Symposia on Family Values and on Gender Equality

by Harry on October 31, 2016

The latest issue of Law Ethics and Philosophy has an open access symposium on Family Values, with contributions by Sarah Stroud, Anca Gheaus and Luara Ferracioli, and a fairly comprehensive response by me and Adam Swift. To simplify, Stroud criticizes us for being too unforgiving of parental partiality; Gheaus criticizes us for being too permissive with respect to parental authority over children, and Ferracioli introduces two adequacy criteria that, she argues, our theory does not meet. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to read the book first so you’ll know what it’s all about! It’s a good symposium in that there is enough, and sharp enough, disagreement to be interesting, but enough common ground that several issues get clarified, and progress is made.

While you’re at it, you might also want to check out the other symposium in the same issue, prompted by Philippe Van Parjis’s provocative (to put it mildly) and brief piece “Four Puzzles on Gender Equality”. Here’s the abstract:

There are dimensions along which men seem to be disadvantaged, on average, relative to women. For example, they can expect to live less years; in a growing number of countries they are, on average, less educated than women; they form an electoral minority; and their greater propensity to misbehave means that the overwhelming majority of the prison population is drawn from their ranks. These disadvantages, if they are real, all derive from an unchosen feature shared by one category of human beings: being a male. Does it follow that these advantages are unjust?

The interesting responses are by Paula Casal, Pierre-Étienne Vandamme, Jesus Mora, Valeria Ottonelli and Gina Schouten. It’s entirely accessible to non-academics, not just because it is free on the internet, but also because most of the papers (including Van Parijs’s) are short, and largely free of technical language. I mainly don’t teach my own work, so despite its pedagogical value I probably won’t use the Family Values symposium, but I can’t wait to teach the Van Parjis symposium in my undergraduate political philosophy class in the spring!

{ 48 comments }

1

faustusnotes 11.01.16 at 4:39 am

The discussion of gender inequality is interesting. The original article and some of the responses seem to slightly miss the point about female longevity – this is actually described in terms of average life expectancy, not longevity, and a large chunk of that improved life expectancy comes from superior survival of female neonates and infants, likely due to biology. I think Casal in her response has even mislabeled an age distribution pyramid as a life expectancy distribution. Care is needed in establishing the facts and causes of this injustice before debating what it means.

On the topic of unjust conditions for men, I have an example I often think about from Japan, which slightly perplexes me. The general western and/or feminist conception of Japan is that women have a tough lot and there is a lot of inequality, but having lived here now for 10 years and seen how gender roles are arranged, I think there is another way of looking at it, not entirely valid but worth considering. There is a large slab of Japanese society in which the man works and his wife stays home to care for children, usually in an extended family arrangement where the burden of childcare is shared. In this situation, the woman doesn’t work; she gets almost 100% of the man’s salary deposited in her account, and gives him an allowance; she (and, often, his mother) has almost complete control over how the child is raised; she has almost complete authority over spending; and he works extremely hard and long hours that leave him exhausted and likely not able to benefit much from the neat domestic arrangements. For wealthier families this leaves the woman free to enjoy a lot of leisure time, which is reflected in the arrangement of much of the Japanese service economy – at lunchtime for example or in the morning, you can travel through vast stretches of Tokyo, Fukuoka or Osaka and see cafes full entirely of groups of young women – ladies who lunch, spending their husband’s money while their husband works.

I cannot fathom how this is a good deal for men. I don’t see what they get from this arrangement that is good for them. Sure they get economic and political power but the money goes to their wives and the political power appears to be expended primarily on electing men who perpetuate a system in which men labour and women lunch. If the working conditions in Japan were better I can see that it would be good, but work in Japan is hard and often nasty, and these men are working long hours in stressful conditions to support someone else’s leisure.

Of course this part of society is slowly shrinking, with more women working (even if only part time), less emphasis on children, and also less shared childcare (so that there is less leisure time for non-working mothers). But to the extent that it does survive, and to the extent that some sections of society seem to think it’s a great plan, I can’t help but think that men who buy into this vision of society are basically buying into a system that completely exploits them.

I think it might indicate that as society changes – and particularly as society ages and fertility rates dive – the old system actually turns out to be a heavy disadvantage for men, and if they don’t get rid of it quickly (or opt out of it) they will end up the sex in future that is facing the greatest injustice.

2

James Wimberley 11.01.16 at 12:30 pm

Parijs: “their [men’s] greater propensity to misbehave means that the overwhelming majority of the prison population is drawn from their ranks.”
I speculate that as the proportion of women in the police and judiciary rises, some of the old “boys will be boys” tolerance 0f domestic abuse, drunkenness and the like by men is also fading. Trump is extreme, but he is also old.

3

James Wimberley 11.01.16 at 12:44 pm

Parijs goes off the deep end on “hormonal inequality”: “men’s greater libido” is evidenced by their far greater use of prostitutes. This is careless. Decades of sex research have not confirmed the Victorian view of typical female frigidity (which would have been news to Victoria herself), nor the earlier stereotype of female sexual rapacity. Very possibly there is a stronger male preference for variety, and for sex without commitment, readily explainable on ev. psych. grounds. Since prostitutes exist to meet these preferences, it is not clear how men are disadvantaged by them.

4

EB 11.01.16 at 1:41 pm

Interesting stuff. But it’s hard to grasp why hormonal inequality should be cast as an “injustice.” A challenge, yes. But injustice is typically framed as a disparity caused by conscious or unconscious exercise of an invidious power relationship. That does not seem to be the case with differential testosterone levels.

5

bruce wilder 11.01.16 at 2:23 pm

EB @ 1:41 Testosterone affects the psychological perception and conception of fairness and the hormone mediates the experience of domination or submission in ways not well understood.

6

divelly 11.01.16 at 3:41 pm

Re life expectancy, (worthless anecdotes to follow) at the end of the last century there was a coffee table book,”100 at 100.”
Verso, an8x10 glossy; recto a brief c.v.
I counted 88 women,12 men.
The ladies’ stories ranged from,”Beats me how I made it to 100.I was always a little plump and ate a Middle European diet,” to “I ran 2 marathons daily and survived on lawn clippings!” OTOH, the one guy who didn’t appear ready for embalming said,
” The worst thing about aging is having to cut back.I’m down to 10 Camel straights and a 1/2 pint of Bourbon a day.” He was 104.

7

Anarcissie 11.01.16 at 9:04 pm

Via this discussion, I came upon ‘Love not war. On the chemistry of good and evil’ by Paula Casal which I thought was very interesting in the light of some talk about essentialism which occurred recently around here.

8

Stephen 11.01.16 at 9:40 pm

EB@4 “injustice is typically framed as a disparity caused by conscious or unconscious exercise of an invidious power relationship. That does not seem to be the case with differential testosterone levels.”

As an explanation for why an entirely disproportionate number of men find themselves in prison, yes, of course, that makes very good sense. It’s their high level of testosterone that makes them behave in a way that, quite rightly, gets many of them sent to prison.

Sauce for gander, sauce for goose.

It’s women’s low levels of testosterone, or their high levels of oestrogen/progesterone, that makes them behave in a way that, quite rightly, makes few of them … oh dear …

9

EB 11.02.16 at 12:35 am

Stephen @ 8: “makes few of them” what, exactly?

10

rootlesscosmo 11.02.16 at 4:16 am

@Faustusnotes: “the man works and his wife stays home to care for children, usually in an extended family arrangement where the burden of childcare is shared. In this situation, the woman doesn’t work”

Am I the only one to see a glaring contradiction here? This just in: child care–shared or not–is work.

11

ZM 11.02.16 at 6:32 am

The articles look interesting from a quick look at a few, hopefully I’ll have a chance to read some of them fully in the next few days.

faustusnotes, the Japanese example you’ve brought up is interesting. I have read about women being responsible for the budget in Japan (and other East Asian cultures like Korea I think too, and maybe China or parts of China) only in relation to earlier times in the history. I think women being responsible for the household budge created more equity for women in the family and in the community traditionally, as it gave them some power and responsibility, and also meant they had a place in commercial public life even though there were strictures limiting what they could do generally. It’s interesting to see that its continued to some extent in contemporary Japan. The work culture seems especially demanding in some parts of Japan, with the salary man culture, but from what I have read there is also a problem with unemployment for men too these days, is that right?

12

Val 11.02.16 at 10:44 am

This all makes me feel very misanthropic. It exemplifies what I object to in both male and female gender stereotyped behaviour. First it seems this man gave a rather poorly thought out paper on gender which suggests he hasn’t really studied or engaged with feminist theory much at all (after all can’t be too hard if women can do it amirite). A few women respond with a (quite emotionally healthy I would say!) response of booing, but then some (maybe guilt tripped?) write Serious Papers in response (thereby validating the original rather poor paper by a man).

Speaking as a woman, I have to ask, why do women have to HELP? Why can’t they just say ‘you got it wrong, go and do some proper reading’. I mean honestly his attempts to fix it, didn’t really fix it – it’s not enough to say ‘ok I’m sorry I’ll try to fix it’ if you actually don’t. Why do we always have to be polite and reasonable and nice?

(On a related note, I read something today that I’d suspected – some left women are setting up private women-only groups to support Hillary Clinton because they know they will be ridiculed by their left male partners/friends/relatives if they do so openly.)

I imagine that this isn’t a serious response in the way Harry might expect or prefer, and I’m sorry (fulfilling my gender obligations) but it is honest. Others are free to disagree.

13

Manta 11.02.16 at 11:12 am

“their greater propensity to misbehave means that the overwhelming majority of the prison population is drawn from their ranks.”

If the same sentence were written about blacks, it would be (rightly, IMO) denounced as bigoted bullshit.

14

bob mcmanus 11.02.16 at 12:56 pm

but from what I have read there is also a problem with unemployment for men too these days

AFAIK, official unemployment in Japan remains relatively low, but Japan is on the leading edge of neoliberalism, with the various forms of precarious labor. I think something like 40% of Japanese workers are now subcontracted. In addition, those that remain under the lifetime employment system are stressed much more than they were thirty years ago, with many low-level managers expected to manage ever larger numbers of contracted and temporary labourers.

Recommended reading: James Roberson, Men and Masculinities in Contemporary Japan 2003

Janet Hunter, Japanese Women Working is a little old at 1999, but the final chapter by Joy Hendry is an ethnographic study of what she calls the “Professional Housewife” discussed by faustusnotes in #1, their attitudes, preferences, and resistance to some feminist rhetoric. Homeworkers/careworkers, besides being economically necessary, are also an important source of community workers and political activists.

Anne Allison, Precarious Japan 2013 is more recent

15

Anarcissie 11.02.16 at 1:47 pm

Manta 11.02.16 at 11:12 am @ 13 —
Quite right. So, do you think that the greater tendency of males to misbehave — that is, to wind up in prison — is purely an artifact of prejudice, of culture?

16

Yan 11.02.16 at 1:53 pm

EB 4,

“But it’s hard to grasp why hormonal inequality should be cast as an “injustice.” A challenge, yes. But injustice is typically framed as a disparity caused by conscious or unconscious exercise of an invidious power relationship. That does not seem to be the case with differential testosterone levels.”

Traditionally, but no longer “typically.” See the philosophical literature on moral luck and luck egalitarianism: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-bad-luck/#10

17

engels 11.02.16 at 2:40 pm

do you think that the greater tendency of males to misbehave — that is, to wind up in prison — is purely an artifact of prejudice, of culture?

Yes

18

Patrick 11.02.16 at 2:56 pm

Actually, in the past year that sentence has been denounced as racist when NOT written about black people.

The way that drama storm went was as follows: The Washington Post claimed that black men were a zillion times more likely to be shot than their population percentage suggested. People responded by arguing that this was due to higher crime rates. While this could have been answered rationally within the bounds of liberal thought (poverty and poor education increases crime, fund schools and fight income inequality and you won’t have to find prisons as much, focus on structural racism instead of finger pointing accusations of personal racism even if the latter is more fun) everyone was too high on calling other people racists to do that. So instead people insisted that violent crime rates were even between black and white people, and the discrepancy in official statistics was due to biased law enforcement and policing. Then a few people noticed the obvious- that it’s probably not kosher to compare black “men” as a percentage of those shot by the police to black men as a percentage of the entire population, because men are over 90% of those shot by the police, meaning that about half of the ratio you cited at the start was due to gender and not race. And once people noticed that, they pointed out, like OP did, that men commit WAY more violent crime than women, and that it’s probably not a surprise that they’re shot by police more frequently than women… meaning that “if a group commits more crime they’re more likely to get shot by police even in the absence of police bias” was back on the table.

And because water flows downhill as assuredly as cheap moral superiority seeks the easiest argument in it’s support, this led to a brief, glorious moment- social justice bloggers insisting that the incredible disparity between men shot by police versus women shot by police was due to a culturally instilled fear and prejudice of men as violent, and not due to men actually being more violent than women and therefore more likely to end up in high danger conflict with police. To say otherwise was, briefly, to be suspected of endorsing a connection between police shootings and crime levels, which was to be making a crypto argument justifying the elevated rate at which African American men were shot by police, which was to be a racist.

It’s totally due to men being more violent though. Testosterone is a hell of a drug.

19

Manta 11.02.16 at 2:57 pm

Anarcissee@15:
Hypotheses non fingo.

20

ZM 11.02.16 at 3:25 pm

bob mcmanus,

Those Japanese books look interesting thanks. I did an assignment on gender in South Korea once and it was pretty interesting how gender influenced working patterns for female factory workers. Often they would work really arduous jobs with long hours to save to get married, then stop working once they were married if possible, I think it was something to do with the dowry system over there maybe.

On the prison rate issue — according to a 1997 document only 1 in 23 white men in America are likely to go to gaol whereas for hispanic men its 1 in 6 and for black men it’s greater than 1 in 4. I think this degree of variation in male incarceration rates show that crime can’t be attributed only to hormone levels.

White men are around 4 times more likely to go to gaol than women of all races, but I don’t think its because of hormones, it seems pretty ridiculous to me to say men can’t help committing crimes because of hormones, and what about the majority of men of all races that don’t commit crimes and go to gaol?

And the rate of imprisonment for black women is 3.6% which is only marginally lower than for white men at 4.4%, so hormones don’t explain that either.

http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/Llgsfp.pdf

21

Manta 11.02.16 at 3:32 pm

Patrick @18,

“If your comments are blatantly racist, sexist or homophobic we will delete them and ban you from the site”.

22

Manta 11.02.16 at 3:35 pm

By the way, what will land you in prison is not determined a priori, decided by the gods.
On the contrary, it is given by the laws (as applied by the judiciary and the police).

23

bruce wilder 11.02.16 at 4:14 pm

It makes me nostalgic fora boy and his dog

24

Anarcissie 11.02.16 at 4:46 pm

Patrick 11.02.16 at 2:56 pm @ 18 —
On the other hand, I have read that even newborns are often treated differently depending on their sex, and obviously small children are, which is presumably cultural. The differences could lead to males being more likely to use physical violence as adults regardless of their original biochemistry.

25

Jim Harrison 11.02.16 at 5:25 pm

The meaning of human sexual dimorphism changes with circumstances, which is why we’re experiencing a vast rise in the relative economic and political power of women. In a civilized (well, more civilized) world, greater upper body strength and testosterone don’t get you very far while empathy and intelligence do. I think that’s why cultural conservatives hanker for a cruder, more violent state of affairs even if it means they and everybody else won’t be as wealthy or as safe as they are at present. They understand what it will take to put themselves back in the saddle and don’t think that barbarism is too great a price to pay. Natural selection leads organisms to create environments in which their genes are favorable. That works for competing genders as well as competing species.

26

engels 11.02.16 at 7:25 pm

Perhaps it’s not the most serious problem with Van Parijs’ paper but this—

For example, they can expect to live less years

—really grates on my not-I-think-terribly-prescriptivist ears.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/less-or-fewer

27

Sebastian H 11.02.16 at 8:08 pm

You should compare this discussion to the comments on all your other symposiums and book events. This should have been a very interesting discussion.

28

mpowell 11.02.16 at 9:22 pm

Wow, that’s the best Parjis’ could come up with? There are better explorations of the issue right here in this comment thread. One day there might actually be an intelligent discussion about this kind of question. But I’m not holding my breath.

29

Val 11.03.16 at 12:11 am

@28
Yep.

It’s a serious issue and deserves a sensible discussion. But why start with a bad paper? Harry?

30

Faustusnotes 11.03.16 at 12:53 am

ZM, I think unemployment is not a problem in Japan,and won’t be so long as it remains an aging society and an industrial powerhouse. The problem here is a lack of workers, which is why men are working so hard, and a good solution would be to get the housewives to work – but the nature of work in Japan means that many women don’t want to. It appears to me that there is a cultural division in Japan between a smallish group of professional housewives on the one hand and a growing group of professional women who don’t want to arty because they don’t want to give up their jobs – something that can only happen if society expects it (i.e. If their men expect it). But this expectation is way worse for their men than for them, so it doesn’t make any sense to me.

The practice of women managing household finances (as in literally holding all the money) is quite common here. For example of my four male gaming friends, one is I this arrangement, and non-gaming friends of my acquaintance also do it. It’s so well known that most companies have special systems to enable salaries (or at least bonuses) to be paid into two accounts. Also I think that Japan has bride prices, not dowries (one of my colleagues was bought off of her family by her husband, and she’s in her thirties), though my understanding is that this system is just a trivial formalism amongst the wealthy.

I think bob McManus is wrong that Japan is on the leading edge of neoliberalism. Even the supposed “insecure” contract workers are actually full time employees in the western sense – their “contracts” would just resemble the standard employment contract that we in the west have known since the 80s. And in many ways the job for life system needs to be dismantled if Japan is to reverse its aging society, dismantle gender roles, and give workers real power. It may appear like a protective pro-worker thing but it basically forces workers to be indebted to their corporations and it protects a bunch of deeply sexist and old fashioned ideas that need to be burning in the dumpster of history. Again, it’s an example of s system strongly defended by people who mostly suffer under its burdens.

31

Faustusnotes 11.03.16 at 12:53 am

Sorry, arty=marry in first paragraph.

32

Kiwanda 11.03.16 at 2:10 am

I looked around a bit at some of the disparities mentioned, to get a better picture of proportions and causes.

While men do commit the great majority of the crimes, there is a report of gender disparities at all stages of prosecution and punishment, including charging, plea bargaining, and sentencing: women are punished much more lightly for similar crimes. And of course black men get a double whammy: there are also racial disparities in sentencing in a similar way. (To say nothing of disparities in sentencing for crimes more likely to be committed by poor people, e.g., crack vs powdered cocaine.)

The gender disparity in life expectancy has come down since the 70’s in the US, because the disparity in smoking rates has come down, but in 2007, smoking was estimated to still be 25% of the disparity.

Men are much more likely to be killed by injury(2.4x), murder(3.5x), or suicide(4.5x); among other things, they take all the most dangerous jobs (and I think take these jobs instead of going to college). That’s mostly young men, and ages 20 to 30 is when the relative disparity in death rate is largest (here, Figure 8; for the US, 1990).

However, the proportion of the life expectancy disparity contributed by events up to age 45 is only maybe 25% (Figure 7 of the same reference). The remaining 75% is mostly disease: men are 80% more likely to die of heart and infectious diseases, 40% more likely to die of cancer, etc. (Figure 10 of that reference. These are “age-adjusted” rates, the meaning of which isn’t entirely clear to me). It’s not a large number in absolute terms, but old men (>85) are 12 times more likely to kill themselves than old women.

In education in the US, female participation matches or exceeds male participation in almost all ways including that boys are more likely to be held back, and are only 43% of college graduates. There are a few exceptions: boys are more likely to take AP math, and (despite taking fewer AP courses and overall lower grades) are a bit more likely to pass AP exams.

So, in the US, in recent years: women are punished less for similar crimes; men die in a variety of ways much more than women, some of which are preventable; female educational outcomes are better. Some of these are due to practices and policies that favor women; others are due to individual choices (that are socially influenced to some degree of course); others are “just biology”. I don’t think it’s obvious how to make the attributions.

33

Kiwanda 11.03.16 at 2:17 am

Of course I screwed up the references: Figure 10 should be Figure 9, and here. The whole Society of Actuaries report is given here.

34

faustusnotes 11.03.16 at 6:07 am

Kiwanda, I think a lot of those factors are actually biological, and you can make some social dent in them but they will always exist. For example men in the US are 4.5 times as likely to die from suicide but not 4.5 times as likely to attempt suicide – they die because they use more violent methods. That’s partly socialized but I don’t think it’s entirely determined by upbringing. There are biological differences between men and women and I think they will always lead to men having higher mortality rates than women due to injury, and higher rates of imprisonment.

For me this is why the original debate is interesting – because once we have managed to eliminate all the social factors we want to, there will remain a large amount of unchangable difference between men and women, and in the case of crime these differences could potentially be seen as a disability affecting men, that we might want to try and find ways to compensate for.

35

Z 11.03.16 at 9:11 am

What I found surprising both in Van Parji’s original paper and the responses is that they all assume implicitly or explicitly a (rawlsian?) concept of justice-justice as a property of social institutions and arrangements-and then proceed to apply it to categories whose very definitions put them outside of this framework (gender) without even alluding to the potential problems of such an approach (and then of course most of the agonistic discussions revolve precisely around these problems).

Within an institutional framework, I don’t see that there is an interesting philosophical problem there. Say you believe that the incarceration system is massively unjust or that primary education is unjust or that the current modes of professional assessments are unjust. Then fix the institutional injustice. In contemporary affluent western democracies, this will happen to benefit mostly men, boys and probably women respectively (“probably” not because I want to insinuate that injustice is somehow less real in the last case but because I have a far less clear view of what to change and how in the last case compared to the others), though in most of the world and in these same countries not so long ago, they would all have benefited girls and women more. Where is the conundrum?

Of course, one can adopt a more critical framework, but the conclusions are less comfortable for anyone involved. For instance, I recall reading a sociological study of working relations along gender and class which established, quite despairingly perhaps, that in early 2000’s France, the most severe form of professional dominations were found between managing women and their women subordinates from lower classes.

Also, Harry, I applaud your modesty but, still why inviting us to comment on two symposia, but then advertising the provocative content of the second, with the predicted effect that the comment section all but forgot the first one (and let’s not pretend here, the ideas put forth in the first symposium are in fact much more provocative-I was especially interested in your exchange with Ferracioli)? I would like a post and a comment section on family values!

36

Saurs 11.03.16 at 9:59 am

Boys choose not to behave in school, men choose dangerous work over higher education, choose to smoke, choose to commit suicide. Some women choose not to marry, which seems to bump up their life expectancy dramatically. Sounds like male people choosing their choices in a complete cultural and social vacuum, to me.

37

ZM 11.03.16 at 10:35 am

faustusnotes,

“For example men in the US are 4.5 times as likely to die from suicide but not 4.5 times as likely to attempt suicide – they die because they use more violent methods. That’s partly socialized but I don’t think it’s entirely determined by upbringing. There are biological differences between men and women…”

You could make gendered suicide prevention strategies. There is an organisation in my town is sort of doing that, focusing particularly on tradesmen and running things like breakfasts and talks to bring people together to talk about the risks of depression, anxiety, and suicide, and let people know there is community support available and State and National mental health services as well.

“once we have managed to eliminate all the social factors we want to, there will remain a large amount of unchangable difference between men and women, and in the case of crime these differences could potentially be seen as a disability affecting men, that we might want to try and find ways to compensate for.”

I don’t think difference is the same as disability. I don’t think its very useful to say all men are disabled due to testosterone. Also testosterone is probably something that benefits men in many ways in terms of increasing positive risk taking like starting a new business or competitively climbing career ladders or something, while also the risk taking can have a dark side when someone turns to crime. I think its difficult to argue that male testosterone levels are entirely a disability, when for the majority of men they don’t go to prison and they don’t commit suicide. It’s more likely social and personal factors that are involved in men committing crimes, not testosterone levels. Although like you could do gendered suicide prevention campaigns, you could also do gendered crime prevention campaigns. I would guess the government and organisations already do this to some extend though.

“ZM, I think unemployment is not a problem in Japan,and won’t be so long as it remains an aging society and an industrial powerhouse…. And in many ways the job for life system needs to be dismantled if Japan is to reverse its aging society, dismantle gender roles, and give workers real power. “

I must have got the wrong impression about unemployment. I think probably from those articles about young people who stay at home and don’t go out. It’s interesting that you think Japan hasn’t really had neoliberal employment reforms compared to Australia. According to World Bank figures female workforce participation figures were similar in Australia and Japan in 1990 (52% and 50% respectively), but b 2014 female workforce participation is 10% higher in Australia than Japan (59% and 49%). These 15 years would pretty much cover the period of neoliberal employment reforms in Australia.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS

38

Manta 11.03.16 at 10:57 am

Z @35
“Say you believe that the incarceration system is massively unjust”
but at least one response to the article contested that point (see e.g. Valeria Ottonelli contribution).

I find puzzling that the supposed genetic disposition of males to be violent is taken for granted (e.g. Gina Schouten): I would suppose that the people that accepted such claim also think that the Y chromosome determines the higher rate of males in hard sciences…

39

Ragweed 11.03.16 at 1:15 pm

A good friend of mine, who is a sociologist of higher ed, hypothesizes that the disparity in educational attainment between men and women is not the result of some bias in the educational system as much as a response to the different options for non-college graduates. While the pay for non-college graduates has declined across the boards, there are still notable opportunities to make a decent living in male-dominated trades, whereas traditional options for non-college women are lower-paying. Thus women in the us at least have a larger incentive to get a college degree.

The disparity in life expectancy between men and women, and particularly the disparity with suicide rates, is a perfect example not of sexism against men, but of how oppression hurts the oppressor – sexism is damaging to men as well as women. I also suspect it would break down by income, which also is the source of large discrepan I as in life-expectancies.

40

harry b 11.03.16 at 3:07 pm

Hi
sorry that I can’t respond at any length — esp to Val’s question, which does require a long response — but I am overwhelmed by grading and teaching, and am about to take a rare complete, if brief, break from both work and kids!

Ragweed — I haven’t heard that hypothesis before. I imagine there are numerous causes though I, also, doubt it is due to bias in the system. Does your friend have supporting data? (that’s not a snark, it sounds plausible to me, I just want to know how much support he/she can give to it – I don’t have much support for my alternative/additional hypotheses!).

41

Stephen 11.03.16 at 5:19 pm

Manta@38: “I find puzzling that the supposed genetic disposition of males to be violent is taken for granted”.

Conversation overheard at university:
“Differences between males and females are entirely due to social conditioning.”
“Well now. If you go out for a walk in farming country and you come to a field with a bull in it, would you expect the bull to behave exactly like a cow?”
“I’m from New York, I don’t go out into the country.”

NB that if you have a dog with you and are foolish enough to go close to a cow with a calf, her behaviour may not be exactly non-violent. Bulls, however …

42

Kiwanda 11.03.16 at 6:22 pm

This study supports Ragweed’s friend’s claim: male college dropouts are much more likely to take jobs in the relatively high-paying areas of manufacturing, construction, and transportation than female college dropouts, so the financial advantage of going to college is larger for women. It may be relevant that those job areas are among the most dangerous.

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faustusnotes 11.04.16 at 12:56 am

Stephen, what if your NY friend doesn’t go to the country but is a marine biologist who spends a lot of time with orcas? Then he or she would be familiar with highly aggressive and powerful female group leaders. Ditto a NY biologist who studies hyenas, wolves, etc. Even lions (most of the behavior described in popular documentaries is the diametric opposite of how they actually work). While I think that sexual dimorphism is a real thing in humans, arguments from nature of this kind are pretty pointless.

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Val 11.04.16 at 12:58 am

Thanks Harry. I guess I could speculate as to why you might use that article, but as I’ve never formally studied philosophy, I’d probably miss the mark. Anyway I guess it could be
Example of poor reasoning, and/or
Slightly better statement of stuff that gets said on the internet a lot?

But as ragweed said, feminist theory has said forever that patriarchy/sexism damages men as well as women, so the fact that the author doesn’t acknowledge that seems to indicate a lack of basic theoretical understanding.

Anyway I hope you enjoy your break and if you ever are able to return to this topic I will be interested.

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RINO economist 11.04.16 at 10:44 am

Re Ragweed & responses

Claudia Goldin is a good economist to start with on this. I had a quick look at her website and related (e.g. Acemoglu review of her 2008 book The Race Between Education and Technology). The weakness of non-university graduate/high-school-only wages in the USA is more pronounced for males than females (discussed by Acemoglu), which I think goes against the view Ragweed has presented. Goldin does have a discussion of the expansion of participation of higher education in her book.

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Z 11.04.16 at 1:50 pm

Manta, just to clarify, what I take to be the massive injustice of the incarceration system is not the fact that men are incarcerated more than women, it is the fact that the legal system jails enormous numbers of human beings of all genders in horrifyingly dire conditions, subject them to degrading and violent treatments and leave them to rote with not even a semblance of effort towards reintegration with the predictable effect that they very often come out more violent, more criminal and less socially integrated than they entered. This is an injustice that is glaring in most western countries (and reaches grotesque level in the US).

Within the institutional framework of justice that the contributors of the symposium seem to adopt, this should be the injustice to fix. As it turns out, fixing it would currently benefit more men than women, but I don’t see that as a problem (again within this framework).

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Suzanne 11.04.16 at 8:43 pm

“Sure they get economic and political power………”

@1: Oh, is that all? (I apologize in advance for the sarcasm.)

Adding to @10: In addition to child care, households, rich or poor, don’t run themselves, even with help. I do not know how it is in Japan, but in the US rich wives may have extensive household responsibilities, in addition to social duties related to their husband’s professional requirements (which may include lunching with ladies they don’t have any special use for personally).

I don’t want to minimize the cultural imperatives that may be driving the men to work so hard, but it could be that arrangements of long standing made in a society dominated by men that once benefited men may not be working so well for them in changing times.

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ZM 11.05.16 at 1:34 am

Z,

The Clinton administration’s cuts to education for prisoners look like they are being revised by Obama who has extended Pell Grants to prison inmates to facilitate the uptake of college courses.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/02/pell-grants-college-classes-prison-education

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-power-of-pell-grants-for-prisoners

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