Taking Sex Differences Seriously – Chapter 3

February 13, 2013 | NeW

Chapter 3 was a very direct chapter for this week. Entitled “Sex”, it explained how the male and female brains work in regards to finding and keeping a mate. In the media, we always hear about how men have this drive that they can’t control and women are pushed to take birth control so that they can keep up and not have to worry about pregnancy, just like men. From earlier chapters, we have heard the idea over and over again, that according to feminists, the ability to have children is the one thing that will always separate men and women from being the same. But as we learn in this chapter, there are a lot of differences just to the idea of sex, and I’d like to bring up the question, what is wrong with being different anyway? As I read this week, I tried to keep in mind my own conservative views on the topic, as well as the information I’ve heard on this topic from other books within NeW, like The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism. What were your reactions from the chapter? Was it hard for you to read parts of it? Did you learn anything new? Here were some interesting points from studies discussed in this chapter that I picked up from the text this week: (Please note, they are studies and not necessarily fact.)

When seeking a long-term mate, both men and women look for considerate, honest, interesting and loyal partners; but women care more about a mate’s status and resources, men about a mate’s youth and beauty. (Page 46) In and out of marriage, women say they engage in sex to share emotions and love. Men give reasons that are narrowly physical, such as need, sexual gratification and sexual release. (Pages 49-50)In 1939, U.S. men ranked physical attractiveness 14th out of 18 desirable mate characteristics; in 1996, they ranked it 8th. In 1939, women ranked attractiveness 17th out of 18; in 1996, they ranked it 13th. (Page 54)

Men think women are most beautiful when their estrogen levels are highest-at about the age twenty-two. (Page 58) Men who are in an exclusive dating relationship rate “babes” as less attractive than do uncommitted men; they also pay less attention to photos of the “babes” than do the uncommitted men. As psychologist R.S. Miller puts it, “Even if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, happy gardeners will be less likely to notice!” (Page 60) Every woman finds herself, without her consent, entered into a beauty contest with every other woman.(Page 60) An increase in male income increases the likelihood of marriage for cohabiting couples and decreases the likelihood of divorce for married couples. In contrast, couples with ambitious wives or wives with increasing income are more likely to divorce. (Page 61) Women are three times more likely than men to say they want “someone to look up to.” They want to look up physically as well as intellectually. Men prefer a woman shorter than they are, and a woman a man who is taller. But on average men prefer her to be 4.5 inches shorter, while women want him a full 6 inches taller. (Page 67)

As we’ve progressed throughout this book, we have been referred back to the male mind and the female mind from the prehistoric times. Males were focused on creating a legacy and females were focused on caring for the children and her mate. Do you think that this mindset is still with us today? Are women and men thinking of survival when trying to find and keep a mate? Or are they thinking of something else? Are we focused on finding a soul mate, or just someone to fill a need? Looking forward to reading and discussing Chapter 4 with Marian next week, Fatherless Families!

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