Overgeneralization Du Jour

Paleo Retiree writes:

It often seems to me that one of the big diffs between men and women is that many women believe that the world can be made into a safe place —  like a big progressive school, with sweet, encouraging teachers and a trustworthily fair, firm-but-kind principal. This conviction/fantasy is baked into the female system so thoroughly that a lot of women feel indignant that the world hasn’t already been transformed into a wonderful progressive school. Most men disagree about this, and on a very deep level. To us, the larger, beyond-high-school, beyond-college world is, at its heart, a jungle or a Wild West. It’s a Darwinian, driven-by-survival (ie., ego, sex, power and money) place. No matter what anyone’s pretentions, no one’s ever really in charge, and there’s no legitimate Higher Power (and especially no fair-minded high school principal type — Ha! to that) to appeal to. Or, if there is a legit Higher Power out there, he/she is extremely unlikely to give our appeals much of a listen. To us, it’s a miracle whenever anything fair occurs, or whenever any degree of safety and calm comes along to be enjoyed.

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog 2Blowhards.com. Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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12 Responses to Overgeneralization Du Jour

  1. Will S. says:

    Yep. Men get it; women don’t, generally.


    • There must be some evo-psych-type reason why so many women feel this way, right? (Maybe not, but fun to play with the possibility …) Any ideas about what it might be? Is it as simple as: it’s a way of emotionally coercing their men into trying to construct a super-safe world for them?


      • Will S. says:

        I’m the wrong person to talk to, in terms of specifically evo-psych reasoning, since as a non-believer in evolution, I’m not part of that conversation. 🙂

        That said, I certainly believe in validity of naturalistic understandings, to a great degree.

        I think you’re on to something: women seek comfort, and security, and will naturally seek out whatever means will, in their minds, promote such. Whereas men seem to realize the State can’t guarantee such, and don’t see out legislative solutions, preferring cultural ones.


  2. I often find myself thinking that if men were only half as desperate to get laid as we are, we could work out much better bargains with the opposite sex than we do.


  3. Handle says:

    The problem is the fallacy of the universalist projection of introspection. Consdier Asimov’s fallacy, “All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else.”

    But people are different, (amazing how hard it is to convince people of this obvious truism) and if you take your own tastes, preferences, and tendencies and assume it forms the basis of some core human nature then you will be led into error.

    There is not other more ineradicable difference between men and women and our hormonal impulses, especially with regard to violence expression of our interests. It only makes sense that men think of the world of men as being barely containable, but women think of the world of women as being peaceful and harmoniously progressive with perfect plausibility. Except they make the mistake of thinking ‘everyone’ instead of ‘most members of my gender’.


    • Grace says:

      With more women working outside the home in competitive environments, one would think that we would not be so myopic. Nurturing versus protective and possessive ?


  4. agnostic says:

    One overgeneralization deserves another. The racial/ethnic differences are larger here than the sex differences. Eskimo, Bedouin, Yanamamo, even Sicilian women sure don’t expect a large state to administer an all-encompassing security bubble. That’s more of a blonde thing.

    In most places across the world, for most of human existence, there was no free lunch, and everyone expected that it wasn’t easy to make a living. So the evolutionary angle here isn’t “what adapted the female mind to take nanny statism for granted?” but rather, “what mismatch between current and long-term environments has led to such novel and deluded expectations in a subset of humanity?” — for men as well as women. Not like your typical Scandinavian dude takes a hard-nosed look at reality and favors humility over social engineering.

    Material prosperity is a good candidate. Things just keep getting better and better, it gives you the “we really can have it all” kind of mindset. Conditions didn’t really improve that much before the Industrial Revolution — that was a quantum leap in prosperity. The welfare state didn’t lag far behind.

    Some of that was a response to the new dangers thrown up by industrialization, but a lot of it sounds like the “I want it all” / “why isn’t life fair?” complaints of pampered children.


  5. I don’t even understand the appeal of a risk free life. Seems incredibly boring to me.

    Now that I have grandchildren, I’m seeing the cycle repeated. Men are partly the culprits here. My son-in-law and I cannot help but view my granddaughter as our little princess who should have all her dreams come true. It’s not just women who push this fantasy.


  6. One of the reasons I always wanted to live in places like SF and NYC was their reputations as outposts of wild adventure and unpredictable consequences. To me, that equals the ability to change in a very fundamental way one’s status and circumstances. Safety and risk free equals everything fixed in place and no means of tearing things to pieces and starting anew.


  7. An interesting example of the fairness mentality of women.

    I was, of course, a star musician in high school. I was warming up playing trumpet before band practice. A fat girl who had a crush on me kept demanding that I stop playing and pay attention to her. When I didn’t, she started hitting me upside the head with a handful of rolled up charts.

    I yelled “Fuck you, bitch!” at her before I even stopped to think.

    Result, I was hauled off to the principal’s office for the obligatory dressing down. Under threat of expulsion from school, I was forced to apologize to the bitch. Her father exploded into a fit of macho anger and threatened to beat the hell out of me. (That would have been a poor choice on his part, since I was a three sport athlete and street fighter, too.)

    The really interesting part of this story is that the fat girl thought, not only that she had been treated unfairly, but that dragging me down to the principal’s office and disgracing me would probably lead to her romantic fantasies coming true. Needless to say, I wasn’t motivated by this to ask her for a date.


  8. Pingback: The Difference Between Men and Women

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