La battaglia dei sessi rivista e corretta.

Nel libro “Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men” Roy  Baumeister sviluppa quella che chiama “una teoria radicale sulla differenza tra uomo e donna”. Secondo lui:

… differences are rooted mainly in tradeoffs. If one gender is better at something, the superior ability will probably be linked to being worse at something…

Si parte da una differenza ben più radicale: quella tra umanità e regno animale:

… One of the most important traits that make us human is our ability to create and sustain giant social systems… These systems are called cultures. I shall suggest that cultures routinely exploit men in certain ways, which is to say cultures find men more useful than women for certain tasks.

In sintesi: l’uomo – diversamente dagli animali – convive in gigantesche formazioni sociali che si coordinano grazie alla cultura, una macchina imponente che funziona sacrificando i maschi della comunità.

Si parte osservando che in qualsiasi comunità umana esaminata nel tempo e nello spazio le posizioni di comando sono ad appannaggio dei maschietti. L’uomo domina sempre e ovunque.

… men have long held higher positions in society than women have. Most rulers throughout history have been men. Even today, most countries are governed by groups consisting mostly of men. Elsewhere in society, men rule also: in corporate boardrooms, on town councils; even within families, men seem to have more authority. The Global World Forum recently rated most nations on various dimensions of equality, and it found not a single country in which women generally enjoy superior status over men…

Ma perché questa superiorità? C’è la spiegazione “maschilista”:

… this expanation was accepted nearly everywhere until the twentieth century: that men were naturally superior to women…

E c’è la spiegazione “femminista”:

… The second explanation was a reaction against the first. It said that women were not inferior to men on any meaningful dimension. Possibly women are superior, but definitely not inferior. Therefore, the difference in social standing had to be explained as oppression. Men must somehow be working together to keep women down. Men devised a clever system for themselves, called patriarchy, and they used it to share rewards and to oppress women…

L’ambizione del libro è quella di mediare:

… This book offers a third explanation. It’s not that men are smarter than women (the first theory). It’s not that men are wicked conspirators against women (the second theory). It’s about some basic likes and dislikes. It’s rooted in how men treat other men, and how that is different from the way women relate to other women. It’s about how culture works…

Ci sono alcuni elementi che spiegano perché l’apporto delle donne alla formazione della cultura sia tanto esiguo:

… There were crucial tradeoffs: Women’s relationships were vital for some other things. Just not for constructing large systems, like a market economy, or a large team. Because culture grew out of men’s relationships—including competition, trading and communicating with strangers, and ample doses of violence—men were always in charge of it…

Oggi alla donna è chiesto di “partecipare” in molte imprese culturali ma si tratta comunque di entrare in un circuito costruito nel tempo dall’uomo. Non esistono significative “società femminili”:

… Women have asked, and occasionally demanded, to be allowed into the giant systems that men built, and to varying degrees they have been let in. Meanwhile, there are hardly any places in the world where men are asking (or demanding) to be allowed into giant social systems built up by women… lack of such female-created social systems is something worth pondering

La tesi per la quale le società in cui viviamo “sfruttino” l’uomo merita di essere chiarita:

… One core interest of the book is to examine how culture exploits men. This does not mean I am denying that culture exploits women too. Many cultures do exploit women, some more than others, and sometimes cruelly…

In altre parole: solo lo sfruttamento della donna è patologico (e viene denunciato) mentre quello dell’uomo è fisiologico (ed è normale trascurarlo).

Nella società creata dai maschi attraverso la cultura, il rapporto tra i sessi non sarebbe conflittuale ma complementare. Il femminismo contemporaneo è di tutt’altro avviso.

… Feminist theory has had the unfortunate side effect of accustoming us all to thinking of gender in terms of conflict: mainly men oppressing women, and men being threatened by female successes. Instead, I think men and women for the most part work together. Any time people work together, there are occasional conflicts, but these are not the main story. One goal of this book is to reinterpret the relations between men and women as more cooperative and complementary than antagonistic…

Le tesi femministe sembrerebbero implicare un certo complottismo patriarcale. Eppure non sembra che per gli uomini la donna sia “il nemico”, questo anche osservandoli quando stanno soli tra loro. Riferisce uno psicologo.

He identified himself as a group therapist who had been conducting all-male group therapy sessions for more than twenty years. He said something that has stuck with me ever since. In all those years of men’s groups, he had never once heard any group of men talk about women as the enemy

Oggi è difficile comunicare con i gruppi femministi, molti di loro sembrano aver sacrificato la verità alla militanza. Nel movimento c’è un senso di purezza che va a detrimento del confronto serio.

… I strongly suspect there is no point in debating with feminists… The business of feminism was aptly summarized by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, two scholars who have spent their careers in Women’s Studies programs and who wrote a thoughtful book, Professing Feminism,… most feminists do not pay any attention to criticisms from non-feminists. They listen a little bit to criticism from each other—but that mainly concerns the purity of their commitment to feminist politics and doctrine…

E’ difficile discutere con chi fa campagna contro gli urinatoi o con chi vede la convivenza un modo per “andare a letto con il nemico”.

Negli anni 70, con la conquista dei diritti molti “capi storici” del femminismo hanno mollato i posti di comando ritenendo la missione compiuta. A questo punto un certo  radicalismo a suo tempo marginale ha preso le redini del movimento.

… Many of us, especially those of us past a certain age, have affectionate memories of the feminist movement in the 1970s. We associated feminism with promoting equality… These days many people associate feminism with something quite different, even the opposite: promoting women at the expense of men, defending dogmas, stifling new thought, and deploring men…

La parabola del femminismo contemporaneo è stata già raccontata:

… In her book Who Stole Feminism? Christina Hoff Sommers argued that the feminist movement had indeed changed from a men-welcoming, idealistic movement promoting one kind of utopia into an antagonistic and often stridently anti-male movement…

Forse il conflitto tra i sessi è sopravvalutato:

… I said that the hostility between the sexes had been overstated. I mentioned as an example the women’s suffrage movement. I pointed out that women got the vote because a majority of men, only men, voted to extend the vote to women… men had essentially welcomed women with open arms and affirmative action…

Oggi chi parla di “oppressione” e “discriminazione” non è quasi mai chiamato a giustificare le sue affermazioni roboanti, le si prende per buone, o comunque le si considera accettabili. Un caso di scuola è quello che riguarda il gap negli stipendi.

oppression hypothesis routinely has taken a beating. There are multiple possible explanations for the gender salary gap, and several have much clearer support than oppression. Men are more likely than women to work full-time rather than part-time. On average across the population, men are more ambitious than women. They work harder and put in hundreds more hours per year. Men are less likely than women to take a few years off during the crucial career-building years of their thirties. Men take bigger risks than women. Men are more willing to sacrifice other sorts of career benefits, such as freedom from travel requirements, low stress, and even personal safety, for a higher salary. Men are more likely than women to negotiate for a higher salary. All these contribute to higher male salaries…

Un altro caso lampante riguarda la preferenza per i figli maschi.

… parents were more likely to have another child if their first or previous child had been a girl than a boy. The explanation given at that time was that parents really want sons, and so if they have a girl, they regard the reproductive event as a failure… What they said, and what research evidence also shows (if anyone had bothered to look before attributing parental choices to sexism), is that girl babies are generally easier than boy babies… Boy babies are more trouble. They scream and cry more often than girl babies, and louder too. (Incidentally, this well-documented finding has been recognized as an important challenge to the conventional claim that females are more emotional than males.) Once they start crawling and walking, they get into things. They make bigger messes. They climb the furniture and pull the draperies. They fight with other kids. Parents who have boys think, this is difficult. Let’s not have any more of these… Recently I visited China. The preference for boys there is well entrenched in the culture and it is hard to deny that there is overt preference, to the point of prejudice… Yet even there, it may be overly hasty to attribute these attitudes to oppression and prejudice. My Chinese colleagues pointed out that Chinese tradition and law stipulate that a son is responsible for taking care of his parents in their old age. A daughter is not… The law and tradition are themselves quite relevant to one theme of this book. Males are required to support their parents, while females are exempt from this requirement…

La selezione naturale opera anche tra gruppi cosicché la cultura è decisiva. Le culture vincenti hanno chiaramente attribuito ruoli differenti a uomini e donne. Ma perché non hanno invece promosso il matriarcato?

… It has been tried. Unfortunately, those matriarchal cultures and societies did not stand the test of time. There is probably a good reason. In fact, I shall suggest that women can rule, and even quite effectively. But usually they don’t. It’s not a matter of competence or capability. More likely, it has to do with the willingness to take the risks and make the sacrifices

Ma cos’è la cultura?

… In other writings, I have gone so far as to conclude that culture is humankind’s biological strategy. It is how people attempt to solve the basic biological problems that all species face: survival and reproduction. We have culture, a system that shares information, coordinates different tasks, and increases wealth… In short, cultures have challenges. To survive, they must use their men and women effectively…

Ma come si fa a dire che l’uomo è sfruttato se è praticamente a capo di tutto? E’ questo che si chiede scandalizzata la femminista. Solo la donna ha diritto di lamentarsi.

… How, indeed, can we say that men are exploited by society? On the one hand, it is true that men dominate society. They occupy the vast majority of power positions as presidents, prime ministers, and other rulers… Most large corporations are headed by men… In short, and to oversimplify, men run the world… Feminist gets quite angry at any insistence that culture victimizes men…

Noi guardiamo solo “in alto”. Perché qualche volta non guardiamo anche “in basso”? Per esempio nelle prigioni, nel braccio della morte, per strada tra i barboni, nei lavori più rischiosi, al cimitero tra i morti sul lavoro, nelle aule giudiziarie, sul campo di battaglia…

… The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top of society and draw conclusions about society as a whole. Yes, there are mostly men at the top. But if you look at the bottom, really at the bottom, you’ll find mostly men there… Look at the prisons, for example… There are almost no women ever on Death Row… (Imagine if our society were half as indignant about the police engaging in gender profiling as it is about their racial profiling!)… Warren Farrell documented this in his book The Myth of Male Power. When men and women are convicted of the same crimes, the men get much longer prison sentences than the women… Another group at the bottom of society is the homeless. More men than women are homeless. In fact, for many years homeless people were almost exclusively men… When homeless people were almost entirely men, they were regarded as immoral trash, and they were called bums and tramps… study on homelessness concluded that about 15% are women… death on the job… Society needs people to do all its various jobs, and some of those jobs are dangerous. Somebody has to climb out on the roof, or exchange gunfire with the criminals, or run into burning buildings, or sail the stormy seas to rescue the desperate, or even just drive cars and trucks on the busy or dark roads that kill so many. Some of those people will end up injured or, in the worst case, killed… 92% of Americans who die in the line of work are men. This is true despite the fact that there are almost as many women as men employed in America…One more spot at the bottom deserves mention: being killed in battle… These casualties have overwhelmingly been men. That’s changing, one might say. Women are entering combat and sharing the risk. Although correct, it is beside the point. Women’s progress in sharing the risk of combat death is accompanied by women sharing many of the rewards that society has also, such as prestigious and well-paying jobs. Plus, women’s progress into high-paying jobs has been faster than their progress into risk and danger… In 2007, the Iraq war passed the sad milestone of 3,000 American deaths (including everything from being shot in combat to being killed in a traffic accident). Of those dead soldiers, 2,938 were men. The 62 women comprised about 2% of the deaths…

Nella nostre società (ovunque e sempre) i maschietti sono carne da cannone. Il perché è anche intuitivo:

… The idea has several roots, some as deep as the basic ability to make babies for the next generation, to enable cultures to compete simply by outnumbering their rivals: a culture needs only a few men but as many women as possible…

“Fare l’uomo” non è un pic-nic. Lo sa bene Norah Vincent:

… One of the most interesting books about gender in recent years was by Norah Vincent. She was a lesbian feminist who with some expert help could pass for a man, and so she went undercover, living as a man in several different social spheres for the better part of a year. The book, Self-Made Man, is her memoir. She is quite frank that she started out thinking she was going to find out how great men have it and write a shocking feminist expose of the fine life that the enemy (men) was enjoying. Instead, she experienced a rude awakening of how hard it is to be a man… She was glad when it was over, and in fact she cut the episode short in order to go back to what she concluded was a greatly preferable life as a woman…

Se oggi leggiamo il giornale rileviamo un clamoroso “doppiopesismo”:

…  If you follow the popular media, you see and hear plenty about the gender gap in pay and the general unfairness about women earning less than men. Meanwhile, you will see and hear very little about the gender gap in occupational death

Eppure, non siamo affatto sconvolti da questo fatto. Perché? Perché nella cultura maschile “colpire la donna” è patologico mentre “colpire l’uomo” è fisiologico. Sì, fisiologico: la cultura costruita dai maschi richiede sacrifici umani maschili.

L’uomo è e deve essere più colpito perché è nelle sue corde prendersi più rischi materiali (… tanto va la gatta al lardo…). Tutto questo ha una conseguenze: l’uomo riceve i premi materiali maggiori (… chi non risica non rosica…). Non chiamatelo “privilegio” però, chiamatelo “trade-off”. 

… Confronted with such tradeoffs, men and women tend to see different tipping points. I’m sure it is possible to pay the average woman enough extra to make her willing to take more risk. But the average man will take that same risk for a smaller increase in salary… Many research studies have shown that men put more emphasis on money when choosing jobs and careers than women do. As a result, these men earn more than the women who took the safer careers… Taking and doing those dangerous jobs is thus one thing men are good for

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