Why are so few women 'realists'?
0 comment Friday, October 24, 2014 |
The question came up recently in a discussion here as to why there are not more women who are 'race realists'. I think this is a valid question because I think it's true that women tend to be more liberal than men and on questions involving race, ethnicity, and other such touchy matters, women tend to be very liberal and less territorial than men.
But I think the question is really part of the larger issue of why women are more liberal in all respects than men. I speak in a general sense; women just tend to be more liberal, more softhearted, more 'feeling' in their approach, and more prone to sympathize and empathize, and to be 'inclusive' in the best liberal tradition.
Most women will readily concede this fact. Now, I recognize this isn't true of all women, and that there are exceptions. Obviously I'm not typical of women in that respect, and the women who read and post here are also atypical to some degree.
This piece from a dozen years ago discusses the 'gender gap in politics', and the voting patterns of women. I think it's still valid:
STANFORD -- The gender gap in politics, which pollsters expect to be especially large in next week's presidential election, can be attributed to a different stance between men and women toward social equality, says Felicia Pratto, a psychologist who studies political attitudes.
This difference does not consistently show up as a Republican-Democrat or liberal-conservative split, she says. Women voters in this country and elsewhere have been both more conservative and more liberal than male voters in the past, depending upon what the issues of the day were.
"When we ask people in polls to self-identify themselves as liberals or conservatives, we are saying we know what the meaning of those labels are, but I think we are deceived," Pratto says. "That's why it is useful to try to explain differences more explicitly and on a somewhat deeper level."
Gender differences or gaps in those political attitudes also can be explained largely by a tendency among men to want to enhance social hierarchy and a tendency among women to want to attenuate it.
Pratto and her UCLA-based colleague Jim Sidanius and their graduate students consistently find that men are more supportive than women of what Pratto calls "hierarchy enhancing" social policies, such as arresting the homeless for sleeping in public places or increasing military spending. Men are also more likely to endorse ideologies that state or at least imply that certain kinds of people are not as good as others � displaying class, ethnic, national or sexual prejudices, according to their studies.''
Interestingly, researchers who have attributed women's support of social welfare programs to self-interest have not made the same accusation about men's greater support of military and defense programs," she says.
"Self-interest doesn't explain, for example, why white women are more concerned about racial equality than white men are, and it doesn't explain why women are less opposed to immigration or gay and lesbian rights than men."
[Emphasis mine]
I have noticed this tendency of women to be more liberal on issues like racial equality and immigration, as well as on homosexuality, than men. In conversations I've noticed, too, that even women who can sound very tough and very conservative on issues like illegal immigration might, a short while later, say something very liberal on these issues. I've learned via experience that a woman might sound very conservative one moment and yet the next moment be lamenting 'racism' or 'hate', talking about how horrible we have been to minorities. I have met more than my share of women who are self-contradictory on these issues. I've learned that I have to tread very carefully with the truth when I am talking to such women. I can truly say that it's no wonder that men have tended to accuse women of being inconsistent or illogical; some women seem to waver considerably depending on the circumstances.
I know plenty of Christian women who hold very liberal positions on homosexuality, and who think that it's hateful to call homosexuality a sin. The best I can manage in trying to understand this is to say that it seems that women place a very high premium on being empathetic, and they empathize with the poor homosexuals and believe they are entitled to our compassion and understanding. Similarly with immigrants and ''others'' in general; they tend to feel sorry for the illegals and immigrants generally, and they are quick to believe all the sob stories about the travails and the persecutions of the illegals.
Some women may say something very negative about illegal immigrants, for example, and then a moment later, perhaps thinking better of what they said, will tut-tut about 'hate' towards immigrants, and say that we mustn't give in to 'hate.'
I find such a conversation a hard one to navigate. What does one say in response to that? What can we say that will not sound like a defense of ''hate'' or ''racism''? Nobody wants to defend either of those things.
I would like to find a way to get across to people that it isn't about ''hate'' but about a zeal for defending what is ours: our people, our kin, our neighbors, our homes, our way of life, our heritage. It's about loving and protecting and preserving all those things. It's about wanting the best we can provide for our own, and sometimes, like it or not, that has to come at the expense of others, others who are trying to wrest away what we are trying to hold on to. We can't all have what we want. Sometimes, it is a zero-sum game. It isn't about hate or ''racism''; it's about justice and about boundaries and about protecting and defending and preserving. Ultimately it's about love, love for those nearest to us, and about placing them in the favored position. Maybe most women don't have these protective instincts in the same way that men tend to, or perhaps women tend to want to nurture and help everybody indiscriminately. And it's true, conversely, that there are far too many effeminate men these days who are like the women in that respect. The blurring of gender roles affects all of us.
And yet there are women who think as I do, and who are more hard-line, women who ''get it.'' However I think they are rather few and far between; many women vacillate between defending their own and empathizing with the 'stranger' and the perceived underdog. But what makes some women less prone to that? Maybe I and women like me are some kind of aberration, but then I know there were many more women like me in past centuries. Plenty of colonist and settler women had to be strong, and had to even take up arms to defend the homestead if danger threatened when the menfolk were away. Had women of the past been as wimpy and as promiscuous in their empathy as many of today's women, we simply would not be here today. Women once had more of that 'territorial' instinct that is getting rarer these days among both sexes, it seems.
Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but I keep looking for signs that things are turning around, and that the old 'tribalism' which enabled us to survive and prevail in the past is resurgent. We have to hope that it is.

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