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July 26, 2006 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Globally, there are about 105-107 boys born for every 100 girls. I was led to believe this was because men do stupid things that get themselves killed/injured. I wonder if this theory accounts for those times when men do something stupid that gets women killed/injured. (youTube link: video of a really stupid idea getting two women bruised up. If you laugh, it means you're going to hell.)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht (105 comments total)

 
"I was led to believe this was because men do stupid things that get themselves killed/injured."

How do you get killed/injured before you're born?
posted by Gyan at 12:29 PM on July 26, 2006


From the first article: "This is a seriously dangerous ratio," said Ren Yuling, a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee. "The numbers mean that some people will never have their needs for a spouse met, so they move into dangerous territory."

Not if a)gay marriage is legalized b)there is a positive differential of homosexuality among males compared to females.
posted by Gyan at 12:32 PM on July 26, 2006


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by NationalKato at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2006


I am going to hell.
posted by The Bellman at 12:38 PM on July 26, 2006


I am not going to hell, because I'm Catholic. Though that video was funny.
posted by oddman at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2006


I'm already in hell. Nixon is actually a fun guy in small doses.
posted by the ghost of Ken Lay at 12:43 PM on July 26, 2006 [4 favorites]


I think the theory goes that since boys are more likely to die before reaching reproductive success we need more of them so that we have roughly a 1:1 ratio of reproducing men to women.
posted by pwb503 at 12:44 PM on July 26, 2006


Didn't look as if they were forced onto the merry go round, now did it? Stupidity isn't a male dominated trait. The reasons for a higher number of male deaths are more related to traditional job roles in hazardous occupations and the gender role phenomenon in general (though the statistics say that is changing). There are also physiological tendencies which kill them off in greater proportion as compared to the female population , such as heart disease. Sure you're not a feminist trapped in a man's body?
posted by IronLizard at 12:52 PM on July 26, 2006


FACT: women are the devil
posted by 29 at 12:59 PM on July 26, 2006


pwb503 : "I think the theory goes that since boys are more likely to die before reaching reproductive success we need more of them so that we have roughly a 1:1 ratio of reproducing men to women."

That's not what the article's about: What it's claiming can be put another way: out of 207 pregnancies carried to term, 107 turn out male. What has boys getting killed at a higher rate got to do with that? All pregnancies require a male contribution. Gender-discriminative abortion in some Asian cultures (thanks to in utero imaging; single child policy & male bias) and infanticide after unreported female births (in rural areas) seems to be the plausible explanation.
posted by Gyan at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2006



posted by 29 at 1:04 PM on July 26, 2006


That's not what the article's about:

Of course not, tryp is just using it as a vehicle to push his(?) feminist "haha boys are teh dumb" agenda.
posted by IronLizard at 1:05 PM on July 26, 2006


totlly going to hell. those two girls deserved what was coming when they decided to do that stupid thing. they exist for my amusement now.
posted by Doorstop at 1:05 PM on July 26, 2006


Just like IronLizard points out, I didn't see a man with a gun forcing those women to act stupid, so no, I'm not going to hell for laughing at their stupidity.

Not everyone gets married and has kids even if the ratio is perfect. If it even became a real problem, there's a little thing called imigration that might help them out in those regards.
posted by inthe80s at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2006


ironlizard -
pretty sure im not. If i am, this post got my membership revoked :x
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:07 PM on July 26, 2006


here are also physiological tendencies which kill them off in greater proportion as compared to the female population , such as heart disease.

Don't forget the fact 80% of suicides are male, and it turns out high stress (male dominated) corporate jobs raise the rate of stress related illness and death to the point that properly they would be considered hazardous jobs also.
posted by Jezztek at 1:09 PM on July 26, 2006


you just posted this aritcle so you could post the youtube video and complain about the stupid kids, right?
posted by Stynxno at 1:09 PM on July 26, 2006


FACT: 80% of suicides are men.. because women drive men to kill themselves
posted by 29 at 1:12 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Guys drive other guys into suicide and death. "Competition." Whereas everyone's happy when there are lots of women around.
posted by blacklite at 1:14 PM on July 26, 2006


But you're missing the goal of the competition, which is women. So, if you add two and two, 29 is right.
posted by IronLizard at 1:16 PM on July 26, 2006


also, it's a proven fact that women carry all kinds of terrible diseases. it was women that killed the dinosaurs. it was women that did the holocaust (even though it never happened). it was women that did wtc.
posted by 29 at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Gyan: The ratio of boys:girls in the USA is about 105:100, and the same for European countries and Japan (based on my cursory check). Because of artificial selection, it's more like 116:100 in China and 110:100 in India.

The point is that there is a slight natural tendency towards more boys; Tryptophan-5ht's comment was addressing that.
posted by adamrice at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2006


BOYS RULE, GIRLS DROOL!
posted by 29 at 1:25 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


That video is funny, too bad you had to post that lame article and put some stupid spin on this post.
posted by bob sarabia at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2006


Bros before Hoes dog.
posted by bardic at 1:36 PM on July 26, 2006


the ghost of Ken Lay writes "I'm already in hell. Nixon is actually a fun guy in small doses."

I just wanted to acknowledge the awesomeness of this comment.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:37 PM on July 26, 2006


Gyan, I think what Tryp was trying to say, and what pwb was trying to support, goes something like this:

It takes one man and one woman to make a baby. Therefore, the ratio of reproducing men and women should be stable at about one to one. However, this article indicates that the birth rate is not one to one, male births are around 6% higher. Therefore, the death rate of males before reproductive age must be somewhat higher than that of females in order to produce a 1:1 ratio of reproducing males and females.

Dig?
posted by solotoro at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2006


The ratio of boys:girls in the USA is about 105:100, and the same for European countries and Japan (based on my cursory check). Because of artificial selection, it's more like 116:100 in China and 110:100 in India.

The point is that there is a slight natural tendency towards more boys


How can you conclude from those numbers that the tendency is natural? China's numbers are likely so much higher than the rest of the world because female fetuses are more often aborted in China. How do we know similar man-made influences don't cause the other variance?
posted by scottreynen at 1:40 PM on July 26, 2006


I WANT OUTTA THIS SAUSAGE FEST!!!
posted by Doorstop at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2006


*heh heh* Yeah, hell for me. I was sad we didn't get the "after" video, though. I wanted to see those HUGE asphalt burns on them.
posted by smallerdemon at 1:44 PM on July 26, 2006


I am cleaning my monitor now. Diet coke all across the front of it.

Awesome video.
posted by DragonBoy at 1:51 PM on July 26, 2006


The reason there are more boys born than girls is that a sperm cell carrying a Y chromosome weighs slight less than one carrying an X chromosome, and thus swims slightly faster on average.

Therefore Y-carrying sperm cells are slightly more likely to win the race.

That happens to be due to the fact that in mammals, the Y chromosome makes males happen. That isn't biologically required.

In birds, XX is male and XY is female. The sex of a chick is determined by which of the mother's sex chromosomes it inherits.

Because of this, birds have an adaptation that mammals cannot: if there are groups of female birds with no males around, it's possible for one of the females to change sex to become a cock, and to fertilize the others so they can have chicks. One quarter of the eggs of such a mating are nonviable (YY) but at least some will grow up, and there will be two thirds female (XY) and one third male (XX) among the viable ones.

It doesn't happen often, but it can happen. And it's part of the basis of the "cockatrice" legend. A cockatrice supposedly comes from an egg laid by a cock, and in fact in some rare cases those kinds of transsexual birds could conceivably look like cocks and still lay eggs, perhaps during the transition.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:52 PM on July 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


solotoro : "Dig?"

No. All babies require a man and a woman, so the gender ratio among babies born does not matter on the ratio of the males and females of mating age. IOW, even if there were 1:1 ratio of male/females, that wouldn't necessarily lead to 1:1 ratio among births, which is what the article's about.
posted by Gyan at 1:52 PM on July 26, 2006


Not all species rely on differentiated chromosomes for sex differentiation, just in passing. Most plants are bisexual, carrying both male and female parts. Some plants are not, most notably cannibis. But the sex of a plant isn't genetically determined. The ratio of male plants to female plants appears to be a function of environmental conditions.

In colonial insects, females are diploid and males are haploid.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:56 PM on July 26, 2006


Sure you're not a feminist trapped in a man's body?


Huh? Since when did you have to be female to be a feminist? My husband is as feminist as I am.
posted by agregoli at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2006


I just did some googling, and found out that the sex chromosomes for birds are referred to as W and Z, in order to differentiate them from mammalian X and Y.

Female birds are WZ and males are ZZ.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:02 PM on July 26, 2006


So just gimme 100 chix, I get all them father their childs you get depressed jump off the bridge and the ratio male/female is restored. EASY !

Why do I have to always come up with all the brilliant ideas ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2006


That is one cool merry go round. Glad to see they are still being used some places. Around here you have to find an old park in a community without much money to even see a merry go round.
posted by Mitheral at 2:07 PM on July 26, 2006


Obtusity alert.
posted by longsleeves at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2006


Gyan:

First off, I should say that I agree with you that this isn't what the article is about, it's about what the original poster said.

I'm also not saying I agree with the assumption that a 1:1 ratio of reproducing sexes is optimal; it's not obvious to me at all.

However, if you WERE to assume that it is optimal, and you WERE to assume that the human race has been around long enough that we've reached some sort of mating equilibrium, then you would have to account for a difference in birth rates from the optimal reproductive ratio by saying that a larger number of men die childless. Because otherwise we wouldn't be in equilibrium. Maybe that's the implicit assumption I wasn't making clear. If you have more male births and more of them don't die, then the next generation is not at the optimal ratio. And presumably that's not happening because the human race hasn't expired.

And that's what the (joking!) comments about men dying because they are dumb are about. That their dumbness kills them before they can reproduce. Another line of reasoning from the article:

Although more boys are born, it appears they may be more susceptible to a host of diseases, injuries and more, and soon women actually outnumber men.
posted by solotoro at 2:11 PM on July 26, 2006


You don't need a moped to do this. At the park near the house where I grew up (Tranby Park in Windsor ON) there was this red disc set at about a 15 degree angle. You'd sit in it's bum-polished shallow bowl (affectionately called the vomit mobile) and somebody else would spin you. I was about 4 and my uncle spun me in it and I learned first hand about centripedal acceleration. I shot off the thing and smacked into a tree. He was really worried that I was hurt but I was laughing though a bit stunned, I was having a great time up until then.

I still wonder about the physics, I wouldn't have thought you could hand spin something fast enough to do that, though I guess if you get the rythym going and time it right you're only ever slowly adding a tiny bit of speed.
posted by substrate at 2:15 PM on July 26, 2006


Wow. I didn't think the video was funny at all. I have a sense of huimor and all, but seeing rank stupidity endanger someone's life seldom gets a chuckle out of me, to be honest.

I hope the girls were okay after that. It looks like they were flung out pretty hard.
posted by darkstar at 2:34 PM on July 26, 2006


Huh? Since when did you have to be female to be a feminist? My husband is as feminist as I am.

If that's the case then he doesn't understand what the core of feminism is about (and equal rights, it isn't). Or he's playing along to keep you happy.
posted by IronLizard at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2006


solotoro : "If you have more male births and more of them don't die, then the next generation is not at the optimal ratio."

This doesn't follow. A hypothetical illustration: Male/female birth ratio, let it be 120/100. Let all 120 males have mating opportunities. Hence mating ratio is 1.2:1. Let each coupling produce two kids. Hence 80 monogamous couples leads to 160 kids, and 20 females produce 80 kids. Hence, 240 kids. Now depending on the naturally occuring gender ratio, it may turn out to be M/F: 120/120 (1:1) or 131/109 (1.2:1). This is the controlling variable. If there were originally a mating ratio of 1:1 with 20 males out of luck for one reason or the other, then the ratio could still be M/F: 100/100(1:1) or 110/90(1.2:1). So with either mating ratio, a stable recurring pattern can be obtained.
posted by Gyan at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]



If that's the case then he doesn't understand what the core of feminism is about (and equal rights, it isn't). Or he's playing along to keep you happy.


What an insulting and totally stupid statement.

My husband certainly isn't "playing along to keep me happy" about anything.

And you don't have to be female to be a feminist. That's the saddest thing I've heard all month.
posted by agregoli at 2:43 PM on July 26, 2006


What an insulting and totally stupid statement.

My husband certainly isn't "playing along to keep me happy" about anything.

And you don't have to be female to be a feminist. That's the saddest thing I've heard all month.


Is you say so, I guess it must be true.
posted by IronLizard at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2006


Wow. Yeah. I'm going to hell. Before they fly off they're rotating at least 180° per frame. Assuming 30fps, that's 15 RPM. Assuming that they were rotating around a four foot diameter circle, that means they were going 188 feet per minute, (about 2 miles an hour).

Actually, that only works out to about 1.5 Newtons of force pulling them apart, which isn't that much. If you figure a 3 foot diameter rather then a 2 foot diameter, it's a whole two Newtons, which isn't that much. So I doubt they were hurt too badly.
posted by delmoi at 2:49 PM on July 26, 2006


on the other hand, it's possible they were spinning faster then that, and it just didn't show up on the video because it was two quick.
posted by delmoi at 2:50 PM on July 26, 2006


I just realized the kids in this video are British. So much funnier now.
posted by rob paxon at 2:51 PM on July 26, 2006


If that's the case then he doesn't understand what the core of feminism is about (and equal rights, it isn't). Or he's playing along to keep you happy.

?!

What an insulting and totally stupid statement.

Indeed. Hey, pal, I'm a guy, I've been a feminist for 35 years or so, and it doesn't have anything to do with keeping the little woman happy, any more than my being against slavery has to do with keeping black folks happy. It has to do with equality and that kind of thing. Open up your mind and let the world in.
posted by languagehat at 2:54 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heaven loves ya
The clouds part for ya
Nothing stands in your way
When you're a boy

Clothes always fit ya
Life is a pop of the cherry
When you're a boy

When you're a boy
You can wear a uniform
When you're a boy
Other boys check you out
You get a girl
These are your favourite things
When you're a boy

Boys
Boys
Boys keep swinging
Boys always work it out

Uncage the colours
Unfurl the flag
Luck just kissed you hello
When you're a boy

They'll never clone ya
You're always first on the line
When you're a boy

When you're a boy
You can buy a home of your own
When you're a boy
Learn to drive and everything
You'll get your share
When you're a boy

Boys
Boys
Boys keep swinging
Boys always work it out
posted by furtive at 3:03 PM on July 26, 2006


any more than my being against slavery has to do with keeping black folks happy.

Now that is a completely ridiculous comparison. You really believe that women are enslaved? Look around you, nothing could be further from the truth. The true goals of feminism have nothing to do with the kind of liberation that occured when slavery ended, feminists seek the superiority in law that nature has denied them in biology and the means is the demonization of the male gender.

"I must stress that modern feminists are not the heirs of the suffragettes who fought for equal rights such as the right to vote and property rights. Modern feminists are not seeking equal rights for women. They want to transform society, and that's no conspiracy theory because they freely admit it." Antonia Feitz, The Real Goal of Feminism
posted by IronLizard at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2006


Can we please do our best to keep the crazy out of this thread?

Did anyone else see the funny video with the stupid British girls?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2006


Wow. Yeah. I'm going to hell. Before they fly off they're rotating at least 180° per frame. Assuming 30fps, that's 15 RPM. Assuming that they were rotating around a four foot diameter circle, that means they were going 188 feet per minute, (about 2 miles an hour).

You mean 15 rounds per second, hence 4 pi * 15 feet per second, or 128 miles per hour. Some assumptions are surely wrong here (and I call shenanigans on the end of the video anyway) but its pretty clear they go more than 2 MPH.
posted by grumdrig at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2006


The true goals of feminism have nothing to do with the kind of liberation that occured when slavery ended, feminists seek the superiority in law that nature has denied them in biology and the means is the demonization of the male gender.

So do you think that gender inequality doesn't exist, or that it's a good thing?
posted by clockzero at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2006


Can we please do our best to keep the crazy out of this thread?

What if we just point and laugh at IronLizard instead?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:12 PM on July 26, 2006


feminists seek the superiority in law that nature has denied them in biology

Aaaaand IronLizard tells us everything we need to know about him in one handy sentence.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


feminists seek the superiority in law that nature has denied them in biology and the means is the demonization of the male gender.

I was going to flag this comment, but apparently we don't have a "total fuckwit" flag.
posted by kosher_jenny at 4:24 PM on July 26, 2006


So do you think that gender inequality doesn't exist, or that it's a good thing?

Absolutely not, in either case. Unfortunately.
The reality is that too many feminists simply seek more control. I have nothing against egaliatrianism (though it's effects on child rearing have proven detrimental according to the DOJ) but that doesn't appear to be the goal of the modern feminist movement and it saddens me to see the ranks of those who proffess membership to it without an understanding of the core ideology behind it. They do it simply because of hyperbole that links it to such noble causes as emancipation and while it has done good for many in the past, it's history and many of the directions it's taken have been towards the opposite ends of the spectrum.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What if we just point and laugh at IronLizard instead?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:12 PM CST on July 26 [+fave] [!]



Aaaaand IronLizard tells us everything we need to know about him in one handy sentence.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:17 PM CST on July 26 [+fave] [!]


Doesn't being a drone get montonous?
posted by IronLizard at 4:32 PM on July 26, 2006


Oh, goody. Space Cadet's back. I was just thinking that we really didn't have enough he-man woman haters around since he left.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:35 PM on July 26, 2006


I SAID NO MORE CRAZY GODDAMNIT!!! TAKE YOUR BAD BREAKUP TO ASKME!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:35 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Somehow I don't think that someone called "Angry Harry" is ever going to be known for his clear and concise insights into feminist theory.
posted by lekvar at 4:38 PM on July 26, 2006


i liked the part where the girls flew off the thingee.

i also liked the one where the guy in the banana suit set himself on fire for some reason.

men and women are equal. equally retarded.
posted by hypocritical ross at 4:44 PM on July 26, 2006


They're neither clear nor concise, but if you look at them from just the right angle, they're kind of entertaining.
posted by adamrice at 4:44 PM on July 26, 2006


Somehow I don't think that someone called "Angry Harry" is ever going to be known for his clear and concise insights into feminist theory.

"Angry, harry." would probably be a clear and concise description of him for personal ads though.
posted by beegull at 4:48 PM on July 26, 2006


Absolutely not, in either case. Unfortunately.

What's unfortunate about that?

The reality is that too many feminists simply seek more control.

Feminists want to control their own bodies and decisions. Is that unreasonable?

I have nothing against egaliatrianism (though it's effects on child rearing have proven detrimental according to the DOJ) but that doesn't appear to be the goal of the modern feminist movement and it saddens me to see the ranks of those who proffess membership to it without an understanding of the core ideology behind it.


What do you think the goal of the modern feminist movement is, then? And how did you discover it?

They do it simply because of hyperbole that links it to such noble causes as emancipation and while it has done good for many in the past, it's history and many of the directions it's taken have been towards the opposite ends of the spectrum.


So, you think that feminists want to enslave people?
posted by clockzero at 4:54 PM on July 26, 2006


The true goals of feminism...

In that case, I support the pretend goals of feminism, the ones all the other feminists support.

I love that you're arguing with languagehat (and the dictionary) over what a word means.
posted by scottreynen at 5:03 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


So, you think that feminists want to enslave people?

Again, the comparison doesn't exist, though possibly in an economic perspective if you wanted to stretch things seriously.

Feminists want to control their own bodies and decisions. Is that unreasonable?

Absolutely not, but when these choices greatly affect their mate as well? What then? What happens when this legal form of discrimination (such as the protections afforded those claiming to be victims of sexual assault/discrimination/harassment) provides a huge legal advantage to the accuser (ah, but only if female!) that almost negates the 'innocent until proven guilty' clause?

What do you think the goal of the modern feminist movement is, then? And how did you discover it?

This is a good synopsis, though it lacks any depth in analysis and you can't seriously expect me to cough up a lifetime's experience in links here.

Really though, I only meant to provide a counterpoint to the 'teh guys are dumb and get themselves killed' statement made by the OP. I can assure you had that been pointed at females this thread would be filled with feminists raging against it.

(And yes angry harry is hilarious, but not nearly as much as Maddox)
posted by IronLizard at 5:25 PM on July 26, 2006


I'm going to hell.
posted by nlindstrom at 5:26 PM on July 26, 2006


I always laugh at stupid people getting hurt. I expect I'll have a huge giggle in hell.
posted by Decani at 5:55 PM on July 26, 2006


In that case, I support the pretend goals of feminism, the ones all the other feminists support.

I love that you're arguing with languagehat (and the dictionary) over what a word means.


Suppose Mirriam-Webster or the OED defined "Patriarchy" (the old canard of the feminist platform) as an exaggerated paper tiger whose existence is referenced to justify discriminatory treatment in the law. Would that make it so?

I think what IronLizard is trying to say, albeit in an inflammatory manner, is that feminism is about women's rights, separate and apart from equality. Now, this is all well and good if you accept the proposition that women are still the victims of patriarchal oppression and subjugation in contemporary Western society, because if that were true, women's rights would need special attention to ensure equal treatment despite oppressive forces.

But, a candid look at the empirical facts calls this assumption into question. For example. Many feminist organizations cite "epidemic" levels of domestic violence, demand special government initiatives to combat what they portray as a crisis of epic proportions, and use the phenomenon of male-aggressor, female-victim domestic violence as proof that women are oppressed even today. However, certain evidence makes that presumption questionable, to say the very least. Indeed, feminist organizations have been taken to task for using suspect research methods to support a one-sided view of the domestic violence problem, exaggerating the needs of women and ignoring the needs of men. This pattern of biased approaches to a complex social phenomenon have led to what many would consider biased laws and social policies. This is hardly what I would consider to be fighting for equality.

In another example, feminist organizations have repeatedly claimed that the rates of false accusations of rape are approximately 2%, no higher than for any other felony crime of violence. However, studies conducted by researchers unaffiliated with feminist organizations have found such false accusations to account for 40% of all rape claims. Rates of false allegations regarding other sexual offenses similarly vary depending on whether the investigating body is affiliated with feminist organizations or not.

Another cause-celebre of feminists, the purported wage disparity in America, is also called into question when one accounts for career choices made by men and women that affect the salaries earned by the respective groups. Comparison of raw income data, which does not account for each sex's choices regarding their career field and the number of hours they work, frequently underlies feminist wage gap statistics.

Additionally, despite the fact that women's lifespans are longer than men's, the National Health Institute allocates a disproportionately greater amount of funding to women's health issues, relative to men's. I have yet to hear a feminist, claims of wanting equality notwithstanding, complain about this or ask for more health care initiatives for men's specific needs.

While the list of inequalities that favor women over men could go on, I'll end here with a reference to another issue near and dear to the hearts of feminists everywhere-- reproductive rights. When an unwanted child is inadvertently conceived, women have three choices: 1) Abort the fetus through a unilateral decision, 2) forego their rights and responsibilities as a parent through the adoptive process, or 3) identify the father on the birth certificate and collect 23 years of state-enforced child support payments, regardless of the man's wishes. Note that this is so even if the man was misled about fertility issues or was lied to about his biological fatherhood in the first place. The feminist stance on these issues has been one of disinterest at best, derision at worst.

The feminist response to these issues being raised in Canada was to attempt to have men's rights groups labeled as hate groups.

For these reasons, and several more, I perceive feminism as about equality in name only. In practice, it is about garnering more advantages for women, regardless of any inequalities it might create.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 6:18 PM on July 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


Suppose Mirriam-Webster or the OED defined "Patriarchy" (the old canard of the feminist platform) as an exaggerated paper tiger whose existence is referenced to justify discriminatory treatment in the law. Would that make it so?

No, but that would be a good basis for a discussion of what the word means, and I would want some real-world evidence before distrusting an otherwise trustworthy source on what words mean in common use. No one has offered an alternative definition of feminism that explains why a man can't be a feminist, so I'll stick with what the dictionary says.

I think what IronLizard is trying to say, albeit in an inflammatory manner, is that feminism is about women's rights, separate and apart from equality

I like women's rights. Can I be a feminist now?

Now, this is all well and good if you accept the proposition that women are still the victims of patriarchal oppression and subjugation in contemporary Western society

My support for women's rights is in no way contingent on that proposition (though I do accept it), so your attempt at a refutation does nothing to explain why I can't be a feminist.
posted by scottreynen at 6:37 PM on July 26, 2006


No one has stated the obvious.

Yes, there are somewhat more xy babies than xx babies.

In many cultures, parents - for whatever retrograde reasons - seem to prefer to have boy children. Each birth is an independent event, and each additional baby is increasingly risky and expensive.

Whether or not the couple can completely control their fertility - with either contraception or abortion (or, it must be said, with infanticide...) - they tend to arrange their childbearing in a way that gives prefence to a slightly higher number of boys.

A couple has a boy baby. This couple will have a slightly higher preference for stopping at one child than does the couple who have a girl. Overall, couples have a tendency to keep trying until they produce sons. And then they stop.

So you'll see families that run: 'girl, boy' slightly more often than you see families that run 'boy, girl'. (And so forth: 'Girl, girl, boy' will be slightly more common than 'girl, boy, girl'.)

Work it all out - the slight preference for xy sperm, combined with a cultural preference for boys - and lo-and-behold, there are more boy children than girl children.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:40 PM on July 26, 2006


No, but that would be a good basis for a discussion of what the word means, and I would want some real-world evidence before distrusting an otherwise trustworthy source

Did you not read what I wrote?

My support for women's rights is in no way contingent on that proposition (though I do accept it), so your attempt at a refutation does nothing to explain why I can't be a feminist.

So what you're saying is, women should benefit from special treatment, programs that promote their interests exclusively, and favored status in governmental programs. You're also saying that this special treatment is okay, even if there's no social disadvantage to correct. Women should just get this preferential treatment anyway, as a matter of right. Yes, congratulations. You are a feminist. But please understand, your status as a feminist bears a disjunctive relationship to "equalitarian." If you'd like to dispute that point, please address the evidence I supplied. If not, I hope you wear your mantle of sexism with pride.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 6:49 PM on July 26, 2006


So what you're saying is, women should benefit from special treatment

No. I don't believe rights are the same as special treatment. If you disagree, then we don't mean the same thing when we talk about "women's rights." I think anyone who suffers from systemic discrimination should be granted advantages to compensate, and I think women are one such group.

You're also saying that this special treatment is okay, even if there's no social disadvantage to correct.

I didn't, and won't, say that. We've already established that we're using words to mean different things. Try to keep that in mind before you go off on an asusmption that you know what I mean. If there's any doubt, check a dictionary. But don't tell me what I'm saying. That's just rude.

I've seen evidence of a social disadvantage for women, so if that's all I need to call myself a feminist, I'm a feminist. If you don't see a social disadvantage for women, you're either not looking very hard, or your living somewhere I'd rather be.
posted by scottreynen at 7:01 PM on July 26, 2006


No. I don't believe rights are the same as special treatment. If you disagree, then we don't mean the same thing when we talk about "women's rights." I think anyone who suffers from systemic discrimination should be granted advantages to compensate, and I think women are one such group.

Two quick points. First, you are correct in saying that we are talking about different things when I say "women's rights." A better way of putting it would have been "advantages for women." I misspoke on the point. Henceforth, please consider past references to "rights" to be references to "advantages."

More to the point:

I've seen evidence of a social disadvantage for women, so if that's all I need to call myself a feminist, I'm a feminist. If you don't see a social disadvantage for women, you're either not looking very hard, or your living somewhere I'd rather be.

I have supplied extensive evidence that the purported disadvantages women must contend with are either exaggerated or fabricated, often at the expense of men's rights and interests. You have refused to respond to, or even acknowledge any of that evidence. Even worse, you implied you'd be open to revisiting the dictionary definition of the purpose of feminism being equality if you received "real world evidence" to the contrary. I supplied such evidence, and you retreated from the issue.

I realize it's a common argumentational convention on the internet to ignore an opponent's strongest points in the hopes that everyone else will play along and forget about them, but I will not let you off the hook. You wanted real world evidence, I provided real world evidence. Address it or concede that you are unable to defend your bare asseveration that you've "seen evidence of a social disadvantage for women." I've provided my evidence, and made my arguments in defense of my assertion that feminism is not about equality between the sexes, but only about special advantages for women, even if this means creating unjust inequalities. Respond, or concede. But don't pretend my arguments aren't there.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 7:37 PM on July 26, 2006


I'm growing increasingly sympathetic to an idea from a science-fiction short story that men and women are actually two different but symbiotic species.
posted by pax digita at 8:15 PM on July 26, 2006


"I must stress that modern feminists are not the heirs of the suffragettes who fought for equal rights such as the right to vote and property rights. Modern feminists are not seeking equal rights for women. They want to transform society, and that's no conspiracy theory because they freely admit it."

Because women getting the right to vote and hold property had no discerable effect on society at all.
posted by fshgrl at 8:26 PM on July 26, 2006


Law Talkin' Guy, I think you listen to Leykis a bit too much, and there's something you need to consider: assuming you are a college-educated male (probably caucasian), the social system which currently exists is designed such that men like you have literally dozens of advantages over everyone else that are almost completely invisible to you. I've seen a lot of smart white guys from relatively affluent families saying "well, if those women/minorities/whatever would just get off their asses and work a little harder, they'd do a lot better, and they'd see they have the same rights as everyone." It's simply not true.

You are a member of a highly priveleged group just by being born who you are, and you should re-examine your good fortune.

Mind you, I'm a college-educated white American male, and I had to have this all pointed out to me, too.

IronLizard, you need to stop hanging out with whatever women you've been hanging out with, and find a new peer group. If you have any friends your age who have stable, successful long-term relationships with women, you should spend more time with them. You might learn something.

That said, there are always extremes in any movement, and feminism is no exception. There's some shrill man-haters there. Fortunately they seem to be a small (but vocal) minority.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:45 PM on July 26, 2006


lol science
posted by 29 at 8:52 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


IronLizard, you need to stop hanging out with whatever women you've been hanging out with, and find a new peer group. If you have any friends your age who have stable, successful long-term relationships with women, you should spend more time with them. You might learn something.

Interesting. You seem to be under the impression that in order to have a successful relationship a man must subscribe to these beliefs and be 'feminist'. Wonder where that idea came from? Do you think that the subsequent rise in the divorce rate following the rise of feminism in america is a coincidence?

That said, there are always extremes in any movement, and feminism is no exception. There's some shrill man-haters there. Fortunately they seem to be a small (but vocal) minority.

Unfortunately, it's this shrill minority that gets the coverage that defines the word in the less than noble terms.
posted by IronLizard at 8:55 PM on July 26, 2006


oic this turned into a male feminist movement. GET A JOB, HIPPIES!
posted by 29 at 8:57 PM on July 26, 2006


I have supplied extensive evidence that the purported disadvantages women must contend with are either exaggerated or fabricated, often at the expense of men's rights and interests. You have refused to respond to, or even acknowledge any of that evidence. Even worse, you implied you'd be open to revisiting the dictionary definition of the purpose of feminism being equality if you received "real world evidence" to the contrary. I supplied such evidence, and you retreated from the issue.

I think you're conflating two issues here, which may be the same for, but are distinct for me. The first is whether or not women suffer social disadvantage. The second is the defintion of the word "feminism." I'm not a feminist because women suffer social disadvantage. I'm a feminist because everything I know about feminism is just plain common sense, and I think especially so with "third wave" or modern feminism. Your evidence appears to relate only to the first point, not the second.

As I said earlier, I'm interested in evidence of what words mean in common use because the meaning of words is dependent on how people use them. But you haven't provided any evidence of what the word "feminist" means. You've provided evidence supporting you think it should mean and why, but words don't mean what they should. They mean what people think they mean. What do people think "feminist" means? I suspect it's pretty close to what the dictionary says.

I don't care what you point to regarding whether or not women suffer social disadvantages, for two reason. First, the general case has no bearing on my immediate surroundings. Where I live, I see social disadvantage for women. If you don't see that where you live, then maybe you should have different laws. I didn't suggest you should be a feminist. You suggested I should not be a feminist. So it's my immediate surroundings, not yours, that are important here. And your evidence doesn't reflect my surroundings.

Second, I suspect you're just seeing what you want to see. But even giving you the benefit of the doubt here, I go back to the first reason: how well you treat women doesn't create equal opportunity for my sister or my wife, and that's what feminism is about for me, and I think that's what it is about in common use. Again, I defer to the dictionary for common usage.

Respond, or concede

Though I have responded here, you should recognize that this is just the web, and no one here has any responsibilty to listen to anything you say. You can't "let me off the hook," because there is no hook. I can close my browser window and so can you. And maybe you should because you seem a bit upset.
posted by scottreynen at 9:14 PM on July 26, 2006


there's always a stopgap measure for too many men on the planet. it's called the "hey guys, watch me do this!" maneuver.
posted by moonbird at 9:15 PM on July 26, 2006


"You seem to be under the impression that in order to have a successful relationship a man must subscribe to these beliefs and be 'feminist'."

Not really, but it helps if you treat a woman like an equal and work as a team. This is a cornerstone of many long-lasting relationships (though there are other kinds of successful long-term relationships that have inequality built into them via the acceptance of traditional roles). Note that this is actually really hard to learn how to do if you're a college-educated white male American.

"Do you think that the subsequent rise in the divorce rate following the rise of feminism in america is a coincidence?"

Of course not, they're directly related. A lot of women realized they didn't have to attach themselves to a man, especially one who didn't treat them like an equal, in order to live their lives. I won't argue that this hasn't created a whole other set of problems, but it's only been about 40 years, and societal change happens slowly. There are certainly inequities in how child custody is awarded in divorces, for instance. Things never magically become perfect overnight.

A higher divorce rate is not necessarily a symptom of societal decline, even if it does cause difficulties, but there's a legacy perception that divorce is a bad thing. Personally I think that the pre-WWII system of essentially forcing women to have no option other than to get married and live under the power of their husbands - whether exercised benignly or otherwise - was a lot worse for women than giving them the freedom to try to make their own way, but since that was the "institution" for many generations, there's a lot of lagtime involved in leaving that paradigm behind.

There will be adjustments over time. Remember that women have probably never had as much personal power in any modern civilization as they do in the West today, so this is really all new to them, they're still finding their way, taking uncertain steps. They've been under the heel for at least 2,000 years, probably more. Perhaps we'll find that the divorce rate will stabilize as the never-got-married-in-the-first-place rate rises. There are societies on earth who have pretty loose views on marriage who have none of the social problems related to child care and custody that we do, so it's not impossible to have a healthy society where most people aren't traditionally married.

I agree with you about the shrill minority, but of course feminists are not the only group with that problem.
posted by zoogleplex at 9:26 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm at work, so can't do the necessary googling to back this up, but: an important but subtle distinction between mammal males and females is that, whatever the characteristic analyzed, males have a wider bell-curve. Examples: height, weight, IQ, longevity, autism, etc.

A lot of such bell-curves have a "failure cutoff point". That is, if you happen to have a result below N (an IQ below 40, for example), you're probably gonna die. Or at least, not be competition for reproductive opportunity. Same goes for a body weight drastically far out of the healthy range (anorexia, or 'buried in a piano crate' obesity), autism, progeria, and so on.

So, regarding the inherent happy possibilities of gender balance (and I'm profoundly unconvinced that the ideal is 1:1 M:F, but let's assume it is for now): even if male births outnumber female births 1.1:1, after the "ineligible" (for lack of a better term) are cut out, the number may be closer to 1:1, or even 0.9:1. In summary, I suspect there are a lot more ineligible males than ineligible females, so the Chinese may not be as unhappy as we expect.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:47 PM on July 26, 2006


Zoogleplex, I think the popularity of treating women as equals comes directly from the opportunity women have to disdain men who treat them as inferiors. Women (and men), given choice, will choose the partner they think is most likely to make them happy from those available, including the option of no-one. So, each equalitarian male, however facile or sincere his belief in female equality might be, contributes to the creation of an incentive for more males to become equalitarian.

Similar factors go with the adoption of a religious, or (other) political belief. If lots of Catholics have good jobs and give them to other Catholics, if lots of people look for Catholic spouses, etc, then there becomes a social incentive to take up Catholicism, and the children of the insincere and the sincere alike are raised in the Catholic church, to become adults slightly more likely to be sincere.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:54 PM on July 26, 2006


Re-reading what I wrote above, I've made an error: anorexia per se is more likely to affect females, so was a poor choice of example. "Life-threatening underweight due to genetically-caused biochemical imbalance" I think may be more likely to be found in males than females.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:00 AM on July 27, 2006


Globally, there are about 105-107 boys born for every 100 girls. I was led to believe this was because men do stupid things that get themselves killed/injured.

[back to the original post]

Isn't this stupid (in today's environment) male behavior exactly the sort of thing the hunter half of hunter-gatherers would need? They dive into things without overanalyzing (because the animal is right there, right now). They enjoy (maybe need) the threat, the danger, the chase, the attack, the kill. And a few become breakfast for packs of giant long-tusked prehistoric weasels. So you need to produce more hunters than folk who stay home and watch the kids and goats and corn. Nowadays, with our sad shortage of giant long-tusked prehistoric weasels, men are forced to don banana suits and set themselves on fire.
posted by pracowity at 12:53 AM on July 27, 2006


there's always a stopgap measure for too many men on the planet. it's called the "hey guys, watch me do this!" maneuver.
posted by moonbird


Another one is the "hey guys, it's been a while since we had a ripping good war, hasn't it?"
posted by darkstar at 2:08 AM on July 27, 2006


I have supplied extensive evidence that [... the earth is flat... crop circles are caused by aliens... 9/11 was a government conspiracy... Jews run the world... women are evil bitches trying to grind men into the dust...]

Guys (by which I mean "fellow feminists"), there's no point arguing with Neanderthal kooks. Let them have their smug certainties and satisfying resentments. They'll watch, puzzled and afraid, as the world moves on without them.
posted by languagehat at 5:34 AM on July 27, 2006


Actually, languagehat, I thought he offered some interesting arguments. I'm sad that you find ad-hominem an appropriate response. Not feeling up to your usual rigor?

Inequality between genders is obvious. Which is 'less equal' depends on your perspective. I'm one of those 'hunters' of which pracowity spoke of (great comment). As a consequence of being too impulsive to finish college, I've done a lot of clerical work. What gender do you suppose was apparent in the vast majority of my bosses? Hmmm?

Men are generally offered two choices: blue-collar labor or professional work. Women can sneak past the death-inducing factory labor bit and skip the expensive, time-consuming university bit, and slip into safe, clean, clerical work (work that used to be done by men, before various changes happened). Suddenly, a man in an office that wasn't a boss was out of place.

I'm not saying that some areas aren't more difficult for women! I know better than to suggest this. But I am definitely saying, be careful of that blank-check moralism with regards to gender equality.

And female feminists: police your own! Women, in my experience, are as bloody sexist as men, or more so. I've been frequently the subject of abuse by women who felt I had no business doing what ever it was I was doing, as it was 'their place'. A friend of mine spent some time working as a grocery checker. He had a woman refuse to use his line, because he was 'depriving a woman of a job'! I sew, a skill I originally learned as part of my Naval training. The entire home-fashion industry is awash in sexism. The assumption that only women would sew is writ large everywhere.
posted by Goofyy at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2006


The big problem with evolutionary psychology is the way it says, "men are this way because it was needed in the paleolithic! we know this because we can extrapolate backwards from modern behavior that... "
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:36 AM on July 27, 2006


Easy to fix: Tax people for having boys.
Or you can fix it the old fashioned way: more wars.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:20 AM on July 27, 2006


Actually, languagehat, I thought he offered some interesting arguments. I'm sad that you find ad-hominem an appropriate response.

I'm sad, but not surprised (you are, after all, a guy), that you find his "arguments" interesting. I spent years arguing with people (mostly men, some fellow-traveling women) who made similar points, and I'm tired of it. If they can't see how the cards are stacked against women to this day, fuck 'em. I've got better things to do.
posted by languagehat at 9:37 AM on July 27, 2006


zoogleplex Law Talkin' Guy, I think you listen to Leykis a bit too much, and there's something you need to consider: assuming you are a college-educated male (probably caucasian), the social system which currently exists is designed such that men like you have literally dozens of advantages over everyone else that are almost completely invisible to you.

Notice how this statement is predicated on circular logic. You assert that I benefit from special advantages that are "invisible" to me. If I deny that is true, I'm obviously just failing to see them because they're invisible to me. I could turn around and say that a cult of evil witches counteracted my invisible advantages through their black magic and prevented me from getting into Harvard when I applied. If you disagree, it's just because the sinister machinations of these witches are invisible to you, so in defining the issue I've foreclosed all chances for disagreement. Such a position doesn't lend itself well to rational discussion, in either case. Until I see some concrete, reliable, verifiable evidence that these "invisible advantages" not only exist, but apply to me personally, I am not prepared to accept statements to the contrary, and I would hold myself in my own arguments to no less of a standard of proof.

And for the record, none of my information is taken from Tom Leykis; even if it were, which it is not, that wouldn't really matter, would it? Attacking the source isn't the same as attacking the argument.

scottyreynen I think you're conflating two issues here, which may be the same for, but are distinct for me. The first is whether or not women suffer social disadvantage. The second is the defintion of the word "feminism."

You're probably right here; I could have done a better job keeping these issues distinct in presentation, though you are correct that they're inextricably linked in substance for me. I'll address them in reverse order.

I define "feminism" as an ideology and cultural movement whose principal aims are to get as many special advantages for women as possible, no matter the consequences. From what I've seen thus far, your definition of "feminism" is a movement that strives for equality between the sexes.

I reject the latter definition in favor of the former because a long hard look an unbiased empirical evidence shows that women are much closer to equality in the West today than most feminists claim. For examplem, when feminists demand more attention be paid to the problems of domestic violence, I can only think of the multitude of evidence that shows DV to be a problem among both sexes, to an equal degree. Feminism's preoccupation with the needs of one sex and willful blindness to the needs of the other undermines its claims of desiring equality, in my eyes. Similarly, the other links I supplied above tend to show the focus of feminism with respect to other critical issues is solely on getting more and more advantages for women, even when the evidence suggests that these advantages aren't needed to bring about equality, and sometimes exacerbate inequalities that already favor women.

scottyreynen I would want some real-world evidence before distrusting an otherwise trustworthy source on what words mean in common use.

Meanwhile...

scottyreynen I don't care what you point to regarding whether or not women suffer social disadvantages

This really says it all. If you're that unwilling to even entertain evidence that might lead you to question your worldview, fine. But realize your beliefs are every bit as much the product of willful ignorance and the desire to place ideology over fact as they are in the oft-criticized religious right. Their refusal to even listen to factual evidence that presents challenges to their belief system has been presented to me in virtually identical terms as your own.

languagehat Guys (by which I mean "fellow feminists"), there's no point arguing with Neanderthal kooks. Let them have their smug certainties and satisfying resentments. They'll watch, puzzled and afraid, as the world moves on without them.

Well done. Never have I seen such a stirring and thorough refutation of a logical argument before. You went through my points one by one, addressed the evidence I raised, provided compelling counterarguments based on cited evidence, and most importantly, you adeptly avoided resorting to fallacious arguments like Ad Hominem attacks. Bravo. You are a credit to the position you defend so well.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 10:04 AM on July 27, 2006


I define "feminism" as an ideology and cultural movement whose principal aims are to get as many special advantages for women as possible, no matter the consequences.

I rest my case.
posted by languagehat at 10:06 AM on July 27, 2006


All that video needs is someone saying "Hold my beer and watch this!" or "It seemed like a good idea at the time!" I wish that they had included more footage. For all we know, the two were flung onto the grass and just laughed about it. But that would have taken away from the mystery and amusing ending of the video.
Hopefully they're ok and didn't get too banged up.
posted by drstein at 10:16 AM on July 27, 2006


languagehat I rest my case.

I think you forgot to post facts, arguments, explanations, reasons, or any other rational statements before you rested your case.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2006


"Until I see some concrete, reliable, verifiable evidence that these "invisible advantages" not only exist, but apply to me personally, I am not prepared to accept statements to the contrary, and I would hold myself in my own arguments to no less of a standard of proof."

How many black people were in your classes at Harvard Law?

I'm an Ivy Leaguer, too. The demographics at my school were pretty darn telling as to who had all the advantages.

BTW, I've seen the information that suggests the "glass ceiling" for women these days is far less a product of deliberate discrimination, but rather a by-product of the fact that most women at some point decide to have children, which reduces their presence at work, which reduces their ability to advance, as they've taken some years off and/or cut way back on their work hours. And I believe that this makes sense, and have pointed it out to women who've complained about the glass ceiling.

However, in response a few of them pointed out to me that very few men experience penalties in their career advancement if they decide to have children, and that this isn't fair. I responded back that if a man left work for five years to stay home and rear his children, he would have the same problem, and they came back with how it's a lot easier for men to get career jobs in the first place.

Obviously that situation is very complicated and won't change overnight, but it is an example of an institutionalized disadvantage for women that most men don't experience, acknowledge or even realize exists. And it's clearly invisible to you.

Oh, PS: languagehat didn't have to post any arguments etc. for his case, Counselor. You made all of them for him.

You poor, poor, put upon, under-attack-from-women, disadvantaged white male Harvard Law graduate American.

Sheesh, talk about blinders.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:07 PM on July 27, 2006


For your edification, gentlemen, here's some information you might wish to consider: The Male Privelege Checklist.

Which calls itself "An Unabashed Imitation of an article by Peggy McIntosh... called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”," an article about racial inequalities.

Add these two together and you get quite a lot of invisible advantages for white male Americans.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:33 PM on July 27, 2006


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand you might want to read this one too, while you're at it.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:44 PM on July 27, 2006


Zoogleplex, to clarify, I didn't get into Harvard Law. I wasn't meaning to be boastful or anything. And because I know one of the feminist crusauders out there is going to try to straw man me on this point, I blame neither women nor feminists for my rejection. I blame Kaplan test prep for lowering my LSAT score 5 points. But that's neither here nor there.

Also, if you'd like to talk about "blinders" I'd probably reference you, once again, to the multitude of articles I referenced. All of them detail an aspect of a social problem commonly thought to disproportionately impact women that adversely affects men, as well. Feminists, while paying lip service to equality, never seem concerned about how DV affects male victims, the proportion of false rape allegations, alternative explanations for the wage gap, the nonexistence of reproductive rights for men, et cetera.

As for your remark about the disproportional effects that leaving work to raise children has on men and women, I must say I'm not convinced by a tangential reference to what "a few women" claim about disparities in re-entry into the workforce. That is no more evidence than if I said "a few men" told me that Title VII enables women to get quicker promotions through the threat of a discrimination lawsuit. Note again for the benefit of those out there chomping at the bit to straw man me that I'm not suggesting this is the case, merely using it as an example of an argument that lacks sufficient support to make its claim convincing.

As for your list of "male privileges" I'll again say that the evidentiary support is lacking, to say the least. If you're endeavoring to convince me (or anyone reading this with a critical eye) of the correctness of your asseveration about the existence of male privilege with a link to another person's asseverations about male privilege, you'll have try plan B.

Lastly, your remark about my making languagehat's arguments for him is nonsense. I have provided arguments to show that feminists are only concerned about providing advantages for women, even when evidence shows that men are equally or more affected by the same social problems. Languagehat's reponse was to call me a Neanderthal kook and supply no evidence or argument of his own. If your implication is that I proved his points by disagreeing with his bald assertions about the oppression of women in the West, I have to disagree.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 6:55 PM on July 27, 2006


The usual scientific explanation of the male:female baby ratio is that boys are more likely to die for medical reasons in the first few years. This doesn't explain why the cosmos should aim at a one-to-one ratio, but is at least better that assuming that the cosmos counts the ratio of teenagers killed in car crashes and adjusts the birth rate accordingly.

On the other main topic of this thread, there is an interesting new-to-me explanation of the connection in many Western countries between a rise in the divorce rate and the increased freedom of girls and women. The suggestion is that parents and teachers realised the plight of unqualified divorced women, and revolutionised the education and treatment of girls. If you were very cynical, you could hypothesize that women's increased opportunities at work are due to men's unwillingness to financially support ex-wives and/or adult daughters. So, yes, poor oppressed men, people can think of ways to blame you for everything!
posted by Idcoytco at 4:43 AM on July 28, 2006


Work it all out - the slight preference for xy sperm, combined with a cultural preference for boys - and lo-and-behold, there are more boy children than girl children.

counterintuitively, this is not the case. Each pregnancy has to be considered as a separate event, and if every pregnancy has a 50/50 chance, then that is the final ratio, independently of the wishes and hopes of the particular producers of this or that group of pregnancies. Think of it like flipping a coin in separate groups: stop when you get a "tails" and then start a new group - it's not going to change the overall ratio.

Gooffy, LTG, feminism is ideally the goal of a society of equality for both sexes, so if you believe that ideal, you should identify as a feminist and argue against those who claim to be feminists but believe men should not be cashiers. However, this does touch on an issue which you brought up, the difference in wage being due to what careers women choose. the difficulty here is that when a career is seen as being "for" women, the salaries tend to be lower. When nurses are just ladies, it's a fluffy little nothing of a job (consider that when someone's an EMT - despite the training for a nurse being more difficult - it's seen as an admirable job, but if a man goes into nursing it's often stereotyped or joked about as if it's "unmanly"). If men got into nursing in big numbers (and they are increasing) the bet is that the average salary would rise because men are brought up to get out there and ask for a raise, while women are taught to be passive.
posted by mdn at 7:57 PM on August 3, 2006


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