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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Blinded by The Narrative

The NYT recently lamented the plight of Chinese women looking for marriage:

BEIJING — Every evening, Liang Xuemeng goes online to read the latest postings from Ayawawa, one of China’s most popular advice columnists.



Ayawawa is the online name of Yang Bingyang, one of several online advice dispensers who have won celebrity in China by tapping into urban women’s anxieties about finding a man to marry.



Those who do not have a husband by the age of 27 are routinely branded as “leftover women,” with diminishing value in the dating market.

Which is an odd state of affairs, considering the unnatural gender imbalance in China: 12 women for every 10 men.

Here is where the narrative rears its ugly feminist head:

Many of these “leftover women” are well-educated urban professionals in a society where men prefer women who are younger and less successful than themselves.

While also failing to see the inherent contradiction: Wymyns, spirited, fierce and independent, are helpless in the face of men's preferences. Besides, there is the rather glaring spectre of the author flinging herself upon a conclusion. How do she know that it isn't the other way around? China is a society where women prefer men who are older and more successful than themselves. 

You know, like pretty much every society ever anywhere.

Then, within the paragraph, without noticing, she rubbishes her own article:

The surplus of bachelors shows up mostly on the other end of the spectrum, poor rural men, prompting the state-run All-China Women’s Federation to urge women to lower their standards, lest they, too, end up as “leftovers.”

These advice columnists are far more cognizant of evolution than the NYT:

The columnists have their critics, who accuse them of reinforcing gender stereotypes, but the columnists counter that they are simply acknowledging reality.

“Our world has been hijacked by political correctness,” Ms. Yang said. “I’m criticized for telling the truth about the differences between men and women.”

“A man’s [Mate Value]. is determined by his age, height, looks, wealth, I.Q., emotional quotient, sexual capacity and willingness to make a long-term commitment.” The eight elements in a woman’s M.V. are her “age, looks, height, bra cup size, weight, academic degrees, personality and family background.”

It's almost as if evolution didn't stop at the neckline, and that maybe, just maybe, gender isn't a social construct.

Naaahh. Can't be. That isn't The Party Line.




54 comments:

Bret said...

Humans aren't a blank slate, but it's probably possible to overwrite parts of the slate. In other words, neither nature nor nurture have complete control over the human animal.

Therefore, urging women to lower their standards may have some useful effect. And gender, while probably not completely a social construct, might be partly a social construct.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] In other words, neither nature nor nurture have complete control over the human animal.

As a general point, sure. And of course many particulars of gender expression are culturally dependent.

However, some are invariant. So far as I know, there isn't any record of any culture anywhere ever where women were not hypergamous, or where they preferred shorter men. Just as there aren't any instances of men being the primary care givers, or women the warriors.

Moreover, the cultural particulars of gender expression, varied as they are, always act to provide distinct M-F markers, so the phenomena of gender distinction is itself universal.

Urging women to lower their standards will be futile, because women aren't built that way. If such a thing had a useful effect, communism would have succeeded.

erp said...

Once they have a baby, women's thoughts are maternal. The baby is the most important thing in their lives. Perhaps modern women with access to nannies, etc. will change that, but I doubt it. We want men who can protect us and provide for us and the baby. If women provide all that themselves, men are superfluous.

Men don't see children the same way. Yes, they love their kids and feel responsible for their welfare, etc., but it isn't primary.

The longer I live, the more I think arranged marriages aren't as horrible as I once thought.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Once they have a baby, women's thoughts are maternal.

That, right there, puts the lie to the notion that gender is nothing more than a social construct.

As does This American Life episode, Testosterone.

Hey Skipper said...

Predictably, feminist get the vapors.

erp said...

Skipper I didn't watch your link because we have been living it here since the very aggressive prostate cancer treatment nine years ago saved my husband's life, but at a cost. Less said the better, but it ain't pretty.

Whether is was god or Darwin who figured out that men are men and women like it that way, the nonsense of gender -- BTW a grammatical term that has nothing to do with sex -- becoming a sometimes thing, things have gotten totally out-of-control.

Have you seen this one one?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

----
Men don't see children the same way. Yes, they love their kids and feel responsible for their welfare, etc., but it isn't primary.
----
That's not true.

I am a man. Yet, I can assure you nothing in my life gets primacy over my kids.

erp said...

You are a man who has never had a baby and I assure you that I believe you love your kids insanely, that you would gladly die for for them and that they have primacy in your hierarchy of responsibilities, but it’s not in the same primal way as it is for a mother. IOW, your breasts don’t ache when you hear the cry of a small baby even long after your child bearing years.

It's not the same, nor should it be. Both sexes are required for a balance of strengths. We are not interchangeable.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis, erp is right. You can't possibly view your kids in the same way your wife does.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

If you concede you believe the kids have the primacy over things in my life, what difference does it make your other distinctions?

And Skipper, what the heck do you mean? No one else can have the exact same view I have about my children, so why would I expect to have the same views as my wife?

If you somewhat imply mothers necessarily 'love more' their children than fathers, I disagree.

----
Urging women to lower their standards will be futile, because women aren't built that way.
----
I wonder how much did you ever pay attention to women. I see them lowering their standards all the time. A lot of them do so when they feel their biological clock running out of time...

Hey Skipper said...

And Skipper, what the heck do you mean? No one else can have the exact same view I have about my children, so why would I expect to have the same views as my wife?

Apologies, my comment was far too cryptic.

What I meant to say is that paternal love is categorically different than maternal love. For starters, paternal affection is far more conditional than maternal -- just one of the reasons that committed fathers are uniquely important to having well adjusted children.

And the difference is more than cultural. (See the right column, last two paras.)

I wonder how much did you ever pay attention to women. I see them lowering their standards all the time. A lot of them do so when they feel their biological clock running out of time...

True, to a certain extent. However, the context is response to government urging, not their ovaries.

erp said...

Clovis, why so defensive? I'm not implying anything. I'm saying outright that men love their children in a fatherly way and women in a motherly way -- and those two emotions are very different. Giving birth is not the same as any other human activity and the unborn are no less human than we are.

No amount of ridiculous dehumanizing left wing feminist propaganda that abortion is good for the environment can change biology and young mothers have healthier children.

Skipper, you are so right that fathers are essential as role models for both girls and boys in a well ordered society -- the proof of that pudding is the horror of kids killing themselves on drugs at both ends of the spectrum -- rich kids left in the care of strangers from birth on and at the other end, kids seen as the road to higher welfare checks and more bennies with virtually no caring adult supervision.

Dickensian orphanages look pretty good compared to what our kids endure in our inner cities.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
And the difference is more than cultural.
---
Nice link that one.

But if all you and Erp meant was the utterly trivial "fathers and mothers are different", are you sure you have a point?

---
True, to a certain extent. However, the context is response to government urging, not their ovaries.
---
The problem of reducing women to such a simple hormone-induced command and control robot, is that you end up understanding very little.

I don't claim to understand them either, but this particular point is pretty rational. It is not that they hear the call of nature and mate with the first one they can find to make a kid -- at least, not in most cases -- but they are simply trying to maximize their investment. The same way you may wait for the right moment to make an investment option in anything else, really. At some point you may not be able to wait anymore, be it for biological or any other reason, then you need to make a call.

In this sense, incentives by the market - or the government - my indeed make a difference at some point (marginal or not). Or you don't believe incentives do matter?


erp said...

Aieeeeeee Clovis, try as you might, you are product of the collective culture of the age. You downplay primal urges, but put faith in government incentives. Lord help us.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] But if all you and Erp meant was the utterly trivial "fathers and mothers are different", are you sure you have a point?


I hope so.

The article, completely without justification, said this:

Many of these “leftover women” are well-educated urban professionals in a society where men prefer women who are younger and less successful than themselves.

Here's the narrative, front and center. The problem is "society", which must be fixed for the sake of "leftover women", and the way you can tell it is society, rather than the far more inconvenient human nature, is because it is men's nefarious preferences. It couldn't possibly be that women are actively making mate choices, and that they overwhelmingly prefer taller, older and more successful over shorter, younger, and less successful.

The problem of reducing women to such a simple hormone-induced command and control robot, is that you end up understanding very little.

That's always possible, but I think you are missing the underlying fundamental: women, as a rule, always seek the highest status male they can plausibly attain. Since women's mate value declines over time, then they either must adjust their standards downwards, or do without. But even if they decrease their standards, they will never prefer a lower status male over an attainable higher status male. (Remember, I'm talking about a human phenomena. Yes, I'm sure it is possible to find exceptions, but the rarity of the exceptions proves the rule.)


Hey Skipper said...

Oh, almost every women I know vapor locks at the sight of a spider.

erp said...

Skipper true about snakes, but that changes mucho rapido when a woman moves to Florida and said woman is alone in a house when a spider the size of a dinner plate is moving mucho rapido across the white wall. Can't smash it because gazillions of little spiders may be released (macho husband did this to his and my chagrin), so running to get the spray without breaking one's adorable little head and spraying same creature comes before vapor lock -- ditto snakes in the house. I can't kill them so I put a bucket over them and a heavy object on the top of the bucket until said macho husband comes home and practically kills himself (the snake is quite safe) getting it into the bucket and outside.

Who knew retirement at the beach would be so exciting. :-)

Also I think straight men can't handle their women being more successful than they at the same trade, but are fine with it if they're successful at some totally different endeavor. For instance, my daughter just retired as an ivy league dean and for many years her husband has endured being referred to as Mr. her maiden name at numerous university functions. Since he's an extremely successful tech guy, he is most amused by it and never corrects them, but says, just call me Al.

Hey Skipper said...

Also I think straight men can't handle their women being more successful than they at the same trade ...

I have no idea how true that might be. I have always worked in almost exclusively male occupations, so personal experience is no guide as to how I might view women, never mind my wife, being more successful than I.

BTW, how are your daughter and her husband getting along?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,


No, that was not my bottom line, I think you should reread my lines.



Skipper,

To be clear, I don't think a state run women federation will have much influence on any woman's decision. When I mention incentives, I mean real ones. If you give me a lot of cash, I could easily convince myself to have another kid - since finances is the main reason I am finishing at two. If I can work with incentives, I guess women can too.


---
That's always possible, but I think you are missing the underlying fundamental: women, as a rule, always seek the highest status male they can plausibly attain.
---
I am not missing that, since you just used one entire paragraph to describe what I meant with one line: "they are simply trying to maximize their investment".

And as I said, it is not 'primal' (if Erp means unreasoned action by that word), it is pretty rational.

---
Oh, almost every women I know vapor locks at the sight of a spider.
---
Never been to a indigineous tribe, have you?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] And as I said, it is not 'primal' (if Erp means unreasoned action by that word), it is pretty rational.

Since when is rational not primal?

[Hey Skipper:] Oh, almost every women I know vapor locks at the sight of a spider.
---
[Clovis:] Never been to a indigenous tribe, have you?


No, you got me there. But wherever women have the most opportunity to be women, they are*. And they vapor lock at the sight of a spider.

* I don't have time to get links right now. But the Scandinavian countries are the most "female friendly" on the planet.

And the women are most likely to pursue female typical options. Go figure.

erp said...

Skipper my daughter and her husband are the most amazing people I've ever known. His feats of physical strength and mental agility amaze and she's as gracious and lovely as ever, traits which soften brilliant managerial skills. There aren't words to describe how proud I am of them.

Careful you're getting into dangerous waters with "pursue female typical options." What do you mean by that?

Clovis, by primal, I mean things one does without thinking about advantages, e.g., how you would push your child, possibly any child, out of the way of an oncoming car and take the hit yourself.

Hey Skipper said...

Careful you're getting into dangerous waters with "pursue female typical options." What do you mean by that?

What I mean by that is referred to as the nordic gender equality paradox: the more gender equal a country becomes, the more genders stick to stereotypical roles. In Norway, very few young women study technical subjects, compared to, say, Pakistan.

The video is 38 minutes long, and in Norwegian, so you you have to watch it all to get the subtitles. If you stick through it (well worth the time, in my opinion) I am sure you will note the progressives' complete denial of reality, to the point of implicitly renouncing evolution.

Here's another example: Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls.

Most importantly and contra predictions, we showed that economically developed and more gender equal countries have a lower overall level of mathematics anxiety, and yet a larger national sex difference in mathematics anxiety relative to less developed countries. Further, although relatively more mothers work in STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average, mathematical competence more in their sons than their daughters. The proportion of mothers working in STEM was unrelated to sex differences in mathematics anxiety or performance. We propose that the gender stratification model fails to account for these national patterns and that an alternative model is needed. In the discussion, we suggest how an interaction between socio-cultural values and sex-specific psychological traits can better explain these patterns. We also discuss implications for policies aiming to increase girls’ STEM participation.

From the discussion:

Our findings are consistent with other recent findings of larger sex differences in these countries across many cognitive abilities (e.g., spatial ability [72]), behavioral expressions (e.g., crying [73]), major personality traits [73], and even biological traits (e.g., height, [73]). Broadly, as conditions associated with human development (e.g., health) and gender-equality (e.g., women’s participation in politics) improve, people’s opportunities in many domains of life increase and individual and sex differences in many traits increase with them. With respect to STEM, it is possible that parents and students with less economic hardship consider a wider array of career options.

erp said...

Skipper, I wasn't aware of the situation in the Nordic countries (and parenthetically wonder if the study is even accurate), but it only confirms my long-held opinion that after leveling the playing field, i.e., allowing men and women to make their own choices, the gubmint should back off and let nature take its course. Stop shoving STEM down the throats of school girls and singling them out as "brains." As a former brainy school girl, I can assure you that isn't how we want to seen.

There is nothing inherently superior about mathematics, except that it's incomprehensible to many people, male and female. Fashion and the other domestic arts are incomprehensible to many people, especially straight men, too, but you don't value them and probably think them frivolous. Yet, those efforts have probably done more to make life on earth pleasant than those who named the stars.

As always just MHO.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
But wherever women have the most opportunity to be women, they are*.
---
I don't know if you noticed, but you just denied indigenous people being humans, if I get that phrase straight.


More importantly, though, is that you didn't notice how it impacted your argument. You are so focused on arguing the biological end evolutionary differences between men and women, but when I give you the example most like our historical condition (where evolution had most time to apply), you give me that line above.


Yeah, in Nordic countries, men have a lot of time to do frivolous stuff usually associated to men, and women too! Who could guess getting rich allows you to do things you like?



---
There is nothing inherently superior about mathematics, except that it's incomprehensible to many people, male and female. Fashion and the other domestic arts are incomprehensible to many people, especially straight men, too, but you don't value them and probably think them frivolous. Yet, those efforts have probably done more to make life on earth pleasant than those who named the stars.
---

Yeah, Erp, there is nothing inherently important about anything really -- aren't we just star dust lingering on? -- but allow me to disagree with your final line.

Math and stars allowed us to do many things pleasant, like typing in this keyboard and sending this message to you. You don 't know it, but the colors of the stars - their spectrum - had a very important role in our uncovering of quantum mechanics, and these computers are sure being built over a lot of that knowledge.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] But wherever women have the most opportunity to be women, they are*.
---
[Clovis:] I don't know if you noticed, but you just denied indigenous people being humans, if I get that phrase straight.


You did get the phrase straight; what I meant implied a great deal more than the words could carry.

Let me see if I can get it straight this time: where ever women are most free from legal strictures and are able to control their biology, they are most able to follow their inclinations. As seems very difficult to deny, even by those most in denial, those inclinations are strikingly different to male inclinations, and aren't amenable to conditioning.

Which brings up the question staring everyone in the face in that video, but is never asked: is society a cause, or an effect?

Given that all known societies have marked gender differences, and no one would from any society would be the least surprised by what constitutes typical male and female behavior, that would seem to put a great deal of "society" (always referred to in the passive voice, btw) well onto the effect side.

Women are perfectly free to watch videos like these. Yet, to all intents and purposes they never do.

Just like straight men could watch these. They don't.

And there is absolutely no reason to believe that gender difference would be any different in any society, anywhere, ever.

erp said...

Clovis, I don't think indigenous women are so different from us. They probably are doing feminine stuff as it applies to their culture and makes sense to them. They aren't afraid of spiders because spiders are part of their daily life and don't look scary to them.

As for math, I was doing it before your grandmother was born, but that didn't mean I didn't like "girly" stuff too. Because of that I can appreciate contributions making my life more pleasant even from people who not only can't conceptualize mathematics, but barely know the multiplication tables.

I'll never know for sure if our universe is merely a video game being played to a couple of teenagers in another dimension, but that's where I'm putting my money.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "However, some [particulars of gender expression] are invariant. So far as I know, there isn't any record of any culture anywhere ever where women were not hypergamous, or where they preferred shorter men. Just as there aren't any instances of men being the primary care givers, or women the warriors."

This doesn't make sense to me in 2 different ways.

First, ignoring the hypergamy thang since everybody, on average, both male and female, are hypergamous, there are clearly individual women who prefer shorter men, men who are primary care givers, and women who are warriors. So, it seem to me, there is a lot of variance in "particulars of gender expression."

Second, just because you haven't seen it YET, doesn't mean it can't happen. For example, just because you hadn't seen a black marry a white in 1900 didn't mean that such a thing was impossible and that they could have children. I wouldn't be at all surprised if in 500 years men and women were more or less equally likely to be primary caregivers.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I am a man. Yet, I can assure you nothing in my life gets primacy over my kids."

Exactly.

What I find funny in Hey Skipper's argument is that while women are apparently more maternal, the pill is going to cause the extinction of mankind because women don't actually like children. It seems that in aggregate, it's one or the other. Perhaps men will be the caretakers of humankind in the long run.

erp said...

You boys still don't get it.

It's been drilled into little girls' heads that getting married to a tall, dark (optional) and handsome guy and having babies is declasse and even a low-paying job at the equivalent of the dime store is a better life choice. In fact, the trending choice is to stick with their own sex and use the other one only for heavy lifting.

Bret, in the main most people have little contact with babies until they have their own and << THEN >> girls* are turned into mommies and have their lives are turned upside down as if thunder struck and boys*, if the child is lucky, are similarly, changed into daddies.

Caregiver is such an impersonal word.

*Substitute women or men

erp said...

Bret, I forgot. What the pill did was allow girls to happily join boys in sexual activity without fear of pregnancy. It was the availability of free abortions at the neighborhood abortion clinic which brought down the birthrate by allowing girls to clean up after themselves if they were irresponsible about taking their pills.

There are over one million abortions performed in the U.S. every year with 13,000 of them fully formed babies.

I've already said my piece on abortions many times, but numbers like this point to using abortion as easy birth control that requires no effort on the part of the putative parents.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Indeed, Skipper can't get his supposedly evolution based arguments straight.

For someone who flies an airplane every other day of his life, his excessive faith on our biological dispositions is a bit ironic.

There will be a point in future when not even a woman's womb will be necessary to grow a fetus - then what?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis, I don't think indigenous women are so different from us. They probably are doing feminine stuff as it applies to their culture and makes sense to them. They aren't afraid of spiders because spiders are part of their daily life and don't look scary to them.
---

You are right, Erp, indigenous societies have very marked differences between men and women.

Yet some women there would easily make Skipper look like a little girl by comparison of what they can do and kill better than him. So much for his arguments on women...


To be fair, the men in the tribe will still do and kill tough stuff better than most of the women. But I fear Skipper ignores the high flexibility we humans may present when necessary. We wouldn't be here now if not for it.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] What I find funny in Hey Skipper's argument is that while women are apparently more maternal, the pill is going to cause the extinction of mankind because women don't actually like children.

[Clovis:] Indeed, Skipper can't get his supposedly evolution based arguments straight.

What Bret said I said, and what I actually said are no more alike than soup and nuts. He could scarcely have gotten it more wrong if he just picked words at random from Sanskrit.

Let me reiterate:

Until the 1960s, no organism had any meaningful control over its fertility. Therefore, the desire for offspring cannot have been subject to evolution, because it never mattered. In evolutionary terms, the only thing required for procreation is a sufficiently powerful sex drive.

Women can now control their fertility. Sex is now, for the first time in any organism, completely uncoupled from procreation.

So the question is how many children women will choose to have, given that the maternal instinct, no longer bolstered by the sex drive, must now, for the first time, compete with a great many other desires.

Bret posited that there is some gene that influences how many children women want, and that over time, a stronger variant would come to predominate. The fatal objection to this hypothesis, though, is that it requires the existence of something which has no need to exist.

All the substantial evidence on offer strongly suggest that women — who do not hate children, and whose maternal feelings aren't dependent upon the number of children they have — when given a choice and the ability to enact that choice, choose to have 2 or fewer children so much more often than 3 or more that the net fertility rate is less than 2.

China's TLF is 1.22, hasn't budged since it ended its one-child policy, and won't, if women have any say:

According to a new survey released by the recruitment website Zhaopin, 67% of working women with one child don't want a second, up from 50% in 2014, The New York Times reports. In addition, the survey found 40% of childless women don't want any kids at all, up from 21% in 2016. Ninety three percent of Chinese women have 2 or fewer children.

US TLF is 1.82.

Birth rates have plummeted globally:

With the onset of modernity, as living standards rose and health improved, more and more children survived, which led to unprecedented growth of the population. This episode of large families was short and only lasted for few generations. As a consequence of further development, the family size began decreasing around the world — this time not due to high child mortality, but due to low birth rates. How rapidly the world changed is hard to grasp, but a comparison highlights this transformation: In 1950, 44% of the world population had a total fertility of 6 or more children. By 2010 the world has massively changed and 48% now have less than 2.1 children! This development of a decreasing family size around the world is depicted in the following graph.

(From the article, the global TLF required to maintain the population size is 2.335)

According to Bret, women love their children a third as much as they did 50 years ago.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:]Yet some women there would easily make Skipper look like a little girl by comparison of what they can do and kill better than him. So much for his arguments on women...

Ok, Clovis. You take a look at the available data. In developed societies (where women are notorious for their fear of spiders) what happens when women are most able to make life choices? What indigenous women do in stone age conditions -- where the conditions are exactly the opposite -- could scarcely be more irrelevant. (Moreover, you presume to know what preferences indigenous women would have in a couple generations of immersion in the developed world. Anything to back that up?)

But I fear Skipper ignores the high flexibility we humans may present when necessary. We wouldn't be here now if not for it.

But it isn't flexibility without bounds.

Unless, of course, you choose to reject evolutionary theory.

[Bret:] First, ignoring the hypergamy thang since everybody, on average, both male and female, are hypergamous, there are clearly individual women who prefer shorter men, men who are primary care givers, and women who are warriors.

Men and women universally exhibit distinct differences in mate preferences. Women are universally far more utilitarian and therefore are more driven by status. Men aren't.

And at the level of societies, what vanishingly small numbers of exceptions do is immaterial. No society ever anywhere has ever had a substantial number of female warriors, or women who prefer shorter men, or where anything more than an insignificant number of men were primary care givers.

After all, women do have a maternal instinct, and given the opportunity vastly prefer to raise their children than hand that off to someone else.

Evolution might have something to do with that.

erp said...

Will you guys stop looking at studies - please and LISTEN >>> the maternal instinct arrives WITH the birth of the child, not before !!~!!

Hey Skipper said...

... the maternal instinct arrives WITH the birth of the child, not before !!~!!

Wait. What?

We must be living on different planets. There is a guaranteed way to be in the close proximity of focused female attention: walk a golden retriever puppy. The air is practically saturated with maternal instinct, no matter age or number of borne children.

When my son was a baby, he had a superpower: making any woman north of, say, 13, go absolutely glassy eyed.

If the maternal instinct doesn't arrive until the birth of a child, then I can't imagine why there are furbabies -- cats, purse dogs -- in their millions.

Hey Skipper said...

Regarding my argument that the human population could well dwindle to self-extinction, this sure doesn't look like turning things around.

erp said...

Animals are programmed to give their attention to the babies at hand and not worry about them getting into Harvard.

Of course people love babies and dote and gush over them especially little girls.

Last word on it, giving birth unleashes stuff you guys will never experience. Live with it.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Last word on it, giving birth unleashes stuff you guys will never experience.
---
Thanks, God.

Skipper,

---
Until the 1960s, no organism had any meaningful control over its fertility. Therefore, the desire for offspring cannot have been subject to evolution, because it never mattered.
---
Nonsense. It is pretty clear human beings, and maybe other animals too, have a desire for children, and not always connected to sex drive. To say such desire has no connection to evolution is an affirmation you will never be able to prove, and very unlikely to be true.


---
So the question is how many children women will choose to have, given that the maternal instinct, no longer bolstered by the sex drive, must now, for the first time, compete with a great many other desires.
---
Together with the pill, came also that great cultural change where women went from "barred from working" to "judged if not working".

As your own citation puts it: "According to a new survey released by the recruitment website Zhaopin, 67% of working women with one child don't want a second, up from 50% in 2014, The New York Times reports."

Emphasis on "working women".

As any working couple knows, it is pretty tough to bear many children while working outside shifts.

So, yes, bearing children is competing with 'other desires', among them is providing reasonable standards to the kids you already have - which is also part of maternal instinct. So I don't think you are getting the complete picture with your binary reasoning here.


----
After all, women do have a maternal instinct, and given the opportunity vastly prefer to raise their children than hand that off to someone else.
----
Actually, given the opportunity and money, they vastly prefer to hand the children off to babysitters, while go shopping and combing their hair in a salon.

erp said...

As women well know, if men had the babies, the earth wouldn't be burdened with people.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Nonsense. It is pretty clear human beings, and maybe other animals too, have a desire for children, and not always connected to sex drive.

I'm sorry, I once again typed badly. What I meant to say is that the desire "… for more or fewer offspring …" never mattered.

Clearly primate females, at least, desire to have and nurture offspring. Makes sense, since primate young in general, and humans in particular, are essentially helpless for a long time. Without a powerful drive to nurture, we wouldn't be here.

My comment was with regard to Bret's argument that an inclination to have more or fewer offspring is heritable, and therefore the plunge in birthrates would be self-correcting.

Together with the pill, came also that great cultural change where women went from "barred from working" to "judged if not working".

My wife didn't work while our kids were young. In my experience (and to the extent public proclamations didn't mask some snide female subtext which would be completely invisible to we boy people) at the time mothers of similarly aged children were openly envious of my wife's decision, and ability, to stay home.

Third wave feminism, a stygian dump of toxic ideas, openly disdains families and motherhood. Outside that barmy brigade, though, I don't think women are judged at all negatively for being mothers.

However, as American society urbanized, and there was more stuff and experiences to have, each additional child represents a significant opportunity cost, as well as a decreasing marginal return. Women who have no children cannot satisfy their maternal instinct; one yields a great deal more satisfaction, but the second not so much more than the first, etc.

Given the opportunity cost, it seems that it overcomes the marginal return for an additional child, on average, at less than 2 children per woman.

Actually, given the opportunity and money, they vastly prefer to hand the children off to babysitters, while go shopping and combing their hair in a salon.

If I was you, I'd run.

[erp:] As women well know, if men had the babies, the earth wouldn't be burdened with people.

Or with bridges, ships, buildings, electricity, roads, planes, plumbing, furniture, phones, ...

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "...that an inclination to have more or fewer offspring is heritable..."

Because everything from height to IQ is heritable, but not inclination to have offspring. Who knew? God's clearly involved after all! :-)

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "[sex robots]"

Because one can't have sex with both a robot and human partner?

erp said...

Skipper, If I was you, I'd run. Excellent advice. Clearly the women in the Clovis family aren't reading this blog.

[erp:] As women well know, if men had the babies, the earth wouldn't be burdened with people.

Or with bridges, ships, buildings, electricity, roads, planes, plumbing, furniture, phones, ...


Yes, but if there were no people, they wouldn't be needed.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
My wife didn't work while our kids were young. In my experience (and to the extent public proclamations didn't mask some snide female subtext which would be completely invisible to we boy people) at the time mothers of similarly aged children were openly envious of my wife's decision, and ability, to stay home.
----

Well, two points: 1) You are almost one generation before mine; 2) My experience is from a country that is not rich like yours. Alas, my experience is probably nearer the median of the world than yours.

For most families down here (and in India, China, and other middle to low income countries with vast populations), the choice between one or two parents working makes for a big impact in the family budget.

Of course a similar impact happens in the USA in nominal terms, but not in quality of life terms.

So back to your China quote, those woman know that being a non-working mother (in order to have as many babies as she wants) will impact things like being able to pay a decent school for the kids, having a car or not, living in a decent neighborhood or not, etc. That's also true for some part of the population in the US, I guess, but far less so in relative terms.


---
If I was you, I'd run.
---
I was not speaking in particular about my wife.

But I guess this is true for a majority of women down here, had most of them the means to do so.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clearly the women in the Clovis family aren't reading this blog.
---
My wife surely doesn't. She often cites my participation here, in comments to friends, in jokingly terms.

But she would hardly be able to counter my comment above as chauvinist. To the sorrow of Skippers's men-and-women-in-a-box arguments above, I do spend a lot of time with our kids: we both have the same profession and the same work load, so we share time between family and work almost equally and alternating.

We also live in a relatively rich area, where women have the means to do as much shopping and hair as they want.

My experience, when I take the kids down to the nearby playgrounds, is that I am often the only parent in the middle of lots of babysitters in uniforms.

erp said...

Skipper, The summer after my freshman year in college, a friend's father got me a summer job at a posh Fifth Avenue Real Estate firm which was in chaos. I was supposed to be just decorative, but I managed to get things running smoothly and when I told them I was going back to school, I was offered a job making more money than either my father or my future husband's father and neither family was poor, so I quit school because jobs for female mathematicians were limited to actuarial work or high school teaching -- neither appealed. I was almost always the only girl in my math classes.

Since I lived at home, when I got married three years later we were able to purchase a new house and car and start life with quite a leg up. When the kids came a couple of years later, I stayed home with them until we moved to Vermont when my youngest was in JHS. I volunteered at the college library just about the time computers were born and the rest is history. Nobody's degrees prepared them for the computer age, so even non-credentialed people like me got a chance to show our stuff. I was the right person at the right place at the right time. It was great fun.

We had a very good life largely because we are conservative, my husband always made a good salary and I am a very good manager, Clovis, IOW, I didn't spend my time shopping and getting my hair "combed."

erp said...

Clovis, funny about your wife's amusement at your bloggery. My husband finds it amusing as well. He's the one who coined the term, erp's genuises.

I'll bet the people in your neighborhood are mostly academics or bureaucrats. :>-)

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Double comments????

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis, IOW, I didn't spend my time shopping and getting my hair "combed."
---

And among all the many women you knew in life, how do you compare yourself? Are most women more like you or more like my ironic stereotype above?

erp said...

In that category, I must humbly admit, am a one percenter. :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

You are indeed, Erp.

And I rest my case :-)