Review: Taking sex differences seriously (Steven E. Rhoads)

bookos.org/s/?q=taking+sex+differences&t=0

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

process.”3

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

boys.26

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

women.107

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:

Citadel Press.

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-

confidence.

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

older.95

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

at him.

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

for women

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

different women.

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.

meh!

I re-read Murrays description of Head Start studies.

www.aei.org/article/education/the-shaky-science-behind-obamas-universal-pre-k/

he writes

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:

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/third-grade-follow-up-to-the-head-start-impact-study-final-report-executive

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.

See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes

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.

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