I was watching the “Big Questions” episode “Has Britain Become Hostile to Blokes” with Milo Yiannopoulos, Martin Daubney, Kate Smurthwaite, and Sally Peck (among others). Yes, that episode which has provided several meme generators with ample raw material. The episode where, while being interrupted from talking about issues men face, Milo uttered the now infamous and discussion ending word, “darling”. The entire sequence was typical of the way “offense” is used to shut down discussion( time stamp ~9:40).
Later on in the program, Sally Peck, a food and family columnist, gives a fairly accurate description of study results but interprets them through a biased lens and therefore comes up with the wrong answer. She is talking about “giving all options to all children” within the context that males are more likely to be victims of violence even though it is generally “male-on-male violence”.
When they’re babies, and the baby cries, the girl-child will be picked up much more quickly and held and comforted for much longer. She is taught by her close-knit team care that her feelings count, they matter and she gets a reaction whereas boys, in every study it shows they’re encouraged to play further away. They’re not picked up as quickly. They’re not comforted.
…boys emotions are not listened to and this is what causes the problems. There’s not a toxic natural masculinity…it’s not the nature. We are teaching them to do that.
Despite the fact that Sally completely dismisses biology as a potential causal factor in the violent (rough and tumble) behavior of boys, there is another unspoken assumption she is using here. Can you spot it before I reveal it later on?
There is evidence that the type of play children prefer is influenced as much by biological factors as by social ones. Even in our primate cousins, this early divergence in play styles can be seen. The biology of males and females differ and the ideologically motivated ignoring of that fact won’t make it less true. Since boys and girls differ in play styles and toy selection, should we expect that their later choices and interests suddenly coincide?
While it’s very likely true that socialization also plays a part in shaping the choices that males and females make, the current system has biology and socialization working in harmony. The proposed societal changes has socialization working against biology. I don’t want to be accused of supporting the naturalistic fallacy, so I’ll stop short of saying that because it’s rooted in biology, it’s to be preferred, but I will say that other attempts to circumvent biology have not always had great success.
Have you spotted the other problem with Sally’s statements yet?
She assumes that the treatment of girl-children is the “gold standard”. Here I will paraphrase Karen Straughan‘s breakdown of the same events depicted by Sally above.
Basically, by catering to the girl-child’s every cry and by comforting them longer, girls are taught that their issues are important. That whenever they need attention, all they need do is demand it. Whenever they want succor, it will be provided. They are taught, in short, that the world is very concerned with how they feel. They are taught to be somewhat narcissistic.
Boys on the other hand are taught to de-prioritize their own needs, and their own pain. They are taught that society doesn’t care about their suffering. In the US, many are taught this from the first few hours of life when they get a piece of themselves cut away without anesthesia. This de-prioritization of self makes perfect sense if later in that child’s life you’re going to demand that he pick up a sword or a gun and risk his life to protect others. The opposite condition with girls also makes perfect sense if your tribe or clan is to survive. Having women (who bear the children) prioritize their own needs and comfort, works to ensure that the next generation will come into being.
Additionally, wouldn’t it seem a better world if everyone was less self absorbed? If everyone was taught to put others ahead of themselves, what kind of altruistic world would that be? It certainly wouldn’t be one where a discussion of one group’s real problems would be shut down by a casual term of endearment, darling.