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  #151  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:21 PM
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... there is nothing controversial about, "Look, brothers. Stoicism is wonderful, but it's also wonderful to admit you need help. We guys often think have to take on all the problems of the world with a stone face. But that's so not healthy. It's not healthy for us or the people who love us. It's toxic."

Someone needs to start preaching this. The skyrocketing suicide rate among middle-age white guys indicates that someone needs to start doing something differently. Denial certainly isn't helping anyone. ...
100% agreement.

Men often don’t have the tools in their kits to expose themselves as having problems or the friendships of the sort that can be of protective support. No doubt in my mind that some of that is the internalized image of a man not showing things that may seem emotionally weak. And in today’s world a more frequent sense of failure at living up to some bogus standards of both success and of manhood.
  #152  
Old 05-16-2019, 05:52 PM
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According to the Wikipedia article that you just linked to, the alt-right "is a loosely connected far-right,[1] white nationalist movement". Since Quillette publishes many leftist writers and is neither far right and has never published anything with even a partial white nationalist viewpoint, so Quillette is obviously not part of the alt-right. Quillette even publishes an interview with a Democratic candidate and defends Democratic Party stances. Does that make the Democratic Party an alt-right, white nationalist organization?
...I'm not expecting to convince the person who labeled a document from the APA as "propaganda" that Quillette is a hot-bed of alt-right activity. My post was to correct the record, and to let everyone else in this thread know about Quillette's obvious editorial bias.

Its no surprise that Andrew Yang, who courted 4chan and the meme culture, who got positive press from the Daily Stormer and Richard Spencer tweeted favorably about, got interviewed by an alt-right propaganda outlet. It would have been surprising if they didn't interview him. You can be a member of the Democratic Party and hold alt-right views. You can fight passionately for "ethics in games journalism" and hold alt-right views. In order to understand what the alt-right is you need to take a much deeper dive than the opening sentence of a comprehensively cited Wikipedia article.

I've already linked to the rational-wiki page that makes the case for Quillette's alt-right status. All you've demonstrated is that you don't know what "alt-right" means. I actually don't blame you for this to be honest. Gaslighting is an intentional alt-right strategy: and they are really good at it.
  #153  
Old 05-17-2019, 06:52 AM
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I think this is a true. The whole concept sounds like "liberal hogwash" to the conservative ear because their minds have already been poisoned against feminism and feminist theory.
I thought I'd chime in here as one of the "silent majority." Not a majority for this message board, but certainly a majority in the real world that don't really care about "toxic masculinity" and similar issues.

It's not just conservatives - I'm very left-leaning, and view threads about masculinity and/or gender issues on this board with a healthy dose of roll-eyes and a wanking gesture.

This is because all these threads are, are big "woke" circle jerks that never even attempt to convince the other side. Most of the arguments are circular or facile or appeals to very weak authorities (like in this thread, with people up in arms about how can you even have an opinion here unless you've delved into feminist studies literature and accept whatever those "authorities" say).

Yeah, violence is bad from men. It's bad from women too. Yeah, people should be able to use whatever bathrooms they want. Going on for pages about it amongst yourselves isn't helping, and you're manifestly failing to convince the "non-woke," which at last count are at least 50% of the country, and probably quite a bit higher than that.

I read some of these threads because there's kernels of truth here and there, but almost never see an argument or meeting of minds that convinces somebody from the (huge) other side. And I think that's because frankly, most of the arguments ARE hogwash to those who aren't already on your side, or at the minimum are very weakly convincing, and you spend most of the time patting each other on the backs about how woke you are, or complaining about how the few people chiming in saying they don't see it are obvious troglodytes instead of refining those arguments or finding new ways to try to create that meeting of minds.

Hell, you folk haven't even convince ME that "toxic masculinity" is something I should worry about or do anything about, and I'm on your side for 98% of political issues.
  #154  
Old 05-17-2019, 08:41 AM
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... Hell, you folk haven't even convince ME that "toxic masculinity" is something I should worry about or do anything about, and I'm on your side for 98% of political issues.
Would you mind clarifying where the argument for the concept as defined in this thread (not the phrase or how the phrase is often understood) loses you?

Do you accept that there are traits and behaviors traditionally thought of as being more masculine (generally associated with being tough, in control, and in America at least, with independence), and conversely, ones more associated with femininity (generally more willing to be vulnerable, more willing to ask for help, more nurturing, and more socially interconnected)?

Do you accept that most of us judge each other and ourselves to some degree by how we meet those images and treat each other to some degree with those expectations in mind?

How about that living up to those expected roles and imposing those expectations upon others can be harmful? Is that where it loses you?

monstro's last example for that is a very powerful one: men under stress who have not developed the emotional vocabulary to articulate it, who have not developed the social systems they'd feel comfortable being very vulnerable within, and whose mindset is that asking for help is not something a man should do, who are killing themselves in a world in which help is available to anyone who can ask for it. The issue is not just exaggerated bro-dom. Do you recognize that as something that matters for you to worry about for those who you may care about?

There is also the reluctance of men to seek jobs in areas that are thought of as woman's jobs, even though there are good jobs there: nursing, teaching, so on. And of course the converse, the challenges many women face entering jobs that are stereotyped as men's work, even though some of them would be great at it.

These are issues that impact how we get the most out of our society overall by getting the best people where they can contribute the most whoever they are, as well as an issue of justice for the individuals. As someone who cares about the country and about the values of this country, is that something you should want to do something about? Or at least to support having things done about?

Thanks in advance for the answers.

Last edited by DSeid; 05-17-2019 at 08:46 AM.
  #155  
Old 05-17-2019, 09:44 AM
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Hell, you folk haven't even convince ME that "toxic masculinity" is something I should worry about or do anything about, and I'm on your side for 98% of political issues.
Can you shed some more light your doubts? Is it that you don't think men are facing certain problems disproportionately to women? Or do you acknowledge they have problems, but you don't think the way they are socialized has anything to do with it?

Alcohol abuse. Other substance abuse. Suicide. Failure to use mental health services, even when needed. All of these are problems that are killing men at an alarming rate. On top of that have men gravitating towards radicalized hate groups.

What do you think is driving all of this bad stuff?

I think what is frustrating to me is that it is daggone obvious that we have a real problem on our hand; the stats show men are clearly suffering. At least those who discuss TM are talking about these problems rather than ignoring them. Like, why in the hell is alcoholism so common in men? Perhaps it has something to do with the messages we send boys. Okay, let's look at those:

"Real men can hold their liquor. It's cool to drink everyone under the table."
"Real men are entitled to drink as much as they want; moderating their drinking is what girls do".
"Real men can't have fun unless they are drinking and acting wild."
"Real men are able to drink and drive without caring about consequences, because real men can break the rules."

You have a frat boy culture that is celebrated in this country, that promotes all of the above as ideals. But we're supposed to think this TM culture has nothing to do with the public health trends we see? Really?

I just don't get what there is to be unconvinced about, dude.

Last edited by you with the face; 05-17-2019 at 09:46 AM.
  #156  
Old 05-17-2019, 09:57 AM
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The conflation of "frat boy culture" (inclusive of identifying that as "this TM culture") as the identifier of these issues is simplistic to the point of seriously misrepresenting the breadth of how these issues play out.

"Frat boy culture" is a small splinter of the issue and the problems occur as well among many who would explicitly reject any frat boy identification.
  #157  
Old 05-17-2019, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
The conflation of "frat boy culture" (inclusive of identifying that as "this TM culture") as the identifier of these issues is simplistic to the point of seriously misrepresenting the breadth of how these issues play out.

"Frat boy culture" is a small splinter of the issue and the problems occur as well among many who would explicitly reject any frat boy identification.
I agree completely, but I do think frats and similar organizations are absolute incubators for this sort of thing: right about the time people grow up a little and hopefully start to get a little more sensible about things, they age out. What you get is a group that is perpetually in that horrid phase between too old to restrict but not old enough to have the brain development needed for good judgment. There's a reason military forces have recruited from this age group for time immemorial even though men hit their physical peak closer to their mid-20s; 18-22 is a volatile and dangerous age, where people are very suggestible to ideas like identity threat but also confident and capable enough to do carry some really dumb shit to incredible extremes.

In groups where the membership is perpetually 18-22 and there isn't a moderating influence or perspective, the worst aspects of TM are reinforced in a really horrific feedback cycle. So you get "eat the head of this live hamster to show you are a man" or "chug a handle of vodka" or "ignore your fears and worries about the guy who chugged a handle of vodka and is now turning purple and shaking on the couch".

Closed groups made up largely of men 18-22--frats, prisons, military, esp enlisted and infantry--this is where TM breeds. It also perpetuates itself in self-selected groups with the same struture--sub-cultures made up primarily of guys in that age range. Guys age out, they often get a new perspective, the "grow out of it", but those ideas still linger.
  #158  
Old 05-17-2019, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
The conflation of "frat boy culture" (inclusive of identifying that as "this TM culture") as the identifier of these issues is simplistic to the point of seriously misrepresenting the breadth of how these issues play out.
The way we socialize men contributes to their unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Frat boy culture is a manifestation of a larger pattern of the male socialization that I'm talking about. I'm not attributing alcoholism to just frat boys, come on. It is ridiculous (and exasperating) to see inferences like this.

Last edited by you with the face; 05-17-2019 at 10:27 AM.
  #159  
Old 05-17-2019, 11:39 AM
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I read some of these threads because there's kernels of truth here and there, but almost never see an argument or meeting of minds that convinces somebody from the (huge) other side.
I think it's rare, on any subject, even on places like Straight Dope, to have someone admit to having changed their minds on an overall subject (as opposed to a detail of fact) in the middle of a message board thread.

I don't think this means that people never change their minds. I think it means that the changing of minds tends to be a gradual process; and that when it does happen it often doesn't result in public admissions of having been wrong, let alone to hunting up old threads or bringing up old conversations in order to do so in all the venues that helped to cause that gradual change. Once in a while you do see/hear people say 'Yes I used to think x, but I decided I was wrong about that' but very often the people themselves have no one specific discussion, no 'click' moment, which they think caused the change; it was a gradual accumulation of information over time.

I also suspect that people who realize they don't have their minds made up are far less likely to post in threads such as these; but may nevertheless still be reading them.
  #160  
Old 05-17-2019, 01:10 PM
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I agree completely, but I do think frats and similar organizations are absolute incubators for this sort of thing: right about the time people grow up a little and hopefully start to get a little more sensible about things, they age out. What you get is a group that is perpetually in that horrid phase between too old to restrict but not old enough to have the brain development needed for good judgment. There's a reason military forces have recruited from this age group for time immemorial even though men hit their physical peak closer to their mid-20s; 18-22 is a volatile and dangerous age, where people are very suggestible to ideas like identity threat but also confident and capable enough to do carry some really dumb shit to incredible extremes.

In groups where the membership is perpetually 18-22 and there isn't a moderating influence or perspective, the worst aspects of TM are reinforced in a really horrific feedback cycle. So you get "eat the head of this live hamster to show you are a man" or "chug a handle of vodka" or "ignore your fears and worries about the guy who chugged a handle of vodka and is now turning purple and shaking on the couch".

Closed groups made up largely of men 18-22--frats, prisons, military, esp enlisted and infantry--this is where TM breeds. It also perpetuates itself in self-selected groups with the same struture--sub-cultures made up primarily of guys in that age range. Guys age out, they often get a new perspective, the "grow out of it", but those ideas still linger.
Maybe those are "where TM breeds" but then "TM" is a very narrow concept, not one that is as broad and pervasive as the concept described in the op, and is one that very few men and women will see as something that they are part of or even that impacts them.

OTOH, I as a man, one who would reject with a laugh a self-descriptor of "toxic masculinity" (wimpy nerdy me?) and reject any identification with "frat boy culture", and who sees neither in most of the men I know, can acknowledge that stereotyped ideals and expectations, and gender-related learned behavior patterns, exist in myself, in those around me of both genders (and even in those who are fluid), and in the systems that I am part of. I can be open to discussion that even though my personal experience of those traits and learned patterns has served me well (valuing "grit and determination" is what I credit for my part of whatever successes I have had ... the rest being luck, inclusive of having benefited from being born male into a white middle class family in a good school system with parents who pushed education and intellectual accomplishments and enabled it) they can also be harmful, and that they are commonly encouraged differently in boys and girls with different impacts. Were between me and my sisters for that matter.

The number of men and women who will be open to self-reflection and and some awareness of potential harms by labelling it as a thing they reject out of hand as applying to them is not surprisingly a fairly small number.

Last edited by DSeid; 05-17-2019 at 01:14 PM.
  #161  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:08 PM
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Would you mind clarifying where the argument for the concept as defined in this thread (not the phrase or how the phrase is often understood) loses you?
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Originally Posted by you with the face
Can you shed some more light your doubts? Is it that you don't think men are facing certain problems disproportionately to women? Or do you acknowledge they have problems, but you don't think the way they are socialized has anything to do with it?
It's not that I don't think there are problems which disproportionately affect men vs women (and vice versa), it's that:

1) I don't think these are big enough problems in terms of negative impacts to our population compared to "real" problems like having no health care, spending trillions on pointless wars, money absolutely controlling politics at every level nationally, increasing wealth disparities, and many more. Where are the population-level statistics showing this is a real and growing problem compared to the things we KNOW are problems?

and

2) This type of problem is inherently nebulous and largely individually defined. I mean, if you asked me to define how the Straight Dope defined toxic masculinity based on this thread's content, I'd say something so generic and nebulous as to be meaningless. Something like "behaviors or traits generally associated with being masculine that have been taken too far and are now maladaptive."

This means there are no concrete actions I, an individual, can do to try to make the problem better, aside from "don't be an asshole" and "don't raise your kids to be assholes." Which is good advice, don't get me wrong, but 99% of people already think they AREN'T assholes despite all evidence to the contrary, and that advice isn't going to change anything for the better either way.

Worse, this type of problem is rigorously and noisily policed for "right-think" and even card-carrying communists can get jumped on by others on the left for not adhering fanatically enough to the party line on these issues.


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Originally Posted by you with the face
Alcohol abuse. Other substance abuse. Suicide. Failure to use mental health services, even when needed. All of these are problems that are killing men at an alarming rate. On top of that have men gravitating towards radicalized hate groups.

What do you think is driving all of this bad stuff?
Honestly? Being men. Not "toxic masculinity," just being male, which is reliably associated with higher risk-taking and higher rates of substance abuse, higher rates of suicide, and other things.

I'm glad that we're here on this topic, because it speaks to my first objection (is this even a problem), but you're really just taking a bunch of bad stuff associated with being male (you left out higher rates of violence, incidentally), and saying "it's because of toxic masculinity" with no proof or evidence.

Is it? I'd be willing to bet that if you plotted a time-wise trend, the incidence of most of these things have gone down over time. So did toxic masculinity peak in the 1700's, and has been steadily decreasing since then? If it's steadily decreasing, why are we worried?

How can you ascribe these things to toxic masculinity when men have had higher rates of violence, substance abuse, and suicide for as long as we can look back, in pretty much every society we've looked at? I think it's more likely that biological differences are more explanatory for these things than some nebulous and toxic cultural "masculinity" being transmitted by all cultures in all the times we've examined.

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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
Do you accept that there are traits and behaviors traditionally thought of as being more masculine (generally associated with being tough, in control, and in America at least, with independence), and conversely, ones more associated with femininity (generally more willing to be vulnerable, more willing to ask for help, more nurturing, and more socially interconnected)?

Do you accept that most of us judge each other and ourselves to some degree by how we meet those images and treat each other to some degree with those expectations in mind?

How about that living up to those expected roles and imposing those expectations upon others can be harmful? Is that where it loses you?
Sure, I accept all those things - it loses me at:

1) Is this actually a problem negatively affecting large swathes of the population in a significant and measurable way?

and

2) Is this a problem that I, an individual, can take concrete actions and advice to ameliorate that isn't just "don't be an asshole?"

I'm not convinced on either one. I mean, I'm not even convinced it's cultural rather than biological. And yes, culture can be deployed to restrain the worst of our biological urges (and this is likely driving the decrease over time in all these things I posit), but then the argument is "we need to get better about transmitting cultural values that can repress these biological urges that are stronger in men," and we're back to nebulous, individually-defined fluff with no concrete actions. Better how? What do you want ME to do?
  #162  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:16 PM
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Isn't it fairly undisputed that the presence of testosterone causes increased aggression?
  #163  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
1) I don't think these are big enough problems in terms of negative impacts to our population compared to "real" problems like having no health care, spending trillions on pointless wars, money absolutely controlling politics at every level nationally, increasing wealth disparities, and many more.
Compared to things like climate change, literally nothing even registers. Ted Bundy doesn't register, that doesn't mean you want him running around. "Toxic Masculinity" is implicated in things like the opioid epidemic, male suicide rates, and the like.

Acting like this isn't a problem when I cited no less than three peer reviewed papers and an official position statement from the APA just strains credibility. Past a certain point, the problem is your unwillingness to engage with the material.
  #164  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post

... Sure, I accept all those things - it loses me at:

1) Is this actually a problem negatively affecting large swathes of the population in a significant and measurable way?

and

2) Is this a problem that I, an individual, can take concrete actions and advice to ameliorate that isn't just "don't be an asshole?"

I'm not convinced on either one. I mean, I'm not even convinced it's cultural rather than biological. And yes, culture can be deployed to restrain the worst of our biological urges (and this is likely driving the decrease over time in all these things I posit), but then the argument is "we need to get better about transmitting cultural values that can repress these biological urges that are stronger in men," and we're back to nebulous, individually-defined fluff with no concrete actions. Better how? What do you want ME to do?
So your issue is that it is hard to measure and hard for a single individual to make too much of a difference?

Would you possibly support programming in Middle School to High School populations that somehow worked to destigmatize mental health service seeking among males and helped to develop young men with better toolboxes to discuss feeling states? I'm not sure how practical or effective such would be, but even considering such things could not happen until and unless the public broadly recognized that disconnected young men are bad for society and of adverse outcomes risks. A study could be done in a community with such a trial program done and another with some control boy's activity and follow those individuals over years with objective measure of depression (there are many such validated scales) and for rates of help seeking as reasonable proxies.

Again, broad public recognition of the possibility that such would be useful would have to precede such being done.

Just brainstorming here. But better brains than mine could come up with other better ideas if a problem is recognized as one worth addressing.
  #165  
Old 05-17-2019, 05:21 PM
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Worse, this type of problem is rigorously and noisily policed for "right-think" and even card-carrying communists can get jumped on by others on the left for not adhering fanatically enough to the party line on these issues.
That kind of annoying SJW is indeed annoying and is mainly just that, annoying.


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Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I mean, I'm not even convinced it's cultural rather than biological. And yes, culture can be deployed to restrain the worst of our biological urges (and this is likely driving the decrease over time in all these things I posit), but then the argument is "we need to get better about transmitting cultural values that can repress these biological urges that are stronger in men," and we're back to nebulous, individually-defined fluff with no concrete actions. Better how?
There's definitely a biological aspect to it. Even if all babies were raised gender neutral, you'd likely have more men in prison for violence than women and the more violent, the more it would skew male.

I would analogize it to muscle mass. The average man doesn't have a lot more muscle than the average woman. But his musculature can usually be developed to a much greater degree than a woman's. To what level it's developed is cultural. To a large extent, that greater ability to develop muscles is a good thing. But when you see people endanger their health with steroids, overtrain because of body dysmorphia or get into fights to feel strong, that's toxic.



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What do you want ME to do?
Can't speak for others but if you want to stay out of it and hold to just not being an asshole, I suppose that would likely be enough, especially if you're the type of person who is already concerned with doing the right thing. It can be useful to keep in mind that anyone can pick up maladaptive coping mechanisms but it's not an Inquisition or self-flagellation. Toxic masculinity might mildly apply to many men but the bulk of its effects likely come from a small number of highly dysfunctional men.

As you've noticed, it is nebulous and that may be because we're starting to figure out the edges and content of that concept. Think about how shaky conceptual and definitional frames must have been when people started talking about racism, sexism, child abuse or sexual assault (we've still not collectively ironed out that one). It's going to take some time for humans to come to grasp with that concept and understand it and in the meantime, it's going to be confusing which does comport risks of overextension.


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Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I'd be willing to bet that if you plotted a time-wise trend, the incidence of most of these things have gone down over time. So did toxic masculinity peak in the 1700's, and has been steadily decreasing since then? If it's steadily decreasing, why are we worried?
Did racism and sexism peak in the 1960s? If it had been decreasing compared to the past, why were people worried? Did child abuse peak at the same time people started talking about it more openly? Did sexual assault and harassment peak just before Me Too?

People thought they were isolated and powerless in front a social phenomenon much bigger than themselves or they hadn't abstracted some of their experiences enough to see a common thread that ran thru them. Now more people are starting to see that it might be turned back so they see a point in participating.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I don't think these are big enough problems in terms of negative impacts to our population compared to "real" problems like having no health care, spending trillions on pointless wars, money absolutely controlling politics at every level nationally, increasing wealth disparities, and many more. Where are the population-level statistics showing this is a real and growing problem compared to the things we KNOW are problems?

and

2) This type of problem is inherently nebulous and largely individually defined.
If you want a simple, straightforward illustration of both why it's a problem and a very concrete example of it, look at Donald Trump. People like him are beyond saving but there may be plenty of boys and young men who might want to be like him and can benefit from realizing that that way of living has the poisonous allure of Tony Montana
Quote:
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
Worse, this type of problem is rigorously and noisily policed for "right-think" and even card-carrying communists can get jumped on by others on the left for not adhering fanatically enough to the party line on these issues.
That kind of annoying SJW is indeed annoying but is mainly just that, annoying.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I mean, I'm not even convinced it's cultural rather than biological. And yes, culture can be deployed to restrain the worst of our biological urges (and this is likely driving the decrease over time in all these things I posit), but then the argument is "we need to get better about transmitting cultural values that can repress these biological urges that are stronger in men," and we're back to nebulous, individually-defined fluff with no concrete actions. Better how?
There's definitely a biological aspect to it. Even if all babies were raised gender neutral, you'd likely have more men in prison for violence than women and the more violent, the more it would skew male.

I would analogize it to muscle mass. The average man doesn't have a lot more muscle than the average woman. But his musculature can usually be developed to a much greater degree than a woman's. To what level it's developed is cultural. To a large extent, that greater ability to develop muscles is a good thing. But when you see people endanger their health with steroids, overtrain because of body dysmorphia or get into fights to feel strong, that's toxic.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
What do you want ME to do?
Can't speak for others but if you want to stay out of it and hold to just not being an asshole, I suppose that would likely be enough, especially if you're the type of person who is already concerned with doing the right thing. It can be useful to keep in mind that anyone can pick up maladaptive coping mechanisms but it's not an Inquisition or self-flagellation. Toxic masculinity might mildly apply to many men but the bulk of its effects likely come from a small number of highly dysfunctional men.

As you've noticed, it is nebulous and that may be because we're starting to figure out the edges and content of that concept. Think about how shaky conceptual and definitional frames must have been when people started talking about racism, sexism, child abuse or sexual assault (we've still not collectively ironed out that one). It's going to take some time for humans to come to grasp with that concept and understand it and in the meantime, it's going to be confusing which does comport risks of overextension.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I'd be willing to bet that if you plotted a time-wise trend, the incidence of most of these things have gone down over time. So did toxic masculinity peak in the 1700's, and has been steadily decreasing since then? If it's steadily decreasing, why are we worried?
Did racism and sexism peak in the 1960s? If it had been decreasing compared to the past, why were people worried? Did child abuse peak at the same time people started talking about it more openly? Did sexual assault and harassment peak just before Me Too?

People thought they were isolated and powerless in front a social phenomenon much bigger than themselves. Now more people are starting to see that it might be turned back so they see a point in participating.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
I don't think these are big enough problems in terms of negative impacts to our population compared to "real" problems like having no health care, spending trillions on pointless wars, money absolutely controlling politics at every level nationally, increasing wealth disparities, and many more. Where are the population-level statistics showing this is a real and growing problem compared to the things we KNOW are problems?

and

2) This type of problem is inherently nebulous and largely individually defined.
If you want a simple, straightforward illustration of both why it's a problem and a very concrete example of it, look at Donald Trump. People like him are beyond saving but there may be plenty of boys and young men who might want to be like him and can benefit from realizing that that way of living has the poisonous allure of Tony Montana's story.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 05-17-2019 at 05:26 PM.
  #166  
Old 05-17-2019, 05:27 PM
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Sorry about that, the quote thing doubled up and the more I try to fix it, the worse it gets.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:24 PM
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Honestly? Being men. Not "toxic masculinity," just being male, which is reliably associated with higher risk-taking and higher rates of substance abuse, higher rates of suicide, and other things.
I’m just going to respond to this because I couldn’t disagree more with this one sentence.

There is nothing inherently masculine about substance abuse and suicide. You shrugging these problems off as “men being men” is problematic because it suggests no matter what the stats say, you are going to conclude it’s because of innate nature. No questions asked about social pressures and the environment. No attempt to probe whether risk taking and violence might actually be promoted in men because of macho cultural influences. Because to you it’s all about just being male.

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I'm glad that we're here on this topic, because it speaks to my first objection (is this even a problem), but you're really just taking a bunch of bad stuff associated with being male (you left out higher rates of violence, incidentally), and saying "it's because of toxic masculinity" with no proof or evidence.
And you’re not doing the same thing, just in another way? Where’s the evidence that “just being male” is behind the male suicide epidemic?

You know, 200 years ago, it was conventional wisdom that women were too fragile to do anything except stay at home and take care of kids. It was commonly believed that women befuddled with complex problem solving (like math) was “just being female”. Fainting at the first sign of danger, vanity to the point of disability (like foot binding), and inability to physically exert themselves without taking ill for days afterward were other pathologies associated with “just being female”.

Well, we now know the truth was that these afflictions largely arose from a culture that rewarded women who conformed to certain gender expectations and stigmatized those that didn’t. Women who were smart, decisive, and strong were punished in both subtle and unsubtle ways. If you weren’t likened to a man outright, maybe you were treated to fear-mongering about how no man wants to marry a woman who is smarter than him. Maybe not universally was this the case, but commonly enough to have a real impact on behavior.

But times have changed. The stereotype of the fainting and child-like waif that typified the feminine persona in the 1700s has been replaced by a much less helpless and weak one. Women can be emotionally, mentally, and physically strong and not have their gender card revoked.

If we could change how women expressed their gender identities by raising awareness of sexism and continuously challenging stereotypes that reinforce the “fainting and child-like waif” model of femininity, why should we treat men as if they, and only they, are immutable creatures driven purely by biology?

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If it's steadily decreasing, why are we worried?
I don’t think male substance abuse and suicide are decreasing, and neither is mass violence perpetrated by men. Do you have stats to support your opinion?

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What do you want ME to do?
A start would be to begin questioning the whole “just being male” thing. If more people did that, perhaps we’d be capable of countering the social pressures that have been doing men a disservice for a long time.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:05 PM
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Is it? I'd be willing to bet that if you plotted a time-wise trend, the incidence of most of these things have gone down over time. So did toxic masculinity peak in the 1700's, and has been steadily decreasing since then? If it's steadily decreasing, why are we worried?

I don't think behaviors that are toxic today were necessarily toxic in the yesteryear.

For instance, today the modern workplace is very collaborative and team-oriented. Getting along with everyone and being able to simulate a "people person" are essential skills. There are still quite a few niches for the lone rugged individualist, but if you can't socialize well enough to build a solid professional network, you're going to have a rough time in this economy.

Of course, both women and men can be lone rugged individualists who struggle with socializing and "making friends" in the workplace. But men are much more likely to have this problem. I don't think all of this can be attributed to social programming, but I think social expectations can be unhelpful in addressing this problem. Like, take my brother. I love him, but he can be a rude and surly mofo sometimes. If I acted like he does around my mother, she'd yell at me for acting so "ugly". But my brother can say any ole thing and she'll just roll her eyes. It's been like this since we were kids. I gotta wonder how many of the guys getting written up for harassment in the workplace have mothers like mine. Back in the "Mad Men" days of the 1950s and 60s, these guys' behavior wouldn't have been so toxic, in that they wouldn't have faced negative consequences. They might have even been advantageous.

Another thing that's changing in society is the decrease in the number of well-paying "macho" jobs. If your father and grandfather and all your uncles worked in these kind of jobs, you just may associate these kind of jobs with what "real men" do. So if you can't find those kind of jobs, you might feel like you'd rather do low-paying jobs that are still "manly" rather than take a good-paying job that's"girly", like nursing or teaching. Genderizing occupations like this wasn't so self-defeating "back in the day". But it is today since good-paying jobs are so limited.

Finally, gender roles are changing in romantic relationships. The modern woman expects an equal partner--someone who is willing and eager to put in just as much as work as she does for home and family. So the guy who has absorbed the message that running a vacuum isn't "manly" or that diapering the baby "is the woman's job" is at risk of losing his relationship. The guy who thinks that talking about emotions isn't what "real men" do is at risk of losing his relationship. A hundred years ago, women had super low expectations for their male partners since women were constrained in their choices (be an unfulfilled but well-fed housewife or be an impoverished spinster). So a guy who thinks domesticity is "for girls" wouldn't have had a toxic mindset back then. That really isn't true today.

In summary, what constitutes "toxic" is context-specific. I actually think toxic masculinity is such a hot topic nowadays because we're just now becoming aware of how traditional masculinity is at odds with modern society. Brains and emotional intelligence are outcompeting brawn for jobs. The modern woman isn't willing to put up with the kind of bullshit her mother and grandmother put up when it comes to mate selection. The modern workplace is not conducive for the uncouth male. So I don't think you can say that things were more toxic in the past than they are now. At least toxic in terms of self-harm.
  #169  
Old 05-17-2019, 08:47 PM
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Its no surprise that Andrew Yang, who courted 4chan and the meme culture, who got positive press from the Daily Stormer and Richard Spencer tweeted favorably about, got interviewed by an alt-right propaganda outlet.
So the alt-right is a collection of right-wing, white nationalist movements that supports a left-wing, Democratic, person of color running for President. That makes perfect sense.



By which I mean to say that it's utterly insane nonsense.
  #170  
Old 05-17-2019, 11:05 PM
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... being male, which is reliably associated with higher risk-taking and higher rates of substance abuse, higher rates of suicide, and other things. ...
FWIW a small fact check: completed suicide rates are not cross culturally reliably higher in males.
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... While the gender paradox of suicidal behavior is common, particularly in industrialized countries, it is not universal, she said. In China, for example, women die of suicide at higher rates than men. In Finland and Ireland, men and women engage in nonfatal suicidal behavior at similar rates. There are more exceptions to the gender paradox of suicidal behavior when one examines female/male patterns of suicidality by age or culture, ...

... A broad cultural perspective shows that women and men do not consistently differ in terms of the kinds of suicidal behavior they engage in, or with regard to the circumstances or the motives of their suicidal behavior," she said. "When women and men differ with regard to some dimensions of suicidal behavior, the meaning and salience of these differences vary from one social group to another, one culture to another, one historical period to another, depending on local scripts of gender and suicidal behavior." The cultural variability in patterns and scripts of women's and men's suicidal behavior calls for "culturally situated suicidality research and prevention," Canetto said.
  #171  
Old 05-17-2019, 11:47 PM
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So the alt-right is a collection of right-wing, white nationalist movements that supports a left-wing, Democratic, person of color running for President. That makes perfect sense.
...you are absolutely correct. The Alt-right don't make any sense.

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By which I mean to say that it's utterly insane nonsense.
9/11 Truthers are utterly insane nonsense. Birtherism is utterly insane nonsense. The "grassy knoll" conspiracy theory is utterly insane nonsense. Pizzagate is utterly insane nonsense. Goobergate was utterly insane nonsense. Comicsgate is utterly insane nonsense. The Alt-right is utterly insane nonsense. Of course it doesn't make any fucking sense. I think you are starting to get it now.
  #172  
Old 05-27-2019, 03:06 AM
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It makes no sense to assume that the small biological differences in men and women would produce large outcomes like a systematic oppression of women and a culture where men must be the strongest and compete with one another.

You can simply look at the evidence to see that masculine culture and feminine culture are different, and that it is directly the culture that leads to sexism. Why would men think women are inferior if not for the culture of having to try and be superior? Why would innate biological differences make men think women are inferior?

Any argument that something major is due to innate physical characteristics just doesn't make any sense. We can trace our cultures back to those differences, but still the cultures are clearly what predominates everything.

Finally, there's just the obviousness of how removing the toxic masculinity fixes problem. Men don't feel the need to beat up each other. They don't feel the need to show themselves to be superior to women. They don't hold in their emotions and wind up with more psychological illness. They just act in a more rational manner, not feeling the need to "win" but being more interested in the truth.

It's just undeniable that the men who try to give up following toxic masculine ideals turn out to be better. While the guys who hold onto them aren't. Even if you did somehow blame it on physiology, there are men out there fighting that physiology and they are better. The idea works.

I've never met someone who is actually a good person, actually helping the world, who embraces toxic masculinity. The concept just describes things that we all know are wrong, and thus disadvantageous to our prosperity as a species. That's what "wrong" means.
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:17 AM
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I'm very left-leaning
In what way, pray tell?
  #174  
Old 05-27-2019, 07:25 AM
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I've never met someone who is actually a good person, actually helping the world, who embraces toxic masculinity. The concept just describes things that we all know are wrong, and thus disadvantageous to our prosperity as a species. That's what "wrong" means.
I have met plenty of good guys who embrace elements of toxic masculinity. Just thinking you have to be to be strong all the time is toxic. So is being a workaholic because you think it's the "man's" job to be the breadwinner and only a "weak" man would allow his wife to carry him.

Plenty of good guys have copped to feeling like a "loser" because they are virgins. If this isn't the manifestation of toxic masculinity, I don't know what is.

I think labeling toxic masculinity as something only "bad" people embrace is a very unhelpful way at looking at this. All of us have potentially toxic beliefs that we've absorbed from our social envirfonment. To whit, a woman who thinks she's unlovable unless she's beautiful has embraced a toxic belief, but that doesn't mean she's a toxic person. She may pass that belief onto her daughters as easily as she passes the belief that women are just as smart and capable as men. Making this a "good people" versus "bad people" thing is turning a complex problem into a damn cartoon. It's no different than defining "racism" as something only the KKK espouses, when all of us are vulnerable to harboring racist beliefs and prejudice.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:09 AM
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Plenty of good guys have copped to feeling like a "loser" because they are virgins. If this isn't the manifestation of toxic masculinity, I don't know what is.
A manifestation of toxic sexual paradigms which affect members of both sexes equally. Being a 40yo virgin is supposed to be a failure, nay, to make you a failure whether you're male or female. Heck, the way teen magazines and romances put it, if you're an 18yo virgin you're not gonna get laid in ever and your whole life is doomed to worthlessness. It doesn't matter if you happen to be asexual and to discover cures for twelve different types of cancers, vaccines for three others: you're a loser.
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  #176  
Old 05-27-2019, 08:54 AM
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A manifestation of toxic sexual paradigms which affect members of both sexes equally. Being a 40yo virgin is supposed to be a failure, nay, to make you a failure whether you're male or female. Heck, the way teen magazines and romances put it, if you're an 18yo virgin you're not gonna get laid in ever and your whole life is doomed to worthlessness. It doesn't matter if you happen to be asexual and to discover cures for twelve different types of cancers, vaccines for three others: you're a loser.
I don't think it affects members of both sexes equally, though I agree it affects members of both sexes.

When I was 18, I wasn't aware that my virginal status made me a "loser". Being a girl, no one had put it into my head that I was supposed to have had sexual conquests at that age. No one had told me that getting some dick at that age would make me into a "woman". Indeed, I was taught that "real ladies" don't talk about getting some dick, because that's what "nasty" girls do.


I didn't start getting the business from "concerned" people until I hit my 30s. But even then, these concerned people didn't make any mention of me "fulfilling my womanhood". It was about being "normal" and "healthy". I did indeed feel "loserish", but I think it's inevitable to feel some kind of way when you're in a society that values relationships, sex, marriage, and babies as much as ours does.

I doubt guys have the same experience, though. The average 30-year-old virginal guy has spent the past 12-15 years being bombarded with the message that he's a loser if he isn't screwing...or at least doesn't have a girl he can parade around to perpetrate like he's screwing. And it's not presented to him that he's a "loser in a general sense" if he's not getting any. No, he's told that his sexuality and maleness are one in the same, so he's not a real man if he isn't having sex. To be a virgin guy is to be a "broken" guy. In contrast, before a certain age, being a virginal woman is actually seen as a good thing. You might be weird, but at least you're innocent and "pure"--like a "real lady" is supposed to be. Even in these modern times these attitudes are still held and expressed.

To me, to say virgin-shaming is experienced equally by men and women is like saying that the "living with parents well into adulthood" stigma is experienced equally by men and women. And that too would be incorrect. A woman who lives with her parents may not be the most desirable romantic partner, but the "loser" label is less likely to be attached to her. It is much more likely that she will be assumed to be the caretaker of her parents rather than the other way around. At the very least, no one will assume that all she does is play video games in the basement all day while shouting at her mom to bring her tendies. Guys do have to deal with this stigma, though. Guys being provided for = loser. Girls being provided for = more information is needed to judge the situation.

Last edited by monstro; 05-27-2019 at 08:55 AM.
  #177  
Old 05-27-2019, 08:55 AM
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^I don’t believe the virgin stigma applies to both genders equally. A virgin woman can tell the world that she’s just waiting for the right guy and that will be treated as plausible. She can spin her lack of experience as a virtue arising from selectiveness and self-respect. A virgin man can’t do this half as easily.

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  #178  
Old 05-27-2019, 09:24 AM
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It makes no sense ...

<snip>

... It's just undeniable that ...
Years back I read a very funny bit that gave a translation guide for reading papers. Basic idea was a list of phrases that should be read replacing them with "I have no support of ..."

Pretty much all sexually dimorphic species have significant difference in the roles filled by the different genders. This includes species with culture and our closest relative species like the chimpanzee, which includes male dominance, with males being much more physically aggressive, more likely to range more broadly and hunt, and with females more likely to spend more time gathering and nurturing with less physical conflict.

Human hunter-gatherer societies are thought by some to have had a more level playing field in group decision making and shared power than our nearest non-human primate relatives, with some hypothesizing that it allowed for some advantages to the groups that had less inequality, but agriculture's onset flipped that dynamic: the innate differences between human genders drove the development of increased sexual inequalities and the nature of cultural male/female expectations within the context of that development. Cultures did not just get dropped down from above; they emerged as a consequence, and across the world as agriculture displaced hunter-gathering, similar (not exactly the same mind you) stereotyped expectations of male and female behaviors and roles became the norms.

I doubt there is much to support a statement that males who completely reject the male stereotypes are more successful or "better" other than by defining "better" as not having internalized the stereotype. Many of the traits connected to the stereotype are those associated with success and leadership. Of course "toxic" anything is by definition when the dose of it is harmful, so that becomes a bit tautological and only can be meaningful when asking what is the "toxic dose" of internalization of the caricature.

It is actually quite remarkable and unexpected from a cross-species analysis that humans have the capacity to not have our genders define our roles and behaviors within our group behaviors. But while agricultural societies led to the innate physical and behavioral difference having huge impacts on cultural expectations and stereotypes, we are now in a very different time with our modern information-driven world being an environment that favors traits differently. One does better gathering the exact right bits of information than hunting to kill the big fact. In an information-driven world one who can manage the social groups is more valuable than one who dominates them with force.

We are fairly special and remarkable (although I doubt unique) as a species on this planet to have the ability to change our cultures as our cultures change our world and to flatten the differences in gender-related expectations and judgements (by selves and others). We can recognize that certain caricatures of gender-related roles and behaviors handicap our society from achieving more and harm various individual members of it of both genders.

Last edited by DSeid; 05-27-2019 at 09:25 AM.
  #179  
Old 05-27-2019, 09:32 AM
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Reflecting on the three years I spent in a very "macho" workplace...

A lot of my coworkers were single. However, just about every conversation they had was about "banging some chick". And when they weren't talking about that, they were talking about the "hot chick" they just saw out in the hallway or the "monster" they just saw in the cafeteria.

My guess is that this was their way of signaling their "maleness". As in "I don't have a girlfriend and I'm not married, but I'm still a MAN, as evidenced by how much I talk about sex and girls!" The one married guy in the lab would chime in sometimes, but his contributions weren't nearly as graphic. Because he didn't have anything to prove.

Not all single guys act this way, but I'm not thinking this was an isolated thing I witnessed. I can easily see how a virginal guy would be pressured to participate in that conversation just to "prove" his membership to the club, and then go home feeling like a big fake-ass loser.
  #180  
Old 05-27-2019, 09:50 AM
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DSeid's post made me do a little googling.

The successful manager and psychological androgyny: a conceptual and empirical investigation of hotel executives

This research relates to the point I made upthread. What we think of "toxic masculinity" really hasn't always been "toxic". In fact, it may have been advantageous back in the day. But what worked back then doesn't necessarily work now. As more and more jobs become "service-oriented" (like hotel management), it won't be the "man's man" who automatically rises to the top. It will be the person--male or female--who has a balance of feminine and masculine traits. The guy who is tightly married to a traditional masculine self-concept will have a hard time competing in a society where everyone--male or female--is expected to buck gender roles and expectations.
  #181  
Old 05-27-2019, 09:53 AM
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... My guess is that this was their way of signaling their "maleness". As in "I don't have a girlfriend and I'm not married, but I'm still a MAN, as evidenced by how much I talk about sex and girls!" The one married guy in the lab would chime in sometimes, but his contributions weren't nearly as graphic. Because he didn't have anything to prove.
...
There was an interesting "Hidden Brain" episode, "Playing the Gender Card", which discussed, among other things, how men who performed less "manly" tasks, who felt their meeting the caricature threatened, were more likely to behave in comport with the stereotype in other ways. One study they discussed was having men doing the same tying task once in a context in which it was able to thought of as a man's job related and another in which it was presented as braiding hair. They were then given choices of recreational behaviors to do, either solving puzzles or punching a bag. The men who had been randomized into hair braiding more commonly chose the punching a bag and tended to punch it hard. Here's about the study itself but the whole ep is relevant to this discussion.
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Modern men – from the Jersey Shore tan-gym-laundry guys to the post-modernist male feminist – defend against threats to their traditional notions of manhood with aggression. And as it turns out, it doesn’t take much to rattle their sense of studliness – something as benign as asking men to braid hair will do it.

The researchers found that situational and cultural factors that remind men of the precariousness of manhood also increase the likelihood of male aggression.

Parts of their studies have involved an experiment in which men were asked to braid hair while a control group braided rope. After the task, the two groups were offered a choice of punching a bag or solving a puzzle. The men who braided hair were more likely to want to punch a bag and they punched harder than the rope braiders.

The scientists’ conclusion: Men who felt their masculinity was threatened by partaking in a traditionally feminine activity sought to reestablish their masculinity with aggression. Anyone who has ever seen a guy pick a bar fight can see the logic.

“We’ve gotten a lot of comments from men who say, ‘I’m not that way; I’m not that Neanderthal,’” Bosson said.

“The most liberal, non-homophobic men in our studies were just as uncomfortable braiding hair as those who hold very traditional beliefs about gender roles. Men’s anxiety about violating the male gender role is almost like a classically conditioned response. People have no control over it.”
It fits with your observation that the single men behaved in that way to "prove" (to others and themselves) something that the married man had no need to signify.
  #182  
Old 05-27-2019, 11:30 AM
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our closest relative species like the chimpanzee, which includes male dominance, with males being much more physically aggressive, more likely to range more broadly and hunt, and with females more likely to spend more time gathering and nurturing with less physical conflict.
We're equally as close to bonobos as we are to chimpanzees, and they're nothing like that.

Biological determinism is easy when you cherry-pick your examples.

Last edited by MrDibble; 05-27-2019 at 11:32 AM.
  #183  
Old 05-27-2019, 12:00 PM
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Bonobos most certainly have strong differences in behaviors, traits, and roles played within the group by gender. They are different differences than with chimpanzees (for example bonobos have female dominance with female aggressiveness towards males), but they are clearly mostly innate and consistent, not primarily a result of culture imposing the roles upon them. This is not to claim that such innate biological determinism is absolute within non-human primates, I doubt it is, but differences between the genders within the groups, in roles and behaviors, is not primarily a result of their cultures.

Again, we humans are, relative to the bonobo and the chimp, remarkable and exceptional in our ability to have less rigidity in our gender roles and expectations and to have culture, a potentially more fluid and adaptable entity, be the more prime determinant of them than any biological determinism.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:29 PM
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we humans are, relative to the bonobo and the chimp, remarkable and exceptional in our ability to have less rigidity in our gender roles and expectations and to have culture, a potentially more fluid and adaptable entity, be the more prime determinant of them than any biological determinism.
That's nice and all. but my point stands - you chose to emphasize the chimp, not the bonobo, in your little biological determinism fable.
  #185  
Old 05-27-2019, 02:16 PM
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Indeed when closest non-human primate is the prompt I think chimp.

The point in contention was a claim that it makes no sense that such big differences in the roles of men and women in societies can be anything other than the result of culture.

Across species with sexual dimorphism, including those with cultures and our nearest relatives, the chimps and the bonobos, traits and roles are not mostly culturally determined but based on small biological differences. Including the bonobo makes the point more. The small biological differences between the bonobo and the chimp leads to very different gender roles. Not cultural factors.

Again it is more the remarkable and surprising thing that so much of it is cultural for us humans.

Last edited by DSeid; 05-27-2019 at 02:17 PM.
  #186  
Old 05-27-2019, 03:41 PM
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Indeed when closest non-human primate is the prompt I think chimp.
And my point is there's no scientific reason to think chimp and not bonobo.
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The small biological differences between the bonobo and the chimp leads to very different gender roles. Not cultural factors.
I don't think we're actually in a position to say there isn't a cultural component to the chimp-bonobo behavioural differences. There is a biological component, that's not in question. But there's also clear environmental differences, and cultural differences can't be that easily dismissed.
  #187  
Old 05-27-2019, 04:12 PM
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Related to what MrDibble just posted:

Emergence of a peaceful culture in wild baboons
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