Men are disposable? Men are to Blame!

From Tumbler:

went thru the mra tag

How nice of you to drop in! Do stay awhile. Keep your mind open because we–oh.

when did the supposed disposable quality of men (esp in war) become a thing?

I dunno. Since “patriarchy” began? There are no kings without disposable soldiers. Hell considering the life expectancy of the male ruling elite throughout history (hint: male peasants lived longer), there’s nobody willing to be a king if he won’t first accept his greater disposability. (Either that or kings were profoundly stupid and didn’t ever clue in to how often they got offed.)

and how is it not glaringly obvious that it has more to do with how classism and racism make it a necessity for men who find themselves with little choice but to go into the military after school stops being a legal obligation?

Because non-white and poor women don’t face the same pressures to the same degree now and definitely not historically (when conscription was a thing and men could be shot for failing to do their duty.) Nor are non-white and poor women expected to sign up for Selective Service.

It’s also not exactly a class thing. Did you know that 25% of soldiers with a rank of General or higher died in WW1? And that the rate of death of officers(who are usually drawn from the upper classes, particularly historically) exceeds that of enlisted men?

Further emperors, kings and other male leaders throughout history have some of the shortest lives, shorter even then male peasants?

Yep. Male disposability. Often the guys on the top are the most disposable of all.

yes, these men are disposable, but they’re that way because other men benefit from assigning men of certain strata more individual value. this is a system men created for ~lesser men. women across time didn’t decide that they want their young sons and husbands dragged into wars

that are often waged without input from anyone below the most influential classes, there was no convention held where it was voted that women would stay home rearing the children left behind and keeping economies afloat by taking up jobs that would have paid men better for the same position if they were around.

I wonder if the men who fought would rather have gone to war or if they would have taken the option to stay at home and work(with reduced pay) and raise their children.

Let’s ask a few!

“5/5 Would do again.”

“I enjoyed choking to death on mustard gas! So much better then staying safe at home and raising my kids. Pft. Kids, what a pain in the ass, amirite?”

“Living in mud for years and watching my friends die was the best experience of my life!”

“Huddling together for warmth in a field of dead bodies was v. exciting and enriching! I’m so glad we saved this part of traditional gender roles for ourselves and didn’t offer it to the women!”

 

“…”

men decided this.

Except for the ones who got shot because they chose not to go. And the ones who went because they’d get shot otherwise.

and that’s saying nothing about the reality that the female counterparts of poor, nonwhite men are always more adversely affected by the structures that put them in these positions to begin with. even historically, women are and have been considered part of the spoils of war – or tools by which invading forces can further keep themselves in positions of power, through indiscriminate and massive-scale sexual exploitation that even now goes undocumented and unworthy of legal action. this isn’t new.

The reason you don’t mention the sexual exploitation of men in war is because of male disposability. You don’t know about it, because no one cares about it.

Incidentally men who are raped are often treated as disposable by their wives, families and communities.

and btw in your ranks, where mras seem to be super conflicted about female presence, there is an 86-87% likelihood that sexual aggressors will get away without even a side-eye. the women you fight beside are fair game and there is little room to do anything about it because men don’t give enough of a shit.

According to the FBI the conviction rate for rape is right in line with other violent crimes. At least male-on-female rape. Female-on-male rape remains woefully under-reported and under-prosecuted. In fact female rapists of adult males have a ~100% chance of getting away with their crimes.

I see your fear-baiting and offer you a hearty “No thanks!” in response.

tl;dr the concept of “the disposable male” doesn’t refute male supremacy it kinda does the opposite.

How?

111 thoughts on “Men are disposable? Men are to Blame!

  1. God, I hate tumblr. It’s just a complete shithole from top to bottom.

    I hope you realize you’re talking to someone who’s tagline is “I like Misandry”

  2. @ Paul

    There were plenty of people who liked that shit.

    If tumbler is such a hive of misandry, I wonder if someone should do an expose on how it’s hostile to men and needs to change it’s ways.

    Or does that only go for male enclaves?

  3. TB:

    “Or does that only go for male enclaves?”

    Of course. I can’t tell you the number of “tumblers” I’ve seen defending (or being outright proud) of the idea of hating men. These women feel that even if they “don’t really hate men” they have the right to express man-hatred from time to time because of, er, well… Patriarchy, I guess? And the men in their lives (if they are worth a damn at all-by the estimations of these women- should endeavor to be understanding of this fact.)

    Highly ironic that to be “privileged” gives others the right to mock scorn and assault you, yet your “privilege” denies you any right to defend yourself. That is, apparently, the world we now live in.

  4. Diesirae:

    Thanks for the video link. It was both hilarious and sad all at once.

  5. These people are just plain stupid. Too bad we can’t harness circular reasoning as renewable energy. I’m not even offended, I just feel bad for them.

  6. Ahh, so men who sweat, suffer, and die for the benefit of others are actually exercising male privilege. Got it.

  7. “when did the supposed disposable quality of men (esp in war) become a thing?”

    You wouldn’t know, would you, you sheltered, pampered, privileged little thing.

    The problem with these people is not just misandry. Their problem is an airless in-group parochialism that blinds them to anything that is not young. white and female, preferably college. Women of color have been calling this out for two or three decades, and the response has been a bunch of clueless apology and ass-covering and refusal to make the actual necessary change of attitude and focus.

    Their treatment of older feminists has been and continues to be appalling; basically it reflects their indoctrination into the very modern patriarchal estimation of a woman’s value they so adamantly claim to oppose.

    They are a classic toxic elite – peevish, entitled and unaware of how entitled they are, feeding off of privilege they deny and which they have an interest in denying, and so entrenched in the invented and vehemently defended victiomhod that they think justifies thier privilege that it’s only natural that they would deny anyone else’s victimization.

    Whenever the subject of racism comes up, white feminists make all the right noises and give all the rihgt lip service and go on making all the same easy mistakes. They all acknowledge with white privilege and all that, and then Amanda Marcotte comes along with her shit comic, and it’s not just that oen instance, it’s a sready pattern of framing every issue as if only the ones that affect young white women matter.

    So this kind of erasure or simple ignorance of men’s reality should surprise no one, nor should their howly denials that they know men better than men do because “women’s way of knowing” and the “oppressed” always know the oppressors etc….

  8. “the women you fight beside are fair game and there is little room to do anything about it because men don’t give enough of a shit.”

    The hypoagency, it burns!

    This goes back to their parochial cluelessness. This comment is nothing but concern trolling. This little civilian is incapable of imagining a woman being able to defend herself wihtout needing some white knight.

    And that goes in this case
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/jeffrey-sinclair-trial-se_n_2081908.html?utm_hp_ref=crime
    The general is scum,period – but why did that female soldier not respond to his death threats with some of her own. How long do you think an unwelcome affair would have progressed if the captain had been male? How would he have responded? And why is she expected to do any less?

  9. Nice analysis Ginkgo.

    “refusal to make the actual necessary change of attitude and focus. ”

    I’m afraid they’ll never change their attitude and the reason is that “they” in this case is a group that constantly renews itself. Even if some of them grow up and start getting a broader perspective, younger versions of themselves join the group much faster and in greater numbers than the older ones grow up.

    That’s why they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  10. Diesirae,
    “I’m afraid they’ll never change their attitude and the reason is that “they” in this case is a group that constantly renews itself.”

    Yep, that’s a big part of it. The demographics of that group showexactly that pattern.

    That, and also they think they and their dogma are infallible, because it tells them they are blameless and they are owed. It’s easier to give up crystal.

  11. Here’s some more male disposability that doesn’t exist:
    http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php?extend.2877

    I wonder if Twitchy-Boo-Boo who thinks misandry don’t real can name any piece of police gear that is designed and aimed specifically at women, and that is used in the overwhelmingly majority if case on women.

    But then again I doubt that Twitchy Boo-Boo knows anything or cares at all about anything like this. She’s too busy buttressing her our victim cred probably.

  12. Very well said, all of it.

    Just one point: I think that male disposibility goes back further than estalishing despotic power structures, actually I think it might be partially innate. Like most things about human society, one of the simplest answers is “it’s about making babies”: Take two primordial human societies. One equally shares risk and danger, the other expects men to defend women. Within a year society 1 is reduced to four men and four women. They have four babies. Society two is reduced to two men and ten women. They have ten babies.

    Not that it’s that simple, or that humans are fond of reproducing in environments where their mates have an 8/10 chance of being eaten, but you get the idea. Women are less disposible because of the dependancy of infants on their mothers.

    Fortunately our post industrial society has eradicated most major predators, but we’re still stuck with the sabre tooth tiger mentality of women and children to the lifeboats first.

  13. Well, if it was just about making babies, it would be women and men in the lifeboats first, screw the children

  14. @ Peter

    “Society two is reduced to two men and ten women. They have ten babies.”

    They are then taken over by society one.

  15. @Typhonblue…

    Society now consists of four men and fourteen women.

    One of the men is gay.

    The second has his genitals removed in a jealous fit by woman number thirteen.

    The third is suffering PTSD from years of intertribal warfare and cant get it up.

    The fourth is such an ugly little gnoll that none of the women will go near him without holding their noses.

    Their future is grim.

  16. @ gwallan

    Within three generations they’re so inbred they no longer have frontal cortexes or working bipedalism.

    They all get eaten by lions.

  17. @Equilibrium: Obviously once the children have been made they get priority. All female privilege can be related back to reproduction and child-care.

    @Typhon: Not necessarily. It was an extreme example, but a society with slightly less men than women, which encourages men to be agressive, risk taking and disposable, is more capable of defending itself than a society which encourages men to value their lives equally to women.

    And yeah, if it were an actual case of ten women and two men they’d be so inbred in a few generations that they’d die out. Even during world war one less than a tenth of the British male population was killed. I still maintain they were more reproductively fit as a result than a society which was willing to pose equal risk to women.

  18. “I still maintain they were more reproductively fit as a result than a society which was willing to pose equal risk to women.”

    Given we’re in no danger from extinction barring a planetary-sized catastrophe (which would kill us all anyways), I don’t see the relevance, or social good of this.

    Yay let’s make men disposable…because in the event that our 7 billion population lowers to incredibly low amounts, we’ll be “more fit” by some weird standard, by making our males have PTSD and hate life.

  19. @Peter, your hypothetical begs the question of why it is that the society of 4 men and 4 women survived to the present day whereas the 10 women and 2 men didn’t. The human species gravitates heavily towards pair bonding, with the most successful, longest lived individuals being pair bonders.

    The answer is simple. That we have evidence to suggest that in our species’ past, there had been fewer male breeders than female breeders suggests that our ancestors spent a great deal of time on the brink of annihilation. Each generation starts with roughly the same number of men and women, which means that if all of them survive and reproduce, it is because their society is strong and successful. If only a fraction of the men reproduce, it is because they were weak and died trying to fight for their group’s survival. Men are disposable in societies that are weak, struggling, and dying.

  20. I think the logical fallacy here is that a man dying does not actually add an extra womb to the group. It’s not like trading a pawn for a queen in chess. A man dying only leaves the rest of the group further exposed and less able to fend for itself. It does not lead to more babies than if all of the men survived. The best outcome is still for all the men and all of the women to survive.

    In game theory, we often talk about the mistake that people make by looking at a single stage of a repeated game as if it were only played once, in isolation. Yes, if you play it just once, it might seem that getting 8 out of 10 of your male units killed is the best strategy for protecting the wombs. But the moment you have to repeat the same game using the outcome of your last game, it becomes obvious that its a bad strategy.

  21. Has anyone here played *Tribes*?

    It’s a semi-cooperative game about a very small band of hunter-gatherers. It’s very easy to get lopsided sex ratios, and if the culture decides that fertility is a virtue which will bring blessings on the band, and that only females can hunt, and males may gather or make tools but never hunt, it can get quite difficult. If you have lopsided sex ratios, you can’t afford gender roles that you might be able to afford with even sex ratios.

  22. @dungone

    It’s not that an extra womb is gained when the man dies, rather, a womb is prevented from being lost when the woman does not place herself in the position of dying for the group – but leaves that to the man instead.

    As far the strategy goes, getting 8/10 of your male units lost may not be a good long term strategy. But something in-between that extreme and “men and women risk their lives 50/50″ may still come out ahead.

  23. “But something in-between that extreme and “men and women risk their lives 50/50″ may still come out ahead.”

    For tribes in danger of extinction, maybe. Not our case. Ever.

    Maybe when we colonize Mars or something it might have some actual relevance.

  24. It’s not that an extra womb is gained when the man dies, rather, a womb is prevented from being lost

    A failure of long-term planning if there ever was one. In weak societies that are on the verge of total collapse, maybe it’s a good strategy. A step or two above cannibalism, perhaps. A strong society would never accept the loss of their male resources.

  25. But, whether or not Male Disposability is a rational attitude, in game-theoretic terms, today, has almost no bearing on whether it could plausibly be an evolutionary entrenched instinct.

    Home Sapiens has spent millions of years living closer to Schala’s “tribes in danger of extinction”. Humanity has spent much more time living without “societies” as we know them today at all, so for most of evolutionary history dungone’s “weak societies that are on the verge of total collapse” weren’t even relevant.

    If you guys are arguing that it is not rational for society to hold attitudes of Male Disposability today, then I agree.

    But if you are arguing that, since it is not rational today, no such entrenched attitude could possibly even exist – well, are you seriously arguing that it never happens that people today act according to irrational yet strongly ingrained cognitive biases?

  26. The question is that if perceived male disposability has a biological basis in the human psychology, is there anything that can be done about it? It would implicate that advocating equality for men is pretty much a waste of time.

  27. @P John Irons, humans would have never evolved strong pair bonding instincts if they were solely adapted for male disposability. Being able to take advantage of a bountiful environment is just as important to a species’ success as being able to survive harsh conditions. Which means that male disposability is maladaptive today, in it’s current incarnation. I sometimes think of the centuries, if not millenniums, that our society had been set back due to continued male disposability. Just look at the Industrial Revolution – read about all the businesses and inventions survivors of the American Civil War came up with and ask yourself how much more could have been achieved if the rest of the men hadn’t been slaughtered. The technology, infrastructure, and social safety nets of modern society weren’t possible until society began to safeguard the lives of men.

  28. @dungone

    I agree that Male Disposability is maladaptive today, and for quite some time before.

    I must point out when you say “humans would have never evolved strong pair bonding instincts if they were solely adapted for male disposability”, it seems you are lapsing into a bit of an all-or-nothing logical fallacy.

    I’m not aware of anyone here arguing that mankind evolved to consider men totally disposable, in the sense that any man could be disposed of at any time and that no-one would care at all about it, or solely responsible, in the sense that no man had any value other than that.

    We are merely arguing that we evolved to see men, on the whole, as relatively more disposable than women.

    That “relatively more disposable” still leaves ample room for pair-bonding and the like to form.

  29. The concept of “male disposability” requires group selection to be an evolutionary “thing”, ie. individuals will die so that their group might live on.

    Only problem is that individuals who die either fail to reproduce or curtail their reproduction severely so, over time, would have been weeded out of the gene pool.

  30. ” Only problem is that individuals who die either fail to reproduce or curtail their reproduction severely so, over time, would have been weeded out of the gene pool.”

    It depends. A man who sacrifices himself for two sisters, for instance, has a good chance of his genetic legacy being passed on, even if he never himself reproduces. What matters is that the genes are reproduced, not who does the reproducing. That’s how bee colonys with only one fertile female remain evoultionary viable- since the workers can’t themeselves reproduce, it makes sense for them to raise sisters.

  31. Thank you, shoutybloke for bringing a bit of nuance into this discussion.
    “Male disposibility ” is not an all-or-nothing thing.
    I’m lead to believe that most wars of the past (with exceptions of course) were rather bloodless in comparison to the Industrial Warfare that dominated things from the 1860′s to the 1970′s.
    Sacrificing too many of your young men (prime examples, Civil War, World War 1) is almost certainly maladaptive from a “game theoretical” viewpoint, possibly even if the other side loses similarly.
    However, territory (or women)seized as the result of warfare of the type that say the plains indians practiced? For the cost of a few men, you get more territory, more resources, and possibly more women to have babies.
    Also in really primitive conditions where tribes are small, if a woman is pregnant she is going to need some protection. Men , being on average stronger and larger (and never suffering from pregnancy) it makes more sense for them to guard the pregnant females.

    So yes, it’s all to easy to see times and places where a certain amount of “male disposibility” made some sense.
    That doesn’t mean it has to hold today.

  32. Shoutybloke is correct, altruism is possible to propagate, genetically.

    However, from a purely practical purpose, male disposability is only adaptive until a certain threshold sex ratio is reached, at which point female disposability becomes adaptive. What I mean is, the usual justification for the genetic component of male disposability is that “it only takes 1 man to impregnate 1000 women.” But if we flip this situation on its head, and we have 1000 women and 1 man, it becomes painfully clear that now those women have very little reproductive value, about 1/1000 that of the man. And I believe that is what dungone was getting at when discussing game theory (NB, he was talking about real game theory, not picking up chicks, man) and how a successful strategy in the short term can be disastrous in the long term. That successful ratio is extremely likely to be 50-50, since the vast majority of successful cultures hover near that range.

    Male disposability was, in historical times, likely to “make up” for the high mortality rate for first-time parturitioners. Due to the pretty horrific birthing process in H. Sapiens*, in order to make sure men don’t outnumber women, some men had to die young. Now that we have this little thing called medicine, it no longer benefits humans to treat men as disposable. And indeed, we are certainly less disposable now than 500 years ago, or even 100.

    *I always laugh when women try to treat childbirth like it is the most painful process known to man. Especially when this is 1st world, 3rd wavers who have never given birth. And who have never passed a kidney stone through a penis. Also, if you want to see a really terrible childbirth process, go ahead and peruse the wikipedia page for the spotted hyena. OWOWOWOWOWOWWWWWW

  33. “I’m lead to believe that most wars of the past (with exceptions of course) were rather bloodless in comparison to the Industrial Warfare that dominated things from the 1860′s to the 1970′s.”

    Bingo. Clarence wins the thread.

    That difference is called chivalry. It applied foremeost to opposing forces officers and then also to civilians on all sides, because civilians were the real loot in pre-industrial wars. So much so that the Prussians preferred using mercenaries to drafting thier own civilians for as long as they could do it.

    Note the semantic slippage in the term”chivalry”. It’s a sign of our degenerate age.

    Now chivlary is culturally dependent. But even where it did not apply, as in China, there was a completely utilitarian explanations, Sun Zi’s, that suggested it was counterproductive on several levels to massacre captured enemey soldiers. As for killing civilians, that defeated the whole purpose of war.

    ES, on the pain of childbirth – my mother has borne four kids and had a couple three kidney stones. She says kidney stones hurt worse. Men get kidney stomes too. And I echo your point on the silliness of childless internet feminists lecturing anyone on the point.

    TB,
    “Only problem is that individuals who die either fail to reproduce or curtail their reproduction severely so, over time, would have been weeded out of the gene pool.”

    But their siblings would not. And it’s quite possible that the number of nieces and nephews would exceed the total of grandchildren if they had rramianed alive and had kids.

    Humans have a range of non-breeding behaviors that enhance reproductive success. We did not become a pandemic weed species (7 billion and still cacking them out) by having a one man to 1,000 women breeding ratio. We are not herring.

  34. dungone,
    “The best outcome is still for all the men and all of the women to survive.”

    Runner-up comment. Male disposability works to a group’s advantage best when it’s the *other* group’s males that are being disposed of. We have this on the authority of George S. Patton.

  35. Gingko:
    More tomorrow but you are correct.
    Though it was pretty rare, historical incidents of total “cleansing” of an opposing tribes males (and sometimes females and infants) did occur. Killing all the men in a tribe *if you could get away with it without losing much of your own* probably, sadly, had some evolutionary advantage as well. But it wasn’t the norm, and it’s a risky strategy. I think most war works better with rules, and rules tend to limit casulties.

  36. Ginkgo & Clarence:

    That reminds me of something I read about a genetic study of the Scottish which suggested that the earliest waves of seafaring invaders had killed all or nearly all of the men of the region’s indigenous hunter-gatherer population when they settled in the area but had left the women alive (I’ve seen this cited in several history books of fairly good repute, but I don’t have any of them with me at the moment, so I can’t give you the name of the study).

  37. “I’m lead to believe that most wars of the past (with exceptions of course) were rather bloodless in comparison to the Industrial Warfare that dominated things from the 1860′s to the 1970′s.”

    Bingo. Clarence wins the thread.

    This is actually a huge mis-perception. The wars of the past have been far more bloodier – as an individual, your chances of dying a violent death due to war were far greater prior to the “industrialized warfare” of the 1860′s to the 1970′s, or since. I’m really swamped right now with work, or else I’d look up some links for you guys on this. I’m sure someone who is really interested could find it.

  38. I must point out when you say “humans would have never evolved strong pair bonding instincts if they were solely adapted for male disposability”, it seems you are lapsing into a bit of an all-or-nothing logical fallacy.

    Quite the opposite. It might as well be I who should be pointing out that it’s the all-or-nothing fallacy at work when people look at the past and essentially suggest that in our evolutionary history, humans at one point evolved an absolute male disposability under all situations. Nonsense. There had always been times of plentiful resources scattered throughout our evolutionary history. There were always other behaviors that evolved side by side with any such notion of an evolved male disposability, behaviors that evolved to deal with times of bounty. I have a feeling that this is a source of confusion among a lot of people who try to contemplate male disposability and where it came from. Part of what makes humans humans is that we evolved to be able to adopt our behavior quickly in response to our environment. It’s a truly fucked up group of humans that must be full of demented, population-wide brain damaged individuals if they continue to behave as they would in times of scarcity when in fact there is plenty enough to go around for everyone. Because we actually evolved to make the best of any situation.

    This is why I said earlier, “The best outcome is still for all the men and all of the women to survive.” Even in times of scarcity, the strongest groups of humans will still preserve all of their men and women. Only the weakest of the weak start to sacrifice their men. Gingko was right on the money – it might as well be called Patton’s Law:

    No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

    To rephrase myself again, for clarity: the strongest groups of humans are the ones with the least disposable individuals, male or female. In fact, this is just a basic fundamental principle of economics. It’s called the cost of opportunity. If you start killing off 50% of the population right after they’ve graduated college, then you’re running your society like a nincompoop. If you birth, feed, clothe, and teach a whole bunch of people how to contribute to the group, and these are the strongest, most able-bodied individuals in the group, then you’re only screwing yourself over in the long term by sacrificing them willy-nilly. And that’s what male disposability really is about. It’s the (excuse my French) willy-nilly, arbitrary, useless, needless, maladaptive, bad, insane, disregard for men’s lives in our current society.

  39. What I mean is, the usual justification for the genetic component of male disposability is that “it only takes 1 man to impregnate 1000 women.” But if we flip this situation on its head, and we have 1000 women and 1 man, it becomes painfully clear that now those women have very little reproductive value, about 1/1000 that of the man. And I believe that is what dungone was getting at when discussing game theory (NB, he was talking about real game theory, not picking up chicks, man) and how a successful strategy in the short term can be disastrous in the long term. That successful ratio is extremely likely to be 50-50, since the vast majority of successful cultures hover near that range.

    @EquilibriumShift, certainly. Anyone who has actually done any real strategic planning and understands game theory wouldn’t spend more than a few moments thinking about this. I will try to clarify your comment, though. If your strategy is to kill all your men on turn 1, then when turn 2 comes around and you have no more men left to kill, your strategy fails. To further go into what you said, it’s not that the “1000 women and 1 man” scenario diminishes women’s reproductive value merely in sexual terms. It’s that men do far more than just impregnate women. People seem to forget that people need to grow food, build fences for livestock, chop down trees, build roads, mills, granaries, homes, tools, furniture, etc. All of these things, over the long term, contribute to the long-term viability of all of the offspring that the community produces. The whole idea that you can have a sustainable society of 10 women for every man is ludicrous, especially if what you’re doing to achieve this is killing off your men. Male disposability is pretty much suicidal.

  40. ” It’s the (excuse my French) willy-nilly, arbitrary, useless, needless, maladaptive, bad, insane, disregard for men’s lives in our current society.”

    French is my first language, and I don’t see any in this sentence.

  41. @Schala: “Given we’re in no danger from extinction barring a planetary-sized catastrophe (which would kill us all anyways), I don’t see the relevance, or social good of this.

    Yay let’s make men disposable…because in the event that our 7 billion population lowers to incredibly low amounts, we’ll be “more fit” by some weird standard, by making our males have PTSD and hate life.”

    Exactly. It was necessary in the past, but isn’t presently, so it should change.

  42. @Dungone: “I think the logical fallacy here is that a man dying does not actually add an extra womb to the group. It’s not like trading a pawn for a queen in chess. A man dying only leaves the rest of the group further exposed and less able to fend for itself.”

    True, but in order to defend the group said pawn has to be willing to sacrafice itself if necessary. If queens were exposed to equal risk then the game would be over alot sooner. Men dying isn’t an ideal outcome, it’s just a more reproductive outcome than women dying.

  43. @Typoonblue: “The concept of “male disposability” requires group selection to be an evolutionary “thing”, ie. individuals will die so that their group might live on.
    Only problem is that individuals who die either fail to reproduce or curtail their reproduction severely so, over time, would have been weeded out of the gene pool.”

    Not necessarily: Human behaviour is both culturally and genetically motivated. A cultural imperitive can easily be passed on without the survival of the individual who propogated it. It can also reinforce genetic traits in the surviving members by encouraging reproduction with members most associated with the imperitive (come back with your shield or on it).

    Then there’s the existence of cultural norms which often encouraged minor risk prior to reproduction (sports, martial arts etc.) but extended risk post reproduction (only men who with a surviving heirs were selected to fight at Thermopylae). This isn’t by any means a rule, there are also the existence of cultural norms which deem fathers as being more worth of protection in terms of their necessity as a provider/defender (don’t kill me! I have three kids!) but there’s more than enough cultural detritus enforcing male disposibility to overcome genetic obstacles.

    Incidentally, if we group selection weren’t an evolutionary thing then altruism could never have evolved and selfishness would be the predominant genetic trait.

  44. “Exactly. It was necessary in the past, but isn’t presently, so it should change”

    hi, Ptere. welcoem!.

    “so it should change…..”

    Not so fast. Mintaining society requires disposability, on many levels. What should change is that it needs to be shared evenly, as a feature of adulthood rather than this or that gender role.

  45. Hi Ginkgo, thanks :)

    To an extent. Other than the army (which is always likely to remain an exception) not many jobs really need to be on the death professions list. We would probably be better off fighting to make the most dangerous workplaces safer than convincing more women to risk their lives working in them. It means the consumer has to pay more for the same stuff, but I’d rather that than knock a few cents off my shopping at the price of someone’s arm.

    As for dirty work… I’d agree. Dirt is dirt, there’s no reason a bin collector can’t be a woman.

  46. True, but in order to defend the group said pawn has to be willing to sacrafice itself if necessary. If queens were exposed to equal risk then the game would be over alot sooner.

    And what part of “it’s not like trading a pawn for a queen in chess” didn’t you understand?

  47. “And what part of “it’s not like trading a pawn for a queen in chess” didn’t you understand?”

    It is when the Queen is pregnant.
    Reproduction is the key to this whole thing.
    I’m still waiting for your explication of how wars in the past were bloodier than today. I think I even know what book you are going to use to try and prove your point. I think I even know what your argument will be dungone, but sometimes you DO surprise me which is what makes you an interesting commenter.

  48. @Dungone: Ok, it’s not like trading a pawn in chess. But whatever metaphor you prefer, a defender is pretty useless if they’re risk averse. Defence of the group necessitates disposability.

  49. “To an extent. Other than the army (which is always likely to remain an exception) not many jobs really need to be on the death professions list. ”

    Ah. Okay, see what you’re saying, Peter. Here’s the disconnect – you’d be amazed to see the stats on job-related deaths. Some of the dealiest jobs have nothing to do with guns. Coal mining, which still supplies some unholy percentage of the energy that drives the world economy, still regularly kills men. We had a mine disaster last year that killed 25 men. The stats in China are an order of magnitude greater.

    And sometimes that job-related disposability is indirect. A young guy trying to “get north” to work in the US is most likely going to get in with smugglers who will guide him across the Sonora Desert to get to Tucson or some similar destination along that border. It is a ferocious desert and the enforcement efforts are successful enough that these guides routinely abandon their loads in the middle of nowhere. It is an especialy ferocious desert for some young stud from Oaxaca who grew up walking five miles each way every day to work the family cor patch in the cool and wet highlands of southern Mexico and who figures a sixty mile trek is no big deal. Every summer enough people get into severe trouble every summer doing this that it is a major burden on the tribal and local police in the area. (The Tohono O’odham do have a successful casino, but they are not made of money, and the locals have even less.)

    Now these guys need ths work to support their extended families. Whole families of men make this journey and they know every good route and have systems of safe houses separate form the smugglers’ drop houses, so it’s not quite the hell it psounds. But it is still some major dispsability.

    And women make this trip too, the same way, though in smaller numbers. Mexican religion before contact put a premium on paying the price in blood to get what you wanted, and a veneer of Spanish culture has not really changed that, and it applies to everyone.

  50. Yep, coal mining and meat processing probably have more casualties than the US army (<-out-of-my-ass guess)

    But those kinds of risks are probably more or less avoidable, whereas combat will always be a dangerous environment no matter what regulations are involved.

  51. Peter, both points are valid. Coal mining and meat procesing could be made safer. They just aren’t.

    Then there’s deep sea fishing. Here in Seattle is where a large part of the Alaska fleet docks. some go out ofr the normale fresh stuff we all realy live on, like rock cod – like hake, sort of – and then there’s halibut, and so on. Then there is king crab fishing n the Gulf of Alaska. People die out there every other year or so. Last year they lst three men and a woman. Nobody around here eats it that I know of, we eat Dungenesss crab, sweeter and moister – but the the other stuff sells like meth and the money is too good to pass up.

    The US Army has been on a safety kick for the last 30 years, because it costs a lot to replace injured soldiers. In both Iraq and Afghanistan it was IEDs that killed people – nobody could touch them face to face unless they marshalled overwhelming power, which is of course the objective anyway. The last thing anyone wants in war is a fair fight.

  52. @Dungone: Ok, it’s not like trading a pawn in chess. But whatever metaphor you prefer, a defender is pretty useless if they’re risk averse. Defence of the group necessitates disposability.

    You’re failing to understand repeated game. So let’s actually stick to chess for a moment longer. Imagine you had to play repeated games of chess against various opponents. But when your pieces die, they really die – you have to start the next game with the pieces that you ended the last game with. Playing aggressively with your pawns is a great short-term strategy that may even win you a single game. But it’s a losing strategy in the long-term. In fact, long term, you need your pawns just as much as you do any other pieces.

    You can’t look at the long term viability of an entire society over many years the same way as you would for a single “battle.” That is the folly of male disposability. This idea of treating the womb as somehow more important than a man, it’s only telling half of the story. The other half of the story is that modern society wasn’t built by dead men, it was built by living, healthy men with living, healthy fathers. To the extent that societies don’t protect men and men’s ability to raise children, those societies are holding themselves back and potentially they’re even falling apart.

  53. @Gingko, let it suffice to say that there are hundreds of occupations that are risky for men.

    But those kinds of risks are probably more or less avoidable, whereas combat will always be a dangerous environment no matter what regulations are involved.

    @Peter, war is avoidable, work is not. Either way, the core reason why we are facing a global warming catastrophe is because our society thinks it is appropriate to send men into coal mines and oil fields to die for fossil fuels. It all starts with the cheapening of men’s lives.

  54. “You’re failing to understand repeated game. So let’s actually stick to chess for a moment longer. Imagine you had to play repeated games of chess against various opponents. But when your pieces die, they really die – you have to start the next game with the pieces that you ended the last game with. Playing aggressively with your pawns is a great short-term strategy that may even win you a single game. But it’s a losing strategy in the long-term. In fact, long term, you need your pawns just as much as you do any other pieces.”

    So much so that Sun Zi spends more ink talking about taking care of troops than about officers, so much so that he advises treating enemy captives well so you can turn them to your side.

  55. @Ginkgo: Same here, Irish fishing is dying on it’s legs. But most of the fatalities tell the same story: Pilot error, overworked crew, small vessel without safety features, no mayday, SART or EPIRB. Not that we shouldn’t be encouraging women to consider doing this work too, or encouraging men to think about studying english instead or going to art college, but most of the death professions don’t really need to be as risky as they are.

    @Dungone: Ok, let’s have another look at that repeated chess game. One side has pieces which are willing to sacrafice their own lives, the other has pieces which might decide to jump off the board and hide under the box. Which side would you really expect to have more survivors after three games? In for defenders to be worth anything, they have to be disposable.

    In terms of reproduction men *are* worth less than a woman, because a woman has to be kept safe for the full nine months of pregnancy, followed by a similar period of nursing and related care. To return to the original argument, if women are exposed to equal risk, the whole community produces less offspring.

  56. Also: “Either way, the core reason why we are facing a global warming catastrophe is because our society thinks it is appropriate to send men into coal mines and oil fields to die for fossil fuels. It all starts with the cheapening of men’s lives.”

    That’s completely unrelated. Even if fossil fuels grew on trees and were completely safe to harvest we’d be facing global warming. The reason men’s lives were risked to get coal was because it made other things possible, like the internet and gender blogs.

  57. “In terms of reproduction men *are* worth less than a woman, because a woman has to be kept safe for the full nine months of pregnancy, followed by a similar period of nursing and related care. To return to the original argument, if women are exposed to equal risk, the whole community produces less offspring.”

    Peter you just refuted your first assertion with your second sentence. It is precisely because women need protection and priovision during pregnancy, and children need it for years and years, that men are as indispensable to reproduction as women are. Don’t make the mistake of reducing reproduction to pregnancy and childbirth. That is only the beginning.

    And even in that beginning men are indispensable. It’s not just impregnation; in a state of nature an pregnant woman is too slow and clumsy to run from danger and cannot even satisfy her nutritional needs. And this is where all those 1/100 man/woman ratios break down – no question that one man can knock up 100 women; the question is how many of them is he going to be able to get to survive until birth, and for the years of toddlerhood after that.

  58. One side has pieces which are willing to sacrafice their own lives, the other has pieces which might decide to jump off the board and hide under the box. Which side would you really expect to have more survivors after three games? In for defenders to be worth anything, they have to be disposable.

    Pieces can’t jump off the board any more than the player can take out a gun and shoot his opponent. I only made a slight rule change, I didn’t anthropomorphise the pieces. But even if we were to do it your way, you’d be screwed either way because playing aggressively on your first game you’d be left with is a bunch of anthropomorphically pregnant chess pieces who can’t even move more than half a square per turn.

    But here’s what really happens at a repeated-game chess game tournament. Guys such as yourself who are in the “pawn disposability” camp sacrifice their pieces to win one, maybe two preliminary games. Everyone else goes for a loss-free draw as a matter of survival strategy, which then allows them to easily dominate the risk-taking players after they’ve run out of pieces in later games. But – enough about chess, really.

    In terms of reproduction men *are* worth less than a woman, because a woman has to be kept safe for the full nine months of pregnancy, followed by a similar period of nursing and related care. To return to the original argument, if women are exposed to equal risk, the whole community produces less offspring.

    As Gingko already pointed out, that makes men more valuable, not less. Being vulnerable is not the same as being valuable. It doesn’t make you more valuable to be vulnerable, it actually makes you a burden onto others who need to take care of you. By being vulnerable, you increase the value of those who take care of you. Having a womb is important, yes, but as it turns out that by your description of it, childbirth is a way of “using up” that individual’s value, as they can offer very little else in the meantime. Men, by not having to focus on giving birth, can continue to do everything else.

    This goes well beyond 9 months of pregnancy. Men, right down to their very own physiology, can focus on becoming experts at other survival skills. “Survival” being the operative word, as opposed to sacrificial. They are needed for humans to be able to live a lifestyle that is anything beyond a starvation-level struggle. Without men’s continued survival, the next generation isn’t going to be in a good place to reproduce and provide for itself, anyway. So the 9 months of pregnancy are just a single “stage” in a repeated-game.

  59. @dungone,

    I get the feeling that you argue so strongly that male disposability has no evolutionary advantage, because you oppose it on moral grounds. Which I sympathize with, but I don’t agree.

    You are totally correct that in the pre-historic tribal context we are disccusing here, both males and females served useful purposes to their tribes. You are quite correct to point out that the tribe suffers the lack of all these services for every man or woman that dies. You are quite correct to point out repeated games” and how they mitigate the usefulness of any extremely male-sacrificial strategy.

    However, factors in that it might quite well be that a single male may provide these same services (protection, hunting, and the like) for 1.2 women (for argument’s sake).

    Also factor in that not all of the “repeated games” need repeat immediately – in other words, the extra children the extra women might bear might include enough extra sons, that have grown up enough by the time the next “game” rolls around.

    All of these kinds of considerations make it extremely untenable, as far as I see it, to cling to a dogmatic belief that the relative “value” of male and female lives (in an evolutionary, not moral, sense) are absolutely and precisely 50:50 equally split.

    Even if a hypothetical 55:45 ratio of women:men were evolutionarily advantageous to a tribe of people, even that small disparity still amounts to a real “male disposability” – relative to females; and even such a small ratio would be enough, IMHO, to inculcate hardwired attitudes around male disposability.

  60. P.John Irons:

    Thank you. I was going to comment but I kept waiting for Dungone to bring up his argument about ancient warfare (which is probably really an argument about pre-civilized warfare) but he never did, so I’m going to skip that.

    You’re right, and there are other things that Ginko and Dungone are overlooking.
    1. The most risky wars can have the biggest rewards.
    So let’s say a smaller tribe takes a larger tribe by surprise, kills all the men and boys (over a certain age) enslaves the rest, takes and rapes the women. If the smaller tribe loses few or any males (because its a surprise) then I don’t see how this is not favored by evolution. Clearly you can’t count on surprise “extermination” warfare as a consistent strategy, but it’s clearly advantageous enough that it’s always been in the “real world” strategy books.

    2. With most classical wars being rather low casualty, the incentives for warfare would have remained constant for most of the past 25000 or so years. Humans have evolved along WITH warfare, even in fairly modern times.

    3. Gingko seems to be doing special pleading: supposedly it’s just as important to have a man around AFTER the pregnancy is successful as before. From a strictly evolutionary point of view, this is wrong as the ONLY important consideration is that the genes get passed along, NOT that every child grows up in the most ideal environment.

    So sorry, but male desposibility IS useful in extreme conditions and under certain types of warfare. The GOOD thing is that there is a limit to how many males can be killed before this attitude becomes counterproductive, not that one needs to believe in a 1:1 exchange of valuation.

    I mean seriously, do Dungone or Ginko want to take say 100 female volunteers and 100 male volunteers, put them on a battlefield with axes (or any weapon good for hand to hand combat) and train them an equal amount of time – and see which group is going to “win”, almost all the time?
    And that’s why when it comes to warfare and most dangerous things men are considered more disposable.

    Nowadays (except maybe in certain jobs like Fire Fighter where strength and endurance are big things and very very very few females can pass a firefighter fitness test) these attitudes are often useless or even counterproductive and romance and bad history often combine to exaggerate the importance of male desposability. And these attitudes have to be fought, esp since there’s no reason that females can’t do 99 percent plus of most of the crappy and dangerous (there will still be exceptions…areas where females just can’t almost ever hack it)work that men do, esp since they aren’t tied to having babies. But I will NOT apologize for recognizing that pregnancy is a time when women need protection if you care about them successfully having your baby.

  61. alright….

    my guess is the misandry in western culture is cultural, rather than evolutionary….

    how so?

    misogynistic cultures such as India and China have practiced female infanticide and have not died out–ie less women didn’t destroy their civilization. There are those who say that they will be more likely to have uprisings with angry young men with no hope of a family life….

    So it seems that it is not strictly evolutionary to have more women then mne.

    my guess is that western culture perpetuated male disposability primarily for the benefit of the elites and to a lesser extent for women….

  62. @Ginkgo: Is it possible for a mother, or other member’s of society, to replicate a man’s role by protecting her and providing for her? Yes. Is it possible for a man to replicate a woman’s role by carrying the child during nine months of pregnancy? No. So men are dispensible if necessary and are thus selected for disposibility.

    Again, as pointed out above, men’s ability to defend is related to their willingness to sacrafice their life. It’s not that a man getting killed is ideal for reproduction, it’s just less bad than a woman getting killed. “Women and children first” is a concept that occurs in every human culture without known exception, it didn’t come from nowhere.

    @Dungone: They’re not capable of jumping off the board any more than the losses in one chess game count towards the next. We both made changes to the rules to illustrate our points. You pointed out that men dying means less men to defend, I pointed out that unless men are encouraged to sacrafice their lives there is no defence, regardless how many or how few men there are.

  63. @Stoner: It’s both. There are behaviours related to male disposibility which occur across cultures, so it can’t be said to be purely a cultural quirk of the west. That said, biology isn’t destiny and I’m sure the issue can be solved with education.

    As for the whole “the elites cooked it up for their own benefit” that doesn’t work out. Upper class men in most cultures are still expected to shoulder risks upper class women aren’t. Sexism isn’t quite blind to class, but it’s not restricted to les miserables either.

  64. “I mean seriously, do Dungone or Ginko want to take say 100 female volunteers and 100 male volunteers, put them on a battlefield with axes (or any weapon good for hand to hand combat) and train them an equal amount of time – and see which group is going to “win”, almost all the time?”

    playing devils advocate….

    there is a fair chance the women would have an upper hand, not because they were quicker or stronger but the men would have more kill reluctance…

  65. “Is it possible for a man to replicate a woman’s role by carrying the child during nine months of pregnancy?”

    Peter, you are reaching. Is it possible for a woman to impregnate herself? Women do not “create life”. That is Women’s Studies woo, typical of their loose relationship
    with actual facts.

    “It’s not that a man getting killed is ideal for reproduction, it’s just less bad than a woman getting killed.”

    And here is anopther common fallacy, the in-group marriage fallacy. It assumes that in-group women are indispensable because only they are available for reporduction, otherwise known as the “kin-fuck fallacy.” The truth is that women are easy to replace because you can always get new ones, expecially when you have killed off their men and they know they face starvation. In fact out-group women are generally recognized to be superior choices anyway, right?

    So no, the loss of women is not worse for the group than the loss of men, less so in fatc, because the loss of in-group men imperils the group mre than the loss of in-group women. Most groups world-wide are held together by thier male relationships, with female relationships being secondary. that’s the definition of patriarchy, really. Those relationships are almost exclsuviely biological. That’s why groups can’t afford to loose men born into the group and why they cna afford to rpelace their in-born women with outsiders. In fact they generally marry thier in-born women out, right?

    This is the source of the female disposability we see in so much of the world. Daughters are nothing but a liability in so many of the world’s societies and sometimes a huge expense in terms of dowries to the families they are born into, and they add nothing other than alliance material to those families. This is why there is a saying in China “Girls are someone else’s happiness”.

    The Western development of true civil society that protects and values each individual as an individual rather than as a member has been crucial to instantiating women’s rights as we know them. It is a huge achievement, and it has been an achievement, not some natural and inevitable state of affairs based on some supposed indispensability.

  66. Clarence, the point you are missing is that you are starting from an assumed 50/50 ratio, and that your arguments are only true if the sex ratio is 1:1 already. For example, when you say that men are not needed as greatly after the conception as women are, because it is only necessary to pass on genes, not to ensure that the child grows up in a good environment, you are forgetting 2 things.

    1) Each child is only 1/2 of the man’s. Therefore, in order to truly pass on his genes, a man needs more than child.
    2) You need to produce VIABLE offspring. Your child isn’t viable if it dies before puberty, due to any of the following: disease, famine, exposure, or being slaughtered by a foreign tribe. All of which the man can help to prevent, with only the emphasized point requiring disposability.

    Also, in your scenario about a smaller tribe overpowering the larger tribe, you are suffering from a misconception of imposing culture on genetics. The women of the larger tribe are relatively happy, because someone is still taking care of them (and likely impregnating them). Sure they are likely not treated as well as the “first” wives, but that is more about the men ensuring that they are valued (see ladies, if we go, you will end up like this with someone else) than any kind of set in stone behavior. I can guarantee that on an aggregate level, if captured women have better baby making hips than the “first wives”, those first wives will get dumped on their asses PDQ. So in general, women don’t necessarily care who is doing the providing/protecting, as long as that man is ensuring her genes are passed on. (Which is why, on a genetic level, it makes just as much sense for women to engage in infidelity as men – especially when our very sperm engage in the same kind of warfare we do, on a cellular level).

  67. P. John Irons,

    If the “proper” sex ratio was 55:45 w:m, why do most societies throughout history hover at nearly 50/50? In fact, if only the breeding age populations are included*, men outnumber women, since men can produce viable offspring longer than women, and the only reason women outnumber men in western societies is the imbalance of old people (due in part to the very self same male disposability that we are discussing here.)

    *Please not that women who have undergone menopause are still very valuable to the tribe. They are involved in the role of guides and instructors of younger women, help with childcare, and undertake tasks that younger women don’t have time for, due to their children, such as making clothes (an extremely time-intensive task).

  68. Peter,

    a man getting killed is less bad for reproduction than a women getting killed, up to a certain point. And I still believe that that point is at, or very close to a 1:1 ratio. If anyone can provide a solid reason why it might be something else, then please enlighten me.

    We are all failing to account for something very vital. Humans have an extremely difficult birthing process, and for a long, long time, a lot of women died in childbirth. I would be willing to bet a lot of what I have that the number of women who died in childbirth was very, very close to the number of men who died in war. Because, as Clarence correctly pointed out, most war was less lethal than today, for a number of reasons. One of which might be the fact that death was often dealt up close and personal, and even today, when death is relatively anonymous on a battlefield, the vast, vast majority of expended ammunition is not directed at killing the enemy.

    But my pet hypothesis is that war became a more and more necessary endeavor as the ratio of males to females got larger and larger. Essentially, win or lose, the goal of a healthy society is maintained, since either their will be less males of breeding age, more females, or some combination of both. When the balance is restored, the desire for war turns sour, and people seek peace.

    Of course, this dynamic changes drastically when nationalism becomes stronger. All of a sudden, enemies are existential threats, and need to be dealt with accordingly. And of course, the greatest atrocities always occur when the nationalism, or even just tribal identity is the strongest. Music, art, dance, etc. are tools of genocide in the wrong hands.

  69. @Ginkgo: I never said it was possible for a woman to impregnate herself. Just that once a man has done so, the extent of his involvement that is absolutely physically necessary and cannot be replaced by another person is done. I’ve never heard of a “kin-fuck fallacy” before, but I assume you may have heard of polygamy?

    @Equilibrium: It’s way off 1:1. Look at how many men died in WW1. How many of them had children born to their name while they were away. Now imagine instead that their pregnant/nursing wives were sent to france instead. Would you really argue that their society would be anything near as reproductively fit as the one which only sent men?

    You argue that societies go to war to kill off surplus men? I think it’s a little more complex than that. It probably affects the *capacity* of a society to go to war, but wars happen for a whole range or reasons that have little to do with gender equilibrium.

  70. Clarence,
    “3. Gingko seems to be doing special pleading: supposedly it’s just as important to have a man around AFTER the pregnancy is successful as before. From a strictly evolutionary point of view, this is wrong as the ONLY important consideration is that the genes get passed along, NOT that every child grows up in the most ideal environment.”

    No, I assumed that it was obvious that the genes don’t get passed along unitl the offspring breeds. In other words birth is not the end of the story, it’s only a midpoint. That’s not special pleading.

    Wait, ES got there first.

    He makes a good point. We are so used to the protections and security of civil society that we think they are natural and inevitable, or at least we tend to take them for granted.

    “I mean seriously, do Dungone or Ginko want to take say 100 female volunteers and 100 male volunteers, put them on a battlefield with axes (or any weapon good for hand to hand combat) and train them an equal amount of time – and see which group is going to “win”, almost all the time?
    And that’s why when it comes to warfare and most dangerous things men are considered more disposable”

    I don’t see how this example proves your contention, Clarence. What it proves is that women are more vulnerable, so actually your example argues for male indispensability! Who is going to protect those women from those other men?

    You can have a Virtual Father set up such as Peter posits, some societal system of support, but even that is based on men and so men are not dispensable.

    “So sorry, but male desposibility IS useful in extreme conditions and under certain types of warfare.”

    The record is pretty clear that this is absolutely the case. The issue is 1) how to reduce this need if that is possible; I am dubious, and 2) how to spread the risk evenly. And no, having a uterus does not make you more valuable alive than out risking your life for the rest of us. Can we not all think of women who would contribute a lot more to society by not having children than by having them?

  71. “Ginkgo: I never said it was possible for a woman to impregnate herself. Just that once a man has done so, the extent of his involvement that is absolutely physically necessary and cannot be replaced by another person is done.”

    The same is true for the mother nine months later. I’m not seeing how nine months makes any kind of real diffenrece in disposability.

    “I’ve never heard of a “kin-fuck fallacy” before,”

    No worries; neither had I. I coined it.

    “but I assume you may have heard of polygamy?”

    I have and that helps my point. Even in polygamy, wives are generally chosen from outside the group. So women inside the group – daughters – contribute not much to reproduction in that group.

    The one place where that does not always happen, Saudi Arabia, has a rate of genetic disease on par with Askenazic Jews.

  72. @Peter,

    At what value of x does it become impossible for a man to take care of x women, and c*x children (where c is the average number of children each woman bears in her lifetime)? Keep in mind that ‘take care of’ includes ensuring safety from marauding bands of other men, intent on taking their women and killing their children. When you say “its way off of 1″, give me a little evidence that that is the case in the context of the conditions under which we evolved, considering we are discussing the possibility that male disposability (i.e. the viability of a society where x is larger than 1) is genetically inherent.

    Today (and indeed, during WWI, excepting certain locales) we have a food surplus. We generate enough food to feed the entire world, plus some. Therefore, the rules of the game are different than say, the 90,000+ years of human evolution when we did not have a food surplus, ever. I totally agree that male disposability is beneficial, on an aggregate level, to our society, under post-industrial revolution conditions. I would also point out that female disposability is beneficial, on an aggregate level, under the same conditions. We don’t need every single woman to reproduce to sustain our civilization. A few women producing many babies each would work just as well. And we are at the point that we don’t need to worry about childcare, etc.

    The abundance of one disposability, and dearth of the other is why this issue is discussed on this board.

  73. @Ginkgo,

    you are falling victim to the Emir-of-Saud fallacy. Basically, any example using the gulf states is fallacious inherently, since they are a bunch of weirdos and crazy asses.*

    No need to worry if you haven’t heard of this fallacy before, I just coined it.

    *Is it socially acceptable to make jokes about nationalities when you have personal experience with them?**

    **Point of reference: Most people in the Arab world view the gulf states with a mixture of envy, mistrust, incredulity, and aversion***. Its like if the Beverly Hillbillies were real, but instead of moving to Hollywood, they stayed wherever they were from, built oceans in the middle of the country, and had horse races from Stillwater to Dodge. Oh, and they were religiously extreme, and secretly funded and armed political groups that shared their religious vision.

    ***In the months after Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself on fire due to what I can only call the daily degradation of his dignity, I told my wife of the delicious irony of massive protests in Egypt being assaulted by goons released from prison to wreak havoc while just across the water, a demonstration in Medina was being planned to protest the ban on women driving cars. She couldn’t pick her jaw off the floor and not for the first time commented on how out of touch Saudi people are. (NB, there are very real parallels between the current women’s rights movement on “The Island” and the 2nd wave of feminism in the US. Only rich, Sunni 1st wives welcome, thank you very much. Gay people? Disgusting. Poor men? Dirty, evil rape machines. etc. etc.)

  74. I get the feeling that you argue so strongly that male disposability has no evolutionary advantage, because you oppose it on moral grounds.

    Implying that I have hidden motives is ad-hominem and an appeal to emotion. Characterizing my position as “dogmatic” is equally unfounded. It doesn’t help your argument for you to take this approach. I’ll explain what my “motivation” is in a moment.

    However, factors in that it might quite well be that a single male may provide these same services (protection, hunting, and the like) for 1.2 women (for argument’s sake).

    Where is your actual reasoning that makes you say that .8 men per women is just as good as 1 man per woman? You’re just saying it, your only argument seems to be that it makes sense to you. We have evolved countless physical traits that give us such minor advantages that it’s inconceivable that it helped our ancestors survive except by the skin of their teeth. You’ll never convince me that any detail is too small to affect our survival. But if all of this is for the sake of argument, then why not say that the most advantageous situation is actually have 1.2 men for every woman? There are 105 boys born for every 100 girls, typically. If every womb was needed for reproduction and men weren’t needed, why not just give birth to more wombs? Why invest those extra womb-resources to making “less valuable” men?

    I get what you’re saying, really. As anyone in business knows, it’s better to suffer a small loss than an even bigger loss. You don’t just close down shop because you weren’t profitable in the last couple of days. But the same rule says it’s better still to enjoy a small gain rather than a small loss. Acknowledging that last part seems to be missing from those who are on your side of this discussion. The only reasonable conclusion is that groups that “suffer” small gains will end up far better positions that groups which “suffer” small losses.

    What really bugs me here is the way that terms are getting thrown around without any attempt to understand them first. On the one hand, male provider-ship has some clear evolutionary advantages, whether it’s mitigating losses or improving gains. Male disposability, on the other hand, is a strictly cultural term used to describe societal attitudes and the socialization of men. Trying to say that this socialization is advantageous even when it’s clearly detrimental is just a bizarre way of begging the question. Sure, if it was truly evolved as some vestigial behavioral trait, then fine. But throwing fathers out of their children’s lives, sentencing men to draconian prison sentences, and forcing them to work in coal mines because it seems more convenient than investing into cleaner energy sources? Those are social policy decisions, all of them objectively bad, all of them as far removed from evolution as things get. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Male_Power#.22Why_Men_are_the_Disposable_Sex.22

  75. This debate is going in circles.

    There are pros and cons on the tribe’s ledger whenever a man or a woman dies.

    Some people point out the pros, and argue that therefore men are obviously disposable.

    Others point out the cons, and argue that therefore men and women are obviously 50:50 equally disposable as each other.

    What’s really needed is a thorough adding up of all the pros and the cons on both sides of the ledger, not just over the short term, but also over the longer term.

    And argumentatively pointing at a few choice line items on some or other side of the ledger is really just not achieving that.

  76. @dungone

    I apologize if you felt I was ad-homineming you. The hidden motives that i imputed to you are neither more nor less nefarious than the hidden motives we are all of us prone to, at some time or another.

    You’re right to point out that I merely stated, for argument sake, the possibility that 1.2 men may look after 1 woman, without evidence. It could, as you point out, just as well be the other way around.

    The point of all that is just to show how many possibilities exist, that need to be explored and ruled out, before one can end up confidently stating that the “disposability ratio” is exactly 1:1 between men and women.

    As for throwing fathers out of children’s lives, I agree with you that these are horrendous social attitudes. But those are present-day social attitudes, which to my mind have no bearing on whether “male disposability” had some advantage in the evolutionary past.

    I am not arguing that “male disposability had some evolutionary benefit in the past, therefore it is morally OK to throw dad’s out of children’s lives today”. My argument is rather that one needs to understand, objectively, where such attitudes come from, before one can best decide how to counter them.

  77. Most groups world-wide are held together by thier male relationships, with female relationships being secondary. that’s the definition of patriarchy, really.

    And this is supported by the uniform geographic distribution of X chromosomes versus the concentrated pockets of Y chromosomes. The Y chromosome can be used to trace ethnicity, the X chromosome cannot. I wouldn’t call it patriarchy, though. But it’s a very good point, Gingko.

  78. Bottom line: male disposability is not the same thing as male provider-ship. It is a term invented for the strict purpose of describing societal attitudes towards men. It is, at very best, a reaction by ingrates upon seeing men toil on behalf of their families: a developed sense of entitlement that normalized self-sacrifice as the only redeeming attribute of men. Not, as it were, the hard work and potential sacrifice itself. It, quite frankly, is an ignorant attitude held by selfish, sexist assholes. Nothing about male provider-ship says that men have evolved to expect others to bring nothing to the bargaining table, or to throw their lives away for women whose only sense of humor is their bellicose laugh at the thought of having sex with a sacrificial pawn. Yet society says to these men, “Fuck you. Die anyway!” They no longer toil for the sake of their family and loved ones, but for people who are disgusted by them and hate them. That is what makes male disposability what it is.

  79. dungone,
    “And this is supported by the uniform geographic distribution of X chromosomes versus the concentrated pockets of Y chromosomes. The Y chromosome can be used to trace ethnicity, the X chromosome cannot. I wouldn’t call it patriarchy, though. But it’s a very good point, Gingko.”

    I think it’s called patrilocality. Then the question arises, why is it patrilineages instead of matrilineages that control teritory and produces these geographical distributions, and why are matrilineages so seldom the organinzing structure of societies, and of no dominant cultures.

    “you are falling victim to the Emir-of-Saud fallacy. Basically, any example using the gulf states is fallacious inherently, since they are a bunch of weirdos and crazy asses.*
    No need to worry if you haven’t heard of this fallacy before, I just coined it.”

    ES, I like that one and I think it has real legs, so thanks form all of the gendersphere.

    No, I was taking the Saudi example as the exception, I think it is very anomalous, to the point of meaning nothing in any broader context. In-group mariage is rare and for a reason, and that reason is not genetic. In–group mariage diminishes your alliance-making capablility. That’s a lot more obvious to pre-scientific people, and a lot more immediately, that the dangers of inbreeding.

  80. Absolutely true, Ginkgo. If the MO of a victor is to sweep through the loser’s camp and steal women for slave taking and raping and whatnot, then you would be less likely to fight with someone who is married to your daughter, no?

  81. I think it’s called patrilocality. Then the question arises, why is it patrilineages instead of matrilineages that control teritory and produces these geographical distributions, and why are matrilineages so seldom the organinzing structure of societies, and of no dominant cultures.

    Physiology alone might answer that. It takes brawn to build walls. Something that women, due to the exhausting process of human childbirth, were not adept at providing. And the reason to build walls was to protect food resources, not necessarily to safeguard women. Women seemed to have come and gone as they pleased. They were expensive to acquire and maintain, sure, but it seems as if there was always the possibility of getting more where they came from as long as you had enough manpower to get them. The modern Women’s Studies sentiment seems to be that at some point there was a mythic femi-egalitarian culture where men went around with “Cuckold me!” tattooed on their foreheads. As if men would put together raiding parties to go into another town, kill all the other men, and raise the other men’s babies as if their own. It’s sad to see that even the more tradcon and self-styled evo-psych aficionados are taking up positions of male disposability as evolutionarily advantageous, because that view carries with it some extremely silly implications.

  82. I have a female friend, a woman who served in the Marines with me, but she never got deployed because she got pregnant right before the Iraq war started. Recently, there was a news story out of her home town where some woman’s baby fell into a wild dog exhibit at the zoo and was immediately mauled to death. This former Marine wrote a long Facebook post about how disgusted she was that there were men standing right there but yet not a single one of them dropped whatever they were doing to fling themselves head first into a pit of marauding dogs in order to get themselves killed along with the kid, just for a good show of chivalry, apparently. This entitled attitude is, as best as I can describe it, asking men to perform an act of cuckold martyrdom. To be stupid enough to sacrifice their lives for some inattentive mother who most likely would never want to have babies with the vast majority of the men who are being asked to kill themselves as if it’s nothing is, at the very least, an act of genetic suicide. This is where I get off at. Male Disposability to me, with what I see of it in our own society, is exactly that: genetic suicide. It’s especially so in a modern, metropolitan city where men’s Y chromosomes are all mixed up. Saving some other woman’s kid in that scenario is downright stupid for a man to do, since he is in no way guaranteeing the survival of his own genotype.

    I want to say one last thing in this thread about what makes male disposability different than male provider-ship. We know the philosophical underpinnings of male disposability as a societal attitude. It’s the ultimate way in which the rich elite have pulled the wool over everyone else’s heads.

    It is, as ES coined it, the Emir-of-Saud fallacy. You’d get ignorant assholes such as Emmeline Pankhurst who argued about how oppressed their rich asses were for not having the right to vote, even as poor men were dying in the trenches by the millions without having any such right to vote, either. But boo-hoo, women were oppressed by the Patriarchy! This concept is literally an inversion of Marxism, and just as ridiculous. Now, using sex, the rich can claim to be oppressed by the poor! Clever lot, those proto-feminists were. They pretty much handed class struggle over to the rich on a silver platter. And it suited them, since they themselves were rich.

  83. “This former Marine wrote a long Facebook post about how disgusted she was that there were men standing right there but yet not a single one of them dropped whatever they were doing to fling themselves head first into a pit of marauding dogs in order to get themselves killed along with the kid, just for a good show of chivalry, apparently. This entitled attitude is, as best as I can describe it, asking men to perform an act of cuckold martyrdom. ”

    What kind of Marine would think like that? That’s not a former Marine, that’s an ex-Marine.

  84. What kind of Marine would think like that? That’s not a former Marine, that’s an ex-Marine.

    Current Air Force… now I wish you hadn’t asked.

  85. Yeah, considering she had combat training, and was a woman, she probably would have been the best option if someone was going to sacrifice themselves for this kid, had she been there. And even knowing that, if she picked out men as the only people to wimp shame, she is privilege blind and a hypocrite to boot. Ex-Marine, indeed.

  86. JP Irons,
    “This debate is going in circles.
    There are pros and cons on the tribe’s ledger whenever a man or a woman dies.”

    Yes. Period. As I said above, disposability for the sake of the group is clearly adaptive, or it wouldn’t have developed and it wouldn’t be praised so universally as a moral value.

    The issue is equality of disposability.

  87. As I said above, disposability for the sake of the group is clearly adaptive, or it wouldn’t have developed and it wouldn’t be praised so universally as a moral value.

    I don’t look at rich white women praising something that they want a black male underling to do as any sort of in-group moral value. I see it as bigotry. The vast majority of male disposability gets applied to out-group, lower-status males. How much would you say is actually left on the in-group level after you account for that? Men didn’t evolve stronger, durable bodies in order to die, but in order to survive. Our own genes are a testament to the fact that the least-disposable males are the ones who had the greatest evolutionary advantage.

  88. “I don’t look at rich white women praising something that they want a black male underling to do as any sort of in-group moral value. I see it as bigotry.”

    I would have a hard time attributing anything rich white women praised to anything other than self-interest.

  89. I’m with the guy saying this is going around in circles. I still maintain that male disposibility wouldn’t exist as a universal cultural norm if it didn’t provide some benefit in the past, and that such benefits are easily visible.

  90. Damn, hit the button too soon: But we can probably all agree that male disposiblity is at least of reduced necessity in the first world and that we can work towards easing the cultural pressure on men to risk their health and lives for other people.

  91. @ES, I read that one this morning as well. I don’t think it’s off topic at all. That author’s recollection of the gale of laughter he heard when women were asked if they would have sex with him is what made me mention the “bellicose laugh” a couple of comments up.

    For the sake of placating everyone here, I’m willing to amend my terminology to say “cultural male disposability,” even though I think it’s redundant and there is no other kind. I live in New York City, so that article hits it right on the nail. More-so than in any other place I’ve ever been (and I’ve lived all over while in the military), New York women are just awful. I can walk into a bar in SoHo right now and I know exactly what I’m going to hear: “What do you do for a living? Where do you live?” Answering those 2 questions correctly guarantees at least a 10 minute chat, even if the girl has a boyfriend nearby. Answering it incorrectly (such as when I lived in Queens) and you get passed over in an instant. I don’t mind so much because it seems like the “sum of my assets” gets me further than most, but it’s pretty insulting nevertheless.

  92. Could you provide sources for the statements that “the conviction rate for rape is right in line with other violent crimes” and that female on male rape has a virtually 0 percent chance of conviction? Thank you!

  93. r314t:
    According to the NISVS 2010 Report from CDC an estimated 5,451,000 men1 have been made to penetrate someone else (that is forced to have sex without their consent2). 79.2% of these report a single female perpetrator3.

    That makes an estimated 4,317,192 male victims of rape or attempted rape by a female perpetrator. How many of these female rapist (and this doesn’t include “consensual” statutory rape) do you think are convicted? I haven’t found any statistics on that and I suspect that is because it’s exceedingly rare that a woman is convicted for rape against a man while it’s not exceedingly rare that a woman rape a man.

    In fact, of one crunch the numbers from NISVS 2010 a bit further one will see that 5th rape victim is a man raped by a woman.

    Is every 5th convicted rapist a woman?

    Far from it:
    Numbers from 208 show that there are 66,700 men incarcerated for rape under state jurisdiction while only 600 women are incarcerated for rape4.

    I am now going to make a quick’n'dirty back of the envelope calculation of the chance for a female rapist to be convicted. The NISVS 2010 states that in 2009 (the last 12 months for the respondents who all were surveyed in 2010) an estimated 1.267.000 men were being made to penetrate someone else2. I’ll make an assumption I think is fair and that is that this population have the same ratio of female perpetrators as the lifetime population: 79.2%. That results in an estimated 1,003,464 men raped in 2009 by a woman. I’ll make another assumption, the 600 women all serve at least 1 year of time, but I’ll assume that they all were convicted for rape occurring within one year (most likely the offenses were spread over a number of years). I’ll also assume that all of the 600 are sentenced for “making a man penetrate them”2 and not for statutory rape or for raping another woman, raping children younger than 17 (all those 1,003,464 men are 18 or older and hence was older than 17 in the last 12 months before they were surveyed). We then get a “conviction rate”:
    600 * 100 / 1,003,464 = 0,0598%

    which would be virtually 0%.

    Making the same assumption for the other way around (except assuming that 100% of perpetrators of rape against women is men because I am lazy) we get:
    66,700 * 100 / 1,270,000 = 5.25%

    1</super: Table 2.2 page 19
    2: Definition of rape and “being made to penetrate someone else” is on page 17
    3: Page 25
    4:Prisoners in 2009 (Revised)from Bureau of Justice Statistics – Appendix table 16c on page 30.

  94. super tags didn’t work, so any strangely placed 1,2,3 or 4 in the text refers to the footnotes numbered (surprisingly) 1 to 4.

  95. There’s also the fact that in many locations (including, IIRC, the UK) in order for an act to be considered rape, there must not only be penetration but penetration with the perpetrator’s penis.

    Therefore it is a legal impossibility for a woman to be considered a rapist, unless she is somehow assisting a man in the perpetration of rape upon another.

  96. Mass homicide of all male children in the world followed by the mass suicide of all men means the end of humanity. All us men are disposable anyway, right?

  97. There’s a lot wrong with this article and the myth of “male disposability.” The most obvious error with it is the root of most of it – we males created our own “disposability”. We love to create cultures where we’re the heroes, love keeping women out of combat, education, etc. etc. etc. It’s a systematic desire to keep females as children, because “being beaten/saved by a girl” is incredibly embarrassing to an ego-sensitive male. That old relic of the patriarchy is more than visible still in places like India, China, etc. “Disposability” is also context/culturally related – India, again, is where women are the real disposable ones. Women also become disposable in the face of saving children, elderly, frail men, etc. It’s all about matching up against the parent/child trope. And really, in combat now as well, as more women enter the military (the one we tried so hard to keep them out of – remember, it was only this year that women were allowed front line roles in combat in the USA. Oh, and then we start to rape them there as well).

    Anyway, when men are forced to live out their comic-book ideals, it’s suddenly not such a great thing, and they start playing the victim. In other words, we’ve always wanted power, and now, we’re crying about some parts of it.

    And “female rape”? Get real. The FBI, for starters, defines rape as the penetration of a vagina or anus. The only way a woman can “rape” you is with another object, finger, etc. I’m sure that happens allllll the time. It’s the way science defines rape as well – for example, it’s impossible for a female hyena to be raped because of their enlarged clitorus.

    I mean, when you give someone the finger, say “fuck you”, etc., what do you think you’re alluding to? We aren’t making circles with our fingers, or going “oh my god, when I had to stick my dick in her vagina, oh, what a horrible, brutal rape!”

    I know it’s fun to cry on blogs about the delusional world you live in, but it doesn’t matter. You and folks who share your opinions have basically been corralled onto the net, away from reality. GL out there!

  98. @ grey

    Do you want some privacy while you rub one out over your power fantasy there?

  99. “The most obvious error with it is the root of most of it – we males created our own “disposability”.

    So that means it doesn’t exist?

    The most obvious error here is your error of logic.

    “And “female rape”? Get real. The FBI, for starters, defines rape as the penetration of a vagina or anus.”

    Since when do federal law enforcement agencies set law and define legal terms?

    “It’s the way science defines rape as well.”

    Rape is not a scientific term, gray.

    You’re not trying very hard.

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  102. SOme fascinating stuff here, and great fodder for my own arguments elsewhere.

    I do have one issue- the claim that women are by and large equal to doing all the same jobs men have to with (minor)exceptions.
    Thats a disingenuous statement- many jobs require a physiciallity that most women do not naturally have,
    Sure there are some women who have more brawn than normal,, but to hold them up as proof is ridiculous.
    to this VERY day men are still engaging in and being seriously injuredor killed in a multitude of professions women can neither do with any great success, nor do they try to.

    Someone brought up military service. f the argument that men and women can do the job equally was valid- then i hope that claimant would claim that an army composed of men and an army com,posed of women would do all tasks equally well, which we all know is not the case. If it was militaries would not have LOWER standards of physical fitness for women.

    No matter how many teacher, banker and lawyer jobs these misdandrists hold up as proof of equality, there are and always will be a ton more physical jobs that kill men that women can not and will not be able to do with anywhere near the equivalent effect.

    Sure a woman can move a 50lb bag of grain, but not nearly as fast nor as for as long. SO technically she can do the job, but its a moot point in the long run if she only gets half as much done.

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