Are all evolutionary psychologists this bad at thinking?


Uh-oh. Gad Saad is polluting the discourse again, this time in a vain attempt to discredit the concept of toxic masculinity. It’s embarrassingly bad. I would say that you need to first understand the concept if you hope to debunk it, and Saad does not; if you do not, then all your floundering about will simply reinforce the idea and lead you to use examples that actually demonstrate the phenomenon.

Toxic masculinity is actually not that hard to understand. It’s not a rejection of masculinity itself; it’s a problem that arises when men are socialized to conform to a cultural stereotype that doesn’t actually match their nature.

bell hooks wrote this quote in her chapter called Comrades in Struggle: “…Yet the poor or working class man who has been socialized via sexist ideology to believe that there are privileges and powers he should possess solely because he is male often finds that few if any of these benefits are automatically bestowed him in life.” One of the “powers” that men are socialized to believe that they have to embody is masculinity. Masculinity seems to be the running force of patriarchy, but this term has a very specific definition under patriarchy that is not inclusive of all forms of masculinity. This phenomenon is called toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity “refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s the stereotype of the steely-eyed muscular man who compels women to obey his will. The True Man is sexually aggressive. And what does Gad Saad do? He opens with examples of animals that engage in aggressive competition for mates!

Female fiddler crabs and hens prefer males with extravagantly large claws and tails respectively. Ewes (female rams) will mate with the ram that wins the brutal intrasexual head-butting contest. They reward targeted aggression by granting sexual access. Needless to say, there are innumerable other examples of sexual selection that I might describe, but I suspect that you get the general gist. Are rams exhibiting toxic masculinity? Are female fiddler crabs succumbing to antiquated notions of masculinity as promulgated by the crab patriarchy?

We are not crabs or rams. Saad has cherry-picked a few examples of species with the ideal behavior he’d like to see humans exhibit, which curiously enough, are all about sexual aggression, males beating up on each other to win access to mates. Not only is this the naturalistic fallacy, not only is this selective use of the data, but it also reveals that he doesn’t know what toxic masculinity is. You need to look at animals with more behavioral plasticity and a greater range of potential roles to see toxic masculinity, where among a range of possibilities, males are confined to a narrower and often uncomfortable role by cultural pressures. Rams and crabs do not have that flexibility.

Oh, but let’s watch Saad show off his evolutionary psychology bullshit.

Let’s now apply the exact same evolutionary process (sexual selection) to humans. Evolutionary psychologists have documented universal patterns of mating preferences that are invariant across time and place. In no culture ever studied have women repeatedly preferred to mate with pear-shaped, low-status, tepid men possessing high-pitched, nasal voices. In no documented culture do women’s sexual fantasies revolve around granting sexual access to unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy.

First, yes, let’s look at human evolution. The lesson ought to be that humans have not evolved by a strategy of beating up your competition, mating, and wandering away, like a ram or a crab. Relationships between males and females have been far more complex, involving prolonged association, integration with larger social groups, and shared responsibilities in food gathering and child rearing. The “exact same evolutionary process (sexual selection)”? Nonsense.

As for his ideal preferences by women, I will note that both Saad and I share similar physiques, lack a booming baritone, and are in professions that aren’t regarded as particularly manly, and in fact are being ‘taken over’ by women, numerically. Yet we’re both married! And, I assume, we’re both married to women who are happy with their choices! How did that happen?

He also sneers at unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy, and yet, unemployed men somehow acquire willing partners. They can even be good partners. I have to think of my own parents, who were loving and dedicated to their family, who were also part of the lower classes that Saad would probably spit upon, and had qualities that Saad has elided — my father was a caring parent, hard-working, a good storyteller, loyal to his friends, sociable, and thoughtful. My parents married for love, against the wishes of her parents, yet most of my childhood was spent watching him bounce from job to job, struggling to get a reliable income, not because he was lazy and unambitious, but because good jobs were hard to find and fleeting when you got one in Seattle in the 1960s-1970s.

Saad relies on stereotyping of lowest stratum men, deciding that they’re ugly and undesirable, and that no woman would desire them, despite the obvious evidence that they do. That’s toxic masculinity! It’s the judgment that there is an ideal man based on a narrow, biased set of criteria, and then heaping contempt on the men who don’t match it in every particular.

Then he uses this bias to stereotype women.

Instead, women are attracted to “toxic masculine” male phenotypes that correlate with testosterone, and they are desirous of men who are socially dominant, who are strategically risk-taking in their behaviors, and who exhibit patterns of behaviors that will allow them to ascend the social hierarchy and defend their positions from encroachers.

Jesus. How did I ever end up with an attractive, intelligent wife? I’ve never had to battle encroachers, ever. Maybe it’s because Saad’s entire argument rests on denying the richness and complexity of human interactions.

Of course this does not imply that women are not attracted to intelligent, sensitive, kind, warm, and compassionate men. The ideal man is rugged and sensitive; masculine and caring; aggressive in some pursuits and gentle in others. Think of the male archetype in romance novels, which is a literary form almost exclusively read by women. He is a tall prince and a neurosurgeon. He is a risk-taker who wrestles alligators and subdues them on his six-pack abs, and yet is sensitive enough to be tamed by the love of a good woman. This archetype is universally found in romance novels read by women in Egypt, Japan, and Bolivia, precisely because it caters to women’s universal evolved sexual fantasies.

Uh, “six-pack abs” are a culturally constructed archetype. They require very low body fat and a rigorous pattern of focused body building to create, and wouldn’t have been at all common in evolving human populations. Likewise, alligator wrestling would have been a lethal hobby that would have led to grossly reduced fitness. Romance novels are also an artificial phenomenon, and probably represent a kind of super-stimulus, just like the bad sex portrayed in the porn consumed by men. They are a poor guide to the kind of deeper decision-making made by human beings in choosing life-long partners.

When engaging in sexual role-playing in the bedroom, few women ask that their male partners wear their Google C++ programmer uniform. They ask for the fireman suit to make its presence. James Bond, the epitome of “toxic masculinity,” does not cry at Taylor Swift concerts. His archetype is desired by women and envied by men.

Wait…a “fireman suit”? Like this? Once again, Saad seems to confuse reality with fantasy. Most women are going to have a more realistic attitude towards prospective partners.

I do agree that James Bond is an epitome of “toxic masculinity”, and he makes my case for me. If you desire to be like Bond, you are going to be an aspiring asshole. This is not a good thing. I shouldn’t have to say that, but really, not a good thing. I’ve also noticed that James Bond movies are not particularly popular among women — they tend to notice that all of his partners end up murdered or abandoned. And how do you know he doesn’t cry at Taylor Swift concerts? It seems to me that women would favor men with shared passions, and this claim that a truly desirable man would not be brought to tears by music is yet another example of toxic masculinity.

The inimitable equity feminist Christina Hoff Sommers wrote a book back in 2001 titled The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men (see our chat on my show THE SAAD TRUTH_144 (link is external)). How prescient she was! There has been a relentless ideological attack on masculinity, stemming from radical feminism, the most recent example of which is the bogus term “toxic masculinity.” It literally seeks to pathologize masculinity in ways that are profoundly harmful to the existential sense of self of young men.

But this whole essay is about pathologizing masculinity! Men are supposed to have six-pack abs, be rich, and live like James Bond — if you were seriously concerned about the existential sense of self of young men, you wouldn’t be promoting these ridiculous and harmful delusions about how men should be. You wouldn’t be setting up rams butting heads as an evolutionary ideal for human beings. There has not been on ideological attack on masculinity by anyone other than the anti-feminists, who set up this unrealistic cartoon of how men are supposed to be that denies the reality of human potential — that thinks that men should be more like James Bond than Mr Rogers. (By the way, if we were setting up an artificial ideal that said all men have to be like Mr Rogers, that would be a different kind of toxic masculinity, perhaps more benign, but also denying the range of human lives.)

Saad really needs to step back and look at what feminists actually say about toxic masculinity.

When men seek that control — when we feel it’s our due — and don’t achieve it, we can resent and hate. Toxic masculinity sets expectations that prime us for disappointment. We turn that disappointment on ourselves and others as anger and hatred.

— James Hamblin

That’s toxic masculinity. And Gad Saad’s article is the pear-shaped embodiment of defining unrealistic expectations for men.

Rather than that phony, Christina Hoff Sommers, perhaps Saad ought to be reading a real inimitable feminist.

All men support and perpetuate sexism and sexist oppression in one form or another … Like women, men have been socialized to passively accept sexist ideology. While they need not blame themselves for accepting sexism, they must assume responsibility for eliminating it.

— bell hooks

Comments

  1. says

    “unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy”

    I assume he does not mean rich people who are, technically, “unemployed.”
    Oh, I bet he didn’t think of that. Being rich is inherently “a job” except that if we were talking about evolution, it’s not. Now I’ve confused myself.

  2. Oggie. says

    few women ask that their male partners wear their Google C++ programmer uniform. They ask for the fireman suit to make its presence.

    Wait.

    I spend a great deal of time working (arguing, more precisely) with InDesign. My ‘computer geek’ persona. I also go to (well, with my broken back I doubt I will ever go to a forest fire again) forest fires, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, etc, to work with incident command teams. My ‘firefighter’ persona. So am I a low hierarchy office worker? A mid-hierarchy ranger? A high fire fighter (well, I could be — I’m not in a drug testing position)?

    Wife, however, does not want me in either uniform when I am in bed with her. She prefers the uniform with which I was born.

  3. says

    (By the way, not that I want to seem in any way to be supporting evolutionary psychology, but let me observe that wealth and inter-generational power transfer appear to be hacks attempting to -bypass- selection pressures on mating. Through no positive attributes of their own, aristocrats and the wealthy breed like bacteria and the specific thing that confers their increased “fitness” is money. I would think that would be something evolutionary psychologists would be trying hard to explain, except they usually seem to have their tongue too far up the upper classes’ assholes to pay attention to class as an evolutionary phenomenon. That’s funny, because if there was anything that would be impacting “fitness” in a weird and huge way, it’d be class.)

  4. garnetstar says

    First lobsters, now fiddler crabs! Humans must obviously have undergone “the exact same evolutionary process” as the Crustacea. What’s our next role model, aggressive male barnacles?

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ugh,
    I’ll share my naive “innocent” view of Bond, bear with me:::

    I dont see him as “toxic”, only a “mild poison”, one who lures women in, passively, not aggressively. He only faintly motions invitations, and doesn’t barge into the forefront demanding attention. Rather a more “(shhh) how about you let me show you …”, instead of the toxic “Come over here and I will SHOW you…”.
    I agree the stories were written very misogynistic with the “dames” always fluttering over to him no matter how “suave” he was acting, only to get “hit” by the villains. All the blame goes on the writers, not the character of Bond, who was quite restrained initially, while easily persuaded to continue, and still empathetic and attentive. He was a role model of “romance”, not “manhood”.
    — my view only, thanks for reading
    ?

  6. rietpluim says

    Personally, I am quite fond of horseshoe crabs. I won’t mind having some evolutionary process in common with horseshoe crabs. Their sexual habits are quite different from mine though.

  7. Dunc says

    slithey tove, @ #5: Bond is a professional assassin and a raging alcoholic. What’s non-toxic about that?

  8. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @1 wrote

    “unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy”

    I assume he does not mean rich people who are, technically, “unemployed.”>/blockquote>
    I think the “and” was dropped from the “unemployed, unambitious…” as the “technically unemployed” rich guys are quite ambitious. Spending hours “playing the stock market”, uh, weekly, driven solely by ambition to reap everything available no matter who it costs.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 8
    oops
    dropped a left angle bracket. hope pretty obviously where. oh well

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    typo alert. used “dropped” instead of “flipped”
    all hale tpyo

  11. says

    You know, one of the ways the Daniel Craig version of Bond was made more attractive was by making him somewhat broken, with a complicated history, and a desire to break free of his toxic lifestyle. Earlier Bonds were more like shiny mannequins who would kill and fuck (maybe not in that order) without much profound motivation behind them.

  12. says

    Sounds like Gad Saad’s argument for why toxic masculinity is invalid, is that it is a cultural universal, and therefore cannot be fought. Sorry, that argument is invalid. If we grant that it’s a cultural universal, that only means that studies were conducted in several cultures, and found that these values were statistically more common among men than among women. It doesn’t mean that every culture is equally toxic, it absolutely doesn’t mean that every individual is equally toxic, and it provides no reason to believe toxic masculinity is immutable.

    I also have a hard time taking seriously Gad Saad’s description of cultural universals. “Pear-shaped”? Wrestling alligators?

  13. says

    In no documented culture do women’s sexual fantasies revolve around granting sexual access to unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy.

    Jordan Catalano.

    Trent Lane.

  14. pwdm says

    Given your presumably busy schedule and therefore relatively small amount of time available for your blogging I am always impressed at your ability to analyze and write coherent responses to the messy positions of others. It makes me think you would be a great university prof. Keep it up!

  15. says

    I always felt Dalton’s Bond had a world weariness to him, and that he didn’t like a lot of what he was doing. It’s too bad he didn’t get more chances to play the character.

  16. emergence says

    Just as a weird example, doesn’t Japan have a different set of physical traits that they attribute to the ideal man? Granted, I have limited knowledge of what Japanese culture is like, but I have noticed that slender, boyish men appear a lot in Japanese media. If this is just because I have a blinkered view of Japan and I’m being ignorant, feel free to call me out.

    Anyway, if we’re using arthropods as examples, what about male spiders? They’re smaller than the females and need to bring gifts and perform elaborate mating dances or face death. There are tons of different mating behaviors observed in the animal kingdom. You can’t point to a different species and just assume that it’s a model for human behavior.

  17. brett says

    He also sneers at “unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy”, and yet, unemployed men somehow acquire willing partners.

    THIS. Something like 70-80% of people get married at some point and have a child or children in the US, and I think it’s fair to say that a big percentage of the remaining 20-30% are people who simply do not want to get married or have children (and that’s not even including people who don’t marry but still have children and have stable partnerships, which can be a big group). Human mating is not dominated by a group of high-status men who match the “male archetype” he describes.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Re. toxic masculinity, here is the latest about bomb guy.
    “GOP lawmaker Michael McCaul insists ‘disturbed young man’* who terrorized Austin wasn’t a terrorist”
    (* very white Christian male)

  19. jrkrideau says

    Are all evolutionary psychologists this bad at thinking?

    I don’t think all of them are but the few ev psych papers I have read did not impress me. Wait, I think there may have been one that was interesting!

    Evolutionary psychologists generally seem to observe a behaviour and invent a post hoc explanation for it. It would be nice to see what a cultural anthropologist would do to some of their arguments.

  20. lotharloo says

    Based on my experience, patriarchy is not kind to men either, only to those in power. Toxic masculinity is a mold for men so they could be given a sword or a gun and obediently face dangers‌ (such manly bravery!), kill and crusade (such manly strength!) for the benefit of those in power and likely die in the process.

  21. lumipuna says

    Oggie.,

    Wait.

    I spend a great deal of time working (arguing, more precisely) with InDesign. My ‘computer geek’ persona. I also go to (well, with my broken back I doubt I will ever go to a forest fire again) forest fires, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, etc, to work with incident command teams. My ‘firefighter’ persona. So am I a low hierarchy office worker? A mid-hierarchy ranger? A high fire fighter (well, I could be — I’m not in a drug testing position)?

    Wife, however, does not want me in either uniform when I am in bed with her. She prefers the uniform with which I was born.

    I gather you never took the training to be a Sexy Firefighter.

  22. wcaryk says

    I cannot read of head-butting males without flashing on this, by Dave Barry:

    “But the real explanation for macho behavior is not that guys are stupid. The real explanation is that because of complex and subtle hormone-based chemical reactions occurring in their brains, guys frequently ACT stupid. This is true throughout the animal kingdom, where you have examples such as male elks, who, instead of simply flipping a coin, will bang their heads against each other for hours to see who gets to mate with the female elk, who is on the sidelines, filing her nails and wondering how she ever got hooked up with such a moron species, until eventually she gets bored and wanders off to bed. Meanwhile, the guy elks keep banging into each other until one of them finally “wins,“ although at this point his brain, which was not exactly a steel trap to begin with, is so badly damaged that, in his confusion, he will mate with the first object he encounters, including shrubbery, which is why you see so few baby elks around.”

  23. Dunc says

    In no documented culture do women’s sexual fantasies revolve around granting sexual access to unemployed, unambitious men who occupy the lowest stratum of the social hierarchy.

    Somebody needs to watch more French cinema.

  24. says

    It’s like asking “Are all libertarians this selfish?” or “Are all Breitbart readers this racist?” If they weren’t this bad at thinking, they wouldn’t be evolutionary psychologists.

  25. lumipuna says

    James Bond might never attend a Taylor Swift concert, but Chuck Norris doesn’t cry even at a Taylor Swift concert.

  26. says

    I started watching “Goldfinger” from 1964 last night, for no particular reason, and the sexism was unbearable. There was a scene where Felix shows up to talk with Bond, and Bond shoos away his woman companion by slapping her arse while saying “men talk time” or something to that effect.

  27. jazzlet says

    He displays a lack of knowledge of Romance as a genre along with his other ignorance, while there are alpha heroes there are also beta heroes. A lot of romance readers do not like alphaholes, as the kind of ‘hero’ he is writing of is called.

  28. Pierce R. Butler says

    Saad: Ewes (female rams) …

    Pro tip: If you wanna talk ethology, you gotta at least use the words that show you know a little bit about the species discussed.

    In this case, Gad, that species is called sheep, family Bovidae (unless maybe you know of rams only in terms of the Los Angeles feetsball team and its cheerleaders, which seems quite consistent with your biological sophistication in general).

    As an atheist farm boy, I’ve often stated that sheep are the dumbest things on four feet, and anyone who proposes them as a role model clearly has intentions of a thorough fleecing.

  29. chigau (違う) says

    Gad Saad uses the word “universal” in a way that is not universally understood.

  30. brutus says

    I really tire of just-so stories citing evolutionary biology as justification or rationalization from some deplorable behavioral attribute we really ought to be discouraging rather than embracing. Regarding James Bond, the character has morphed considerably over the past 5 decades, so while there’s some consistency, updating him for each new actor and era has resulted in considerable shifting of the goalposts. And as long as we’re using fiction and pop culture as models of what is or ought to be acceptable, wasn’t there a Mad TV sketch called “Lowered Expectations” that better explains mating choices among those not gifted with superior attractiveness or having earned top marks across a range of mating selectivity? Seems lots of “losers” manage to get the job done.

  31. odincookies says

    “When engaging in sexual role-playing in the bedroom, few women ask that their male partners wear their Google C++ programmer uniform.”

    This is the best sentence ever written. Period.

    Let’s have some fun guys. What is your C++ uniform, and how sexy does it make you look? I code in a T-shirt most of the time, but if you soak it…BAM! Instant abs! Well..flabs.

  32. monad says

    @23: Wow, that phrase didn’t make it into this summary. But talking about women granting sexual access, as if sex were always the female partner acquiescing to the male, gets fairly toxic in itself.

  33. says

    monad
    Personally I would think it some great improvement if women would always be the ones in control of allowing men to access their bodies. Funny how patriarchy has always invented some very codified ways tom make sure that it was other men who granted men access to women’s bodies.

    Pierce R. Butler
    Thanks, that was driving me mad as well

    +++
    The argument of these people (for more evidence see heike in the Peterson thread) boils down to “other people have gained some liberties, us dudes can’t deal with that, therefore you must move backwards to the 19(?)50s. We don’t care that this makes you unhappy.

    +++

    Think of the male archetype in romance novels, which is a literary form almost exclusively read by women.

    Dude needs to learn the difference between “most readers of romance novels are women” and “most women read romance novels”.
    Currently I’m reading a series around a species with a matriarchal ruling system where the fertile males are considered “delicate and pampered” and only allowed outdoors when it’s safe…

  34. says

    emergence @16,

    Just as a weird example, doesn’t Japan have a different set of physical traits that they attribute to the ideal man? Granted, I have limited knowledge of what Japanese culture is like, but I have noticed that slender, boyish men appear a lot in Japanese media.

    That’s the bishonen archetype. It’s not the only Japanese ideal, but it’s a common one. Popularized through yaoi, a genre for women. Isn’t it funny that these supposedly universal ideals change when media is targeted towards women?

  35. deep6 says

    The romance genre gets shit on and considered “unserious” like many things do that are associated primarily with women. It’s tiresome to repeatedly explain to people who are uninterested in reading them yet insist on criticizing them that they are FANTASY. And Saad misses the point anyway. For regular readers of romance the physical description of the hero, the amount of money he has, the job he has, how many alligators he’s wrestled, etc. are irrelevant. (That’s assuming the hero is even a human and not a vampire or werewolf or shapeshifter or alien or whatever.) Nor is the way the heroine is portrayed, which is usually with a perfect figure, a “sassy” personality, and sapphire eyes. (Shout out to the rubenesque and May-December subgenres here, btw.)

    The draw to (hetero/menage) romance is the portrayal of the social, emotional and sexual tension between the male and female love interests. If the author tells a story that is titillating, exciting or erotic, and shows how the act of courting or pursuit is restrained in some way by a plot element (which could be really good or could be totally contrived and stupid) then that book is going to get a lot of readers. The character archetypes aren’t the draw. The fact that a character is a Scottish highlander or a pirate is not the important bit and should not be so superficially construed.

  36. billyjoe says

    That was an interesting image of “toxic masculinity”: Masculinity is a plastic physical and psychological characteristic. Toxic masculinity is taking one extreme along the spectrum as being the norm that men strive for and women are attracted to.

    On the other hand, masculinity as a plastic physical and psychological characteristic, would suggest that evolutionary psychology is a legitimate subject. It’s just a difficult subject like economics (and unlike physics). And too many just-so stories.

  37. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    On the other hand, masculinity as a plastic physical and psychological characteristic, would suggest that evolutionary psychology is a legitimate subject. It’s just a difficult subject like economics (and unlike physics).

    Jesus Mythical Christ on a Sybian.

    How many fucking times do we have to explain that people don’t reject evo psych (really, “evo-phrenology”) as it’s practiced because they reject the idea of deriving insights in psychology from evolutionary biology in principle, any more than people delete “ENLARGE UR PENIS” spam unread because they believe that their penis, if they have one, could not in principle be any larger than it is???

  38. billyjoe says

    Interesting that, even when you agree with what I said, you can still find a way to be negative. ;)

  39. monad says

    @35 Giliell: Agreed, it’s sadly much better than a lot of how women are treated. All I meant was that in a healthy sexual relationship, both people are in a sense granting access, but phrasings like this always make men accessors and women the accessed. It at least allows for consent, but still makes them prizes rather than partners.

  40. Anton Mates says

    When engaging in sexual role-playing in the bedroom, few women ask that their male partners wear their Google C++ programmer uniform. They ask for the fireman suit to make its presence.

    Wait…does Saad think that firefighters are more wealthy, ambitious, aggressive, competitive, high-status, and generally alpha-maley than software engineers? Has he ever met anyone in either profession?

  41. raven says

    Gad Saad the idiot:
    Are rams exhibiting toxic masculinity? Are female fiddler crabs succumbing to antiquated notions of masculinity as promulgated by the crab patriarchy?

    This is just gibberish.
    Since when are sheep or fiddler crabs role models for the human species or societies?
    1. Sheep have hooked their evolutionary trajectory to being easy to raise and versatile to cook in the kitchen. Much of the sheep biomass every year is eaten by humans!!!
    2. Fiddler crabs don’t do much, don’t live very long, and exist in the middle of many food chains.
    Ultimately, quite a few of them get eaten.

  42. jefrir says

    billyjoe, have you considered rephrasing your point? Because I’m not sure what exactly it is that you’re trying to argue about Evolutionary Psychology, but it sounds like you’re either contradicting yourself or have misunderstood some of the key terms.
    Also, consider not being aggressively wrong about everything. It will get you a better reception.

  43. chigau (違う) says

    jefrir #47
    billyjoe is in it for the shits-and-giggles, any response counts on the Responso-Meter.

  44. billyjoe says

    Jefrir,

    Azkyroth seems to be agreeing with what I said (though the double negative makes it hard to tell) but still managed to deliver an aggressively negative response to my post. Perhaps you can clarify what he meant.

    Chigau,

    Being a yapping lap dog is not a worthwhile contribution to the discussion.

  45. jefrir says

    Billyjoe, Azkyroth pretty clearly thinks you have fundamentally misunderstood the criticisms of EvoPsych, or possibly that you have understood but are being disingenous. I would not say this counts as agreeing with you, although it’s a bit tricky to say, because, as I mentioned, I have no idea what you are trying to argue in that post. Azkyroth’s assumption that you have failed to understand/engage with the basics of the discussion seems pretty reasonable.

  46. Melissa says

    As a writer of romance novels, he totally misses the reason that so many romantic leads are rich and powerful. It isn’t that women are attracted to wealth and power itself, but because it is convenient for the author. I could (and have) written about office workers who have to punch a clock and when it is part of the story it can be great. But if I want to write something where a couple can jet off with a moments notice, I need someone to be rich. Private plane preferred because sexytimes on a United flight isn’t that fun. If I want to be able to have people spend the day in bed it helps if they don’t have to call into work to do so.

    Also, in many of the stories about a Prince or Millionaire, the tension involves the person with status giving it up in order to be with the other person. The Prince abdicates the throne to marry a commoner. The son of wealth defies his father to be with his love. The romance on the story then isn’t about falling in love with the high status man because of evolutionary reasons. It’s all about bucking the cultural pressure that leads a man to value status over emotion. Romance novels (of a certain kind anyway) may feature an “alpha male” personality, but then the point is that by the end they have renounced such ways and are happily settled down. If toxic masculinity comes into play in these novels it is the fantasy that men will abandon these cultural roles and instead become loving equal partners. The rejection of toxic masculinity is the attraction, not the existence.

  47. billyjoe says

    Jefrir,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Azkyroth pretty clearly thinks you have fundamentally misunderstood the criticisms of EvoPsych, or possibly that you have understood but are being disingenous.

    Ah, I see.

    No, I was simply defending EvoPsych against the claim that it is all BS.
    And I do know that there are those who defend EvoPsych but criticise some of the things that are done within, or under the guise of, EvoPsych (what amounts to just-so stories; claiming every facet of behaviour must have an evolutionary basis; failing to allow for the fact that phenotypic plasticity allows for many behaviours to be learned or culturally acquired rather than genetically based).

    So, I see…Azkyroth thought I was unaware of that criticism. Well, reading back, that is a fair misunderstanding by Azkyroth. But I was not being disengenuous. I really was defending EvoPsych against the more basic criticism.

    I would not say this counts as agreeing with you, although it’s a bit tricky to say, because, as I mentioned, I have no idea what you are trying to argue in that post.

    I hope it is clear now what I was saying (not really “arguing”), and why I thought Azkyroth was agreeing with me but still attacking me. We simply had different aspects of the defence of EvoPsych in mind.

    Azkyroth’s assumption that you have failed to understand/engage with the basics of the discussion seems pretty reasonable.

    Yes, a pretty reasonable assumption, but not actually correct.
    I do think he needs to be more charitable when reading posts, especially those from commenters he is in the habit of disagreeing with. They may not always have opinions different from his.

  48. billyjoe says

    Melissa…watch those dangling modifiers! :)
    (I assume it is you, not Gad Saad, who is the writer of romance novels)

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