Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Real Man or a Fake

Another day, another study demeaning men. Masculinity, we learn from serious researchers, is a fragile thing. It is easily threatened. A mere hint at the notion of a female breadwinner makes men rush out to vote for Donald Trump.

You see, being the breadwinner has been what The Harvard Business Review’s Dan Cassino and researchers call the “linchpin” of American manliness.

And where, pray tell, has that not been the case?

In the vast majority of cultures throughout most of human history, being the breadwinner has been the basis of masculinity. And, lest we forget, going to war to protect and defend women and children has also been a linchpin of masculinity throughout human history.

Nowadays, of course, strong and powerful women no longer need anything like male protection. They can protect themselves. Or so they say while they are militating for extra added government protection, especially the kind that deprives anyone they accuse of due process rights.

Being stupid and ignoring the evidence seems to be a salient characteristic of our feminist gender-bending age. Why bother with facts when you can wallow in ideology?

When you caricature men as delicate flowers you are engaged in male bashing. You are demeaning and degrading their pretense to being strong? Do you really want to fight that one out? And do you not understand that insulting people causes they to feel a need to defend themselves, at times, with less than genteel methods?

After all, a minimal knowledge of human nature, the kind that we often call scientific, will tell you that men are constitutionally stronger than women. There ought to be no question about it. Yet, when you ignore that fact and treat men as weaker, in the interest of allowing women to pretend that they are stronger, you are likely to provoke a reaction.

Of course, if you fight back, if you defend yourself, you are an abusive pig, worthy of being locked up forever.

So, whatever feminism has done for women’s rights, it has done so by launching a full frontal assault on men. It’s not about equality as much as it’s about diminishing men in order to exalt women.

Let’s see. Researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University ran a survey. They wanted to test people’s preferred presidential candidates. While doing the survey they asked men a question about breadwinner roles.  They were not concerned with finding out who wore the pants in which family, but they wanted to know whether consciousness about role reversals would influence a man’s choice of a presidential candidate.

They found that it did, markedly. Men who were made aware of a role reversal early in the questioning tended to prefer Donald Trump. Men who were made aware of a role reversal late in the questioning, after they had been asked who they preferred as a presidential candidate, were more likely to prefer Hillary Clinton.

The mere hint or suggestion of a role reversal caused men to prefer the more manly over the less manly presidential candidate.

It isn’t about ideology, because the men surveyed did not show a different preference when asked about Bernie Sanders.

The Harvard Business Review reports:

Merely asking the question about spousal income led to enormous shifts in men’s preferences in the upcoming presidential election. Men who weren’t asked about spousal income until late in the survey preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup by a 16-point margin; men who were asked about spousal income only a few questions before being asked about the Clinton-Trump matchup preferred Trump by an eight-point margin — a 24-point shift in preferences. The conclusion that this is about gender is reinforced by the fact that the spousal income question had no effect at all on a matchup between Trump and Bernie Sanders. Men who had been primed to think about a threat to their masculinity preferred Sanders by four points; unprimed men, by three.

As I suggested, the researchers have skewed their interpretation to denigrate men. They assume that the match-up between Trump and Clinton is a match-up between Anyman and Anywoman. They might have noted that it is a match between a manly man and an ersatz man. And that they prefer the real thing to the fake.

Of course, it is fair to say that Trump does come across as a caricature of a man. But, next to Hillary and Barack, he looks like he’s all man.

And it might just as well be the case that the men surveyed are especially sensitive to threats to their masculinity because today’s culture has been organized to attack their sense of manliness. Beginning in school they are being told that women are better and that men are weak, ineffectual losers.

Naturally, people who have received such indoctrination saw Barack Obama as a manly man and are currently happy to accept Hillary Clinton as a manly man.

Of course, the researchers fail to notice that what they call gender stereotypes have a great deal to do with biological adaptation. Hasn’t Darwin taught us that many human behaviors are innate and that they evolved the way they did because the people who practiced them were more likely to survive and to thrive? Does it take an advanced knowledge of Darwinian theory to ascertain that women who are more aggressive and who lean in more, who get in men’s faces were, are over time, less likely to survive and to reproduce?

Some will say that the human species can evolve over time. True enough. But, as Chomsky said, such a transformative evolution takes around 50,000 years. Let's talk about it then.

A culture that is attempting to equalize the number of men and women in executive positions, to demasculinize the roles of warrior and leader is probably doomed to defeat.

Perhaps men know that this is a bad idea, but are no longer allowed to say so.

Worse yet, men and even many women do not believe that women leaders have earned their way to the top. They believe that women in charge have either inherited their position, rode in on their husbands’ coattails or were promoted in order to fulfill diversity requirements. Obviously, Hillary Clinton is a case in point. The absurd palaver about how qualified Hillary is merely masks the fact that, for all of her government jobs, she has no real achievements to her name.

This leads men and women to disrespect women leaders. And it leads men, in particular, to harass such leaders.

The Harvard Business Review reports:

study published in the American Sociological Review in 2012 looked at the factors that led to reports of sexual harassment in the workplace, and found that women in supervisory roles were 130% more likely to have been the victims of sexual harassment than those in nonsupervisory roles, with the harassment often taking the form of leering or sexual comments. Just as men can symbolically reinforce their masculinity by doing less housework or supporting Donald Trump, they can respond to the threat posed by a female manager by engaging in sexual harassment, making antigay jokes, or mistreating other women in the workplace.

Of course, these studies are always designed to show that men are bigots. Since the researchers seem to know nothing about human biology and its influence on human behavior they end up peddling their own ideological bias about male and female gender roles. Does anyone really think that the nation will be a better place if men stay home and bring up children while women are put in command of armies? Do you think that the formula will lead to victory on the battlefield? Or that children will be better off without mothers?

Perhaps the people who insisted that women be promoted beyond their qualifications are setting them up for abuse.


Leo G said...

Well Stuart, the origin of Ta Patriarchy has been discovered, so we can now eliminate it! The alphabet!

"Literacy has promoted the subjugation of women by men throughout all but the very recent history of the West. Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word."

Hold on, hmm, seems that it was really the taming of fire that allowed us men to become misogynists!

"Negative cultural consequences came with fire, too — and continue to leave an imprint. Anthropologists have speculated that inhaling smoke led to the discovery of smoking. Humans have long used fire to modify their environment and burn carbon, practices that now have us in the throes of climate change. Fire is even tied to the rise of patriarchy — by allowing men to go out hunting while women stayed behind to cook by the fire, it spawned gender norms that still exist today."

er, I am confused, maybe a wimmin can explain for me......

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: After all, a minimal knowledge of human nature, the kind that we often call scientific, will tell you that men are constitutionally stronger than women. There ought to be no question about it.

Constitutionally stronger?! Is that different than "more muscular"?

Dictionary: Constitution: the physical health and condition of a person or animal

I don't expect Stuart is saying men are more physically healthy than women.

A more accurate assessment I think would say that men's physiology and skills are more specialized, or have a higher potential for certain specializations.

But outside of simple brute strength, they say men are more vulnerable to permanent brain damage from strokes, while women's brains recover better because of more redundancy. And in general there are more male geniuses and more male idiots, perhaps because of this specialization, when it goes well, or not.

And as well, while more males are conceived, more male fetuses have spontaneous abortions, and are less developed at birth, and more die as infants, in part because all fetuses start as female, and its only the hormones at the right stage that makes a male baby.

And once the dangers of child birth are reduced, women of all races statistically outlive men. Perhaps in part this is because men are willing to work themselves to death, but also because men take more risks, and get into more accidents in their youth.

Myself, I'll imagine the animal kingdom and all the sexual dimorphisms, evolved to attract the opposite sex, all the otherwise wasted showmanship, and then imagine the same for humans. With all the hormones raging and sloshing around, its easy to imagine that we're often stupid not because we don't know any better, but because our hormones trick us into being stupid, because that's what allowed our ancestors to survive and propagate.

I remember Ashley Montegu wrote a book in the 50s called "The natural superiority of women", not really to say women are superior, but to say we're all specialized in various ways, and that we should appreciate the differences and work with them.

So I agree its a bad idea to try to "equalize" men and women in various fields, including leadership, where there are unqual interests and unequal natural ability. But where women are interested in leadership, there's no reason to assume they are more likely to fail, whether because of their constitions or lack of skill. And for ever "weakness" a woman might have coming from a feminine point of view, there's likely a "weakness" in men who aspire to leadership.

There's no reason to assume otherwise, while I'm sure in the battle of the sexes both sideds have plenty of cherry-picked ammo to fire back when they feel threatened.

Sam L. said...

Affirmative action is one of those immediate qualifiers. Is this person actually qualified for the position filled, or is this person filling a quota? Yes, it could be both, but the question still hangs over as a cloud.

Shaun F said...

I heard an interview on NPR yesterday, with Colson Whitehead author of "The Underground Railroad." He stated "I didn't stick to the facts, I stuck to the truth." which is an disturbing.

sestamibi said...

"A culture that is attempting to equalize the number of men and women in executive positions . . ."

Wrong. It is a culture that is attempting to squeeze men out of ALL executive positions. The cuntocracy marches on.

Dennis said...

On the whole a pretty solid commentary on young men in this country. The first few comments are excellent, but as it proceeds it becomes more and more about women and feminism. One has to go back to the article to ascertain what and who it was about. Who knows whether a man is real or fake when every question redounds to women at the expense of men?
"sesamibi" does make a valid point though rather indelicately. Hillary's main proposition is that she is a woman and will put women in positions of power and the world will be a better place. Too bad her prior actions have disproved that conjecture.
Why would we as a society spend so much time asking the question. "What do women want?" if we actually cared about men or young boys?
What I fear is that so many young men will be lost to a virtual world that the society dies a slow death and many of those men will be replaced by men who do not hold the values that made this country what it has up until this current generation. There is a reason why so many young women are unhappy?