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March 16, 2005

The Feminine Technique

I'm not so sure how much I agree with this, but it was interesting. Deborah Tannen has written an article about the combative vs. cooperative styles between men and women. She wrote this article in light of Maureen Dowd's recent column about wanting to be "liked" that has made the blogosphere. She also referenced Lawrence Summer's comments about women not being at the highest levels of science as well as opinion writing in general. The Los Angeles Times was criticized for not having more women opinion writers.

Here is some of what Tanner had written:

No one bothers to question the underlying notion that there is only one way to do science, to write columns "the way it's always been done," the men's way.

There is plenty of evidence that men more than women, boys more than girls, use opposition, or fighting, as a format for accomplishing goals that are not literally about combat a practice that cultural linguist Walter Ong called "agonism," from the Greek word for war, agon.

Watch kids of any age at play. Little boys set up wars and play-fights. Little girls fight, but not for fun. Starting a fight is a common way for boys to make friends: One boy shoves another, who shoves back, and pretty soon they're engaged in play. But when a boy tries to get into play with a girl by shoving her, she's more likely to try to get away from him. A recent New Yorker cartoon captured this: It showed a little girl and a little boy eyeing each other. She's thinking, "I wonder if I should talk to him." He's thinking, "I wonder if I should kick her."

Older boys have their own version of agonism, using fighting as a format for doing things that have nothing to do with actual combat: They show affection by mock-punching, getting a friend's head in an armlock or playfully trading insults.

My readers may have seen me mention that I have been invited to speak on talk shows, but I turn down the requests. I was once asked to speak on Hannity and Colmes, but I turned it down. The reason is what Tannen described - I don't like the combative nature of talk radio and TV talk shows. I don't think it's very productive, I don't like being attacked, and I don't see the point of being part of a gaggle of barking heads so busy yelling over each other that no one can hear what anyone says. On the other hand, I do like to argue in writing very much, but not in person. I think I would do fine with an opinion column. I have enjoyed written sparring in Usenet, the familylaw-l mailing list, and on AOL message boards, and I am proud to admit that I frequently won. Those debates and dealing with stupid trolls really got my adrenaline going. I enjoy the disagreements and discussions I'm having with the folks at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler Yes, I hang out there. Talk about mixing apples and oranges. It's fun to have spirited discussions with people who are my polar opposite politically. All of this put me in mind of the following, written by Tanner:

Arguing ideas as a way to explore them is an adult version of these agonistic rituals. Because they're used to this agonistic way of exploring ideas "playing devil's advocate" many men find that their adrenaline gets going when someone challenges them, and it sharpens their minds: They think more clearly and get better ideas. But those who are not used to this mode of exploring ideas, including many women, react differently: They back off, feeling attacked, and they don't do their best thinking under those circumstances.

At the same time, I learned the value of playful punching when I was a kid. Most of my close friends in grade school were boys. I remember the "I'm going to shove you" form of introductions, and I played right along. My favorite cousin was a boy, and we used to build cities with housing blocks and his army trucks when we were kids. When it was time to stop, we had a great time destroying each other's projects by pretending an earthquake or typhoon came in and wiped out the entire city. We threw blocks at each other and threw the people toys up in the air as the bad-weather-of-the-day destroyed them. We made booming sounds as the houses crumbled, and shrieks for the poor people washed away in the tidal waves. If it were about ten years later, we probably would have had alien abductions, but that wasn't in vogue yet. I remember when during Thanksgiving, while we were watching The Wizard of Oz that came on every year, we'd reinact the scenes during the commercials, and there was lots of playful punching. We always fought over who got to play The Wicked Witch of the West. Both of us wanted to, so we switched off. I admit he was a much better and funnier Wicked Witch than I was. I thought of all this when I read this portion of Tannen's article:

Here's an example that one of my students observed: Two boys and a girl are building structures with blocks. When they're done, the boys start throwing blocks at each other's structures to destroy them.

The girl protects hers with her body. The boys say they don't really want their own creations destroyed, but the risk is worth it because it's fun to destroy the other's structures. The girl sees nothing entertaining about destroying others' work.

I found Tanner's article to be very interesting, mainly because of the memories I have of sparring with boys and sparring with men and some women on the Internet. There are women who like to do this but many of them don't. I've noticed that the women who sparred were actually acting more like cheerleaders, leading the guys on. They weren't taking a real opposing view. They wanted to be "liked," and they received strokes from the guys. A lot of women have written to me saying that they didn't want to post in Usenet, on the AOL message boards, and even my blog because they were afraid of being attacked. That coincides with what Tanner had written.

While I'm sure some may make valid disagreements about what Tanner had written, I nonetheless found it interesting based on my personal experience.

Posted on March 16, 2005 at 08:44 AM | Permalink


I'm definitely in that category where I don't like to "fight", verbally or otherwise. It could be because I'm a woman, but I've always thought is was for two reasons: a) I see most political issues as very complex and b) I care a lot about them. Sparring seems to be a very poor way to work through really complex problems. So I come to the conclusion that people who do so either don't see things as complex (IMHO denying reality) or don't really care about the issue at hand and are just entertaining themselves.

On the other hand, I do "want to be liked" and I want people to "just get along" which is that "feminine" behavior Dowd describes. From my dim recollection, I was that little girl who didn't want her blocks knocked over, puzzled at the other children's desire to destroy. There's still some of that in me today, I'm sure.

So I'm almost convinced... until I consider the recent note home about my daughter knocking over some boy's blocks and making him cry...

Posted by: Barbara Preuninger at Mar 16, 2005 10:23:45 AM

I avoid fights in real life because I have a really hot temper and start to scream in no time. I don't know what Tannen would make of me. As for girls protecting stuff with their bodies, well, I hope that doesn't indicate that objectification of female bodies starts so damn young, but I"m afraid it does.

Posted by: Amanda at Mar 16, 2005 10:47:59 AM

In college, my department was dominated by a lot of German/Eastern European intellectual types, where discussions often began along the lines of "You obviously have no understanding of [insert: Freud, Marx, etc.] and how his theory of [insert: the id, capital, etc.] applies to this argument." So when Tannen mentioned how gender was heavily mediated mediated by culture, I found myself nodding in agreement. I think a lot of middle-class, midwestern type students were a little put off by our professors at first, until we realized that this is just how they approached academic discourse: with a lot of passion, commitment, and verve. In some ways, I tended to find myself preferring their engagement as opposed to the "whatever, dude" approach that more American academics can sometimes take. I found that these people also had real commitment to their students, and that you couldn't take their combativeness in a thesis defense personally. It was a way of making you think harder about the issues. And improving your arguments, as opposed to basking in the simple praise that most "good enough" students are used to hearing in American high schools. When you got an A from one of these people, it was because you really deserved it.

However, I did find that this level of combativeness is not taken well by women, especially women who are not of the background referenced above, so I find myself toning down for audiences where it is more hurtful than helpful. But my profs did teach me how to argue with the more argumentative types--mostly, but not always, men. Like Trish, I think I can argue in print with the best of them, especially if I have time to prepare my answer. But I am not good at holding my own in a screaming match. I'm afraid I'm just too white-bread midwestern for that.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 16, 2005 11:16:19 AM

I don't think it's a gender issue, frankly.

And I also believe there's a HUGE difference between argument & debate - and the kind of thing that goes on in a lot of situations - like those crazy talk shows.
A debate is a situation where both sides COMMUNICATE.
In too many situations, there's absolutely no communication going on at all - because one side, or both, are not even listening to each other.
And then come in all the logical fallacies.
No, definitely not productive.

A productive discussion would be a debate where people are responding to what the other says... If people are just talking at each other... or one person is just spouting and completely disregarding the other... Well, that's not communication. That's a whole different animal.

And I don't think that has anything to do with gender. I have come across plenty of women who are disrespectful in a discussion.

As for the destruction after playing stuff... I don't know what that has to do with anything, really.
It's something children do. Or some don't. It's children though.
From what I understand, children grow up.
If you're still acting like you're 8 years old & in the sandbox as an adult in adult situations, that's not about gender - that's about immaturity and stunted growth. haha!!!

Posted by: Chloe at Mar 16, 2005 12:06:48 PM

How much of women not wanting to fight is the social consumption by men of women's fighting as titillation -- the sexualization of women's arguments for a male audience? Boys learn early that girls will not typically fight back; that they aren't in the same class of fighters and can be safely viewed as the "other". When girls or women do fight back, or less rarely initiate a fight, the social need to still "other" the female-bodied introduces a false sexualization into the situation. Girls/women then learn that the effort is really not worth it; not at the price of their mental energies becoming sexualized...

or at least, this is one of my theories! :)

Posted by: Q Grrl at Mar 16, 2005 12:10:25 PM

I think that this is true, Q Grrl. That's why even when two feminist women are having a respectful, if spirited, debate, there is often a kind of self-consciousness: how will our interchange be seen by others, especially men? Will they see this as to women exchanging views for the mutual benefit and edification of each, or as a snarling catfight? I believe that gender influences these concerns, but that cultural background, socio-economic class and other factors play a heavy mediating role, too. I suspect that white, gentile-background, middle class American women, especially of a midwestern type origin, are much more self-conscious in this respect than native born women from, say, New York City, where "pushiness" is more the norm (Not to pick on NYMOM!) Tannen mentioned Jewish and German women, but I think the same might also be said of other cultural groups as well, where a more assertive personal style is more accepted. Sometimes working class women are a lot more "out there" as are black women for that matter.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 16, 2005 12:38:39 PM

I don't think it's the case that boys learn that girls won't fight back. I think they learn that they're not supposed to fight with girls. I don't know how that lesson carries over into adulthood.

I also don't trust Tannen because I believe she is really trying to push the idea that "typical" girl behavior is actually superior behavior. Girls don't fight, they don't destroy each other's creations, they are peace-loving and protective, while boys are aggressive and destructive.

She also generalizes from isolated anecdotes that illustrate an idea she already has.

Despite her scholarly credentials, she's a pop psychologist, and that's how pop psychologists work.

I'll tell you what I've observed about the differences between the Big Dawg male bloggers I read and the women bloggers I read---more of the women are writers. I mean that as a description of their work: they put words together in interesting and entertaining ways. And as a description of their temperaments. Writers, male and female, don't do their thinking on their feet in public.

The Big Dawgs don't write all that well, really. They're journalists more than they are writers. They write clearly and intelligently but they do not write with much style. They write only in order to argue.

I think if you went looking at the male bloggers who are writers first you'd find the same reluctance to get down in the rough and tumble as women bloggers supposedly have. Writers like to pick their words not pick fights.

Posted by: Lance at Mar 16, 2005 8:56:47 PM

I was going to immediately fire off a line like "has Tannen even met any Italian women?!", but then I sucked my teeth and followed the link. ;-) Yeah, we get a "pass". I think this is completely unrelated to gender, and very much related to culture. I grew up in the midwest too (still here, in fact...which may account for some of my vitriol!), yet in my cultural background, a willingness to fight, especially verbally, was crucial. And I had plenty of role models, growing up!

But even as a child, I noticed how I was typed as "unfeminine" by Anglo-Saxons. If anything, the fact that this 'gendered' behavior varies by culture ought to put to rest any essentialist nonsense. This is taught, not inborn (or, at least not inborn by gender).

Posted by: La Lubu at Mar 16, 2005 10:45:08 PM

I'm uncomfortable with Tannen --and also a lot of the pop linguists of the 'men are from mars, women are from venus' stripe for a bunch of reasons, many of which are mentioned above (esp. the cultural and individual personality variations on these allegedly 'gendered' behaviors and also the various values imputed to them (e.g. Lance's comments above about 'feminine' behaviors as somehow superior). But the biggest part of my discomfort has to do with how simple it becomes to just throw up one's hands and give up entirely on the possibility of ever communicating with 'them' -- the other (gender, race, ethnic group), whomever that is for you. It's just plain irresponsible, in my view, to give up on the possibility of communicating.

Posted by: alphabitch at Mar 17, 2005 12:57:47 AM

"I also don't trust Tannen because I believe she is really trying to push the idea that "typical" girl behavior is actually superior behavior. Girls don't fight, they don't destroy each other's creations, they are peace-loving and protective, while boys are aggressive and destructive."

AND this is wrong because????

Obviously in today's world it is superior to be peace loving and protective...we've created weapons of mass destruction that could destroy the world ten times over, so we need to be more careful before we enter into conflicts...raising children to be less aggressive is a GOOD...and if girls are less aggressive then boys we need to be pushing boys to look to that as an example...NOT the opposite.

It's no coincidence that many of our most aggressive Presidents have come from that 'cowboy culture' that George Bush's is so proud of...

Is that good????

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 17, 2005 1:51:36 AM

La Luba, Actually Tannen made an exception for "meditteranean" women too, so I suppose that means Italians and Sicilians, too. As I said, I think she has a point within the class and cultural context of her observations, but she does not make it explicit that she is generalizing for a relatively small niche of women (white, middle-class, etc.). Of course, the generalization isn't going to hold true for every woman in that group either.

Posted by: at Mar 17, 2005 6:44:35 AM


You may have a point, but then your argument isn't with me it's with an awful lot of feminists who reject the ideas that there is such a thing as natural/typical girl behavior and that idealized notions of femininine docility and constanst compromise are what we should be teaching girls., nevermind boys.

Personally, I don't accept the idea that boys are naturally more aggressive, although they may be more rambunctious and therefore their aggressiveness is more obvious.

And it is true that their aggressiveness is not just more accepted, it is pushed and overpraised by many adults. So I guess rather than putting it that boys should learn how to be more like girls, I'd say that boys shouldn't be taught and encouraged to be brutes.

Posted by: Lance at Mar 17, 2005 11:10:45 AM

I have never been able to figure out why conservative women (and men for that matter) are now defending "bad" behavior in boys as "natural." Thirty years ago, the last of the old battle axe teachers would make the boys sit down, shut up, and behave just like the girls, and nobody complained then. It was how you were supposed to behave, male or female. Remember "standards"? Now these people seem to to be defending "acting out" (at least for boys)even while they accusing liberals of being lax or refusing to discipline children. Very mysterious.

Personally, I don't see how they're doing boys any favor. They are encouraged to run wild and develop no self-discipline because "that's how boys are". And then everybody complains because they're screwing up in school and not going to college like their sisters.

And it is cultural. Asian males are apparently able to sit down and learn, mostly because their parents don't buy this shit. But as soon as these boys are "Americanized," then they buy into the streetsmart "thug" mentality that passes for American masculity these days. So then their academic achievement plummets, because they're told that education is for girls. Or that boys can't sit. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

Or think of "Minnesota Nice," a variation of midwestern "you better behave and be kind to others, or else." That has always applied to boys and girls, men and women. Having grown up with "Kansas Nice," where nobody seems to be too willing to be mean or too aggressive, male or female, I can testify to the power of that. (The current Kansas Attorney General seemed to have missed those lessons, however.)

Posted by: silverside at Mar 17, 2005 11:57:03 AM

Excellent point, silverside!

Posted by: Lance at Mar 17, 2005 12:09:33 PM

It would be interesting to read the most recent research re:
aggression in children (including variables of gender, culture),
I haven't done that recently, so I can't comment from that
vantage point. But, watching neighborhood children with their
parents tells me that parents of boys, for some reason, tolerate
more aggressive and un-contained behavior from boys while setting
firmer, clearer limits with girls. The old "boys will be boys"

Posted by: Katy at Mar 17, 2005 12:17:00 PM

The interesting thing is that this lack of limits seems to backfire for boys over time.

A couple of months ago, there was a very interesting article in Newsweek about socially conservative immigrant families. They tended to keep the girls close to hearth and home, not allowing them to run on the streets like the boys did. No, the girls had to behave and do well in school. Not only that, they had to accompany mom and dad to the doctor's office, or social services, or what have you, so they could translate. All this in keeping with women's traditional roles, of course.

The end result of all this "traditional" treatment? The girls were exposed to middle-class professions and professionals, developed proficiency in standard English, did well in school, and tended to go to college. So in a sense, their encouraged "dependency" created independence. Meanwhile, the boys, who were permitted more American style freedoms (since "boys will be boys") were ending up in jail.

Of course, when things end up this way, you can always blame feminists, like Christina Huff Sommers does.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 17, 2005 12:37:11 PM

"Personally, I don't accept the idea that boys are naturally more aggressive, although they may be more rambunctious and therefore their aggressiveness is more obvious."

But why wouldn't you accept that idea?

I mean if you look, dare I say it, at EVERY other species on the earth, and I won't even include our own historical records in this, but just biology, it's clear that the male IS the larger, stronger and more aggressive in every species, including our own...

Males outnumber females in EVERY single statistics related to aggression, including arrest stats, violent crime stats, prison stats, child abuse stats (now, since they have begun having custody and more ungoverned access to children), one night stand stats with prostitutes and what not which spread diseases so can be seen as anti-social behavior, if not aggression, drunk driving, rapes...

The only violent stats now that they don't outnumber women in is with old folks...and that's probably because just like they USED to do with children before child support laws became stricter, men generally ignore old people...but I'm sure if they were actively involved with them...we would see the same situation....

I just don't under the factual basis people have for denying this, although I understand why they would like it not to be true...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 17, 2005 12:37:50 PM

I'm not going to necessarily disagree with you. There may very well be a biological or genetic propensity to agression in males. I think it highly likely. But what final form that takes has everything to do with socialization and culture. Whether that aggression or energy is channeled into violence or achievement. Whether violence is considered socially acceptable or even glorified as "real manhood", or discouraged or stigmatized. Violent crime does tend to favor males, true, and this is true all across the world. However,it is also true that there are huge differences in overall crime rates between different nations, depending on the cultural attitudes towards violence. Tokyo, London, and Washington, DC all come out very different.

I just refuse to give criminal men an out for their actions. No, it is not your biology. No, your genes didn't make you do it. You did. So accept responsibility for your own actions and accept the consequences.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 17, 2005 12:50:22 PM

Whatever the research results on the issue of
aggression, prevention of violent crime seems
to be the key issue. How do we apply the knowledge
to create a less aggressive society?

Posted by: at Mar 17, 2005 1:11:41 PM

"Whatever the research results on the issue of
aggression, prevention of violent crime seems
to be the key issue. How do we apply the knowledge
to create a less aggressive society?"

Well we have to stop rewarding aggression and I don't just mean "we" as in the US but 'we' worldwide...

For instance, I want to write on my blog this week (I hope if I don't get sidetracked) about things we, meaning the WORLD, should be doing to punish China and India...

It just has been admitted by both countries, that through misuse of the sonogram technology which the West sold them, they aborted almost 65 million females...and those are the two worse offenders, in the neighboring Islamic countries they've done the same thing on a smaller scale...

Now not only will this probably increase their crime rate, through all these single men flooding their society, BUT it could even make it more likely that a war will be triggered, which you could look at like the ultimate crime spree..."Bare Branches" they call these young men in China...and they could provide a lot of kindling for a future conflagration in Asia.

Anyway, I think we should push for some sort of trade sanctions against them for this...I mean it's like a crime was committed against one-half of humanity here and nobody appears to be too concerned about it...

NOW these are the sorts of things which send a subtle message to people...that's it okay to do that to women or it's not...

I don't know if we could solve the problem HERE in just a generation or two, if that's what you mean...it has to really be a worldwide sort of push, especially since we have so much immigration...

Violence can be overcome with reason I think, most of the time (I won't say always)...but the will must be there to do it...

I mean it was proven this week when that young woman convinced a man who had just killed four people to let her go and to surrender himself... He was on a murder spree and I'm sure he didn't expect to be taken alive...he probably could have killed quite a few more people before it was over, including himself...so it showed (me anyway) that violence CAN respond to reason...

The problem is I don't think people really believe that a lot of the violence men do is really wrong...and we cannot keep giving a mixed message about it...I mean when we celebrate sending a man with TEN CHILDREN over to fight in Iraq...what message are we sending about his value to us???

So I think a good international beginning would be to let China and India know that what they did was wrong and, at the very least, we are not giving them access to any more medical technology that could be misused...that would be a good start...maybe even involve school children in this with a letter writing campaign just as a beginning anyway...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 17, 2005 5:52:48 PM

"I mean if you look, dare I say it, at EVERY other species on the earth, and I won't even include our own historical records in this, but just biology, it's clear that the male IS the larger, stronger and more aggressive in every species, including our own..."

Ppffftt! Ever with the histrionics...Big cats and their prides, for one, don't follow that philosophy at all. The hunter is the female. And by definition, hunting requires aggression. As far as size and strength, don't even get me started on insects, reptiles and fish...

Aggression doesn't come from biology, it comes from environment. Across the globe environments at ALL levels of life, vary. And life adapts to those varying, and oftimes, harsh environments. What's bigger and stronger (and may or may NOT be male) is at times, the more docile. While the smaller, seemingly insignificant (and may or may NOT be female) lifeform may be the most ferocious.

And thus follows the dynamic of aggression. Because it takes aggression to conquer hardship or size difference. It's based on need.

And of course we've NEVER EVER seen a woman bigger and stronger than a man have we?

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 17, 2005 6:18:16 PM

Can you cite research that shows that aggression is all
"nurture" and no "nature" in humans? I'd be surprised if
you can prove that but very interested in seeing results of
well-done research.

Posted by: Katy at Mar 17, 2005 9:27:58 PM

Katy, I'm inclined to think that, like practically every other trait in human beings, the tendency for violence is both nature and nurture. I'm also inclined to think that blaming men, as a whole, for acts of violence is little more than gratuitous male-bashing. I think we have plenty of prima-facie evidence in the fact that the overwhelming majority of our male populace manages to get through the day without raping, maiming, or killing.

I also think we should make a clear distinction between "aggression" or "assertion" and "violent tendencies". They are not equivalent. Neither are all acts of violence equivalent. Even our laws recognize the difference between reasonable self-defense and assault.

Posted by: La Lubu at Mar 17, 2005 9:55:02 PM

I had already posted this on my own blog, yet obviously it bears repeating:

There is amply research out there that women and men are NOT the same regarding many areas, including aggression...

In the examples used for instance, lionesses kill to eat...male lions kill cubs and other lions for terrority...that's a big difference...

Furthermore we are NOT comparing ourselves and other similarly positions mammals to insects, birds or clown fish; but, in fact are looking and comparing behavior of creatures that reside in the vast middle of the bellshaped curve where most of us reside...not some freaks at each end of the spectrum...

Regarding research, see below:

Listening to, Steven Rhoads, author of "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" talk about his book, I was very impressed with some of his insights. One of the most insightful comments he made was that the 'androgynous' project western society has embarked upon today, in another misguided attempt to minimize the real differences between men and women, is basically indicative of 'misogyny' or hatred of women. Thus, for instance, we see that the root of a lot of the propaganda which has generated our current gender-neutral custody frenzy is a force that is essentially anti-woman. In fact, any objective person after reading through the research he has compiled in his book, would have to come to the inevitably conclusion that the movements that support fathers rights are not really pro-children, as their propagandists would have us believe, but are more anti-woman then anything else.

Some of his facts, such as the worldwide statistic that men kill 28x more persons then women do was even a surprise to me. I knew instintively that men were more violent (as most honest persons would admit) then women, but didn't realize the differences were so high as I only looked at US statistics which indicated a ten to one disparity in violence and murder between the sexes, now I see in fact it's closer to thirty to one just concerning murder, if we include ALL crimes of violence or even ALL anti-social acts men commit that might NOT be illegal per se, who knows how great the disparity would be...

Yet we see one propagandist after another, continue to insist that women are just as violent as men, that there is no differences in fathers and mothers vis-a-vis children or their care, that government monies for domestic violence shelters should be divied up equally between men and women, etc., since men and women are equally victimized by domestic violence in their homes. Statements which are so counter-intuitive to what most of us know to be true from our own lives and NOW even the statistics, that it makes you question the motivations of the persons who sprout these phony factoids since they are such obvious lies.

So if you're interested read Steven Rhoades...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 18, 2005 12:38:27 AM

"I think we have plenty of prima-facie evidence in the fact that the overwhelming majority of our male populace manages to get through the day without raping, maiming, or killing."

Yes, that true most men do get through the day w/o committing a crime, as do most women... however when crimes are committed both here and abroad it will more likely be committed by a male...

AND that holds across the board even in the great patriarchies of China and India and I assure you they have no reason to lie due to Marxist feminism...as many will try to say about statistics over here...

As there is NO reason for them to bash men or protect feminists, it has no meaning over there for them...so it's just fact...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 18, 2005 12:44:41 AM

I didn't think the issue was who commits more violent crime, I
thought it was a question of whether the aggression was innate
or an interaction of both nature and nurture. Are males born more
aggressive? Anybody know what the recent research shows? Prima facie
evidence might be interesting, but it doesn't do much to answer
that question. It's an interesting subject, though, for sure.

Posted by: at Mar 18, 2005 2:29:24 AM

"I didn't think the issue was who commits more violent crime, I thought it was a question of whether the aggression was innate or an interaction of both nature and nurture. Are males born more
aggressive? Anybody know what the recent research shows? Prima facie evidence might be interesting, but it doesn't do much to answer that question. It's an interesting subject, though, for sure."

For some people that is the issue...as there are people who have websites that do nothing but comb through newspaper accounts for horrible news stories featuring women in them...and then use this as evidence that women are just as aggressive as men.

But let me say this...if in EVERY single society and EVERY single species, the male is the more aggressive, doesn't that say something?

Since we can be going back and forth with this nature vs. nurture debate for the next 1000 years as there are many men who have MUCH to gain from never ending it...at some point when do we just accept the evidence we've collected SO FAR and go with that????

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 18, 2005 8:33:37 AM