I’m no longer writing at Jezebel, but I have new posts up this week elsewhere.
At Daily Life Australia, I respond to the claim by a New York Magazine columnist that testosterone was the ultimate cause of the Boston bombings. Excerpt:
rom Chechnya to Cambridge, Massachusetts, boys are raised to see “seeking help” as something feminine, and therefore to be avoided. When boys are beaten and mocked for showing weakness, they hide their vulnerability.
When they’re praised for aggression and taking foolish risks, they learn that recklessness and violence are key to establishing their masculine credentials. Our young men are not consumed with anger because they’re at the mercy of their hormones, but because they’ve been denied access to any emotion other than rage.
You don’t have to believe that “nature” has no impact on human behaviour in order to argue that “nurture” (how we raise our children) offers an equally important influence. Hormones are part of our human hardwiring, but socialisation is what teaches boys when and how to direct the aggressive, protective, sexual urges that testosterone creates.
Impulses may be rooted in biology, but how those impulses manifest has everything to do with culture. Create a culture in which boys have options other than violence and they will become less violent; create a culture in which women can pursue intellectual, sexual, and sporting ambitions, and they will become far more frank about what it is they want and how badly they want it.
And at Role/Reboot, responding to the latest woman-bashing alarmism about delayed marriage. Excerpt:
If there’s a consistent lament from anti-feminist social conservatives like Wilcox, Hymowitz, and Carroll, it’s that the expansion of the (admittedly fragile) safety net since the 1960s has displaced men from their traditional roles as protectors and providers. It’s why so many angry white men vote Republican—they imagine that they’ve been cuckolded by wily liberal Democrats who’ve seduced middle-class women with feminist theory and working-class women with welfare. Rather than working to wriggle out of the Protector/Provider/Patriarch straitjacket, young men like Chris the welder fall into self-pitying depression and conservative sociologists like Wilcox wring their hands over picky unmarried women who have lost the ability to distinguish “good men from bad.” Men derive their identity from women’s dependency, the authors of Knot Yet imply, and the refusal of so many women to return to that natural state of vulnerability threatens the happiness of children and the stability of society itself.
The Knot Yet study is right to note that there are a wide variety of social and economic factors driving these dramatic changes in American marriage and reproductive practices. And though their goal of making “family life more stable for children” may be a worthy one, it’s a shame that they see that stability as contingent more on a lowering of female expectations than upon male transformation.