Oh goody, more “women are giving” and “men are stalwart” blather in the New York Times. I wish the mainstream media would stop pushing this bullshit.
The mere presence of female family members — even infants — can be enough to nudge men in the generous direction.
In a provocative new study, the researchers Michael Dahl, Cristian Dezso and David Gaddis Ross examined generosity and what inspires it in wealthy men. Rather than looking at large-scale charitable giving, they looked at why some male chief executives paid their employees more generously than others. The researchers tracked the wages that male chief executives at more than 10,000 Danish companies paid their employees over the course of a decade.
Interestingly, the chief executives paid their employees less after becoming fathers. On average, after chief executives had a child, they paid about $100 less in annual compensation per employee. To be a good provider, the researchers write, it’s all too common for a male chief executive to claim “his firm’s resources for himself and his growing family, at the expense of his employees.”
But there was a twist. When Professor Dahl’s team examined the data more closely, the changes in pay depended on the gender of the child that the chief executives fathered. They reduced wages after having a son, but not after having a daughter.
Daughters apparently soften fathers and evoke more caretaking tendencies. The speculation is that as we brush our daughters’ hair and take them to dance classes, we become gentler, more empathetic and more other-oriented.
Really? That’s the speculation? That’s not the first speculation that occurs to me when reading that passage. You know what is? That daughters are cheaper. That fathers of daughters think they don’t need to spend quite as much on their daughters’ education and equipment, because daughters are just daughters while sons are sons.
Social scientists believe that the empathetic, nurturing behaviors of sisters rub off on their brothers. For example, studies led by the psychologist Alice Eagly at Northwestern University demonstrate that women tend to do more giving and helping in close relationships than men. It might also be that boys feel the impulse — by nature and nurture — to protect their sisters. Indeed, Professor Eagly finds that men are significantly more likely to help women than to help men.
Blah blah blah, as we wander through various studies looking for items that can be made to fit the same old shit.
Some of the world’s most charitable men acknowledge the inspiration provided by the women in their lives. Twenty years ago, when Bill Gates was on his way to becoming the world’s richest man, he rejected advice to set up a charitable foundation. He planned to wait a quarter-century before he started giving his money away, but changed his mind the following year. Just three years later, Mr. Gates ranked third on Fortune’s list of the most generous philanthropists in America. In between, he welcomed his first child: a daughter.
Case closed! That’s science!
And this kind of tripe is why so many people are so very comfortable cranking out “women nurture/men compete” bromides, with the result that so many people are totally comfortable saying things like “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it, you know, it’s more of a guy thing” when they would never say “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it, you know, it’s more of a white thing.”
We hear the stereotype repeated nineteen times a day, and it becomes normal, and kind of amusing, and a staple of sitcoms, and we can’t even see how sexist it is and what an obstacle it is.