This shortish book contains a wealth of information and 100s of citations. Unfortunately, the author has not kept a high standard of citing things, nor does he make it clear when he cites something less reliable. This makes it the case that one cannot just take the points for granted and have to check every interesting but potentially dubious claim.
I thought chapters 1-3 were the most interesting, as it was about the science of sex differences. The least interesting part was the one about fatherless families. Pretty much all he cites is a lot of correlational studies, and does not discuss the methodology either.
Its worth a read if one is interested in a huge collection of sex differences, but its not a good introduction to the science of that area. For that, try David Buss’s introduction to evolutionary psychology instead.
In 1966, a botched circumcision left one of two male identical
twins without a penis. A leading sex psychologist, Dr. John
Money of Johns Hopkins University, persuaded the parents to
raise the toddler as a female. When the child was twenty-two months
old, surgeons castrated him and constructed what appeared from
the outside to be female genitalia. Called Brenda and treated like a
girl, the child was later prescribed female steroids to “facilitate and
mimic female pubertal growth and feminization.”1
When Brenda was twelve, Dr. Money reported that she and
her parents had adjusted well.2 The media loved the story of the
“opposite-sex identical twins.” In a long report, Time magazine
called the case “strong support” for the view that “conventional
patterns of masculine and feminine behavior can be altered.” The
1979 Textbook of Sexual Medicine noted the girl’s “remarkably
feminine” development, which was taken as demonstrating the
flexibility and “plasticity of human gender identity and the rela-
tive importance of social learning and conditioning in this
In academia, numerous introductory psychology and sociol-
ogy texts used the case to argue that sex roles are basically learned.4
Theorists who believed that gender roles are socially constructed
were ecstatic. In 1994, Judith Lorber described how the girl’s par-
ents “bent over backwards to feminize the girl and succeeded. Frilly
dresses, hair ribbons, and jewelry created a pride in looks, neatness
and ‘daintiness.’” The social construction of gender, she concluded,
“overrode any possibly inborn traits.”5
In retrospect, one wonders whether it is fair to say that what
happened to Brenda was simply “social construction.” With the injec-
tion of female hormones and without the male hormones coming
from testicles, Brenda was getting a bit more encouragement toward
femininity than families and society usually administer. Nonethe-
less, when the facts became more accurately known, it was clear
that neither the chemicals nor the socialization efforts had succeeded
in making Brenda a girl. Some hardworking researchers and jour-
nalists were able to show that Dr. Money had completely misrepre-
sented the results of his experiment. In the early 1990s, they located
the grown-up Brenda and found that she was now named David,
working in a slaughterhouse, married to a woman, and the adop-
tive father of three children.6 At age fourteen, Brenda had decided
to start living as a male, and at ﬁfteen, she had been told the truth
about her biological past. She then announced that she had always
felt like a male and wanted to become one again. She was given a
mastectomy, male hormones and a constructed penis.
The story that emerged revealed that David had always acted
like a male even when everyone in his world had told him he was a
female and should behave like one. The ﬁrst time “Brenda” was put
in a dress, she pulled it off. When given a jump rope, she tied people
up or whipped them with it. At nine, she bought a toy machine gun
when she was supposed to buy an umbrella. The toy sewing machine
went untouched; she preferred to build forts and play with dump trucks.
She rejected cosmetics and imitated her dad shaving. On a trip to New
York, she found the Rockettes to be sexy. She wanted to urinate stand-
ing up. On the playground, her kindergarten and elementary school
teachers were struck by her “pressing, aggressive need to dominate.”7
As the real story of the reconstruction of David was made pub-
lic, responsible researchers on the Johns Hopkins medical staff
decided they should find out what had become of the many boys
born without penises, most of whom had been castrated and sub-
sequently raised as girls. Of twenty-ﬁve located (ranging in age from
five to sixteen), every single one exhibited the rough-and-tumble
play more characteristic of boys than girls. Fourteen had declared
themselves to be boys, in one case as early as age ﬁve. Two children
were found who were born without a penis but had not been cas-
trated or sexually reassigned. Both these children, raised as boys, ﬁt
in well with their male peers and “were better adjusted psycholog-
ically than the reassigned children.”8
On hearing this Johns Hopkins paper, Dr. Margaret Legato, a
Columbia University professor of medicine and an expert on sex-
ual differentiation, asserted: “When the brain has been masculin-
ized by exposure to testosterone [in the womb], it is kind of useless
to say to this individual, ‘you’re a girl.’ It is this impact of testos-
terone that gives males the feelings that they are men.”9
Im surprised it didnt work better than it did. This is a huge change in environment and hormonal levels, even castration. Nature is stubborn, very stubborn.
Other writers whose approach to gender has been inﬂuenced
by biology have more directly blamed feminists for ignoring or belit-
tling good science on sex differences.22 But the other side replies that
some of the sociobiological literature is ﬁlled with “sexism,” “biased
selection of examples” and “a social construction of gender that is
relatively independent of the facts.”23 Mainstream feminists regu-
larly charge that a hidden or not so hidden agenda meant to pre-
serve male status lies behind the sex difference research.24
Feminists who make charges of this kind are often remarkably
candid in declaring that their politics inﬂuence their scientiﬁc judg-
ments. Thus Anne Fausto-Sterling admits to demanding “the high-
est standards of proof . . . on claims about biological inequality.”25
Sheila Tobias, author of Overcoming Math Anxiety, says she does
research on girls and math to get the truth, but also to get the coun-
try to believe that girls have the potential to perform equally with
Ah, the difference of standards of evidence. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts
Note that this is not grounded in any claims about it being extraordinarily claims, and thus having a low prior and thus needing stronger evidence to get P>0.5.
Today, however, the majority of the sex difference researchers
who focus on biology are women. In preparing his book on sex dif-
ferences, Robert Pool read widely and spoke to many researchers
in the ﬁeld, and was struck by the fact that this research fraternity
was “really a sorority. Most of the scientists doing the provocative,
ground-breaking research into human sex preferences are women.”
This seems to be for two reasons: First, men are wary about pub-
lishing any findings that might bring charges of sexism. Second,
some female researchers seem to have been suspicious about what
their male colleagues were up to; these women say they got involved
because they believed that male researchers were neglecting the seri-
ous study of women. Others did so because they were intrigued and
troubled by some differences favoring men and they wanted to ﬁnd
out what could explain these results.37 Pool ﬁnds that almost all of
these female researchers “identify themselves as feminists or at least
sympathize with feminist goals. . . . They are not fools or tools of
male-dominated society, nor do they have any hidden agendas, and
they uniformly resent such implications.”38
Many of these female researchers also began their studies con-
vinced that sex differences were minimal and that societal forces
caused those that existed. John Williams and Deborah Best, for exam-
ple, began their international comparison of stereotypes believing
there was no basis for them, but concluded that they had “a substan-
tial degree of behavioral validity” and were explained in part by biol-
ogy.39 Similarly, Diane Halpern intended to demonstrate that any
gender differences in cognition were the result of “socialization prac-
tices, artifacts and mistakes in the research, and bias and prejudice.”
After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high
and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of
journal articles, I changed my mind. . . . [T]here are real, and in some
cases sizable, sex differences with respect to some cognitive abilities.
Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, [sic] there is also
good evidence that biological sex differences play a role.40
It is not usually pleasant to change one’s mind about core convic-
tions, but these researchers say the data has forced them to do so.41
Eleanor Maccoby’s research has led her to give more emphasis to
biology in her study of children. In a recent lecture, after noting the
stereotypical pattern of young boys’ and girls’ fantasy stories (Bat-
man and the like for boys, brides and ballet for girls), Maccoby told
her audience of fellow academics, “I too want to say, ‘ugh.’”42 But
the truth was the truth.
Nature really is stubborn.
Many other male hobbyists, like the Battlebot community of
technonerds, have interests that focus on machines or war. There
are the car enthusiasts, the model train lovers, the war board-game
connoisseurs, the Civil War buffs. These hobbyists are single-minded
about what they love; and studies have found single-mindedness
and a highly focused brain to be more characteristic of men than
This seems like an interesting claim, it is especially related to geniuses, of which there is an extreme sex ratio. Note 107 leads to: Moir, 1999, pp. 253–55; Lubinski et al., 1993, p. 702.
which leads to
Moir, Anne, and Bill Moir. 1999. Why Men Don’t Iron. New York:
Lubinski, David, C. P. Benbow and C. E. Sanders. 1993. Reconceptu-
alizing Gender Differences in Achievement among the Gifted. In
International Handbook of Research and Development of Gifted-
ness and Talent, ed. K. A. Heller, F. J. Monks and A. H. Passow.
London: Pergamon Press.
unfortunately, these are both books so i cant look them up easily.
In 1975, the California Department of Education went so far
as to reject reading texts with any portrayal of women in a house-
hold role. The publisher Open Court appealed the rejection of its
reading texts, which had already been revised to meet standards of
gender equality. (The publisher noted that California bureaucrats
had even complained about a brief reference to Mother Hubbard.)145
Open Court made little headway. In later editions of the text, for
example, The Little Engine That Could became female.
It may be time to start questioning the assumption that soci-
ety pressures young women to be homemakers. My observations of
bright University of Virginia students suggest that they feel pres-
sured in other directions entirely. I remember one young woman
with a 3.8 grade point average in economics who told me how furi-
ous she was at her economics professors. When she told them she
loved children and wanted to be an elementary school teacher, they
let her know they were disappointed—she could do so much more.
I encounter feminist students who seem to have absorbed all
of their teachers’ opinions but whose hearts appear to be at war
with their opinions. In class they are sure that women would be
physicists and engineers—or, at the very least, have demanding
careers of some kind—if it were not for discriminatory socializa-
tion. I remember one of my students who openly declared that she
was looking for a husband who would be the “wife” so she could
quickly advance in her career. But when our discussion meandered
into the popularity of romance novels, she said she read them all
the time. When I expressed surprise and asked why she would pur-
chase so many books ﬁlled with powerful and worldly heroes and
spirited but traditional heroines, she said, “Lots of things I do have
nothing to do with what I spout around campus all day.”
Indeed, the effect of the environment is proved to be of smaller importance, since women are routinely exposed to these anti-traditional stories, and yet they still prefer natural gender roles. Nature triumphs over environment here.
It is not surprising, though, that women everywhere seem to
care very much about how they look. In Syrian universities, women
attending classes with men spend as much time dressing for classes
as American women spend dressing for a dinner party. On the streets,
demure Muslim girls in head scarves practice a “below the knees
exhibitionism” with sheer stockings and sling-back heels beneath
their skirts.90 A student who spent a summer in a small Jordanian
city confirms that when Islamic women are not allowed to show
hair or ears and when they wear their skirts to their ankles, they use
more makeup than Western women do and spend more time on
pedicures. A recent study examining the self-images of Iranian-born
women living in Los Angeles and Tehran found that the latter group,
largely unexposed to Western media and required to wear body-
encasing clothes, were nonetheless more concerned about their weight
and more dissatisfied with their bodies, on average, than were the
women living in Los Angeles.91
We will see in the next section that men also have to compete,
in those areas that women care about. Still, it seems unfair, in some
cosmic sense, that men can attract women in different ways—through
success in politics, business, sports or music, for instance—whereas
for women so much depends on how they look. As a thoughtful author
of a book on beauty puts it, “Every woman finds herself, without her
consent, entered into a beauty contest with every other woman.”92
As long as men love female beauty, women will care about
their appearance. And the “male gaze” so often attacked bySex 61
mainstream feminists will continue to please as well as annoy. As a
younger woman, writer Anne Roche Muggeridge hated the street
taunts and the “horrid, cold-faced girl-watching in school corridors
and pubs.” But, like most women, she enjoyed being “approvingly
noticed.” She even liked—“very much” liked—the clearest sign of
such notice, the wolf-whistle:
Girls don’t know whether they are pretty or not. They stand in despair
in front of their mirrors and wail to their mothers: I look so ugly!
[Mothers reassure,] and the daughters don’t believe it. But when a
group of young, handsome male strangers spontaneously burst into
a chorus of admiring notes, a girl must, even in her confusion and
diffidence, experience a glow of pleasure and a dawning self-
Muggeridge wishes she were still in “the being-whistled-at age
bracket.”93 Other women approaching their fifties also feel a loss
because men no longer gaze at them in “that safe but sexual kind
of way.”94 Indeed, feminists such as Germaine Greer are among those
who have complained about becoming invisible to men as they grow
It is impossible to please these women. Damned if u whistle, damned if u dont…
It also reminds me of a similarly natural but irrational man thing: trying to impress prostitutes. maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/book-review-superfreakonomics/
A few years ago, a student brought me a romance novel, Laura
Taylor’s Anticipation, that was used in her course on women’s lit-
erature. She said the climactic scene appeared to her to be a rape.
In it Spence declares that Viva and he will marry, and Viva asserts
they will not. Her blue eyes flash as she walks out of the room toward
her bedroom. He follows, relieves her of her wine glass, and smiles
at the outraged expression on her face. He scoops her up and deposits
her on the bed while shedding his clothes in record time. She glares
at him and says, “Are you deaf?” He gently topples her on her back.
Leaning over her, he efficiently jerked the front of her caftan apart,
sending dozens of buttons flying every which way, then stripped it
off her body.
“What do you think you are doing?” she demanded as she glared
He watched her nipples tighten into mauve nuggets that invited his
mouth. “Easing your tension,” he announced in a matter of fact tone,
despite the heat flooding his loins and engorging his sex. He came
down over her, his hips lodging between her thighs, his upper body
weight braced by his arms. “As sexist as that probably sounds.”
She squirmed, trying to free herself, and a sound of fury burst out
of her when she failed to budge him.
Spence abruptly says their children should have names. She asks
what children; they are not getting married. He declares his love.
She asks if he is sure. He’s “‘never been more sure of anything in
my life.’” He asks if she will make babies and grow old with him.
“‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’” Then they make love “as their bodies, hearts and
souls mated forever.”141
This is very rough sex, in which consent comes only after the
man has forcefully and matter-of-factly stripped off the woman’s
clothes and placed his nude and aroused body between her legs. It
comes as the high point in a fantasy aimed at women.
There have been many academic studies of sexual fantasies.
One of the most interesting has found that pornographic films can
be classified by theme. Of the nine themes reported by psychologist
Roy Baumeister, the one that was by far the most sexually arousing
involved a woman who was initially reluctant to have sex but changed
her mind during the scene and became an active willing participant
in sexual activity.142 [This study and another] suggest that the woman’s
transition from no to yes, as an idea, increases sexual excitement.
A review of the literature on sexual fantasies found that fantasies
of being overpowered and forced to have sex were far more common
among women than men. In some studies, over half the female sam-
ple reported fantasies of being overpowered, and other research found
a third of women endorsing such specific fantasies as being a slave
who must obey a man’s every wish. When women are given lists of
sexual fantasies to choose among, that of being forced sexually is
sometimes the first or second most frequently chosen one.
And the ubiquitous rape fantasies: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201001/womens-rape-fantasies-how-common-what-do-they-mean
To proliferate their genes, our male ancestors either mated with
many women or promoted their offspring’s survival by supporting
and defending the mother and children. In a subculture where it is
possible to take either the quantity or the quality approach to sir-
ing the next generation, McSeed, with less of what social scientists
call “embodied capital” than more mainstream males, is better able
to succeed with the quantity approach.60 A white version of McSeed
was more recently in the news when the Wisconsin Supreme Court
afﬁrmed a judgment forbidding a man named David Oakley from
having any more children until he supported those he already had.
Oakley, an unemployed factory worker, had nine children by four
that doesnt sound legal… where is the eugenics police?
besides, quality vs. quantity, see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R/K_selection_theory
besides, the roles that fathers can provide: resources and protection, we now have the state to be and the police. to be sure, fathers are still those paying for the state and hence the police, but they arent the immediate helper, making them seem less important.
In addition, one letter writer had a question about how to greet
a guy she had hooked up with who never called again, and another
asked whether the guy she slept with on the ﬁrst date will think she
is a total slut. The “advice guy” responded that it depends on the
guy. A poll in another issue, however, found that 76 percent of male
respondents said they would not date again any girl they slept with
on the ﬁrst date.
No source given. Really? why does it matter?
Men want more space than women do. In the workplace, men
have a much stronger desire than women for jobs with no close
supervision. Studies show that women like to be alone within the
conﬁnes of a bedroom or an ofﬁce, whereas men are more likely to
need real isolation—a long drive or a trip to the mountains. Think
also of those frequently solitary and overwhelmingly male pastimes,
hunting and ﬁshing. No matter how good their relationships, men
are far more likely than women to report that they need free time
to relax and pursue hobbies away from their mates.119
Boys do travel in large groups, bonded by a mutual interest in
the same activities; but they are relatively more attached to things,
less to people. From childhood, girls but not boys focus on close
relationships and, especially, a best friend.120 When female college
students tell stories about themselves, they speak of friends and com-
munity; they are often giving or receiving advice, and if they act
alone, something bad happens. Men’s stories are very frequently
about acting alone in contests, and they have happy outcomes.121
There is an okcupid question on this one can data mine:
How important is it to you to have your own unique “thing” (like a weekly Girls’ Night Out or Guys’ Movie Night) that you don’t share with your partner(s)?
Very – I need some ME time to be happy
Sort of – I need friends outside of my partner
Not much – I like sharing stuff with my partner
I’d prefer not to have exclusive things
Moreover, it is a massive risk to rely on modern medicine to
help reset the biological clock and make late childbirth safer. Recent
studies have revealed increased rates of major birth defects in infants
born through intracytoplasmic sperm injection and in vitro fertil-
ization over those conceived naturally. Even after controlling for the
age of the mother and other factors, a child conceived by either IVF
or ICSI is still more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with a major
birth defect than is a naturally conceived child.135
probably due to insufficient embryo selection: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryo_quality
Women in their late twenties are, with reason, much more pes-
simistic today about ever marrying.139 Studies show that “the older
she gets, the harder it is for a college-educated woman to ﬁnd a hus-
band.” College-educated women “tend to seek husbands who are
slightly older and have even higher levels of education and achieve-
ment than they do,”140 but the number of men in this already lim-
ited pool declines as women age. So it is not surprising that 63 percent
of women hope to meet their future husband in college. They will
never again be surrounded by so many eligible men who share their
interests and aspirations.
One wonders about the effects of the fact that there are now about 2 women per 1 man with a university degree. If womens hypergamy leads them to select blindly for degrees, there will be a lack of such men. Uh oh!
What does one say to a boy who continually badgers a girl for
oral sex? Or who sticks his crotch in the girl’s face? The answer is
that we can’t say much if we assume that there are no differences
between males and females. We often can get young people to be
more considerate by saying, “How would you feel if someone did
that to you?” That might work if a boy took a girl’s book bag. If
we say, “How would you feel if she did that to you” about the crotch-
in-the-face stunt, the boy is likely to say, “That would be great.”
Most boys don’t ﬁnd this sort of behavior degrading or obnox-
ious. Why should they believe that girls do? If sex is recreational,
why is it degrading?
Another failing of the golden rule. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
the generalized failure condition for that is when people do not share interests or desires. if one tries to fix it one gets: act so that ur actions is what the other desires… which is just preference utilitarianism on a local level. ;)
Starting education early might be expected to improve the
school performance of inner-city children; and this does hold true
for girls. Those who went through Head Start are only one-third as
likely as girls of similar socioeconomic backgrounds to drop out of
high school years later. But for boys, Head Start seems to have no
effect on high school completion rates.104
cite goes to: Mathews and Strauss, 2000.
Mathews, Jay, and Valerie Strauss. 2000. Head Start Works for Girls.
Washington Post, 10 October.
I re-read Murrays description of Head Start studies.
This brings us to the third-grade follow-up of the national impact assessment of Head Start, submitted to the government in October and released to the public late last year. Head Start has been operating since the 1960s. After decades of evaluations that mostly showed no effects, Congress decided in 1998 to mandate a large-scale, rigorous, independent evaluation of Head Start’s impact, including randomized assignment, representative samplings of programs and a comprehensive set of outcomes observed over time.
Of the 47 outcome measures reported separately for the 3- year-old and 4-year-old cohorts that were selected for the treatment group, 94 separate results in all, only six of them showed a statistically significant difference between the treatment and control group at the .05 level of probability — just a little more than the number you would expect to occur by chance. The evaluators, recognizing this, applied a statistical test that guards against such “false discoveries.” Out of the 94 measures, just two survived that test, one positive and one negative.
The executive summary is here:
In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but
by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four
domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that
were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.
Head start does NOT WORK.
But the progress that Senator Kennedy wants will come at the
expense of lost opportunities for still more male athletes. From 1985
to 1997, over 21,000 collegiate spots for male athletes disappeared.
Over 359 teams for men have disappeared just since 1992.8
Christine Stolba of the Independent Women’s Forum commented to the
Title IX commission that “Between 1993 and 1999 alone 53 men’s
golf teams, 39 men’s track teams, 43 wrestling teams, and 16 base-
ball teams have been eliminated. The University of Miami’s diving
team, which has produced 15 Olympic athletes, is gone.”9
I didnt know anyone was foolish enuf to have affirmative action for sports…
But the Ofﬁce of Civil Rights in the Department of Education
rules that cheerleading and competitive dance are not sports, and
that participants do not count for Title IX compliance purposes.
The principal problem seems to be that cheerleaders and dance teams
usually perform to raise spirit at contests played by other, usually
male, athletes.92 As one ex-cheerleader told me, cheerleading has a
selﬂess quality—it’s getting people to yell for other people.
Apparently it doesn’t matter if these people compete as well
as cheer for others. The Office of Civil Rights deems that at least
half their appearances must be in a competitive setting, or their activ-
ity is not a sport. In response, the University of Maryland recently
divided its cheerleading team into a “spirit squad” and a competi-
tive squad. The latter group will perform only at competitions and
will be eligible for scholarship money, a move “designed to keep
Maryland in compliance with Title IX while returning some schol-
arships to the school’s eight underfunded men’s programs.”
Senior team member Erin Valenti opted to stay with the spirit
squad, which must fundraise to cover its costs. “They’re splitting
us only so they can convince whoever the head of Title IX is that
cheerleading can be considered a sport,” she said. “To make it a
sport, you’re taking out the whole reason to do cheering to begin
with.” That is, the cheering part.93
The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Web page contains a posi-
tion statement supporting the current policies that deny sports sta-
tus to cheerleaders who compete less than they cheer for others.94
But the Web page also has a “Women’s Sports on TV” section that
includes listings for yoga and aerobics shows.95 If yoga and aero-
bics are sports, why aren’t cheerleading and dance?
I rather universities did not have these sports stuff. Its a US thing, or at least DA universities do not do this. They do something else tho, have science show competitions.
there is a european page about it here: wiki.europhysicsfun.org/
Not only do these feminists want to limit women’s choices, but
NOW also wants to withhold information that might lead women
to make the “wrong” choices. I noted earlier that many highly edu-
cated women greatly overestimate their chances of getting pregnant
after age forty. In the summer of 2002, the American Society for
Reproductive Medicine wanted to place public service ads in shop-
ping malls and movie theaters that could have helped correct this
misinformation. The ads were designed to enable women to make
reproductive choices based on the facts. In particular, they wanted
to tell women how they could prevent infertility.
The opposition of groups such as NOW aborted the whole
program. The ad that particularly angered NOW contained the mes-
sage: “Advancing Age Decreases Your Ability to Have Children.”
NOW accused the doctors of using “scare tactics.” They further
argued that “the ads sent a negative message to women who might
want to delay or skip childbearing in favor of career pursuits.”139
Some sleep scientists believe that the mothers’ breathing and
heartbeat would help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
if Western mothers slept with their children. This view is controver-
sial with some U.S. doctors who emphasize the instances of adults
inadvertently suffocating babies who share their bed.196 Nonethe-
less, the international comparisons are striking. The U.S. has far and
away the highest rate of SIDS in the world (2 per 1,000)—ten times
higher than Japan and one hundred times higher than Hong Kong,
both countries where mothers routinely sleep with their children. In
most of the world, parents sleep with their young children, and the
lowest incidences of SIDS are in societies with widespread co-sleeping.
Sounds too easy to be true. According to Wiki, it is: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_infant_death_syndrome
I wrote Meg and asked if she did not think that people have a
tendency to say that things—like marriage—are not all that impor-
tant to them if they think that there is a decent chance they won’t
happen. Psychologically, it’s tough to get through days if things you
desperately want aren’t happening; it seems logical to downplay
their importance. So perhaps it can be tough for women to be hon-
est with themselves about their own desires.
She replied in the afﬁrmative:
I’d say your point about downplaying goals that seem out of reach
is quite valid. The problem is that it’s self-perpetuating; for societal
reasons marriage and family become difﬁcult to obtain, thus women
deny that they want these things, thus they become even more difﬁ-
cult to obtain because they’ve been deprioritized.
They do not generally understand female-style emotional support.
They are used to helping a pal by downplaying his troubles or giv-
ing advice, not by sympathetically hearing him out. In one study,
98 percent of wives reported that they wanted their husbands to
talk more about their thoughts and feelings.17 For men, problems
call for advice or action, not talk. When told he should show his
wife more affection, one man went home and washed her car.18
Very common problem in M-F relationships, i think.