Gender Reversal

Not subtle, but effective:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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6 Responses to Gender Reversal

  1. Staffan says:

    And yet women choose to marry men with higher SES than themselves. Look at elite feminists. I’ve done so in my country. They are divorced, single, lesbian – or married to someone above them in the social hierarchy. So maybe this clip looks weird not because it reveals how crazy the order of things is but simply because it presents a crazy order of things? Like if children were in charge. It seems to me that the theory of evolution can provide plenty of good arguments as to why this order exist. And you supposedly like that theory…

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Staffan:

      But environments, and the adaptive traits that get favored in them, change.

      Women are far better adapted in many ways to the white collar urban workaday world than men (in terms of impulse control, patience with the rigors of going to school and finishing, etc.) and, as they start to become, to an ever larger degree, the chief breadwinners in their families (because they have the higher paying, college degree’d, white collar jobs), it will be interesting to see how this changes the culture. Hannah Rosen’s “The End of Men” (readily found at Amazon) is an attempt to map out some of this new territory.

      Chimps have a different evolutionary strategy than bonobos (in terms of male/female relations and roles), and these differences emerged from adaptation to different environments. The wheel of fortune hasn’t stopped turning.

      At some point, the balance of high status/high income males to high status/high income females will flip. Not everyone can marry the CEO. And that means that at some point in the near future there will be more men than women aspiring to marry up.

      Male or female, what sane person aspires to marry down? When women become the majority of those possessing high paying jobs, there will be lots of women picking lower status males as mates because the high status males will already be taken. It’s that or loneliness. High status men marrying their secretaries is in part an artifact of having so few women to choose from at their status level. It’s a sorting process.

      –Santi

      • Staffan says:

        The time perspective is a matter of thousands of years. But I don’t disagree that the modern environment may suit women better, although this is an environment that in many ways encourages impulsive behavior and this affects women too. Women are increasingly involved in violent crime and obesity affects both genders.

        I also agree that women will be increasingly forced to marry down. But the thing is that they don’t like it. That’s why I mentioned top feminists, if they can’t handle that situation we can safely assume other women won’t either. This is my criticism of feminism – it makes women lonely and unhappy. This may be why the enthusiasm for feminism is waning; according to Google nGram the use of the word feminism/feminist has decreased steadily since 1995,

        https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=feminism&year_start=1800&year_end=2010&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cfeminism%3B%2Cc0

        The fact that men marry their secretaries is not a matter of supply and demand though. It’s a matter of men favoring women with reproductive value rather than intelligence and social status. You can see this in the clip – even these feminists decided to show topless women who are tall, slender and with spectacular boobs.

        It’s only women (like those secretaries) who choose high status rather than physical attributes, so it’s not a symmetrical situation. And they are running out of high status males now – thanks to feminism. How will this change culture? More loneliness, more depression, more short term relations – which men are more ok with than women. The End of Women would be a more appropriate title of that book.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        You make a number of good points. I’ll address just one of them at the moment: isn’t it just a teensy-bit possible that the slow retirement of a word might be due to the fact that it has won the day? I’m reasonably sure that the word “abolitionist” was on people’s tongues a lot more in 1850 than it is today, but it doesn’t follow that slavery has reasserted itself.

        The patriarchy is declining, man, and with it the need to be a combative asserter of feminism. Why beat a dead (or at least dying) horse? And no (sane) woman really wants to go back to the 1940s and 50s. It’s like saying there are people who really long to return to East Germany in the 1950s. A moment’s thought says, “No. It’s better now.”

        Nostalgic talk is cheap, but if a lot of people really wanted to live in these old ways, they could find like-minded others and reproduce the lifestyle in a commune or rural area. Almost nobody misses the past that much.

      • Peter Smith says:

        High status men marrying their secretaries is in part an artifact of having so few women to choose from at their status level.

        A more likely explanation is that propinquity, ease of access, frequent contact, respectful attentiveness and the allure of power make such unions likely. There is also a subtle selection factor that comes into play when the secretaries are hired.

        The ubiquity of email has resulted in a marked decline in the number of secretaries and I am sure that not a few wives are grateful.

  2. Staffan says:

    “You make a number of good points. I’ll address just one of them at the moment: isn’t it just a teensy-bit possible that the slow retirement of a word might be due to the fact that it has won the day? I’m reasonably sure that the word “abolitionist” was on people’s tongues a lot more in 1850 than it is today, but it doesn’t follow that slavery has reasserted itself.”

    True, but there are no abolitionists while there are still feminists. It’s just that no one is talking about them. That doesn’t sound like a triumph to me. And if the horse was dead you wouldn’t have shown that clip in the first place. That would be as weird as showing a black man in chains in an otherwise modern setting. You ask older women here in Sweden, they will tell you that they had more rights in the 1970s than now. There is more on paper now, but less in reality.

    Going back to the 1940s or 1950s is a bad comparison because you then link this particular issue with a lower standard of living, worse, health care, lower literacy and so on. Would you long back to the 1940s if you had all that misery but perfect gender equality?

    So it’s not a matter of nostalgia, it’s about human nature. No one wants to go back. But few want to be lonely either. And men keep marrying women lower than themselves on the social hierarchy and women vice versa. So equality becomes loneliness. It’s not longing for the 1940s, it’s longing for company.

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