A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Behavior of Women (A Video Interview)

A few days ago, I came across a video interview between Dr. Helen Smith (aka "Dr. Helen") and Dr. Richard Driscoll that was originally aired on Father's Day. Novaseeker has already covered it (with probably some other bloggers), and perhaps some of you may have already seen it. All the same, I find the interview to be thought-provoking for what it has to say about the behavioral patterns of women as a group. It's telling when two psychologists reiterate what many MRAs take for granted.

Here's what grabbed my attention ...

1. Driscoll indicates that our status quo depends on chivalry and men who are desperate for female approval (i.e., getting sex).

2. Driscoll affirms that men like sex more than women and that women are choosier in mating. This shows how utterly hypocritical people are in attacking the so-called "unrealistic standards of beauty" men putatively have without addressing how women can be picky to a fault.

3. Driscoll claims that women are hardwired to perturb men and give them grief (to "test" them, as it were). He also confirms that women are hypergamous, which doesn't bode well as women economically disenfranchise men.

4. Driscoll points to a survey where 34% of women were found to be always resentful of men, compared to 14% of men being always resentful of women. Quite chilling, but it confirms the prevalence of misandry (and why the charge of misogyny is often false and patently stupid).

5. Driscoll avers that relationships are predicated upon the exchange of a man's resources for sexual access to women. Driscoll narrowly skirts by calling marriage "prostitution" but I think it's worth addressing. Is Marriage 2.0 nothing more than "prostitution" with a grossly-inflated price tag? Are religious conservatives basically pushing church-sanctioned prostitution? Are married men nothing more than glorified Johns, where the primary thing that is valued is not their humanity, but their money? How do women view their relationship with men when the money dries up? Do women really take hubby "for richer or poorer" or are they lying through their teeth?

Bottom line: I am not a hardcore marriage-avoider, but having watched the video, I will not be surprised if more men have vasectomies and stay inside with the video games.


TMink said...

I think what is missing from the video is a Christian world view. Without that, much well meaning and well thought out analysis will miss the mark.

I think the world of Dr. Helen and consider her a friend I have never met but occasionally emailed. But the thing I so appreciate about this blog is our fellowship in and knowledge of our Lord.


Novaseeker said...

I liked the video. She called him on the prostitution thing.

My sense of Driscoll is that while he's gotten some good ideas from evo-psych and the related disciplines, he overstates them in places, and perhaps understates other aspects of pair bonds and marriages that are as important, if not moreso, than the evo-psych ones.

People *experience* relationships not as exchanges of genetic material and womb space for resources and parental investment. That may be what is happening on the *genetic programming* level, but the experience of it is attraction, love, affection and so on. Men and women are attracted to each other like magnets. And that process of attraction and bonding is enjoyable, fulfilling, satisfying and enduring. Yes it's also what perpetuates our DNA and our species, but when we are physically bonding with our mates, we are not thinking "hmm .. this would be a fantastic time to propagate my DNA line, and also to compete with any other sperm that may have found their way into my wife's body" -- no, you are simply mating with her, in that psycho-sexual, emotional, spiritual experience of human mating.

So while Driscoll is good at bringing out some of the underlying motives (which can help us explain some behaviors in men and women alike), sometimes he neglects to cover up the circuitry, if you will, so that we can, while keeping in mind the underlying wiring, immerse ourselves in the actual "end user experience" of relating to another person intimately.

The most useful part of his book from my perspective was the initial chapter where he talks at length about how women's styles of communication in marriages tend to make men withdraw and hinder, rather than foster, communication and closeness. He points out that women are much more comfortable, generally, than men are when it comes to directly confronting their spouse, and that men get physically and psychologically much more agitated than their wives do at these kinds of conflicts. He suspects that this has an evo-psych basis, but whether it does or not, it isn't working very well today.

He makes the point that most people -- men and women -- are happiest in marriages where they feel more or less equal in stature, if not in "leadership". In current marriages (and even current relationships), per Driscoll, women are in charge almost always because they tend to win almost *all* conflict due to men typically withdrawing and conciliating when confronted. Over time this turns into the typical cowed male "doormat" scenario, which makes both husband AND wife unhappy. Women want their men to push back at them, but men are uncomfortable doing this in most cases. That may have something to do with male psychology from the deep past. It also may have something to do with the current legal climate where raising one's voice can count as DV. But whatever the reason, it's messing up a lot of marriages because, contrary to what the popular culture says, it seems that we are not a nation of domineering husbands, but rather of dominating wives, and that is not something that makes either husband or wife happy in most cases (outside of the handful of women who are naturally dominant -- and even these women, I think, prefer a man who can push back at them).

So it's a good read. A bit uneven, but well worth reading, and fairly short.

TMink said...

Nova, great points! It is interesting, I am not one to roll over and take it, and I think that has to do with my mom. While I am aware of the difficulties I have had to deal with because of her parenting, your points made me aware of another blessing she gave me.

I stand up to women.

I doubt I would be as good at it if I had not had the chance to practice it with mom! So thanks mom, I miss you and appreciate how you gave me strength.


Wormwood said...

Married men are not glorified johns. Johns get to have sex for their efforts, and many married men don't.

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