A critique of Richard Reeves's Of Boys and Men
When I was a young man, the essential nature of masculinity and femininity was not particularly in doubt. It did not need debating in academic papers nor even talking about, except in novels. I fear that even when conservative thinkers mount exhaustive arguments - against the masculinity/feminity deconstructivist, academia-petri-dish nonsense - in order to refute it, they nevertheless are somehow still inadvertently playing a game whose rules - and language - have been set out by the Mead's and Butler's and their ilk. The message that these gender/sexuality 'experts' and 'thinkers' were always talking utter tripe (born probably of their own personal hang-ups)....this cruder response is also in order. Long overdue in fact.
I am glad somebody else noticed that while Reeves spends most of the book mentioning "Toxic Masculinity" he hardly takes a swipe at defining and defending the essence of masculinity itself. That is to say, this is a significant omission, as it is difficult to address a problem without first understanding what it is. Without a clear definition of what masculinity should be, it is difficult to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy expressions of masculinity. I think that is worse than putting the cart before the horse.
Toxic masculinity is a social construct that refers to the harmful and unrealistic norms and expectations associated with traditional masculinity [which we agree he hardly touches on so it's difficult to compare Reeves construct of toxic masculinity with a traditionally understood masculinity]. These norms and expectations often encourage men to suppress their emotions, avoid seeking help, and engage in aggressive and dominant behavior [Can women experiencing problems in their life also not display these same symptoms? What about these symptoms is a masculinity issue specifically?].
A lot of don't want to offend anyone statements in much of polite societies analysis of "manhood". Selective Breeding by Costin offers perhaps a different perspective as nature tends to take its course and much of what ppl would like to consider cultural progress may see its last legs as the progressives are getting out bred by the more "traditional" and religious which might mean that conventional manhood and male roles might just reassert itself by sheer demography.
You quote Reeves as writing "“It is hard to find a responsible scientist who is either an outright determinist or an outright denier on the question of biology... " This is true only on a trivial level. It is true that researchers and thinkers in many fields SAY that they acknowledge an important role for biology, but try to find it in their interpretations and experiments. It is as if they are constantly being caught out. "Oh, oh RIGHT! OF COURSE biology and genetics play a role. Everyone knows that! Whatever gave you the idea that we didn't?" Then they go back to their culture-only interpretations and explanations in their research reporting, which is of course echoed by easily-misled young journalists who wanted to believe that anyway.
I currently favor more intense study of the biological and other highly-measurable factors, especially things such as diminution of testosterone levels (lack of sleep? lithium and other chemical exposures?) rather than sexier (sometimes literally sexier) social explanations. Researchers often forget that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and relatedly, people gravitate toward solutions that they can get money and status for providing.
It is one of those things that once you know this, you start noticing it everywhere, and you wonder how this nonsense persists. As for Margaret Mead, the criticism that she cherry-picks her tribal data and holds it aloft as proof of what she desired to be true, is sadly quite accurate.
Richard Reeves is a soft progressive clown 🤡 not to be taken seriously by anyone with a testosterone level above 400. I believe what the man believes is antithetical to what a man is or is supposed to be. Joseph Bronski has the problem nailed down, in my opinion. After studying evo-psych, psychology along with a great deal of history I ended up concluding exactly what Mr. Bronski said. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t believe I was actually hearing it because I thought I was crazy.
Men are doers, builders, fixers, hunters, and explorers. To expect men to sit in office buildings all day is unnatural and goes against the order of things.
I think men and women need to get the hell out of cities and into communities of about a thousand people. Men need to go back to work on the farms, ranches, and so forth. If women can keep up, let them. But men have got to be doing things, and playing video games is not in that range of things.
If women are shocked by the lack of character in hot, rich men then why don’t they select ugly, poor men after learning about this error in thinking? I think women are different from each other based on several different factors. Most of these differences are intelligence based. I think it’s smart women that think that many steps ahead. And C’mon, most men are not going to be a human prize. Most men are going to lose and lose hard. That’s why they become simps. As long as the United States of simps lives on then I’ll be wrong and you’ll be right. I’ve already accepted this reality. It’s already happened before and will probably continue past our time here.
Knowing this reality kind of makes me side with women. The more they smash these delusional simps the quicker we can get past this mess. I guess these things take time.
Claiming that feeling superior is a masculine trait, albeit asshole-like, is yesterday’s working definition, as is women’s ingrained, societally reinforced inferiority. Technology and opportunity are the great equalizers between men and women today. Men’s stubborn need to dominate women, define societal norms for all of us and to see women as a prize to be won rather than a co-human creator of reality has helped motivate women to empower ourselves and will continue to motivate us to keep changing the structure of society so we can breathe and create our lives freely as we wish, as men do. The ideal paradigm here is a working partnership. It’s more fulfilling, way more interesting and much more enjoyable. Either way, women are coming into their own power and pushing back on yesterday’s ideas of male dominance which in the extreme lead us to the brink of world war over and over. Who the hell enjoys this like it is?
Men are systemizational-creators and group-centric utilitarians on an aggregate basis.
- Treat intermediate and interdependent processes/objects as abiotic and dead; necessary distinction between biotic and abiotic life to see things as ''other'' and ''us/self''. If seeing 'killing' cows, etc was ''inhuman'', we could not derive amino acids / get enough energy to survive. If sacrificing ''X'' numbers to keep ''Y'' people who have A, B, C variables of skill/aptitude was not ''realized'' but seen as objective emotional truths that must be maximized, civilization, large-scale wars/conflicts, creation of governments, corporations, institutions cannot exist because people are not ''reducible'' to variables and processes
- Greater emphasis on utilitarian outcomes related to material comfort, survivability, effects over immediate emotional welfare
Women are empathizing-affecters and offspring-centric utilitarians.
- Imagine you treated your baby as ''objects'' to throw away like some Chinese do in the rural area for girls, or didn't have a maternal bond as a k-selected species because they weren't ''up to par''. This would reduce your reproductive fitness significantly, since men prefer women to not ''spread'' their genes around and would not reproduce with you again usually (i.e. sexual infidelity)
- Imagine women didn't yearn for a higher status man, project futures of socioeconomic mobility based on a few contingent factors of the man (i.e. is he cheating or not, is he a dominant person in the group, does he have an ''internal'' drive or ''passion'', kinesis towards the living ''building'' something useful, ''learning'' and ''adapting'')
Emotions are biotic drives that tell you how to distribute your energy; raise offspring, barter/trade, increase defenses, eat, go to sleep, have sex/reproduce, fight other people, etc. Women optimize around these subconscious biotic drives because it inherently favours familial-selective processes; so a state of a man getting ''angry'' and calming him down so it doesn't incur ''harm'' or whatever
Thinking and emotions are correlated with one another. You just get paralysis analysis in the similar way with machine learning not able to differentiate what is ''truely'' the goal of doing something and doing self-directed goal creation to do complex task-planning without a ''prompt''. This is shown in people without emotional activity due to brain damage.
Hence men being inclined for politics, power, knowledge and creations around the (real) material world with competition/cooperation against other groups via killing, deception, ceremonies, etc.
Women in the same manner, but for health, safety and the (emotional) material world with competition/cooperation against other women via gossip, ganging, etc.
Women of course can also fall along the other axis, and vice versa for men but sexual dimorphism favours one to do childrearing. Treating offspring as inanimate objects to be maximized in some random variables technically reduces your reproductive fitness. Nowadays, higher IQ people need to ''secure resources'' to have a ''good life'' for their offspring whereas lower IQs just copulate. If having a disposition to be more emotional and biotic-oriented increases the survivability of your offspring, whereas being less emotional-oriented in the relations between individuals of those mechanical outcomes sense maximizes the odds of copulating through building tools, or wooing many women (by proxy) of doing those useful things then it necessarily diverges the evolutionary path of the sexes. Of course that will all change with extrauterine embryos and designer babies in the future.
What do you make of George Gilders take from his book Men and Marriage (marriage and child rearing civilizes men and forces them to be responsible and not to act like barbarians or degenerates)? I have found it persuasive. I actually think the same is true of women as laid out in Promises I Can Keep, but likely to a different degree. Another reason for the gap between women and men's performance has to be linked to the control porn and even gaming has on men that women are not as vulnerable to. Women are more likely to be addicted to social media but you can still at least hold down a job if you're on your phone hours out of the day, your unlikely to be able to spend hours gaming/masturbating and working.
Please also see:
The Aggressors, By Melvin Konner, M.D. Aug. 14, 1988
The He Hormone, Apr 2, 2000 Andrew Sullivan article on testosterone, hormone that makes men and women differ biologically; men produce 10 to 20 times as much ... both in NYT Magazine
Does Mr. Hadidi have special expertise - say academic degrees and a record of publications in peer-reviewed journals - in the fields he's writing about here? Or is this the equivalent of a piece by a bright and accomplished undergrad?
Apart from sociological/cultural issues, it seems strange that it apparently doesn't seem to occur to so many researchers/biologists to look at the disastrous impact of thousands of industrial chemicals, pollutants, food industry chemicals, & additives on human bodies, their hormones, and overall chemistry. I suggest these folks look into the data that's is available NOW. There's a reason both male and female hormones are messed up, cancer rates are sky-rocketing, and our life expectancy is DEcreasing. To act as if all this isn't affecting our brains, bodies, & lives is missing part of the picture.