn’t heard of this, sounds like an interesting read. It’s frustrating to hear someone in the twenty-first century still saying “it’s all nurture that makes boys different from girls”. sigh
       
      We’re very different before we’re born, with a biology that makes for a very different experience growing up.  Just ask any teacher who watches teenagers as they go through the insanity of pubescence, and how very differently boys and girls experience it!

      1. 1.1.1
        starthrower68

        Well Bob certainly didn’t disappoint. 😆

  2. 2
    Tracy L

    “Now that men have become less economically necessary and there’s less reason than ever to pretend to admire them, scorn for men has become the postfeminist fallback position, widely regarded as a badge of feistiness and independence.”
     
    What has been frustrating about my dating life for the last ten years is that I keep encountering a secession of very insecure needy men ranging from ages 25 – 45. I have to wonder if this is the result of how the role of men in American society has become marginalized in the last 30 years or so via feminism. On the other hand, could it be that I am magnet for insecure needy men for whatever reason. It is becoming very tiresome and annoying for me at this point.
    Am I the only woman that is having this experience in the present dating market?  In addition, does anyone believe this is somehow byproduct of radical feminism: the epidemic of the insecure needy fearful man?
     
     
     

    1. 2.1
      Henriette

      Curious about how you define insecure and needy and how you see these qualities manifested in the men you date.  I’m genuinely curious about the ways that these guys behave that lead you to believe that they needy & insecure.

      1. 2.1.1
        Tracy L

        Hi Henriette,

        When I referred to these men as insecure and needy, I am referring to behavior such as offering commitment on a first date, excessive texts and phone calls wanting to know where I am and what I am doing all day (this sometimes are from guys I had maybe one or two dates with). There were guys who I met online who would asked me why my profile was still up even though we haven’t met face to face yet. They often move faster that I want making future plans on our first date or second date. Sometimes throwing tantrums when I don’t make myself immediately assessable them.

        I don’t get into relationships these guys (or sleep with them). I don’t see myself experiencing much happiness with these guys if I did. Like I said, they range from 25-45 in age and they seem to be everywhere these days. This is probably why domestic violence and stalking rates are so high.

        I am a confident woman with healthy self-esteem and self-worth however I am also soft-spoken and very feminine and I know how to set healthy boundaries. They are often attractive and have a lot going for themselves so I just don’t get the behavior and why I keep meeting them one after the other.

        1. Jay

          Hah, it sounds to me like you are afraid of commitment. It sounds like you are a “chooser and not a beggar.” Do what makes you happy and date who you want, but don’t blame these men who want to be with you, or you can set them up with other needy desperate women. Have you ever thought that the reason men want to date you “is because you are pretty?” I don’t think its that they are insecure, I think its that they just want to bang you. If you want men to stop bothering, just gain 20 pounds.

        2. starthrower68

          Jay didn’t disappoint either. 😝

        3. Tracy L

          Hi Jay,

          “If you want men to stop bothering, just gain 20 pounds.” LoL!

          I Did have a little fear of commitment in the past. However, wanting to know someone well before committing to them doesn’t equal fearing commitment, in my opinion.

          As a woman, I need more information before I can make the decision to commit and one or two dates won’t give what I need to know.

          I also think men tend do less vetting when it comes to committing to a woman, if she passes the boner test (not a diss) and seems nice enough–they’re all in. As a man, you’re welcome to correct me on this if I’m wrong.

          Yeah, it could also be guys using commitment and being possessive to get laid.

        4. Chance

          Tracy L,

          The types of women who I’ve known that have had your problem often tend to be very attractive combined with having some serious personality flaws. As a result, the high-quality, self-respecting men would steer clear while the insecure men would continue to pursue and hover around them simply because they want to be with someone who’s gorgeous without regard for anything else. The insecure guys hover around all attractive women, but the high-quality women are getting with the high-quality guys.

          I have no idea if this is your problem, but your comment below EMK’s comment sheds some light on the situation, and it causes me to think that it might be part of the problem. I would recommend performing an honest self-assessment of your behavior to determine if you are doing anything that might be driving high-quality men away. Also, perform an honest assessment your online profile to see if there is something that you are writing on it that may be off-putting or arrogant. Or better yet, have an independent, objective third party take a look at it. I believe EMK have a service for this very thing:)

          There are so many high-quality men out there that you shouldn’t be having this problem.

          P.S., could you please tell me where you are getting your info that shows that domestic violence and stalking rates are “so high”? I’d be interested in reading about it.

        5. Jay

          Tracy, Here’s the Secret – Men just want to have sex with you. They probably see your body as attractive and they want to have sex, most likely immediately. If you want these guys to stop bothering you, just tell them you won’t have pre-marital sex. That will keep most of them away. Besides, the men who want casual sex, will likely dump you the next week and move on to another girl.

        6. Traveller

          @Tracy –

          You know, Tracy, I find it really funny [humorous] that the same traits that you dislike in men are precisely those that men have traditionally complained about in women. Women wanting commitment too soon, excessive clinginess, insecurity, moving too fast, worrying about where he is and why doesn’t he call…

          Wow. Things really have come full circle; you have the EXACT complaints about men, that men did about women, say, 60 years ago.

          Feminists have spent decades trying to get men to be more like women, and now that they are – you don’t like it any better than the guys did back then.

          Ironic, isn’t it? 😉 I guess this demonstrates why shows about men in the the pre-feminist era, like “Mad Men”, are so wildly popular today.

    2. 2.2
      Jay

      Are you looking for a White Knight Boyfriend, because there are a lot of confident men who are drawn to insecure women.  Believe it or not, BOTH Men and Women can be insecure and needy and fearful.  Men just hide their insecurities better when they have to “man up for their job/career/income.”  Until recently, Men had no choice but to be the primary breadwinner.  This might come as a shock, but with more women working, there is more people applying for the same job, and it does mean more unemployed men.  I think recent unemployment statistics have shown unemployed men are having difficulty finding news jobs than women.  Women seem to reject the idea of the Female Breadwinner, so much for feminism.

    3. 2.3
      Clare

      Tracey,

      I have experienced the needy, insecure behaviour you talk about from some men. I had one first coffee date where the guy spent the entire hour telling me about the type of woman he wants for a wife, and telling me how he thinks I fit that bill, and barely asked me a single question about myself, and then started texting me obsessively with increasingly pouty messages when I didn’t respond. I have also had guys I barely know send me streams of daily text messages asking me what I’m up to and wanting to button me up as their girlfriend almost from day one. I respond to these guys by not replying or else setting very clear boundaries. These guys don’t get anywhere with me. I realise I really can’t change them, but I can set very clear goals and standards for how I want my life to go.

      I have also experienced plenty of the other type of guy: the confident, easygoing, masculine kind of guy who seems to know the rules and has respect for other people’s personal space and wishes.

      So I really think it depends on your filter and what you tolerate. I say, if something feels bad to you, don’t tolerate/indulge it. If you don’t like all the text messages/phone calls, don’t reply.

      1. 2.3.1
        Jay

        Sure, many men can come on too strong, be too aggressive, and scare women away. There are “Beggars or Choosers” when it comes to dating. There are also plenty of women who want men to call or text everyday and get upset when men don’t call them back.

        1. Clare

          If those women enjoy that, more power to them!

          But it should not come as any great surprise to these men that those women who enjoy the excessive attention and are that insecure and needy, also tend to end up cheating on them and come with emotional problems of their own. Both the guys which came to mind when I wrote this had just come out of relationships with women like that!

      2. 2.3.2
        Tracy L

        Clare,

        I hear what you are saying and they don’t anywhere with me either. I just can’t hot for them no matter how attractive are physically.

    4. 2.4
      Tim

      Hi Tracy

      You may not want to think along these lines; but the growing number of needy and fearful men could be due to men having it much harder in dating and not having as many options as women. Those with more options are more secure.

      I was a fearful needy guy because I don’t look like a model; am not a millionaire, and its only in years that a woman would be interested in me for who I am. But then I realized the dynamics and accepted them for what they are. Now Im content being alone and would only bother with a woman who wants me as an equal. Most men don’t reflect upon this.

      May I add that I find it funny that you have put down manosphere and their ideas in your comments when in fact it is exactly what has allowed men to stop being needy and fearful.

      1. 2.4.1
        Tracy L

        “I was a fearful needy guy because I don’t look like a model; am not a millionaire…”

        Tim,

        The guys I am referring to are above average in looks and do well financially that’s why is I find their needy, insecure, desperate, fearful behavior so disturbing. I could understand if their looks and status were average or below. I think this is becoming more prevalent due to men feeling less secure with their position in society and it is reflecting via their dating/mating habits (this might seem like a stretch but something is very wrong).

        “Now Im content being alone and would only bother with a woman who wants me as an equal. Most men don’t reflect upon this.”

        Could you please explain exactly what you meant by this statement

      2. 2.4.2
        Mel

        I’ve dated a needy guy and I tried to understand where it came from and I basically just think it came from him being insecure and issues with family dynamic. I felt for him, I  really did. He just wanted to be loved and I think he must’ve  of been hurt quite a few times before and instead of  realising he was insecure and working on it, just continued the pattern. I would have tried to work with him on it but there were other issues that made us not compatible.

        Both men and women do this! It’s not about your gender, it’s about how you process stuff.

        Ive been needy before (without actually showing it to the guy) and it came from or not feeling like I was equally cared for. I became insecure. But the guy I mentioned above showered me with affection and keeping in touch and I much preferred that, because you feel secure when someone wants to hear from you.

        I have a friend who’s husband was a bit “too full” on in the beginning and she thought it off putting (I thought he was great), but one day it her when he was about to leave (because he was sick of been treated badly) and now they are happily married. She realised she was being an idiot and she’s not perfect herself, but he was a good man that really cared for her.

         

         

         

  3. 3
    BOB

    Evan- were you also a liberal arts undergrad?I have the same pop sociology and pop psychology literary addictions so I suspect you come from a similar, albeit more “elite” academic background.Now, my rambling thoughts in response to this blog posting:My memory of college and my 20s in general include the fashionability of a bitchy white woman in the safety of a group of bitchy white women saying “all men are pigs!” This was within earshot of countless men, of course. That had to have been a defining feature of middle class culture in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. Now those women are in their late 30’s are never-married or divorced while they complain about the lack of available, high-quality men. Think about that.The men who occupy the minds of most women are the most attractive of men, the men who the majority of women want and like, who themselves are the minority of men. Mine is a an admitted “manosphere” perspective but I think is still reasonable and even agreeable- how many of the men you women have wanted were average or nondescript or even mediocre? Almost all the women who constitute Evan’s target market are those who want men better than the ones maritally available to them.We have become a society of women dissatisfied with men and the men they are dissatisfied with and are always trying to change. This is evidenced by the low and still declining marriage rates and persistently high female-initiated divorce rates that define the Postmodern era. Singlehood has been increasing since the Industrial Revolution and seems to have accelerated further since the last quarter of the 20th century. It seems the future of the West and of post-industrial countries in general is one of prevalent singlehood, Choice Motherhood, unplanned single motherhood, (unmarried) cohabitation with or without children and that increasingly rare domestic arrangement- the nuclear family parented by a married heterosexual couple.Academia, journalism, the media, film are dominated by feminists, mostly moderate and middle-aged, who in turn dominate our zeitgeist. Second Wave Feminism has become so inherent in our culture that we don’t even recognize it; it’s just normative.Women have definitely become more masculine and men definitely more feminine; as women have become more assertive and even more dominant, men have become more less so and more acquiescent. This has been to the inter-gender sexual dissatisfaction of both groups as women want confident, assertive men and men want agreeable, compliant women. Those of either gender who are dissatisfied are probably of this description including myself- just not masculine enough to be what women my age want and often overpowered by women with stronger personalities than my own.

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Almost all the women who constitute Evan’s target market are those who want men better than the ones maritally available to them.

      This is the assertion with which I’ll disagree with you. I know it’s a commonly held sentiment in the manosphere that women serve absolutely no purpose after the age of 30, but, you know what? They’re wrong. Like objectively wrong. Like, if they were right, I’d be out of business. Instead, I have thousands of happy clients, and hundreds of written testimonials from women, 35-75, who’ve fallen in love with my help. And while we may agree about the deleterious effects of post-feminism – the blurring of lines between genders has confused us all, to some degree – we completely part ways on this one subject.

      So please take this and bring this back to the manosphere. My smart, strong, successful women are absolutely marriage material. But because they’re so impressive, 90% of the men are going to fall short of their reasonable standards. That’s okay. I help them find the high character men among the 10%. So if YOU don’t want them, it’s immaterial, because they don’t want you either. And frankly, I just think it’s easier for you to think you’re rejecting them than to think that, in fact, they’re rejecting you. That’s why we hear so much anger from the MRA’s. There’s nothing “wrong” with these women, but because they think they’re too good for you, it feels better to try to tear them down and treat them as if they’re all angry, shriveled up shrews. They’re not. They’re my clients and they’re finding love regularly.

      1. 3.1.1
        Tracy L

        You and everyone who is familiar with the manosphere and MRAs should know that most of the men that make-up those groups are men who have had very little success (repeated rejection) with women for most of their lives. They now feel empowered because they have found a place to go to congregate among their loser ilk so they are no longer have to suffer alone in silence.

        They seem to put most of the energy into complaining about not being able to attract the women they desire instead of spending it acquiring skills and practicing self-improvement that will attract them. They have penises so women should just want them we shouldn’t have standards we should just accept in them what they want us to. In other words, they don’t want improve but want women to lower their standards in order to accommodate them.

        I just see them as miserable, bitter, and dejected spewing anti-women rhetoric, why would anyone take them seriously.

        Most women of any age should be thankful that some of them are withdrawing themselves from the dating/mating market.

        1. Mickey

          Tracy: How may rejections do you think guys should have to endure before finally deciding to throw in the sponge?

        2. jeremy

          Having spent some time on the manosphere, I can tell you that you are partly correct and partly incorrect. There is entirely too much genuine misogyny there – on some sites more than others. However, it is inaccurate IMHO to say that most of the men there are losers or have experienced repeated rejections.

          Many of the men there were married men who, for whatever reason, became divorced and suffered the inequalities vested upon them by family courts. They had their children taken from them, their assets taken, they were coerced to continue to pay alimony cheques to women who were no longer contributing anything to them in return. And they feel that their treatment by the law was unfair. And it was. They feel that some of the laws that exist in society today are biased against men. And they are. And they fear getting into new relationships because they know the same thing could happen again. And it could.

          Believe it or not, so much of the manosphere is about men trying to advise other men on how to recover, how to self-improve, how to move on. Unfortunately some of that advice is misguided – and on some sites, very misguided – but some is not, IMHO.

          I might humbly suggest that men who are concerned with men’s rights (as well as women’s rights) are not “losers”, but rather people who are trying to create a better, more equitable society for all. Most of such people are not misogynists, any more than most feminists are misandrists (though some are, in both groups).

        3. Tracy L

          “Many of the men there were married men who, for whatever reason, became divorced and suffered the inequalities vested upon them by family courts.”

          Okay, I know those who are MRA tend to fit the profile of men who were married and divorced and now feel that court system screwed them over. Therefore, shouldn’t their issue be with the court system, one of the many system created by MEN which put those divorce laws in place. I think divorce laws archaic (i.e., alimony) and should be rewritten to reflect current society. However, I don’t see how constant belittling of women is going to accomplish this. Are they getting together to develop sound strategies to change the laws? It seem that MRA and Manosphere spaces are where disgruntled men go to vent and spew misogynistic rhetoric and this is where they lose their creditability as a legitimate movement, in my opinion.

          “Believe it or not, so much of the manosphere is about men trying to advise other men on how to recover, how to self-improve, how to move on.”

          How can there any moving on or self-improvement when they are merely assigning blame to women? If you are unable to self-reflect and take responsibility for the role, you have played in making poor choices there will be very chance of self-improving to none. There is no way around this.

          “I might humbly suggest that men who are concerned with men’s rights (as well as women’s rights) are not “losers”, but rather people who are trying to create a better, more equitable society for all.

          Nevertheless, some of them are losers who have a different agenda from those who are legitimately seeking men’s rights and advancement.

          “However, it is inaccurate IMHO to say that most of the men there are losers or have experienced repeated rejections.”

          Aren’t most of the men who flock to the Manosphere (a/k/a Pick up Artist communities) to get better at attracting women because they have been struggling to do so. I’m just going by what I have encountered when visiting some of those sites.

        4. Tracy L

          Mickey,

          I see no need to give up. I know it is hard to look honestly at one self and see that they are sometimes the one getting in their own way—introspection can be a motherfvcker. However, doing so can lead to a greater understanding of self and where one might need to improve and where they were going wrong it can only yield good results in the end.

          I have met men who had very unpleasant personalities (which were probably personality disorders and didn’t possess the self-awareness to know they had in order to get the help they needed to get it under control) and I would reject them because they would not be good for me. I thought if I felt this way about them, I could bet any amount of money many other women felt the same way. I just couldn’t see any woman wanting to invest time in these men short or long term due to poor behavior and possible mental/emotional issues.

        5. Tim

          Tracy

          They arent necessarily complaining or blaming women for not accepting them. It is what it is and nobodys saying its supposed to be fair for both men and women. Perhaps the game of attraction is supposed to be harder for men and that’s ok.. An increasing number of men can accept that. Most people on this forum, for instance, Evan included can acknowledge that women are more selective. Why does the fact bother you so much, I wonder

        6. Tracy L

          Tim, you appear to be more enlightened than most of the men in the Manosphere (and this site) and I don’t have an issue with men who understand that YES women are more selective than men. Why would I have an issue with that? It’s too bad that they don’t get this. I actually feel sorry for the ones who refuse to accept this obvious fact.

  4. 4
    jeremy

    Thanks for the review, Evan.  I’ll pick up a copy, though if the conclusion is that men should be more like women, I’m not optimistic about agreeing with it 🙂

  5. 5
    Rose

    I don’t understand why people need to argue that gender is a social construct.  I think men and women are different, but they are equally valuable.

    And thank goodness that men and women are different.  Disregarding reproduction, if all the humans in the world were like men, it would be a horrible world.  I wouldn’t want to live in a world that is all women either.  We need both.  

    Privilege is, by definition, a zero sum game.  If women become more economically or educationally empowered, there will be fewer men who are richer or more educated than women.  You can’t change a factor in a closed system (eg. economic power of women relative to men) and not expect many other factors in the system to change as well.  This is an unintended consequence, and I think it’s a change for the better, overall.  

    To Bob: I’m more educated than, and earn twice as much as my husband.  I married him because there was 1 thing that I wanted and I found it in him: the time and attention of a committed man.  Don’t worry about those women that you complain about.  If you truly believe everything you say about them, then you will know that reality will settle its score with those women sooner or later.  You just focus on you: specifically how to navigate this new dating dynamic to find what you’re looking for.  

    1. 5.1
      Joek

      “Privilege is, by definition, a zero sum game.  If women become more economically or educationally empowered, there will be fewer men who are richer or more educated than women.”


      Why do you think opportunity (what you labelled “privilege”) is a zero-sum? Is there some finite barrel of Opportunity from which everyone is slurping, like oil from the ground?
       
      My level of (economic or educational) opportunity has pretty much nothing to do with anyone else’s level of opportunity. I just don’t see how my friend getting a great education or job reduces my opportunity for education or employment.
       
      This is anectodal, but a couple of my friends married great women…and yet somehow I have a great woman in my life too. I never once thought “well, they snapped up all the great women”…instead I looked at their experiences and thought “if they can do it, so can I”. Why should their success diminish mine?
       
      The history of the workforce also seems to indicate it’s not a zero-sum game, but something else. Yes, more employable people means more competition for jobs, but it also means a larger workforce for companies to use for growth. Yes, there’s competition, but I think there’s also opportunity.

  6. 6
    Shaukat

    I haven’t read this book, but I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding that occurs when people hear feminist authors talk about gender as being socially constructed. Testosterone certainly has a massive impact on body and bone structure, sexual development, strength, and even certain behaviors such as aggression, but the point many feminist scholars make is that there is no reason why such biological differences would automatically translate into a hierarchy of inequality based on the gender binary of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity.’ It is this binary which they refer to as socially constructed, since the terms are often defined in opposition to one another and since historically attributes such as strength, rationality, assertiveness, confidence and intelligence have been associated with masculinity whereas emotion, weakness, passivity, etc have been associated with femininity.
     
    The best evidence, in my view, that many of the behaviors associated with gender have been socially constructed is the fact that the very meaning of masculity has undergone profound changes over the centuries. It has meant different things depending on  social, historical, economic and cultural settings, for example from feudalism when it was largely understood as paternal rights bestowed by divine power to the prewar period in Europe or the 1950s in the US when it was associated with sternness, emotional distance, and a monopoly over financial resources, to the present time when it is associated more with aggression and dominance. A good study on this is the book “Masculinities” by Robert Connell, a sociologist at the University of Sydney.
     
    BTW, on the issue of Hustler and the magazine’s social message, I think it is often a lot more pernicious than Kipnis describes. There is an interesting article on this subject by Gail Dines, a professor of Sociology at Wheelock college, which I’ve linked below in case anyone wants to take a look:
    http://gaildines.com/2009/09/king-kong-and-the-white-woman/
     

    1. 6.1
      jeremy

      Hi Shaukat,

      I think you raise some interesting points, and I’m honestly not sure whether I agree with you or not.

      Some thoughts: You raise the issue of gender creating a hierarchy of inequality with which feminists take issue. I would certainly agree with you that gender should not result in un-equal rights in society, but that is a separate issue from in-equality. In-equality….that implies that we should be equals in most ways. But we are not. It seems somewhat obvious to me that males and females have evolved to be different, and better (and worse) at certain things. We have evolved to be complimentary in some ways.

      Anyone with children notices how young girls tend to (with exceptions) gravitate toward the dolls while the boys gravitate toward the trucks. I recall an experiment where young boys were given dolls and they started throwing them around, and young girls were given trucks and they started babying them. We have inborn temperamental differences – it is more than just aggression due to testosterone. Our brains are wired somewhat differently.

      Should men and women both have equal opportunity to pursue education and careers in STEM fields? Absolutely! But should our goal be a society where there are an equal number of male and female engineers, when men seem to gravitate toward those fields and women do not? I don’t think so. Any more than I think there should be an equal number of male and female kindergarten teachers.

      Equal access and opportunity? YES! Equality? Not necessarily.

      The same is true of the so-called wage gap. In Scandinavian countries, some of the most gender-neutral in the world, women are still choosing to work fewer hours than men and spend more time with their kids, and thus earn less money. A wage-gap by choice, if you will.

      I think that certain hierarchies establish themselves based on what men and women each find important, and that those factors have (at least some) biological basis.

      1. 6.1.1
        Nathan

        More often than not, these discussions get fixated on differences that are very time limited in display. In other words, the bulk of what you just offered, Jeremy – and what I tend to see others offer in rebuttal to the social construction arguments – are differences between men and women that are modern in expression. Things like differences in divisions of labor the manner in which emotions are expressed, and dating behaviors and expectations are brought up again and again, when the reality is that these are differences are expressions of the Industrial and post Industrial era. Just to bring up a few easy examples. Farming and food cultivation were primarily female endeavors until the age of modern colonialism, which slowly turned all that into “occupations” to be led and/or primarily done by men. American and British male clothing and grooming habits of the 17th and 18th centuries have a resemblance to modern day female clothing and grooming habits. Modern men tend to cry much less than women in part due to Industrial Era programming that taught men to keep emotions in check in order to increase the production capacity of their labor in factories and elsewhere.

        Since this is a dating and relationship blog, it’s critical to recognize how much dating behavior and expectations have changed and morphed just in the past 3 generations. Or even over just 1 generation with the internet in play. A lot of what was once locked into definitive gender roles is now more opened. And what’s to come? Who knows?

        I’ll readily agree that there are biological differences between men and women. It’s not all nurture or social construction, however I also don’t think it’s nearly as much nature as a lot of pop psychology (driven by evo-psych and similar schools of thought) is saying these days either. There’s far too much reliance on Euro-centric research to make many of the wide ranging, cross cultural generalizations that folks like to make. Furthermore, I have far too many LGBTQ friends and relatives to see gender as a binary anyway. It’s much more of a spectrum, and actually, even historically, you can see this – regardless of how conservative a given society is or was. Our minds want something easy to grasp like a binary that’s mostly fixed, but the reality is more complex, and always changing to some degree or another, regardless of biological determinants.

      2. 6.1.2
        Skaramouche

        Very interesting. There’s food for thought in what you said and also in what Shaukat said. In general, I tend to agree that men women. There are important differences that shouldn’t be ignored. I do think you are downplaying the role of testosterone, however. If you took that same group of boys, isolated them (thereby eliminating any sort of peer or environmental influence) and artificially reduced testosterone levels/increased estrogen levels, I do believe the results would be different. The same thing applies to the girls.

        Re: careers and equal opportunities, we are sort of on the same page again. I agree that we shouldn’t be forced into careers that do not come naturally to us. Unfortunately, careers that are traditionally seen as “feminine”, are not well paid in comparison to “masculine” careers and are seen as relatively inferior. Cases in point: nurses, teachers, social workers, what else am I missing? As a result, women chase “masculine” careers at which they may be very good but perhaps not as good as a man of comparable skill/experience would be. The same applies to traditionally “feminine” jobs.

      3. 6.1.3
        Shaukat

        Hi Jeremy,

        I should have used the word subordination/oppression as opposed to inequality. Of course I agree that individuals are endowed with different talents and abilities and in that sense there will always be inequality. I was using the word to refer to structural and institutional inequality grounded in political, economic or social discrimination, i.e, like Jim Crow.

        Regarding your other points, I don’t doubt the results of those studies, but I’d wager that the children involved in that experiment had already gone through a certain level of socialization, so they already understood (to a certain and limited degree) what kind of behaviors were expected by their gender roles. I don’t think there is much evidence which suggests that boys or girls naturally gravitate toward certain toys and adopt certain behaviors at a young age in the absence of some socialization. Although anecdotal, I have a friend who recently sent a photo of his two year old son cradling a doll and pretending to breast feed it because he had observed his mother doing this with his younger sister.

        I would say the same thing about occupations. I wouldn’t completely discount the argument that evolutionary or biological factors have endowed men and women with different occupational interests and talents (as Larry Summers claimed was the cause of male’s gravitation toward, and disproportionate representation in, jobs involving math) but I don’t think you could disentangle those variables from the history and legacy of societal discrimination and gender construction. On the other hand, biology does matter quite a bit, as evidenced by the division within nomadic groups into hunters and gatherers during the pre-historical period.

        Finally, just to add to Nathan’s point, I think the cross-sectional and historical deviations and shifts in gender roles and behaviors are remarkable. In the 1940s a psychologist and sociologist named Wilhelm Reich wrote a book “The Mass Psychology of Fascism,” in which he argued that the rise of fascisim in Germany was partially linked to the nature of the patriarchal (in this context lterally meaning rule of the fathers) nuclear household where a sexually repressed, male figure displayed certain attributes such as emotional distance and quite discipline while exerting control over their family-in other words, the nuclear household was a microcosm of the authoritarian government that emerged and drew support from such societal members. That type of masculinity is now largely, though not completely, a thing of the past.

        However, even in the modern era, there are different forms of masculinity that exist. Some sociologists have argued, for example, that the violence and crime which plague ghettoized neighborhoods can be explained by the destitution the young men in the community face, and who then try to reassert some kind of authority and power by falling back on a very crude and vulgar form of masculine dominance and aggression.

  7. 7
    Orrion

    “moral rodents”
    I actually do not mind being insulted, as long as it is creative! 🙂

  8. 8
    Alena

    I work in the medical field, I like to observe people and interact with people privately also. The last 10 years or so I have been looking for obvious and subtle differences between men and women, apart from the physical differences I have encountered almost every personality trait in women and men almost equally. There are hormonal and neuroscientific differences in men and women but the expression of them in real life seems to still not differ so much. When a man is hurt he cries or shuts down or yells, so do women. When a man is happy he smiles, or says something to the effect or jumps in thei air, so do women, if men don´t like the company of a certain person they either get offensive or they break up subtly or they fade away and so on so do most women I know. When I do a certain thing, almost always women and men respond equally to it. Sorry but all this men are so different from women stuff is beyond me and I don´t consider buying into it. On the contrary reading this blog for a while now has taught me that men are just not any different from women, they are human and can´t help being clumsy, stupid, short, stingy, angry, needy, clingy, jealous, egocentric, boring, unattractive, depressive, picky-choosy etc etc sometimes, just like any woman out there. women have been supressed throughout history so they couldn´t act on their selfishness for a long time, now they can and they do!

    1. 8.1
      Morris

      Both men and women are capable of doing just about anything. But the idea of men and women being the same as you imply is silly. We all have moms/dads, brothers/sisters, girlfriends/boyfriends, sons/daughters, female/male friends etc. That is why we KNOW there are differences. We observe it in our own lives all the time. Your observation of how we are the same is meaningless when the majority(I’d wager) of us have personal experience that says otherwise.

    2. 8.2
      EmeraldDust

      I am curious as to why your prefaced your post with “I work in the medical field”. Is that supposed to make your observations more valid than someone else’s ? When I used to work with very young children, I started noticing differences emerging at 2 – 3 years of age and I don’t believe it was due to social brainwashing, which is the stock answer to those observations.

      When I was a Sunday School teacher at an almost pacifist church (yes, Heathen me used to teach Sunday school) when we would hold hands and sing “Let there be peace on Earth” the little girls held hands and swayed as they sang the song, while the little boys provided a back drop of machine guns sounds as they made imaginary guns with their hands. It was actually kind of amusing to hear the sound of a chorus of little girl voices singing the peace song against a background of “pow-kapow” artillery sounds provided by the little boys.

      So I don’t really buy the social brainwashing explanation as these children came from families who most likely never gave them toy guns, and taught them kindness, love, and peace.

      I also noticed the difference in boys and girls when I ran a day care out of my home. I never brainwashed my son to be a little macho-man, and he had access to a wide variety of toys due to my in home day care. Around the two to three year mark, I noticed that he stopped taking care of his little stuffed animals as if they were his babies, and started playing with the more “boy” toys. He started living in his cowboy hat & boots, made superman capes out of his blankets, and would go over to the toy tools rather than the play kitchen. I never told him he had to start being a macho cowboy, tool using , super hero. He did that on his own. He still gravitated toward the art and music toys as well, but those are activities that seem to be typically enjoyed by both genders. And he did enjoy helping his Dad & me with dinner, but playing in the toy kitchen was rarely part of his chosen playtime activity.

      Your observations may vary, but I was rather surprised that my interactions with children did show such a sharp division at such an early age.

      1. 8.2.1
        Jay

        The media also influences children’s behavior. Cartoons and TV shows attempt to attract boys, while there are other female cartoons and shows for girls. Even adults are influenced by TV shows. How many men have a sudden urge to cook more after watching Top Chef or Masterchef? In many ways, men and women behave how they think “society wants them to behave or allows them to behave.” If a girl thinks she has to always be nice, prim and proper – then that is how she acts. Society restricts the female paradigm and limits their expectations. People behave how they are expected to behave, they can alter behavior to higher expectations or lower expectations.

        1. JennLee

          Differences are biological as well as cultural. They have raised young boys as girls, hoping to prove that gender differences were all culture and nurture. However, those attempts failed in flaming fashion. Boys who had never even seen guns or anything remotely violent, and only had girls toys to play with for their entire life, and still they showed ore aggression, and used toys such as dolls, ass clubs. I am not sure why there is this desperate need in this country to find some evidence that men and women are not inherently different in many ways. I can tell yo this…people seem to be happier in some ways, in other countries, where it is generally accepted that there are differences, and that is is right and OK for that to be the case.

  9. 9
    bbdawg

    Just wanted to say apropos of this review…went on a date with a man yesterday and genuinely felt bad for him afterwards…nice person, but depressed…things are harder for a lot of men than we women seem to think.

    If a man doesn’t fall into the “provider”/alpha job category (law, finance, tech entrepreneur, business owner, etc…), he is judged VERY harshly by women like me (NYC, Manhattan, 35). And boy, it is A LOT harder for men like that to get dates and to just even get sex. And here I am lining up dates with 10-12 interesting men from the internet…I feel like there aren’t a lot of venues for men to “vent”, as there are for women. It’s very tough or there for Mr. Average Guy.

    We women complain that men only like younger men, but we have very high standards that are sometimes really unfair.

    I ordered a very cheap drink because I didn’t want this guy to pay, I offered to pay in the end…but he didn’t let me…dating is really unfair to average men.

  10. 10
    Barbara A. Smith

    I disagree that there are essentialist differences between men and women. Obviously, one gender carries the fetus and gives birth. But that’s where it ends.

    Socialization begins in earliest infancy, where babies perceived as boys are fed more often if they cry. By toddlerhood, the gender construction process is well established (go into any toy store to see proof of that).

    Cross-culturally, roles can be completely reversed. Adrienne Mayor has written a book this year on the Amazons, using the latest DNA findings, along with historical and the more traditional Greek mythological accounts.. Girls and women were EXPECTED to fight and perhaps, even die, in bloody battles, just as their fellow men did, in defense of their tribe (or in a raid). Re “love”: read Helena Norberg-Hodges’s, Ancient Futures, Learning from Ladakh. Before this culture was exposed to Western ways, there was no such thing as sexually possessive attachments. The population was stable, as unmatried women and men could become socially respected nuns and monks of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Stick to the dating advice for those indoctrinated persons of this culture. Sociology and cultural anthropology are not your fortes.

    1. 10.1
      JoeK

      You realize, of course, the Greeks of antiquity aren;t a particularly compelling example, because their world/situation/society was a unique situation.

      To dismiss gender as just a construct is naive at best, and downright disingenuous at worst, when there are some pretty incredible biological differences that occur during gestation that can have a very clear, well-documented gendered result.

      Just ook at the different impact that some genetic disorders have on girls vs boys (things like Autism and some related disorders). That these genetic differences can have such a profoundly different impact on male vs female demonstrates that gender is far more than a construct, and heavily impacted by biology.

      1. 10.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I didn’t even respond to Barbara because her comment was so condescending and thoughtless. One has to work very hard to not see overall differences between men and women. Men are generally taller, stronger, more visual, and more violent – all based on testosterone – and these few differences have a profound impact on gender. Wishing them away doesn’t change a thing.

        1. Shaukat

          Evan, I agree with the first part of your statement and the influence of testosterone on height, strength, and other characteristics and even certain behaviors, but the notion that T-levels can also account for differences in violence is, in my view, wrong and a rather dangeorus idea. Sociologists and historians have demonstrated that violence is largely a political category. When people state that men are naturally violent they generally tend to base this conclusion on observations of modern societies and specific historical periods, which do appear to support the contention that men are more violent than women. However, to draw an analogy, simply because it appears that the erection of buildings violate the law of gravity that doesn’t make it so. Anthropologists have documented that in certain tribal societies men lack any violent predilictions, and that even hunting expeditions are accompanied by feelings of empathy and sympathy for the animal. Moreover, women have proven to be just as ruthless and violent as certain men when placed in positions of power. The key, in my view, is social context.

          Biological determinism is just as fallacious an argument as the discounting of biology.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          “Sociologists and historians have demonstrated that violence is largely a political category.”

          And biologists will be the first to tell you that men and women are different. If I told you that there was a child who hit frogs with a baseball bat, would you think it was a boy or a girl? If I told you there was a child who got into a fistfight at school, would you think it was a boy or a girl? If I told you there was a serial killer, would you think it was a boy or a girl? To suggest that these are merely societal roles people play as opposed to real biological differences rings false to me.

  11. 11
    deep6

    Gender *IS* a societal construct. Sex, however, isn’t. You are born a certain sex. Your gender identity is fluid. Trans people exist. Effeminate gay men exist. Butch lesbians exist. People who don’t want to claim any gender identity exist. Hetero gender roles that 200 years ago we would all agree (I hope) were unhealthy and oppressive have collapsed in most parts of first world democracies, and have been opened to at least somewhat more liberal lifestyles and culture in the second world.

  12. 12
    deep6

    On the topic of MRAs and PUAs . . . they’re different things. A PUA is a man who is trying to date/have sex and looking for strategies, tips, conversational scripts and general advice on how to approach women to meet those goals. The idea is that there are certain tactics they can use across a broad spectrum of women they don’t know that will result in some small number of those women responding positively. (The numbers game.) In some cases the tactics are dehumanizing and counterproductive (negging, for example). In others, the advice is how to be more confident when approaching a woman at a bar, etc. Not all PUA stuff is necessarily bad advice, but the people giving it gear it towards men who have a higher than normal degree of resentment toward women, or men who aren’t actually interested in getting to know women as individuals and just want some sort of machine-lined way to get chicks in bed.

    The MRA types tend to distill into two factions: 1) internet warriors; and 2) the politically active. The former spend their time cruising feminist blogs, bemoaning the gains women have made over the centuries and insisting that feminists adopt the social causes of men or else they’re by default Man Haters. They claim women have achieved some sort of superiority over men, and are especially resentful about anything related to sexual consent or entitlement. Most feminists shut those guys down pretty quickly with a good combination of facts and sarcasm. The latter group, however, is more present in the real world. They lobby for more restrictive custody and divorce laws, often trying to make sure that it’s harder for women to leave abusive relationships. They sabotage fundraising efforts for domestic violence shelters, lobby against affirmative consent (anti-rape) laws and education, and try to make changes in laws so that they don’t have to pay child support even to care for children that are definitely theirs, birthed by women they were married to.

    There are legitimate concerns expressed by men regarding dating, their sense of masculinity, politics and our culture. Male suicide rates, support for homeless veterans, prison rape, and providing more services for male victims of domestic violence are all concerns I, as a woman, share. I think both paternity and maternity leave should be universally available in the US, there should be far stricter penalties for companies (including jail time for executives) that expose (usually male) workers to unsafe/hazardous environments without proper safety precautions, and I think there should be a huge push for government funding for a male birth control pill.

    But these men aren’t trying to work WITH feminists to achieve these goals. They operate in opposition to feminism, trying to curttail women’s rights, rather than moving forward on issues I think most reasonable people would support.

  13. 13
    N

    Barbara,

    There are fundamental differences between men and women cross-culturally or otherwise. I’m Eurasian with parents working for the UN. Growing up until early adulthood; I spent years in France, Spain, England, Amsterdam, Geneva, Italy, Australia, Southeast Asia, Africa just to name a few. My home base is NY. I can tell you that there are essential disparities between two genders. Best, Nic

  14. 14
    Noemi

    @ Shaukat regarding your comment “the notion that T-levels can also account for differences in violence is, in my view, wrong and a rather dangerous idea”:

    As a criminologist, I must tell you that, yes, testosterone is the likely candidate for explanations of gender differences in violence.

    In the United States, men are more likely than women to commit murder, more likely to commit armed robbery and more likely to commit aggravated assault.

    What accounts for this striking gender difference? It is the hormone testosterone, which is more abundant in men than in women. In fact, violent/aggressive behavior in women has been linked to the fact that they possess more androgens than their nonviolent female counterparts. And no, this isn’t some bogus speculation. It has been shown to be true over and over in studies conducted by well-known criminologists, psychologists, and biosocial scholars.

  15. 15
    Shaukat

    @Noemi,

    Sorry, with all due respect, I find this assertion to be outlandish. If these are peer reviewed studies you’re referring to would you mind citing them? I’d be very interested to read these studies which, according to you, are somehow able to control for all other relevant social variables in order to identify testosterone as the driving independent variable responsible for violence.

    I agree completely that there are differences between men and women which influence sexual and physical development and outlook and may even affect behavior. What I disagree with is the premise smuggled into the conclusion by you, and EMK, that the disproportionate number of violent crimes committed by men constitutes evidence that males are naturally predisposed to act this way. Missing from your analysis is the role of socialization and institutions in structuring and promoting certain behaviors. If your assertion is true, what accounts for the differences in violence in the ghettoized slums of the United States and gated communities? Why is gang violence prevalent in the former and not the latter? Why is the rate of incarceration in the United States tightly correlated with the unemployment rate (I can provide the peer reviewed study which documents this if you like).

    One of the most revealing studies on the relationship between social context and agressive and violent behavior was the Stanford Experiment. Regular college students were randomly assigned to play guards or prisoners, and the simulation had to be shut down because the guards began acting in increasingly sadistic ways. Less well known is the experiment by the same psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, at NYU which involved women. Females were seperated into anonymous and non-anonymous groups and instructed to administer electric shocks to students who failed to provide a correct answer. The results are worth quoting at length:

    “To investigate this I created an experiment. We took women students at New York University and made them anonymous. We put them in hoods, put them in the dark, took away their names, gave them numbers, and put them in small groups. And sure enough, within half an hour those sweet women were giving painful electric shocks to other women within an experimental setting… Any situation that makes you anonymous and gives permission for aggression will bring out the beast in most people. That was the start of my interest in showing how easy it is to get good people to do things they say they would never do.”

    1. 15.1
      jeremy

      @Shaukat,
       
      IMHO you are confusing the issue.  Does the hormone testosterone lead to increased libido, hair growth, and violent tendencies?  Yes.  Scientific fact.  Studies where females of a species were injected with testosterone can demonstrate this.  Now, is testosterone the ONLY factor in determining violence?  Of course not.  Hence the overwhelming of males being relatively peaceful (though somewhat competitive), and contextual variations in violence by socioeconomic status, etc.
       
      It’s one thing to say that testosterone is not the only factor.  It’s another to say that it isn’t a factor at all (and a major one at that).
       
      It’s interesting how a decade or two ago all the theories around gender differences pointed toward societal factors, and now many researchers are re-asserting the (obvious) contribution of biology.

      1. 15.1.1
        Shaukat

        @Jeremy,
         
        I agree and I never said testosterone is not a factor at all when it comes to explaining differences in aggression etc. But if you read Noemi’s comment, she seems to be asserting that T-levels are the definitive explanation for male violent behavior.

        1. Noemi

          “I agree and I never said testosterone is not a factor at all when it comes to explaining differences in aggression etc.”

          …But you did. Right here:

          “the notion that T-levels can also account for differences in violence is, in my view, wrong and a rather dangeorus idea. “
           
          Where, in my comments, did I assert that testosterone levels are the definitive explanation for male violent behavior? YOU, on the other hand, blatantly denied any role that testosterone may have in explaining male violence. 

    2. 15.2
      Noemi

       TO SHAUKAT:

      “I’d be very interested to read these studies which, according to you, are somehow able to control for all other relevant social variables in order to identify testosterone as the driving independent variable responsible for violence.”
      I never ever stated that these studies are able to control for all other relevant social variables. If you are at all familiar with conducting research, you should know that no single study exists that can control for EVERY factor that may contribute to the relationship between A and B.
      I am simply stating that testosterone accounts for a large proportion of the variance. I, in fact, mentioned that BioSOCIAL scholars agree with this. Again, BioS-O-C-I-A-L. You, on the other hand, entirely dismissed the role of testosterone in violent behavior.
      I agree that contextual and environmental influences alter both testosterone and cortisol. You, on the other hand, are dismissing the role of biology entirely. Have you heard of epigenetics? The environment is influential, but environmental factors also influence and are influenced by biology.
       
      “…the notion that T-levels can also account for differences in violence is, in my view, wrong and a rather dangeorus idea.”
      I hate to burst your bubble, but this is true especially among serious, persistent, violent offenders.
       
      “Missing from your analysis is the role of socialization and institutions in structuring and promoting certain behaviors.”
      I did not deny the role of socialization. However, you blatantly denied the role of testosterone in violence.
       
      If your assertion is true, what accounts for the differences in violence in the ghettoized slums of the United States and gated communities? Why is gang violence prevalent in the former and not the latter? Why is the rate of incarceration in the United States tightly correlated with the unemployment rate (I can provide the peer reviewed study which documents this if you like).
       
      First: we are discussing violent behavior, rather than all criminal behavior for which one may be incarcerated.
       
      And…if your assertion is true, how do you explain away the serial killings of men who have experienced no poverty, no violence, and no family dysfunction?
       
      I don’t want to see your studies on the unemployment rate and the rate of incarceration. There is a causality issue that is obvious when simply reading your statement. Incarceration may contribute to the unemployment rate, hello. Also, do the studies you cite regarding unemployment and the incarceration rate control for all other relevant BIOLOGICAL variables in order to identify poverty as the driving independent variable responsible for violence? Hmm?
      Have you considered the role of neuropsychological deficits in their interaction with environmental factors in predicting criminal behavior, i.e. that pregnant mothers living in the slum neighborhoods are poor, hence they are less likely to seek prenatal care, have birth complications as a result, smoke, drink, and do drugs because they are less educated about the effects of these substances on their fetuses?
      Clearly, your accusations are false.  I am not denying the role of sociology on violent behavior.
      Enlighten yourself:
       
      FYI—read Adrian Raine’s The Anatomy of Violence.
       
      Mazur, A., & Booth, A. (1999). The biosociology of testosterone in men. In D. Franks & S. Smith (Eds.), Mind, brain, and society: Toward a neurosociology of emotion (Vol. 5, pp. 311–338). Stamford, CT: JAI Press.
      Tremblay, R. E., Schaal, B., Boulerice, B., Arseneault, L., Soussignan, R., & Perusse, D. (1997). Male physical aggression, social dom- inance, and testosterone levels at puberty: A developmental per- spective. In A. Raine, P. A. Brennan, D. P. Farrington, & S. A. Mednick (Eds.), Biosocial bases of violence (pp. 271–291). New York: Plenum.
      Book AS, Starzyk KB, Quinsey VL. The relationship between testosterone and aggression: A meta-analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior. 2001;6(6):579–99.
       
      Terburg D, Morgan B, van Honk J. The testosterone-cortisol ratio: A hormonal marker for proneness to social aggression. Int J Law Psychiatry. 2009;32(4):216–23.
       
      Chichinadze KN, Domianidze TR, Matitaishvili T, Chichinadze NK, Lazarashvili AG. Possible relation of plasma testosterone level to aggressive behavior of male prisoners. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2010;149(1):7–9.
       
      Carre JM, Putnam SK, McCormick CM. Testosterone responses to competition predict future aggressive behaviour at a cost to reward in men. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009;34(4):561–70.

      1. 15.2.1
        Shaukat

        @Noemi
        “I never ever stated that these studies are able to control for all other relevant social variables.”
        This is what you stated in your previous post:
        “In the United States, men are more likely than women to commit murder, more likely to commit armed robbery and more likely to commit aggravated assault.
        What accounts for this striking gender difference? It is the hormone testosterone, which is more abundant in men than in women.”


        I’m sorry, but where in this statement did you mention, or even insinuate, that there might be additional factors or variables that interact with and mediate the influence of testosterone, or that such variables might even influence violence independently of testosterone? (And yes, this is possible). The above statement is what I was responding to, and it cleary identifies testosterone as the explanatory variable. Secondly, no where in your original post did you even mention the role of socialization, so your assertion in your second post that you did not deny its role is irrelevant. 
         
        Moreover, the examples I provided all invoked violent crimes (ie, gang violence etc) and you did not respond to this. Nor did you respond to the findings of the Stanford or NYU experiments I cited. And the study I alluded to measures the effect of the unemployment rate on the rate of change of incarceration in the US, not absolute levels, so this problem of causation does not arise. And the study provides the R-square coefficient of this relationship, which is a good measure of causation. Regarding the phenomenon of serial killings committed by men of good means, of course there are other factors aside from poverty that influence this, which include biological or biosocial factors (though the incidences of men who commit such crimes and who have never suffered prior physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, poverty or other social deficits are rather rare).
         
        On the studies you cite at the end, I am not denying the role of testosterone in aggression levels, but my point is that aggression should not automaticall be conflated with violence. Aggression, on its own will not necessarily lead to violence  unless other conditions are present.

        1. Noemi

          Shaukat, on your original comment you did, in fact, deny the role of testosterone in violence. You said “…the notion that T-levels can also account for differences in violence is, in my view, wrong and a rather dangeorus idea.”  I provided evidence of the contrary.  It’s simple: you stated that the belief that testosterone is related to violence is a bad idea. I stated that there is evidence in support of testosterone’s role in violence. I didn’t have to introduce all of these social variables. I merely disputed your statement against T levels and violence. I will not engage in an argument with you about mediators and moderators, because that was not my original point. Testosterone is liked to aggression, rregardless of your side arguments. 

  16. 16
    Jay

    Has anyone ever discussed the “Princess Complex” where women have unrealistic standards or expectations of men and society.  I suppose this is similar to Feminism, but instead of being financially independent and career oriented, a princess can have unrealistic expectations for a man – meaning he has to be a rich prince who also spends 24-7 devoted to her.  I believe in Feminism and a woman’s indpedence.  But the woman’s role in marriage and relationships is something that is changing for better or worse.

    1. 16.1
      Noemi

      Jay, unless you’re referring to naive 20 year olds, most women do not buy into the so called “princess complex.’ 

      …”he has to be a rich prince who also spends 24-7 devoted to her.”

      Where do you meet women? Methinks you need to change your social circle if you believe this. 

      We just want financial security. We want a decent dose of romance. 

      1. 16.1.1
        Chance

        “We just want financial security.”
         
        Hi Noemi,
         
        I think this point you made is what a lot of men have a hard time processing.  Pretty much all women want equality, and they do not feel they should be restricted to traditional female gender roles.  However, a significant percentage of women also want financial security from a man, which is not consistent with the concept of equality.  Women who want equality should be indifferent to being either the caretaker/homemaker or the primary breadwinner.  Women who don’t want to be confined to traditional  gender roles should not expect men to adhere to traditional gender roles.

  17. 17
    Noemi

    Chance, it boils down to this: if I decide to have children with a man, I want to ensure that he can be a stable provider. 

    1. 17.1
      Jeremy

      I understand, Noemi, and I think most women see things that way too.  Problem is, from an equalist mentality, it is unilateral.  How many men who decide to have children will demand that their wives be stable providers – able to be breadwinners if the men decide to work part time or not at all?  Do we want equality or complimentarity?  If the former, your desire is indefensible.  If the latter, it’s totally logical.

      1. 17.1.1
        Noemi

        Newsflash: the gender war is over, and no one won. Men and women are equal, but different. We each bring our unique qualities to the table. It’s time we stop fussing about who brought what and simply enjoy the feast!

        1. Chance

          Fair enough, Noemi.  There’s nothing wrong with expecting a man to be the primary provider as long as you don’t have a problem with him expecting you to be the primary cook and homemaker. 

  18. 18
    Chris

    Being called a “moral rodent” is something to tell family and friends.
    “What did you do?”
    “I don’t know, I said I like Scarlett Johanssen and she called me a moral rodent.”

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