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Men respond to incentives for sex. If a lower-middle class man can 1) get sex without holding a good job, 2) can substitute with pornography, 3) knows that a little more income doesn't lead to more/better sex (due to higher levels of female obesity / incomes), and 4) has a lower sex drive due to bad health, then one of men's primary motivations (sex), no longer motivates men to work hard.

Women are more adaptable, my ass. This is the stuff that gives social science a bad name.

Some of what you mentioned is a factor, but I think it's rich that a Roissy-ite would criticize someone else's social science.

Point taken, but it's a standard economic approach to look at incentives people face before attributing behavior to immutable capabilities.

Yes, motivation is a factor, but so is the idea that woman are more empathetic, are better at multitasking and are less constrained by the need for "masculine" work.

The world is complicated and truth is infinite.

Apparently, an explanation that includes men's *primary* motivation -- sex -- is too nuanced and complicated for Hanna Rosin or David Brooks. The problem is not that I lack a nuanced view that encompasses many secondary and tertiary causes; the problem is their view doesn't encompass primary causes.

Both Brooks and Rosin seem to be having trouble "adapting" to the age of Occupy Wall Street, where all unequal results are self-evidently due to unequal opportunity and unequal rules. Brooks does deserve credit for highlighting the many examples of the growing inequality between women, a.k.a., the "51-percent", and men, the 49-percent. However, he seems to blame the 49-percent themselves for the unequal distribution of D's and F's rather than recognizing that unequal distribution implies unfair grading. He even uses the phrase, "Boys *earn* three-quarters of the D's and F's," as if grades are determined by student achievement rather than passively received based on some statistically unequal distribution.

The growing inequality between the 51-percent and the 49-percent is clearly due to the fact that the 51-percent have access to better roads and bridges that allow them to get to their schools and jobs. I'm always struck by how many people think, "Well, it must be because I'm so adaptable and emotionally sensitive." There are a whole lot of adaptable, emotionally sensitive people out there. If you were able to "sit still and focus attention in school at an early age", you didn't do that; someone else made that happen.

mood affiliation butthurt?

btw, brooks is wrong. as john stated, men *are* adapting to the new reality. when women start becoming economically self-sufficient and thus price out larger swaths of lower or equal earning men, men respond by competing for their attention by emphasizing different traits where they still can exert a higher value signal that appeals to women's hypergamy. charisma, for example, is one such alternative trait that women are drawn to in men.

also, the female obesity epidemic is doubtless skewing the mating market against men's interests (and ultimately against women's interests). more fat undesirable (but i repeat myself) women means more men turning away from providing for women in favor of pump and dumps and porn. ya know, incentives matters. and men aren't very incentivized to provide, materially or emotionally, for unattractive, self-sufficient women.

it would also be remiss of me to forget to mention that mass migration of tens of millions of lower iq lower skilled peasants to gut the wages and the spirit of working class american men has not exactly assisted their ability to attract women the traditional, civilization-building way. but hey, to the libertardian, that's just collateral damage in the great free labor dream of eradicating national borders.

FWIW, this blog is now the first non-video hit from google for "female obesity epidemic."

Yeah, totally! It's definitely not reducing an entire sex to a parody of a redditor that's ruining social sciences! Also, love that jab at women, you snuck in there! The reason we're lazy is because we don't want our sex kittens to get fat. Truer words were never spoken, friend. You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.

one can always tell when a dark truth has pierced the soft, chewy center of a deluded soul.

One can always tell when a MR post is going to call forth the hilarious, capital-letter-free ravings of 'lords of lies'.

works on you.

When you drop in to the market to stock up on Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets, does the clerk hear ominous theme music? With a name like 'lords of lies' you just gotta get some.

Feminists often respond to men like Lords of Lies by resorting to personal abuse and assaults upon their manhood. The ultimate in feminist retorts is to claim such men simply cannot get laid.

The silent implication is that feminists often judge men by criteria such as overt masculinity and number of sexual conquests.

Or alternatively, everyone can have a laugh teasing men like that for being lonely internet nerds, because that's what they most often are. When they fight back it's even more fun.

And why are you capitalizing lol's name? Apparently capital letters are a feminazi plot.

And when did I insult lol's manhood or his sexual history? I just think with that name he needs a cool, manly piece of theme music. Like Darth Vader.

I'm sure lol gets laid a ton, with his deep insight into the ladies.

here's one for mr. lies (and his funny blog): "I'm Sexy and I Know It?"

Personally I like my souls with just a but of crunch to them.

Here's an article by Ms. Rosin that makes the adaptability argument more obviously:

Though there's also a great line about the young men in the town: " — hanging out in the parking lot, doing God knows what, or going home and playing video games instead of bothering to apply for college. " That seems to point less towards not being adaptable and more to being bums.

They're being bums because they look around and see that being a respectable guy who works holds a decent job and treats women chivalrously like their dad's taught them to don't attract young women like they used to. Why would it, when women don't need a man's financial support anymore? Or when promiscuity is no longer frowned upon? At best they attract over-the-hill 30-somethings who've literally had their fill of players for 15 years. The bums are being rational actors. Change the incentives.

Clearly it is due to a secular fall in the returns to throwing.

Never trust a robot.

And that Brooks column just seems so speculative. They are nowhere near a satisfying explanation. Let me throw out my own thought- men are inherently bigger risk-takers and want to "go big or go home". If they can't make a lot of money, they are content to go to the other end of the spectrum and survive comfortably on a low level of government handouts or whatever. Women are afraid to do this and want the security of a job even if it's not glamorous.

Nice, a reasonable, intelligent criticism with a thoughtful alternative explanation rather than:


These comments are a mine field. I had no idea MR readership harbored such hatred for women. The Brooks column was pretty hollow, but goodness it clearly struck a nerve here.

Patitio, nothing new here. I almost threw up the first time I read the comments on a post which were way more wooly than this one. I still don't understand why it's here among libertarian types (and associates). It seems like if you celebrate the market you should celebrate whoever comes out on top. Your not supposed to rig the ever changing market so you and yours always win. Otherwise pick a different ideology. But whatever. I don't think it's hatred for women, but hatred for men failing.


It's selection bias. The people most interested in these types of posts and most likely to comment are the Roissy-ites.

Cliff, that explains the 'special guests' on posts like this but not the supporting cast that's always around here. Plus there's not much resistance. If some rabid pro-government types flew in, they would be swatted down more forcefully I suspect. It doesn't bother me much anymore, just puzzling.

I don't get the sense that a large number of commenters hate women. Anyway, if someone is pro government you can argue about that. It's hard to argue about half-baked social theories.

Always interesting to see the auto-response from the PC crowd, this time accusing commenters who describe men as highly sexually motivated and increasingly lazy of being driven by... a hatred of women.

Women are probably more psychologically flexible and adaptable (hence Stockholm Syndrome being a more female phenomenon), but male apathy to wealth accumulation due to widespread pornography and perceived female promiscuity is much more plausible and encompassing as an explanation for putative male underachievement.

Nice try, Miley. First, why oh why would anyone mistake the arguments here for hatred of women? Go up in mr. lies comments there's a whole lot of objectification and verbal degradation of women going on. When I see someone talking about another person in a sub-human way, I do not infer warm fuzzies. Not being PC (he can say it) but I have every right to draw my own inferences. But I am still having trouble with the theory here. Men are so unidimensional that the only way they can adapt to a changing economic landscape is by watching more porn? I don't want to make light of the economic challenges faced by anyone, but the way your case gets presented it's hard to take seriously.

Clauds, where's your concern over the lack of warm fuzzies in characterizing men as lazy and one-dimensional?

"Men are so unidimensional that the only way they can adapt to a changing economic landscape is by watching more porn? I don’t want to make light of the economic challenges faced by anyone, but the way your case gets presented it’s hard to take seriously."

That's because your understanding is flawed and you have cause and effect confused. The hypothesis is that the labor market landscape has changed in large part because men have easier sexual outlets (porn, perceived increased female promiscuity) and because women have grown as income-earners, thus curbing male incentives to accumulate wealth in an effort to impress women.

Sex-biased immigration's effect on lower-skilled labor likely also plays a role.

Miley, to be clear I was only trying to summarize your theory. I do not think men (or women) in general are lazy and one dimensional. That's partly why I have such a negative reaction to your theories (and their presentation). People have more incentives to work and accumulate wealth than to impresses people. Sure it's one reason, but there many more.

No, to be clearer I was asking why you aren't concerned with other commenters lack of "warm fuzzies" toward men in them characterizing men as lazy and one-dimensional, and are instead pre-occupied with "misogyny!" histrionics.

"People have more incentives to work and accumulate wealth than to impresses people. Sure it’s one reason, but there many more."

Impressing people is a huge motivator. Especially for men when sex is on the line, but it goes for all aspects of life. To get promoted it isn't necessarily how much PnL you add to the firm but how much you impress your boss and their bosses. To get more playing time it isn't how efficient of a basketball player you are, but how much you impress your coach, etc. etc.

Miley, I am as concerned about men being characterized as lazy and one dimensional, as women being reduced to sex objects. Your (and the PUAs above) arguments bother me because they de-humanize everyone. And I mean de-humanize in the sense that they strip away all the characteristics that separate people from other animals. Sure those basic needs are there, but I disagree that they the most important factors in our economic behavior. The need to impress may be strong, but I'm not feeling it here.

dichotomy fallacy.

This kind of "argument" doesn't work anymore.

You can't insist that women can fulfill men's traditional roles - nay outperform in them - and then turn around and condemn men for being insufficiently masculine.

If women want to replace men by putting career first, by having many lifetime sexual partners, or by failing to maintain a feminine appearance or demeanor, fine. Men will shrug when people like you squeal to "man up" or otherwise just insanely yell at them in all capital letters. Why? Because the incentives are more powerful than your invective.

What are you responding to exactly?

Gender roles are not static, so changing trends in female behavior don't imply "replacement of men" -- men can theoretically adopt new roles just as easily as women. It's a man's own fault if he cannot (or chooses not to) adapt to changing gender mores, including new means of attracting a mate. I do sympathize -- some men definitely grew up thinking they knew "the rules" for interacting with the opposite sex and it turns out the ground has shifted under them. Still, blaming women as a class for a sociological phenomenon like a change in gender roles is silly and pathetic.

Agreed. The proliferation of "victim's studies" majors on campus is a ridiculous, stupid dead end.

But even these pale in comparison to men embracing victimology.

What's the expression? Sack up?

Ummm, is what we have a market (esp. in education)? Because I spend all my hours thinking of ways that it isn't. Certainly when white men were winning it wasn't acceptable. What changed?

Here is James Fallows' classic 1996 Atlantic piece on "Throwing Like a Girl."

Re: #4

I'm worried about the growing "Satire Gap" with Red China. What will we as a nation have left if China surpasses us in parody? First iron and now irony? What's next, bridges to nowhere all over the Middle Kingdom.....oh wait.

Surpassing the US in irony is no big accomplishment.

Sometimes when you have an older sibling that is way better you give up on competing and look for a different area to excel in. U.K. had irony nailed down centuries ago so the U.S went for crass and blunt.

I think we're safe for a while. English as a language is more suited to subtle humor than most.

2. "In elementary and high school, male academic performance is lagging. Boys earn three-quarters of the D’s and F’s."

"This theory has less to do with innate traits and more to do with social position. When there’s big social change, the people who were on the top of the old order are bound to cling to the old ways. The people who were on the bottom are bound to experience a burst of energy. They’re going to explore their new surroundings more enthusiastically."

Yes, yes, that explains it. Nine-year-old boys are clinging to their old ways, because they remember being on top of the old order.

"The usual story is that men are exploiting the new campus hookup culture in order to get plenty of sex without romantic commitments. Rosin argues that, in fact, women support the hookup culture. It allows them to have sex and fun without any time-consuming distractions from their careers. "

Rosin is the one reporting the "usual story".

At medium to large companies, all hiring is done through the "HR department" which means that the first human being who reads applications is usually a woman. Small companies are being regulated to death so they aren't hiring. Same regulations mean that starting your own business is basically out of the question unless you have access to "historically disadvantaged" loans or a lot of family money.

Starting your own business can also be achieved if you "forget" to actually abide by all those rules and regulations. And you "forget" to actually tell the government what you are doing so they will never find out about it. And your customers will keep their mouths shut because you "forget" to charge sales tax.

Of course, in that case, you probably "forget" to provide your income to the government too, in which case the statistics never show you succeeding at all.

"This explanation, while not explicitly provable, would make evolutionary sense. 'Men threw rocks, and, if you could throw well, you got the women.”'

My nominee for worst sociobiological explanation ever, even if you augment it with the a story about the rock bringing down a wooly mammoth and everybody eating for a year.

Rock-throwing prowess certainly doesn't enthrall the ladies now, and I'm willing to bet it never did. but maybe I just travel in the wrong circles.

You just travel in the wrong circles.

"Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting, and Vice Versa"

You clearly don't pay attention to American sports stars.

Not one of whom throws rocks professionally.

A baseball is pretty damn close, for one.

But chicks dig the long ball

If women are adaptable how come I got my coworker got a call from one that was crying because she was stuck in traffic.

Doesn't sound to adaptable.

So let's see, she had a minor problem, and he had to deal with it.
Seems like she came out ahead on the deal to me.

Ahhaahahah seriously asdf it's like when I read this cheerleading bullshit from "men" like Brooks I have to wonder: do they live on the same planet? Or do they not notice because they, too, help themselves to a nice power cry on the way into work?

I suspect the homework Armageddon now taking place in our elementary schools is the chief reason young boys are falling behind young girls. Young boys have better things to do than homework.

We have sentences creeping into our lexicon like "kindergarten red-shirting is a problem."

It's probably a testable hypothesis to determine if some personality types have trouble staying inside the box when you start shrinking the size of the box.

And again, is the purpose of our education system to exclude or include? If the purpose is to exclude, then by all means carry on.

figure out how to make throwing pay, and we can kill two birds with one stone here.

OK... now I have the evolutionary explanation for rock-throwing-- the men who could throw rocks chose not to live in glass houses. Women abhor glass houses, so the non-rock throwing men failed to reproduce in sufficient numbers. This also explains why there are so few glass houses around today. since only non-rock throwing men (singly or in pairs) want to live in them.

Pay them for killing the birds with stone throws?

hey, chill out. Rosin is reporting from "working-class Alabama". Probablye, the premise can be criticized cause of "mood affiliation". But, if the premise explains what is happening in that small region. What's the problem?

Problems start with simplistic generalizations. like " Men respond to incentives for sex". Rosin is not writting about you office enviroment, OK? Simplifications do NOT acknowledge the situation complexity. Occam's Razor is not always the best way.

Allow me to expand my generalization even further, transcending contextual complexity and simplifying it to one of the purest and most timeless truths of economics:

"Incentives matter."

"Rosin is reporting from “working-class Alabama”"

That's what she wrote, but that's not necessarily the truth. She's reporting from Auburn-Opelika. You'll note the first city in that list is Auburn. As in Auburn University, which between students, faculty, staff and supporting infrastructure accounts for a very high percentage of the population of both Auburn and Opelika. You could maybe get away with calling the eastern side of Opelika (Auburn's on the west side) as working class, but to classify both together as “working-class Alabama” is similar to classifying New York-Jersey City as "suburban New England".

Policy is made at the top, scumbags like Bennett destroy the country and society with policies like open borders and "free trade" and then turn around and try to guilt their victims into taking blame for his ilk's handiwork. He's too gutless to take on the Liberal establishment, too gutless to vigorously oppose their nutty social beliefs, that might impact his earning potential, so he rags on the powerless instead. As if them "manning up" would somehow counter the treason of the Revolting Elites and their willing accomplices. What's really idiotic is that the fans of people like Bennett take it instead of shouting them down as the sell-outs, phonies and failures they are.

In any competition of obedience, women will generally outperform men. Liberal culture is a test of obedience and submission, where children are taught what they are not allowed to talk about ... what modes of thinking will get them in trouble. And based on voting patterns, women are much more liberal than men.

Example from throwing gap article of the liberal standard: author writes that aboriginal females may throw more like their males because they "grow up in a culture where both men and women hunt, and both sexes throw from childhood" without mentioning that this may be an evolved similarity. Liberals teach us that it's impolite (a fireable offense) to posit evolved differences between different races of people.

From the first moments in school and continuing through employment, people are constrained by liberal speech codes, and males find it harder to quietly obey than females do. Larry Summers was fired from Harvard for illegal speculation. Faced with this kind of example, almost any smart woman will bow her head to PC. Too many men will unwisely struggle or become discouraged by the nonsense and check out of the competition to submit.

American economy fares poorer than Chinese economy in depression, proof that American economy is less innovative than Chinese economy.

I have no idea how that is considered "reason," but apparently it's reasonable enough for NYTimes op-eds if the topic is gender relations. Seems like motivation to establish a gender-superiority narrative.

Sounds like Hanna Rosin is making a virtue out of necessity. Check out her "image".

2. For whatever reason, there has been a huge decline in the nuclear family among members of the working class and a big decline in parental involvement in children's lives as well. This has been going on for more than a generation, so for someone in their twenties, like myself, it is the only world I have ever known. While both working class boys and girls are growing up with absent fathers, the impact upon boys seems to be much larger than it is upon girls. I couldn't tell you why, but I suspect that no matter what got the ball rolling(maybe the huge spike in imprisonment in the past few decades?), it is the lack of paternal involvement that is now the driving force in this trend. Why people discuss this as if it is impacting all men and women when there is such a strong class component makes no sense to me.

Perverse incentives from welfare, reduced wages and increased living costs from immigration.

There are a lot of policies that seem like great ideas to bourgeois and elite whites who post on economics blogs but don't work out so well for the left half of the bell curve. Charles Murray and a lot of others are documenting it, on the naive hope that this isn't all deliberate.

Outside the normal distribution for their group, women "succeed" in jobs that wouldn't exist but for government externalities and rent-seeking. Put them in the same jobs men have been toiling at for decades and they complain about how discriminatory it all is. Do women really think all men get "careers?"

Whenever I played in these econ experiments, I always used lies and deceit in order to maximize my revenues. A lot of this stems from there being no repeat interaction. But even more stems from the lack of analogy to real life. It is merely a game in which the meta-goal is to earn as much revenue as possible. It just so happens that the game includes manipulating variables that are dynamic and controlled by other people. It's tough to know a pattern of behavior without, ultimately, polluting the environment with that knowledge.

What really strikes me about the gender role/PUA-related threads on this blog is the unwillingness of men to embrace hypogamy. Men should view this as a huge weight off their shoulders -- no longer are they condemned to the wealth accumulation rat race in order to find a partner. It's much easier now for a man to substitute towards leisure (including work that is non-remunerative but pleasant) rather than the less pleasant kinds of work that bring in lots of money (remember to add in here little miseries like long hours, commute, etc.). This is great news! Charm, intellect, and humor are much easier and, frankly, more fun criteria to meet than a well-paying job.

It'd be interesting to have the conversation about whether the end of hypergamy is bad for lower-class men, but I don't see that as the most salient issue for most of the readers of this blog.

Women abhor is glass houses, so the non-rock throwing men failed to reproduce in sufficient numbers.

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