Too many men
April 22, 2018 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India. The consequences of having too many men, now coming of age, are far-reaching: Beyond an epidemic of loneliness, the imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China and drives down consumption, artificially inflates certain property values, and parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations.

On the other side of the demographic equation is a smaller, equally new group that has received rather less attention: women like June, whose parents chose to allow a daughter into the world at a time when others wanted a son. These girls were lucky in many ways, and given opportunities that would once have been reserved for their brothers. They were pushed to study, succeed and achieve as only boys had done before them.
posted by Lycaste (54 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
This story seems to sensationalize a rather small effect. If you are in a room of 100 people and 51 of them are men, do you look around and say to yourself, gee, there are too many men here?
posted by JackFlash at 10:14 AM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


You might consider the widespread impacts of systemic sexism before you dismiss the effect of a "rather small" disproportion of men vs women. This is not going to show up in a society in a simple 51-out-of-100 measure.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2018 [63 favorites]


Surely there are men who also traveled to America and back who have somewhat less rigid world views? Or were raised by strong mothers who appreciate strong women? But I know very little about China so that may be a very ignorant comment.
posted by Glinn at 10:32 AM on April 22, 2018


It is not a small issue at all. In many parts of India, the population imbalance is locally much worse than the national average. The most terrible thing is not the gender ratio as an outcome in itself but how it correlates with the treatment of living girls and women in these areas, which is lifelong and cruel malnutrition, neglect, disempowerment, shame, and abuse.
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:33 AM on April 22, 2018 [51 favorites]


The consequences of having too many men ... parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations.

Women outnumber men in New York City 53 to 47 which must explain why there is no prostitution in NYC. Must also explain why half of Fortune 500 CEOs in New York are women -- oops, that's 4%.

This article is assigning ridiculous effects to tiny demographic differences. Do you look around a room of 100 people and see 51 men and conclude that two of these men will never get married? When more than 20% of men and women never marry for whatever reason. Those various reasons are 10 times as significant as gender imbalance.

These tiny demographic imbalances are a result of sexist policies. The demographic imbalances are not the cause of society's ills. The sexism is. This article implies that if we just had a few million more women around, everything would be okay.
posted by JackFlash at 10:41 AM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


Ok, I have actually read the rest.
I was surprised by a variety of horrifying things, such as:
“We like our wives to be yogurts,” says a 35-year old Chinese investment banker. “Plain yogurts, so that we can flavour them as we’d like.”
and
“A woman who knows how to sajiao knows how to make a man happy,” declared an article in the Chinese edition of Psychologies magazine in 2012. Sajiao involves pouting, mewling and the stomping of feet. That doesn’t sound attractive. Yet in a rapidly changing social and economic environment, it has become a critical skill for maintaining a sense of continuity and order in gender relations by helping a Chinese man feel loved, honoured, chivalrous and, above all, manly.
posted by Glinn at 10:45 AM on April 22, 2018 [11 favorites]


The effect is actually much more than 51 to 49, at least for some age groups. As the article indicates, for the 15-29 age group there is 112 men for a 100 women in China, and 111 to 100 in India. I wouldn't consider that insignificant.
posted by bluefrog at 10:47 AM on April 22, 2018 [27 favorites]


JackFlash, you are correct that demographic imbalances in China and India are a result (not cause) of sexism, but you are wrong to call these imbalances tiny. Below is a little light reading for you:

* 10 Jind villages report gender ratio below 500 [females per 1000 males]
* No daughters in 70 Haryana villages for years: Maneka Gandhi
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:52 AM on April 22, 2018 [29 favorites]


That description of sajiao is... kind of weird and skew. Yes, it definitely has an infantile connotation (it's something you expect kids to do), but it's not literally "sajiao = pout, 'mewl', and stomp". It's more like, acting cutesy in a particular pay-attention-to-me-and-love-me way.
posted by inconstant at 10:53 AM on April 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


> This article is assigning ridiculous effects to tiny demographic differences. Do you look around a room of 100 people and see 51 men

I don't know why you keep saying this when that is not what the article says.
posted by rtha at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2018 [47 favorites]


I don't know why you keep saying this when that is not what the article says.

The very first line of the post and the article says "Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India." That's a little over 2% of the population -- which is 51 to 49.
posted by JackFlash at 11:03 AM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's also 70 million people. Which may be a small effect if you're considering the enormity of the universe. But since we're not...?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


And just a little bit further down the page: in China, 280 men ages 15-49 to every 100 women ages 15-29. If you call that an insignificant difference - one which is likely magnified in some localities - I don't know what to say.
posted by rtha at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2018 [49 favorites]


This story seems to sensationalize a rather small effect. If you are in a room of 100 people and 51 of them are men, do you look around and say to yourself, gee, there are too many men here?

That's your takeaway?
posted by ziggly at 11:15 AM on April 22, 2018 [16 favorites]


in China, 280 men ages 15-49 to every 100 women ages 15-29.

Notice that they are comparing men up to age 49 with women up to age 29. They seem to be implying that women are only marriageable up to age 29 while men are marriageable up to age 49. This is due to sexist privileges, but that isn't caused by an excess of men. This excess men thing is a red herring. It's the sexism that is the problem.
posted by JackFlash at 11:19 AM on April 22, 2018 [22 favorites]


This is a thing I found: See where women outnumber men around the world (and why) (WaPo)

It says
The imbalance between the sexes is in reverse in China and India, countries known for sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. There are 106.3 men for every 100 women in China and 107.6 in India. This kind of discrepancy can lead to problems such as higher violence and homicide rates, scientists argue. Chinese authorities, concerned by this, have toughened punishment for sex-selective abortion and provided extra pensions for parents of girls in rural areas.

The gap is even wider in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, with 274 and 265.5 men, respectively, for every 100 women. The main reason for this is that a large number of foreign workers in the Persian Gulf states leave their families back in their native land.
And here's Wikipedia's list of countries by sex ratio.

So it's pretty much a local thing, because in 126 countries in the world women outnumber men, and if I may speak in broad strokes, it's where you find sexism that you find higher male birthrates. Literally there are towns and belief systems that hate women so much they kill baby women and then get cranky when they can't find women. It takes a hell of a lot of entitlement to behave like that. I hope they never get laid.

You'll note on this nifty map of single men vs. women demographics in the US that the number of single women skyrockets above 35.

They seem to be implying that women are only marriageable up to age 29 while men are marriageable up to age 49. This is due to sexist privileges

This.

“We like our wives to be yogurts,” says a 35-year old Chinese investment banker. “Plain yogurts, so that we can flavour them as we’d like.”
and
“A woman who knows how to sajiao knows how to make a man happy,” declared an article in the Chinese edition of Psychologies magazine in 2012. Sajiao involves pouting, mewling and the stomping of feet. That doesn’t sound attractive. Yet in a rapidly changing social and economic environment, it has become a critical skill for maintaining a sense of continuity and order in gender relations by helping a Chinese man feel loved, honoured, chivalrous and, above all, manly.
posted by Glinn at 2:45 AM on April 23 [+] [!]

That description of sajiao is... kind of weird and skew. Yes, it definitely has an infantile connotation (it's something you expect kids to do), but it's not literally "sajiao = pout, 'mewl', and stomp". It's more like, acting cutesy in a particular pay-attention-to-me-and-love-me way.
posted by inconstant at 2:53 AM on April 23 [+] [!]


Is there a website called nowonderyouresingle.com because that's where these people belong. I'm in China, men who say shit like this get roundly ignored by women not under coercive pressures. I hope these men never get laid. If there's an overabundance of 70 million of these schmucks out there, I'm not too worried about finding a bride.

Indo-Chinese war should fix things.
posted by Segundus at 2:53 AM on April 23 [+] [!]


Worst idea ever. They could always, y'know, allow immigration, which, in many of these male-entitlement hellscapes, they kinda don't. I fall more on the "allow immigration, work on community values, and make these places attractive to live" side of the spectrum, but...hey, who am I to judge?
posted by saysthis at 11:26 AM on April 22, 2018 [17 favorites]


> This excess men thing is a red herring. It's the sexism that is the problem.

Dude, it can be both; they feed on each other. You can't just dismiss so many "extra" men - they are not red herrings, they are people who actually exist. And don't forget that many (most?) women over age 29 are likely to be already married, and thus not "available" for a 25-year-old or 45-year-old (e.g.) guy to marry.
posted by rtha at 11:32 AM on April 22, 2018 [31 favorites]


If you are in a room of 100 people and 51 of them are men, do you look around and say to yourself, gee, there are too many men here?


honestly yes
posted by poffin boffin at 11:35 AM on April 22, 2018 [151 favorites]


Surely there are men who also traveled to America and back who have somewhat less rigid world views?

FWIW, it's not necessary to travel to America: my grandfather treated his son and his daughters exactly the same as far as expectations and educational opportunity.
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2018 [20 favorites]


They could always, y'know, allow immigration

Immigration doesn't seem like a fix. In the parts of the world where women outnumber men, that imbalance looks to be caused by a discrepancy in life expectancies. Immigration would just be spreading the problem around, since before age 30 or so, the gender ratios are roughly balanced or slightly favour men. There aren't really 'extra' women -- the men are just dying sooner, often due to alcohol and injuries related to alcohol. So the ratios don't begin to flip until just before middle age. And because those ratios don't flip early, there's not necessarily much to entice women to leave, since they can find partners at home, if they choose. It's just that those partners might die rather young.

The form of 'immigration' currently being practiced seems a lot more like trafficking, and it's hard to see how adequate protections for immigrating women could be enforced.
posted by halation at 11:42 AM on April 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


Interestingly, the ratio of men 15-49 to women age 15-29 in India (220:100) is actually lower than it would be in a country with constant birth rate and a 1:1 sex ratio (233:100), due to the low average age of the Indian population. It may be a useful metric in some regards, but it seems mendacious to drop that number without giving context for it.
posted by chairmanroflmao at 11:45 AM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


The form of 'immigration' currently being practiced seems a lot more like trafficking, and it's hard to see how adequate protections for immigrating women could be enforced.
posted by halation at 3:42 AM on April 23 [+] [!]


Agreed, but cracking down on blatant mail-order bride schemes like the ones they uncovered in the article is a start.
posted by saysthis at 11:47 AM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


So much ignorance on this thread, it's astonishing.

People, especially if you're not Indian or Chinese, please take a moment to stop offering armchair opinions and solutions and read up on the issue instead.
posted by splitpeasoup at 11:51 AM on April 22, 2018 [55 favorites]


Related-ish: In species with X and Y chromosomes (XY male, XX female), there are generally more females than males. In species with Z and W chromosomes (ZZ male, ZW female), there are generally more males that females.

Having all your chromosomes match appears to be good for your health. Article, paper.
posted by clawsoon at 11:51 AM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Both articles in the FPP were enlightening, if a little difficult to get through. The story told at the end of the WaPo article gives me inspiration:
A group of 11-graders in the Indian village of Gothra Tappa Dahina sparked a public revolt because they were tired of being harassed by men as they walked to school in a neighboring town. Nearly every day on the road, they said, they would be circled by young men buzzing them on motorbikes, grabbing their scarves, their bodies, and calling them sexually provocative names.

Last May, amid blackened, burned-over farmers’ fields and in the scorching heat, the girls gathered under a printed cotton tent in the center of the village and began their strike. The temperatures soared to 107 degrees. Some fainted and had to be taken to the hospital. Some passed out and lay as they were, fanned by fellow students, who spooned water laced with electrolyte powder into their mouths, like baby birds. They were joined by the mayor, their mothers, then women from other villages.

After eight days, school officials — worn down by seeing the wilting girls on cable news as the protest garnered attention — announced that the girls’ demands would be met. They would open 11th and 12th grades in the existing village school so the girls would not have to walk.

Suresh Chauhan — the local sarpanch, or mayor, who sat in the heat with the girls throughout the protest — says that education is the key to undoing what decades of patriarchy in India have wrought.

“The change is in the younger generation. People look at each other and change themselves,” he said. There is some shift due to wider worlds glimpsed on television and smartphones, he said, but “education is the highest reason for change.”
posted by cynical pinnacle at 12:30 PM on April 22, 2018 [51 favorites]


OTOH, such an imbalance is great for social control and authoritarianism. Don't forget, many human males are willing to blow themselves up just to get laid in heaven.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:57 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Liu Hua couldn’t find a wife in China. So he decided to buy a foreign one. His sister and mother helped him choose from a selection of Cambodian women who had come to China looking for husbands, eventually picking out a slim girl with a nice smile.

Their main concern — she was a bit taller than him.
Jeez. I guess beggars wanting to be choosers is the same the whole world over.

Dude, it can be both; they feed on each other.

BINGO
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:12 PM on April 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


War is the traditional way to get rid of excess males. We shouldn’t be too cavalier about such suggestions.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:26 PM on April 22, 2018 [14 favorites]


I...feel like this thread goes in a weird direction.

I spent a couple of years working in mainland China, and as a result I knew a bunch of Chinese people, including young unmarried Chinese guys. The picture that seems to be lurking in this thread, of young unmarried Chinese guys as this sort of undifferentiated mass of sexist assholes who are super entitled even to want to get married in the first place, really does not match up with my experience.

It's reasonable to want to get married - especially, especially in strongly marriage-centric rural or provincial places. In the US, where there's a lot more room for "I'm just going to stay single and do my thing", unmarried people are looked down on and taken less seriously - never mind in a place where there really isn't much of a culture of staying single at all.

These guys didn't make the "let's abort the girl babies" decisions - that was their parents' generation. And while there are, I'm sure, plenty of sexist assholes who are all "I want my wife to be like a plain yogurt" or "I want to buy a desperate woman from another country, preferably one I stereotype as submissive", there are also lots of perfectly decent men who are poor or plain or disabled or some other way disadvantaged who would make good husbands and fathers, and they're also the ones who won't marry.

There's definitely a lot of sexist discourse about women demanding too much, and I'm actually kind of excited that women are getting some leverage where historically they've been devalued, and getting a chance to marry up rather than pushed to marry down, but I also feel like there's a class angle on this that is kind of a shame.

I mean, I think about guys I knew who are probably going to have trouble getting married - guys who were headed for very average careers in expensive cities, or who were not especially good-looking or charismatic, but who were nice men - and I don't think "ha ha, suckers, that's what you get for misogyny, maybe you could go die in a war, also you will probably be a rapist because you're probably super entitled", I feel sad.
posted by Frowner at 1:54 PM on April 22, 2018 [102 favorites]


The CIA world factbook for China has: 25-54 years: 48.51% (male 341,466,438/female 327,661,460)
Which is a 51%/49% split
for the 15-24 years group it is 53% M /47% F
posted by Lanark at 2:15 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


The picture that seems to be lurking in this thread, of young unmarried Chinese guys as this sort of undifferentiated mass of sexist assholes who are super entitled even to want to get married in the first place, really does not match up with my experience.


Not YOUR (bunch of) Nigels - or Nguyens - eh? SMH. Tell this to the young women China and India who will suffer under the dominion of these men all their lives. The misogyny in most of the cultures of these countries is beyond virulent: it's literally murderous. I lived as a woman in these countries for most of my life, and then moved to the US. I experienced the freedom to fucking BREATHE for the first time 13 years ago.

It astounds and incenses me when people throw east- and south- Asian women under the bus in the name of anti-racism. Fuck those of us who live at the intersections, right? Obviously a western person who lived in China for two years - not as a woman, I'll
bet my eyeteeth - is gonna tell me my life experiences are imaginary because their friends in China were nice people. Like nice people can't be misogynistic!

FYI I don't think anybody is blaming the young men of now for the gender imbalance of now.

Please, you all,if you aren't Chinese or Indian, just stop. Stop working out your white/western/colonial guilt about racism by invalidating and dismissing and minimizing the life struggles of a billion women.
posted by MiraK at 3:10 PM on April 22, 2018 [42 favorites]


I spent a couple of years working in mainland China, and as a result I knew a bunch of Chinese people, including young unmarried Chinese guys. The picture that seems to be lurking in this thread, of young unmarried Chinese guys as this sort of undifferentiated mass of sexist assholes who are super entitled even to want to get married in the first place, really does not match up with my experience.

It's reasonable to want to get married - especially, especially in strongly marriage-centric rural or provincial places. In the US, where there's a lot more room for "I'm just going to stay single and do my thing", unmarried people are looked down on and taken less seriously - never mind in a place where there really isn't much of a culture of staying single at all.

These guys didn't make the "let's abort the girl babies" decisions - that was their parents' generation. And while there are, I'm sure, plenty of sexist assholes who are all "I want my wife to be like a plain yogurt" or "I want to buy a desperate woman from another country, preferably one I stereotype as submissive", there are also lots of perfectly decent men who are poor or plain or disabled or some other way disadvantaged who would make good husbands and fathers, and they're also the ones who won't marry.

There's definitely a lot of sexist discourse about women demanding too much, and I'm actually kind of excited that women are getting some leverage where historically they've been devalued, and getting a chance to marry up rather than pushed to marry down, but I also feel like there's a class angle on this that is kind of a shame.

I mean, I think about guys I knew who are probably going to have trouble getting married - guys who were headed for very average careers in expensive cities, or who were not especially good-looking or charismatic, but who were nice men - and I don't think "ha ha, suckers, that's what you get for misogyny, maybe you could go die in a war, also you will probably be a rapist because you're probably super entitled", I feel sad.


I wanna answer this because I've been in China forever and still am and live here I speak the language and I know these guys and my response upthread was probably the most flippant, and that's also why I quoted the whole thing, it's entirely true.

The crux of it is, these guys (and gals) don't have an outlet or alternative. There's a moment of sad when you think about the political environment, and it's this - this government, need I even name the CCP but I will, respects public opinion on two points: 1) don't cause a riot or we'll ruin you and all you love! 2) conservative values seem to not cause riots, let's get on THAT train!

Add to that China's greying. It's a demographic time bomb. Add to that Taiwan's (1.04) and Hong Kong's (.852!!!!) gender ratio, and you realize this is not an intrinsically "Chinese" problem. It's a problem with these men and the families, regions, and parents who push them (and the equivalent daughters) on the wives and sons issue. I don't have a handy link but it's a regional issue, not the whole country by any stretch. It's specific places and generations, which you should take to mean people, who are the problem.

I have friends, sons and daughters, who challenge the parents. It's a Big Issue, but...THE NUMBERS. Add to that the birth rates in coastal cities and other more economically active areas of China. Chinese women are sick of this shit. NO MORE. The one child policy was a catalyst for something that would have happened anyway, that did happen in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and that is happening in India.

The men who won't find wives aren't the ones who are simply born poor, although that's a factor. They're the ones who insist on the traditional bullshit. They're the ones who need to be challenged individually and told to cut it the fuck out. And the whole country frankly needs to accept that they need to open up and let in immigrant labor, or they're screwed, and at this scale, they won't get away with the Hong Kong second-class citizen maneuver. Cultural purity isn't a luxury these people have anymore, and with this government, nobody gets to say that, even though I can promise you a good proportion of the country is thinking it.

Apportion your sympathy accordingly.
posted by saysthis at 3:17 PM on April 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


Last year, NPR did a story about rising bride prices (and all the runaway bride scams that flourished as a result), and the Economist offered its typical "this will probably sort itself out eventually" take. Neither story addressed the foreign bride trafficking, though it seems inevitable now that I think about it. The "make foreigners do the work that your neighbors can't or won't do" idea is a universal one, I guess. What a world.
posted by grandiloquiet at 3:32 PM on April 22, 2018


Last year, NPR did a story about rising bride prices (and all the runaway bride scams that flourished as a result), and the Economist offered its typical "this will probably sort itself out eventually" take. Neither story addressed the foreign bride trafficking, though it seems inevitable now that I think about it. The "make foreigners do the work that your neighbors can't or won't do" idea is a universal one, I guess. What a world.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:32 AM on April 23 [+] [!]


Pair what you know about mail-order brides with China's demographics, need for nurses, and now massive middle class. Now plug that into US immigration policy. That massive sucking sound you'll hear in 20 years vacuuming up all the Mexicans who Trump will claim he walled out, but who actually just noticed "oh, hey, look, a country that never called us rapists" and which now offers the same week-long visa-free deal to Mexicans that Americans and other developed countries get... that. For example, among many other nationalities. They aren't messing around. A few more years and China will get over itself on the immigrant issue, and then where are we?

This is not me doing a Yellow Peril thing, this is me saying - our country's demographic stability depends on being position as a place that doesn't radiate hatred and bile. Do not think for a minute that Beijing won't externalize their shortage of women in the most expedient way possible. It's not pretty, and the free press is not a thing in China, so domestic pressure won't amount to much. It's up to us and an immigration policy that compensates for declining economic incentives as the rest of the world stops being developing to keep mail-order brides and human trafficking from becoming a global horror show (even though it already is). Hong Kong, UAE, Saidi Arabia, Singapore, and Brunei already exist to show us what happens when we don't take this thing seriously, and HK and SG are trying, but it's still just...ugh. Please call your Congressperson if you have one.
posted by saysthis at 3:55 PM on April 22, 2018


The story of the teen girls at the close of the WaPo article left me a bit disheartened. Their protest had the support of the male mayor and the sympathy of most of the village, and still nothing was done about the men who were harassing them. Their village school will be expanded, but it's not like these girls will never walk on that road again.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:05 PM on April 22, 2018 [23 favorites]


That massive sucking sound you'll hear in 20 years vacuuming up all the Mexicans who Trump will claim he walled out, but who actually just noticed "oh, hey, look, a country that never called us rapists" and which now offers the same week-long visa-free deal to Mexicans that Americans and other developed countries get... that

Huh? Mexico's GDP per capita is roughly the same as China. Why would Mexicans move?

Also, why wouldn't China just get folks from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or Vietnam, where the people are much poorer and much closer?
posted by leotrotsky at 4:15 PM on April 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


Obviously a western person who lived in China for two years - not as a woman, I'll
bet my eyeteeth - is gonna tell me my life experiences are imaginary because their friends in China were nice people. Like nice people can't be misogynistic!


I did want to clarify:

1. Yes, as a woman. I do not now identify as a woman: I did then, and was never read as or treated as anything else. I certainly did encounter a lot of misogyny, although because I was a foreign worker the up close and personal stuff was more often from other foreigners.

2. I feel like maybe I should have directly said what I was thinking rather than even bringing up my experiences, because maybe we wouldn't be at odds if I'd done a better job communicating. At the time I felt like it would be lower stakes to try to say, "this is what I experienced" rather than making a more general statement. It's not that I wanted to say that no one can be misogynist because I've met people who aren't, or didn't seem to me to be, it's that felt like I was making a softer and more limited argument by only describing what I'd seen.

A lot of the time in my off-line life, when I encounter white people who talk like that about Asian men, it's not because they're intersectional feminists, it's because of the various acceptable ways to express racism - I commonly encounter people who call out Asian men as misogynist as a way to express anti-Asian racism that won't get them criticized themselves.

What I was really thinking is that I hear a lot of stuff from other white, Western people which is basically, "Asian men are all misogynists in an uncomplicated way without complex interiority, also they are all the same, also we are comfortable talking about mass events like war happening to them". There are some comments up thread that seemed to me very much in this vein.

In any case, I really, 100% did not mean that Asian women's experiences of misogyny weren't real or significant, and I swear up and down that I did not mean to suggest that Asian women should somehow put up with misogyny and make marriages or relationships on bad terms to meet men's needs. I can see how my comment works in this conversation to give that impression, and I apologize - that was not at all what I meant.

In retrospect I wish I had made a shorter, clearer, better comment that focused on my concern about some of the framing of this conversation.
posted by Frowner at 6:09 PM on April 22, 2018 [31 favorites]


I commonly encounter people who call out Asian men as misogynist as a way to express anti-Asian racism that won't get them criticized themselves.

Easily corrected to “yes, all men.”

Apropos of nothing, “percentage males necessary for biodiversity” is easily the creepiest and most, uh, relevant thing that I regularly google.

It’s lower than you think!
posted by schadenfrau at 6:59 PM on April 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


As someone who comes from a country where there are disproportionately more men than women, and who read the Washington Post piece some days ago and thought it very good, this discussion is doing my head in.
posted by tavegyl at 7:22 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


It seems the result of a shortage of women is that women as objects, chattel, possessions goes up, but that women as people do not experience more autonomy or have more inherent worth. It's the misogyny, stupid. I swear, I'm going to get T shirts.
posted by theora55 at 8:59 PM on April 22, 2018 [19 favorites]


Somehow the solutions never involve matriarchies and polyandry.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:39 PM on April 22, 2018 [15 favorites]


Yes, that. Easy solution: Allow women to marry two men. Possibly two brothers; that keeps the family tracking fairly simple, allows the men to avoid weird competitions with each other about "who is her real husband." (Doesn't mean such conflicts couldn't exist, but they at least have the chance of being less stressful.) The two guys already trust each other, have practice living together and making allowances for each other; she gets to share childcare with two other people...

... not gonna happen, is it.

Because the guys most likely to have trouble finding a wife in an area with fewer women, are also the guys who are least likely to tolerate the public shame of "you couldn't find a woman willing to marry you, so you have to share one," as if women were a commodity that gets portioned out to men and some men don't get a "fair share."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:58 PM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but if it was A Brother's Price it might be so much...somewhat nicer, at least, if the gender imbalance was switched.

But of course, angry men with testosterone and boners with no hole to shove into are gonna act out if they can't get what they want. And of COURSE it just ends worse for women.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:11 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Man sits there, lonely and sad. He can’t find a bride. Man sees girls, walking to school. In a few years they’ll be of marriageable age. Man looks at girls. Does he
A) Smile and be friendly to them. Who knows, maybe when they are of age, it will blossom into something more.
B) Catcall, chase and terrify them into thinking they’ll get raped.

Man chooses B). The girls call the media and stage a protest about how scared they are on their way to school. Man remains unhappily single, where he complains to his family that he just can’t understand why women aren’t interested.

As the only child doted on by parents and two sets of grandparents, they also can’t understand why their entitled little Emporer can’t have whoever he wants. IT’S YOUR RIGHT. Just go out and buy one, then lock her up and impregnate her. After all, all females are good for is to be aborted, bought, sold, impregnated, made to serve, be used and abused.

Sweet Lord, if the whole culture really is like that, I sincerely hope none of these men find women and the entire line and way of thinking literally dies out. It was my hope that if women became the more precious commodity they would therefore treated better but no because misogyny.
posted by Jubey at 11:58 PM on April 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


I mean there's a historical context that the article seems to omit. The One Child policy was a (stupid) response to the population boom that preceded it, which had to do with the civil war that preceded that, which in turn was in the aftermath of the 100 years of subjugation of Chinese society by Western imperialism. It's inarguable that premodern Chinese society was like any other culture some variant of patriarchy and misogyny: rather, it arguably was the racist aspects of Western civilization in the 1800s and 1900s that bear the blame for destabilizing the East which thus amplified these problems. British imperialism over India is just as well-known. Breaking a social fabric has far and wide consequences when that society tries to rebuild itself. This narrative is conveniently omitted as an act of erasure. The Washington Post article for example doesn't emphasize a theory of why and how things got to this place. Maybe because answering that question (beyond "one-child was a factor", which it says) is something its readers don't like to hear.
posted by polymodus at 3:02 AM on April 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Social instability and racist colonialism makes everything worse, but let’s not pretend misogyny is a Western import. It’s native everywhere. I mean, breaking women’s feet over years of torture for “aesthetics” and, you know, so they couldn’t get away, was a thing.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:05 AM on April 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


Social instability and racist colonialism makes everything worse, but let’s not pretend misogyny is a Western import.
This seems to be a response to polymodus's comment, but polymodus clearly does not "pretend misogyny is a Western import", having said "It's inarguable that premodern Chinese society was like any other culture some variant of patriarchy and misogyny".
posted by inconstant at 6:19 AM on April 23, 2018


Sweet Lord, if the whole culture really is like that,

It's not, but like pussy-grabbing politicians in the US, the ones who are like that, are tolerated and sometimes even celebrated.

It's not that the whole culture is built on blatantly misogynistic violent-if-denied men and oppressed, simpering women who indulge them, but those do exist, and the hand-wringing over the gender gap very much includes, "how do we cope with this problem, without changing the social structure that supports these traditional roles?"

(When women became a solid part of the out-of-home workforce in the US, the issue of "who's going to do the housework now?" was not answered with, "men will do half," nor "neighborhoods will act as extended families used to, and teenagers will help the whole community while learning household skills;" it was "we'll have better tech! ...or wealthy families will hire a poor woman of color for that; other families will just increase the tasks assigned to the women.")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:57 AM on April 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


They could always, y'know, allow immigration

I could be wrong but I don't think a lot of people are lining up to emigrate to the places with the deepest imbalances. And it seems like it'd be a rough recruiting campaign to get women to move there of their own accord.

What would the pitch be? "Move here, have many sexist douchebags compete to own you as their personal property"? It's not like places with male-heavy gender imbalances suddenly turn into matriarchies, or at least such hasn't happened yet.

My guess is that with increased freedom of movement, at least some of the remaining single/unencumbered women in those areas would probably get the hell out. You might actually see the problem get worse, in terms of a greater gender imbalance, before it got better, although I'm hesitant to characterize that as "worse" since it would probably be an unalloyed good to let people move away from such an environment if they want to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:49 PM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


> Sweet Lord, if the whole culture really is like that,

It's not,



What would it take for us to say an entire culture IS like that, I wonder?

47% of brides being younger than 18?

Thousands of honor killings and bride burnings every year?

Dowry in 80% of weddings? Close to 100% rates of bride abuse: beatings and rape and restrictions on movements/association and financial strangling and and and...?

Arranged marriage being the violently enforced norm - with all the casteism, heterosexism, colorism, classism, sexual repression, and rape that this necessarily entails?

MARITAL RAPE BEING EXPLICITLY PROCLAIMED AS 100% LEGAL BY THE SUPREME COURT IN 2014???

My tone is one of sarcasm and disbelief, and I do apologize for that. I am genuinely wondering, however. What DOES it take to proclaim a whole culture "like that?" Is there a metric? Or is this reflexive denialism?
posted by MiraK at 4:08 PM on April 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Whoa, this thread really did not go well.

Thanks for the "An Excess Male" recommendation, though. That looks super interesting.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:09 AM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Polyamory is a solution that makes the math work, solves a problem for men. Unless women genuinely choose it, it's just another way to objectify us and use us to meet men's needs. Nope.
posted by theora55 at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


They could always, y'know, allow immigration

I could be wrong but I don't think a lot of people are lining up to emigrate to the places with the deepest imbalances.


Exactly the problem. And so they resort to, in effect, kidnapping by deception, as outlined in the article.

I've hit a point in my life, and it's a point I reached dealing with Chinese and Indian (named purely because they're in the article) and other cultures with a history of patriarchy where I just break when I hear them go off on the patriarchy angle. It's our "tradition", it goes. No. NO! China (again, chosen for the article mention) boasts some of the greatest advances in female equality over the past 60 years, and in India there are riots when sexists assert traditional power. In other places I've been that are "traditionally" sexist, like Indonesia, more specifically Jakarta, they know. There are lots and lots and lots of women, and plenty o' men, who do not take kindly to this crap, and it's blatantly and widely acknowledged on social media that men who assert "traditionalism" are either your stodgy uncles or probably a wife-beater in the making. Indonesia is the country that came up with #jilboobs. It got coopted by horny men, because it's 2018, but there's video out there of people burning both hijabs and bras.

It's 2018, and everyone knows by this point. The choice to close your locality off and be a patriarchy is a choice. It's a choice that every time goes hand in hand with saying "no foreigners, no immigrants, no progressive values". The variant of that is "ok fine we need immigrants but only if we can keep them down and take advantage". Y'all notice something similar-sounding in US immigration policy?

Intersectionalism do y'all speak it (I barely do but still). The way to win the fight against inequality is to tear down the power structures that allow any inequality, especially the ones closest to you. Are there men who need brides? We got single women over 35 who our men won't date, apparently especially on the east coast. Let 'em in! Let 'em tell our men women over 35 ain't so bad! Maybe some of their men are so good they start marrying our under 35 demographic it convinces our men to step up their game and broaden their horizons! Maybe marrying foreigners is just so unpalatable to one party or the other that it makes matriarchies and polyandry feasible! Maybe this is a battle with butterfly effects all over the power structure you'll be fighting all your life, and just commit already!

I reference immigration because it goes hand-in-hand with other types of cultural conservatism. We live in a dynamic world. It's 2018, some of us are global citizens, and the answer to anyone who wants to perpetuate patriarchy is NO.
posted by saysthis at 11:21 AM on April 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


It's been my understanding that @ 10 - 12% of the male population is gay, and a rather lower % of women. If China and India stop discriminating against gays, that would go some way towards helping. In the long run, equality for women, gays, other ways humans are, workks best.
posted by theora55 at 1:27 PM on April 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


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