A Philosopher's Blog

The End of Men I

Posted in Ethics, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on June 28, 2010

Hanna Rosin recently wrote a provocative article entitled “The End of Men” for the Atlantic. Being a philosopher and a man, I thought it would be interesting to critique the essay. Hence, the following critique.

Rosin begins her article discussing Ronald Ericsson, the biologist who developed a means to increase the likelihood that a specific sex could be selected by parents when using artificial means of reproduction.

Not surprisingly, some feminists were rather concerned about this method. As Rosin notes, Roberta Steinbacher expressed worries that this method would be used to ensure male dominance. However, this did not turn out to be the case. The data is that parents now select girls to boys at a 2 to 1 ratio. A newer method, called MicroSort, apparently is used to select girls 75% of the time, at least in clinical trials (which might conceivably influence the results).

Interesting enough, the feminists who were so concerned when they thought Ericsson’s methods would be used to perpetuate male dominance seem to be rather silent. Perhaps this is because they are less worried about such methods in general. Or perhaps it is because the current situation favors females over males. However, speculation about motives is not my primary concern here. Rather, it seems more important to consider if the earlier feminist arguments against using the methods to produce more males can be used today to argue against these methods being used to produce more females. If so and if the arguments from then are strong, then they could be pressed into service today. In any case, it does seem reasonable to be concerned when one sex seems to be getting a leg up over the other. Of even greater concern is the future social implications if the ratio of women to men changes significantly. While this might be beneficial in some ways, there could also be negative consequences that should be considered.

That said, the available selection methods do not work in “natural” reproduction-the ratio of males to females remains the same. Since most reproduction is “natural”, the impact on the population as a whole should be fairly minimal. However, the preferences for females is an interesting change. As Rosin points out, sons have been generally preferred over daughters throughout history.

However, as the title of her essay suggests, this has changed. As she points out, the world is less male dominated now and the preference for sons has diminished. In fact, she claims that the situation is now reversed: there is a preference now for daughters over sons.

Like other thinkers before her, she then turns to considering factors that might be contributing to this change. One option she considers is that women have an advantage in the current economic system.

As I have discussed in earlier blogs of my own, one reason for the change is that the economic meltdown damaged male-dominated industries more heavily than those dominated by women. This, of course, does not entail that women will thus continue to do better than men. After all, these industries might recover and thus swing things back towards the way they were. However, Rosin contends that this shift is not merely a a matter of a temporary economic disaster. Rather, she contends that there is a real and lasting change in the economy and one that is very much in favor of women. This is, of course, an empirical matter and will be settled by the passage of time.

In any case, Rosin is correct to point out that women have become the majority in higher education. For example, for every two men who earn a B.A. or B.S. there are three women. This, obviously enough, will translate into greater employment and economic opportunities for women. After all, education is generally key to getting a job and also a significant factor in the salary of jobs.

As I have pointed out in previous blogs and my book, it is interesting that the feminists who were concerned when men dominated education seem to be rather silent now that men are the minority. Of course, as I have argued before, the same arguments that feminists used in the past in this context can be dusted off and modified a bit to argue that we are in a situation of unjust inequality.

Interestingly, when Rosin was being interviewed on the Colbert Report, Colbert asked her if the affirmative action programs for women would be discontinued. I think this is an excellent question. After all, if women are dominated education and so on, there hardly seems to be any need to maintain programs that were intended (in theory)to bring about equality. After all, they have done that and, in fact, have helped swing the inequality the other way.

While it might be argued that the programs are still needed to keep things from sliding back, that would seem to be more of an excuse to keep a system that favors women in place. While closing these programs would probably result in some shift back towards men, women seem to have taken a commanding enough lead to make such programs unnecessary. In fact, there seems to now be a need for programs for men. If an argument is needed, it is easy enough to go back to when men dominated education and dig up the arguments the feminists used to argue for these very successful programs for women.

About these ads

28 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. magus71 said, on June 28, 2010 at 7:53 am

    see, here’s the problem with giving up power: It assumes the other side will use the power in better ways than you did.

    That’s why I won’t do it. It’s not about having power to do wrong. It’s about knowing you can’t control the other side, only yourself.

    Even Donna tells me women have it easier. Different physical fitness standards in the military, guys kissing ass in the hopes of getting layed, metrosexuals trying to show their sensitive side.

    Screw those people. If they want my spot, they can earn it. I’m one of the last remaining chauvinists. It’s only the last 4 decades of ease that have allowed us to cook up all kinds of alternate realities. When things get tough again, it’ll be like hitting the reset buttom, and men will be back doing what they’ve done for 10,000 years: Running the show. For now, we’ll let the females worry about if their purse matches their shoes and think they can lead.

    • freddiek said, on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 am

      Ah! W, BO, BP, and OBL aren’t to blame for the Wall Street crisis, unemployment,the Deepwater Horizon debacle, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorism. It’s women and “spaghetti[ni] armed metro-sexuals”. :)

      • magus71 said, on June 28, 2010 at 10:49 am

        You should give up your power. I’ll take what you don’t want.

      • magus71 said, on June 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

        And one could argue the Wall Street and unemployment issue:

        http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~iversen/PDFfiles/LottKenny.pdf

        The female vote is notoriously liberal and thus Democrat.

        I’m with Ayn Rand and Ann Coulter on this: Women shouldn’t be in charge.

        “I think [women] should be armed but should not vote…women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it…it’s always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care.”~Ann Coulter

        “I think the other point that no one is making about the [Abu Ghraib] abuse photos is just the disproportionate number of women involved, including a girl general running the entire operation. I mean, this is lesson, you know, number 1,000,047 on why women shouldn’t be in the military. In addition to not being able to carry even a medium-sized backpack, women are too vicious.”~Ann Coulter

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpzDdTrw5II

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm

          I’m note sure Ann Coultier is a good source for discerning the nature of women. Assuming, of course, they have a nature.

          • magus71 said, on June 29, 2010 at 12:26 am

            I just said I agreewith what she said–and she’s a woman. She didn’t form my view.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

      There are plenty of chauvinists left. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Of course, some of the chauvinists are women.

    • magus71 said, on June 29, 2010 at 12:39 am

      Magus<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<PROUD CHAUVINIST

      Not saying women have less value. Just that they have a lane and so do I. When people cross lanes, car wrecks happen.

      It is my observation that women are not good leaders. They generally lack confidence despite being given a helping hand by nearly every man. The Marine Corp started a wilderness survival course just for females, because they found the men were always helping them. It's the Western way.

      Women just need to admit they have it pretty damn good here in the US. Oh–and it pretty much is just in the US. Come to Germany. The men treat women like crap.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm

        There are some very good female leaders and many very bad male leaders. Fortunately, confidence and leadership can be measured with a degree of objectivity.

        Historically, there have been some impressive female leaders. I’d say that Thatcher was a successful leader. Catherine the Great, too. Also, I’d say that Victoria and Elizabeth did a pretty good job. Going back even more, Theodora (Justinian’s wife) certainly had the right stuff.

        • magus71 said, on June 30, 2010 at 1:15 am

          I admit that that the women you named were good leaders. But in my opinion, it’s like saying that women are good tennis players because Venus Williams is a good player–ranked #2 in teh world amongst women– and a woman. But put her up against Roger Federer and she wouldn’t last long.

          Remember when we had to prove to ourselves that women were men’s equal in tennis by putting #1 ranked Billy Jean King against Bobby Riggs whom was 55 years old at the time?

          I’m being honest here, and people won’t like it. Where I work, when most women are put in even minor leadership roles they are hesitant, lack confidence, get lots of help from male associates, whine a lot. I’m just calling it as I see it.

          Isn’t it telling, Mike, that you had to go back to the 80s for your list of great female leaders? Now I will admit, I’d vote for Elizabeth of Thatcher in a heartbeat. But where the heck are they?

          It doesn’t matter to me too much why females I’m around aren’t great leaders. I don’t know if it’s cultural or genetic–I suspect both. I think they’re like that because they’ve had it too easy, the hard stuff done for them. But when I’m in the field and I need someone who’s assertive, confident and competant, a female hardly ever comes to mind. The Army has to force many women into leadership roles because they avoid them.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 30, 2010 at 6:03 pm

            There are some notable female leaders post 1980s. For example, Hillary Clinton.

            Today, there is an emphasis on redefining leadership so that women fit the definition better than men. It will be interesting to see if this pans out or is merely semantics.

  2. Asur said, on June 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    It’s depressing when feminism abandons equality yet still attempts to use it as a moral shield for its views.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      As a general rule, people are all for equality until the inequality is in their favor.

      What I find rather interesting about this situation is that the feminists who were so vocal for women’s equality seem to be rather quiet about the plight of men. Moral consistency would seem to entail that what was wrong in the case of women should also be wrong for men.

  3. freddiek said, on June 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    “. . .the economic meltdown damaged male-dominated industries more heavily than those dominated by women”
    Is this because more industries are/were male-dominated? Or because female-dominated industries are managed better?”

    Ann Coulter–Rotting carcass on dry rye toast!!
    “I’m note sure Ann Coultier is a good source for discerning the nature of women. Assuming, of course, they have a nature.” Assuming, of course,AC is a woman. . .

    Black/women–White/men
    In the race/gender 10k
    1st place goes to:White men
    White women
    Black men
    Last place goes to: Black women

    Seem like the same old arguments in different-shaped, different-colored bottles.

    Here’s something to keep females of all ages in their place:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fetishes-i-dont-get/201006/can-you-hear-us-now

    • freddiek said, on June 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      kernunos :Yes, I’m convinced Beck feels he’s been the subject “of death threats and vicious attacks on himself for years.” As certain as I am that he felt the American health care system was terrible when he worked for one network and was equally as certain it is the best in the world after he had changed networks the following year. (see video) I’m also concerned for the mental health of any person, man or woman, who cries so readily. Anyway, this vid never grows old (and for some reason, it never seems to hit home with Beck’s flock). Does the following not “discredit the message” he gives?

      And what, exactly, is your defense of Limbaugh’s attack on Michael J. Fox? Or do you, too, feel Fox is faking it? Does the following not “discredit the message” he gives? Surely his four marriages “discredit” some part of “the message” on conservativism and family values he has spouted over the years?

      FYI: AC isn’t literally a “Rotting carcass on dry rye toast!!” Metaphorically,however, the smell of her “message” is very much like unto that of a “Rotting carcass on dry rye toast!! And like the messages of Limbaugh and Beck—her messages have smelled so frequently.

      BTW: Anyway, anytime you want to stop deflecting and get back to some of the other thoughts in my 6/28 4:55pm post. . . .

    • magus71 said, on June 29, 2010 at 12:28 am

      “Or because female-dominated industries are managed better?”

      Which industry would that be?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

      Many factors are involved in the difference. One might be that more industries are male dominated. Another is that these male dominated industries were the ones most connected to the collapse. For example, the housing crash impacted home repairs and house building-which tend to be male dominated. Also, the female dominated industries tend to be lower paying. Companies looking to save money will tend to cut the higher paid (but not the highest paid-the CEOs and other top earners) jobs.

  4. kernunos said, on June 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    ‘Ann Coulter–Rotting carcass on dry rye toast!!
    “I’m note sure Ann Coultier is a good source for discerning the nature of women. Assuming, of course, they have a nature.” Assuming, of course,AC is a woman. . .’

    Liberal Progressive tactics 101
    1.) Make fun of
    2.) Discredit if that doesn’t work
    3.) Try to destroy social, political or economic means in the end.

    • freddiek said, on June 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm

      Too bad I didn’t lie or misrepresent, else you could have put that on your list. And we could sit down together someday sippin’ on our cold, sweatin’ cans o’beer and listenin’ to RL or watchin’ GB and havin’ a good laugh.*

      “femi-Nazis”, etc. Then there’s this gem:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/24/AR2006102400691.html

      and this

      http://mediamatters.org/research/201006020069?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mediamatters%2Flatest+%28Media+Matters+-+Latest+Items%29

      Oh, if we could only entice a socio-political archaeologist to rummage around in the reeking landfill of political history and find the origins of such tactics. . .

      Note: I omit KO here. Our archaeologist has yet to embark on his work, his results are yet to be revealed, and until then I just have to go with the evidence at hand and judge KO to be more civilized than the best elements of RL and GB combined. :)

      • kernunos said, on June 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm

        Again, you are trying to discredit the two based not on the message they give but of side antics. Glenn Beck has lived in the shadow of death threats and vicious attacks on himself for years. I never hold anyone to one incident. Even the president can be wrong at times calling Cambridge police stupid. Does that dicredit him?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      I’m not making fun of her. Rather, I am questioning her quality as an expert in this field.

      • magus71 said, on June 30, 2010 at 2:08 am

        Who’s the expert? I suspect you’ve come to your conclusion based on her politics.

  5. freddiek said, on June 28, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    kernunos :Yes, I’m convinced Beck feels he’s been the subject “of death threats and vicious attacks on himself for years.” As certain as I am that he felt the American health care system was terrible when he worked for one network and was equally as certain it is the best in the world after he had changed networks the following year. (see video) I’m also concerned for the mental health of any person, man or woman, who cries so readily. Anyway, this vid never grows old (and for some reason, it never seems to hit home with Beck’s flock). Does the following not “discredit the message” he gives?

    And what, exactly, is your defense of Limbaugh’s attack on Michael J. Fox? Or do you, too, feel Fox is faking it? Does the following not “discredit the message” he gives? Surely his four marriages “discredit” some part of “the message” on conservativism and family values he has spouted over the years?

    FYI: AC isn’t literally a “Rotting carcass on dry rye toast!!” Metaphorically,however, the smell of her “message” is very much like unto that of a “Rotting carcass on dry rye toast!! And like the messages of Limbaugh and Beck—her messages have smelled so frequently.

    BTW: Anyway, anytime you want to stop deflecting and get back to some of the other thoughts in my 6/28 4:55pm post. . . .

  6. kernunos said, on June 29, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    “And what, exactly, is your defense of Limbaugh’s attack on Michael J. Fox? Or do you, too, feel Fox is faking it? Does the following not “discredit the message” he gives? Surely his four marriages “discredit” some part of “the message” on conservativism and family values he has spouted over the years?”

    I don’t think I need to defend it. Either he was laying it on thick or not. That is the Opinion of Rush that he might have been. You cannot prove if he was one way or another just as rush cannot. I’m not sure why I would have to defend Rush’s opinion on a matter. I never really cared either way. MJF was being used as a political tool to push fetal stem cell research. Four marriages? I thought it was two. Rush is a family values talk show? Apparently you listen more than I do. Your 6/28 4:55 post had more thoughts in it?

    • freddiek said, on June 29, 2010 at 10:48 pm

      Your critique of Michael J. Fox is ‘intriguing’. “MJF was being used as a political tool to push fetal stem cell research.” . . . Parkinson’s is apparently not the disease you think it is. A person at certain stages of the disease is likely perfectly capable of thinking for himself. Ask a neurologist. Ask Fox’s neurologist.Or perhaps you have proof that Fox was being “used”
      (other than that you and Rush disagree with his views).

      http://www.neurologychannel.com/parkinsonsdisease/symptoms.shtml

      Limbaugh is on his fourth wife.
      “Rush is a family values talk show?”Not what I wrote. FV is a big tent. See Wikipedia, Family Values, Conservative Definition, second and third bullet items. That’s “’the message’ on conservatism and family values he has spouted over the years” I was referring to. El Rushbo has worked to keep a base that includes a certain group of people.That he can continue to appeal to these people despite drug and personal “frailties” (taking religious vows and coming up dry three times) that should have him tossed out of their tent continues to mystify me.

  7. freddiek said, on June 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    kernunos: No, it’s four. So it’s no surprise you’re so misinformed about Michael J. Fox. You assume a man with Parkinson’s disease must be “being used as a political tool”. Why so? Are people with Parkinson’s incapable of thinking independently? :)
    Here’s a list that may assist your thinking on the subject.

    http://www.neurologychannel.com/parkinsonsdisease/symptoms.shtml

    Or perhaps you think Limbaugh’s diagnosis is more accurate than Fox’s neurosurgeon’s diagnosis. . .

    “Rush is a family values talk show?” Didn’t say that. He’s pushed family values (anti-gay/anti-gay marriage) insofar as it has satisfied the needs of a part of his “base”–the anti-gay part.* Family values is broadly defined. See Wikipedia “Family Values” under Conservative Definitions” spec. 2nd and 3rd bullet items. Obviously, his drug abuse and multiple ‘marriages’ would tend to make thinking people question the contradiction between the one angle and the other, but it doesn’t. :(

    * You should find informative the following quotation from RL in the middle of the following article:

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30631

    “Imagine we identify the gene – assuming that there is one, this is hypothetical – that will tell us prior to birth that a baby is going to be gay. Just like a baby is gonna be redheaded and freckled and maybe tend to be overweight and so we tell the parents that, and the parents say “Nope, don’t wanna give birth to that child, [it's] not gonna have a fair chance. Who wants to give birth to an overweight, freckle-faced redhead?” Bam. So we abort the kid.

    Well, you add to this, let’s say we discover the gene that says the kid’s gonna be gay. How many parents, if they knew before the kid was gonna be born, [that he] was gonna be gay, they would take the pregnancy to term? Well, you don’t know but let’s say half of them said, “Oh, no, I don’t wanna do that to a kid.” [Then the] gay community finds out about this. The gay community would do the fastest 180 and become pro-life faster than anybody you’ve ever seen. … They’d be so against abortion if it was discovered that you could abort what you knew were gonna be gay babies.”

  8. freddiek said, on June 29, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Your critique of Michael J. Fox is ‘intriguing’. “MJF was being used as a political tool to push fetal stem cell research.” . . . Parkinson’s is apparently not the disease you think it is. Google it. A person at certain stages of the disease is likely perfectly capable of thinking for himself. Ask a neurologist. Ask Fox’s neurologist.Or perhaps you have proof that Fox was being “used”
    (other than that you and Rush disagree with his views).

  9. freddiek said, on June 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Rush is on his fourth wife.
    “Rush is a family values talk show?” Not what I wrote. FV is a big tent. See Wikipedia, Family Values, Conservative Definition, second and third bullet items. That’s “’the message’ on conservatism and family values he has spouted over the years” I was referring to.
    El Rushbo has worked to keep a base that includes a certain group of people.That he can continue to appeal to these people despite drug and personal “frailties” (taking religious vows and coming up dry three times) that should have him tossed out of their tent continues to mystify me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,915 other followers

%d bloggers like this: