Roy Baumeister: Wozu sind Männer eigentlich überhaupt noch gut?

Roy Baumeisters Buch „Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men“ (deutsch: „Wozu sind Männer eigentlich überhaupt noch gut?: Wie Kulturen davon profitieren, Männer auszubeuten„) klingt nach einem Buch, welches für Leser dieses Blogs thematisch interessant sein könnte.

Baumeister zu seinem Buch in einem Vortrag:

My purpose in this talk is not to try to balance this out by praising men, though along the way I will have various positive things to say about both genders. The question of whether there’s anything good about men is only my point of departure. The tentative title of the book I’m writing is “How culture exploits men,” but even that for me is the lead-in to grand questions about how culture shapes action. In that context, what’s good about men means what men are good for, from the perspective of the system.

Es geht also nicht um „Männer sind besser“, sondern beide sind gut, werden aber verschieden „verwertet“.

Dazu auch noch das Folgende:

Hence this is not about the “battle of the sexes,” and in fact I think one unfortunate legacy of feminism has been the idea that men and women are basically enemies. I shall suggest, instead, that most often men and women have been partners, supporting each other rather than exploiting or manipulating each other. Nor is this about trying to argue that men should be regarded as victims. I detest the whole idea of competing to be victims. And I’m certainly not denying that culture has exploited women. But rather than seeing culture as patriarchy, which is to say a conspiracy by men to exploit women, I think it’s more accurate to understand culture (e.g., a country, a religion) as an abstract system that competes against rival systems — and that uses both men and women, often in different ways, to advance its cause.

Also keine Opferolympiade, aber eben auch keine einseitige Betrachtung als Patriarchat, sondern ein Verstehen der Zusammenhänge aus denen heraus sich eine bestimmte Kultur durchgesetzt hat.

Zum Einsatz der Männer schreibt er:

Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man.

The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too. Who’s in prison, all over the world, as criminals or political prisoners? The population on Death Row has never approached 51% female. Who’s homeless? Again, mostly men. Whom does society use for bad or dangerous jobs? US Department of Labor statistics report that 93% of the people killed on the job are men. Likewise, who gets killed in battle? Even in today’s American army, which has made much of integrating the sexes and putting women into combat, the risks aren’t equal. This year we passed the milestone of 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and of those, 2,938 were men, 62 were women.

Ein Einwand, der in der Männerbewegung schon lange verwendet wird, beispielsweise von Warren Farrell. Es zeigt eben die andere Seite der Geschlechterverhältnisse, bei der deutlich wird, dass es nicht um eine einseitige, privilegierende Männerbevorzugung geht. Männer tragen eben auch viele der Lasten der Gesellschaft.

Baumeister zum Aufbau des Systems:

Most cultures have tended to use men for these high-risk, high-payoff slots much more than women. I shall propose there are important pragmatic reasons for this. The result is that some men reap big rewards while others have their lives ruined or even cut short. Most cultures shield their women from the risk and therefore also don’t give them the big rewards.

Also erst einmal eine verschiedene Verteilung von Risiken, die auch zu anderen Nutzen führt. Letztendlich ein Tausch/Kompromiss. Zu diesem „Trade/off“ schreibt er weiter:

Tradeoff example: African-Americans suffer from sickle cell anemia more than white people. This appears to be due to a genetic vulnerability. That gene, however, promotes resistance to malaria. Black people evolved in regions where malaria was a major killer, so it was worth having this gene despite the increased risk of sickle cell anemia. White people evolved in colder regions, where there was less malaria, and so the tradeoff was resolved differently, more avoiding the gene that prevented malaria while risking sickle cell anemia.

The tradeoff approach yields a radical theory of gender equality. Men and women may be different, but each advantage may be linked to a disadvantage.

Hence whenever you hear a report that one gender is better at something, stop and consider why this is likely true — and what the opposite trait might be good for.

Da gibt es natürlich viele Beispiele: Männer haben mehr Kraftmuskeln, Frauen haben einen geringeren Energiebedarf, Frauen sind besser in Empathie, Männer weniger empfindlich etc

Ein weiterer Unterschied könnte eine verschiedene Motivation in bestimmten Bereichen sein:

Maybe women can do math and science perfectly well but they just don’t like to. After all, most men don’t like math either! Of the small minority of people who do like math, there are probably more men than women. Research by Eccles has repeatedly concluded that the shortage of females in math and science reflects motivation more than ability. And by the same logic, I suspect most men could learn to change diapers and vacuum under the sofa perfectly well too, and if men don’t do those things, it’s because they don’t want to or don’t like to, not because they are constitutionally unable (much as they may occasionally pretend otherwise!). Several recent works have questioned the whole idea of gender differences in abilities: Even when average differences are found, they tend to be extremely small. In contrast, when you look at what men and women want, what they like, there are genuine differences. Look at research on the sex drive: Men and women may have about equal “ability” in sex, whatever that means, but there are big differences as to motivation: which gender thinks about sex all the time, wants it more often, wants more different partners, risks more for sex, masturbates more, leaps at every opportunity, and so on. Our survey of published research found that pretty much every measure and every study showed higher sex drive in men. It’s official: men are hornier than women. This is a difference in motivation.

Das finde ich ein gutes Beispiel: Theoretisch, den Fähigkeiten nach, könnten Frauen sogar mehr Sex haben als Männer. Aber sie wollen es eben nicht, weil sie eine geringere „Motivation“ in Form eines geringen Sextriebs haben. Wir könnten vielleicht viele Arbeiten anders aufteilen, aber beide Geschlechter haben häufig eine andere Motivationslage, die die bisherige Aufteilung stützt.

Likewise, I mentioned the salary difference, but it may have less to do with ability than motivation. High salaries come from working super-long hours. Workaholics are mostly men. (There are some women, just not as many as men.) One study counted that over 80% of the people who work 50-hour weeks are men. That means that if we want to achieve our ideal of equal salaries for men and women, we may need to legislate the principle of equal pay for less work. Personally, I support that principle. But I recognize it’s a hard sell.

Der Lohnunterschied als reines Motivationsproblem bzw. als Problem verschiedener Interessen war hier auch schon häufiger Thema.

Einen Grund für diese Unterschiede sieht Baumeister in den unterschiedlichen Fortpflanzungsquoten bei Männern und Frauen:

Consider this question: What percent of our ancestors were women? (…) Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men. I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.

Bereits dieser Unterschied bedingt nach Baumeister, dass Männer wesentlich mehr zu den Extremen gelangen:

For men, the outlook was radically different. If you go along with the crowd and play it safe, the odds are you won’t have children. Most men who ever lived did not have descendants who are alive today. Their lines were dead ends. Hence it was necessary to take chances, try new things, be creative, explore other possibilities. Sailing off into the unknown may be risky, and you might drown or be killed or whatever, but then again if you stay home you won’t reproduce anyway. We’re most descended from the type of men who made the risky voyage and managed to come back rich. In that case he would finally get a good chance to pass on his genes. We’re descended from men who took chances (and were lucky).

Männer sind also eher das Produkt von risikobereiten Vorfahren, während Frauen aufgrund ihrer hohen Fortpflanzungsquote weniger das „Ob“ als das „Wie“ im Auge behalten mussten und insoweit weit weniger auf Risikobereitschaft selektiert worden sind.

Bei den Unterscheiden stellt sich Baumeister dann die Frage, ob Frauen sozialer sind als Männer:

The gist of our view was that there are two different ways of being social. In social psychology we tend to emphasize close, intimate relationships, and yes, perhaps women specialize in those and are better at them than men. But one can also look at being social in terms of having larger networks of shallower relationships, and on these, perhaps, men are more social than women. It’s like the common question, what’s more important to you, having a few close friendships or having lots of people who know you? Most people say the former is more important. But the large network of shallow relationships might be important too. We shouldn’t automatically see men as second-class human beings simply because they specialize in the less important, less satisfying kind of relationship. Men are social too — just in a different way.

Auch hier geht es also wieder um Unterschiede, nicht ein besser oder schlechter. Männer haben insofern einfach eine andere Art ein entsprechendes Freundesnetzwerk aufzubauen als Frauen.

Er erläutert die Unterschiede auch an dem Beispiel der Fairness:

Fairness is another example. Research by Major and others back in the 1970s used procedures like this. A group of subjects would perform a task, and the experimenter would then say that the group had earned a certain amount of money, and it was up to one member to divide it up however he or she wanted. The person could keep all the money, but that wasn’t usually what happened. Women would divide the money equally, with an equal share for everybody. Men, in contrast, would divide it unequally, giving the biggest share of reward to whoever had done the most work. Which is better? Neither. Both equality and equity are valid versions of fairness. But they show the different social sphere orientation. Equality is better for close relationships, when people take care of each other and reciprocate things and divide resources and opportunities equally. In contrast, equity — giving bigger rewards for bigger contributions — is more effective in large groups. I haven’t actually checked, but I’m willing to bet that if you surveyed the Fortune 500 large and successful corporations in America, you wouldn’t find a single one out of 500 that pays every employee the same salary. The more valuable workers who contribute more generally get paid more. It simply is a more effective system in large groups. The male pattern is suited for the large groups, the female pattern is best suited to intimate pairs.

Dazu, warum gerade Männer auf das Leben in der großen Gruppe ausgelegt sind, habe ich schon hier was geschrieben.

Aus diesem Gruppengefüge soll dann auch die Kultur entstanden sein. Baumeister zu der feministischen Begründung dazu:

Gender inequality seems to have increased with early civilization, including agriculture. Why? The feminist explanation has been that the men banded together to create patriarchy. This is essentially a conspiracy theory, and there is little or no evidence that it is true. Some argue that the men erased it from the history books in order to safeguard their newly won power. Still, the lack of evidence should be worrisome, especially since this same kind of conspiracy would have had to happen over and over, in group after group, all over the world.

In der Tat: Die Patriarchatstheorien sind Verschwörungstheorien, für die es keine Beweise gibt und gegen die sehr viel spricht. Eine Erklärung, wie sich trotz der Gleichheit immer wieder die  Männer durchsetzen konnten, kenne ich nicht.

Baumeisters eigene Erklärung sieht Kultur als direkte Folge der männlichen Gruppentheorien:

Let me offer a different explanation. It’s not that the men pushed the women down. Rather, it’s just that the women’s sphere remained about where it was, while the men’s sphere, with its big and shallow social networks, slowly benefited from the progress of culture. By accumulating knowledge and improving the gains from division of labor, the men’s sphere gradually made progress. Hence religion, literature, art, science, technology, military action, trade and economic marketplaces, political organization, medicine — these all mainly emerged from the men’s sphere. The women’s sphere did not produce such things, though it did other valuable things, like take care of the next generation so the species would continue to exist. Why? It has nothing to do with men having better abilities or talents or anything like that. It comes mainly from the different kinds of social relationships. The women’s sphere consisted of women and therefore was organized on the basis of the kind of close, intimate, supportive one-on-one relationships that women favor. These are vital, satisfying relationships that contribute vitally to health and survival. Meanwhile the men favored the larger networks of shallower relationships. These are less satisfying and nurturing and so forth, but they do form a more fertile basis for the emergence of culture.

Eine Entwicklung der Kultur und der größeren Gemeinschaften aus dem lockeren Verbund der Männer erscheint mir durchaus logisch und würde auch erklären, warum Matriarchate eher kleine Volksstämme sind und selten große Reiche.

Baumeister führt dazu weiter aus:

Thus, the reason for the emergence of gender inequality may have little to do with men pushing women down in some dubious patriarchal conspiracy. Rather, it came from the fact that wealth, knowledge, and power were created in the men’s sphere. This is what pushed the men’s sphere ahead. Not oppression.

Da könnte man natürlich einwenden, dass sie zwar dort kreiert worden sein mögen, sie nun mehr aber gleich zu verteilen sind. Allerdings hat dies eben auch biologische Folgen, wenn ein Umstand über einen evolutionär interessanten Zeitraum einem bestimmten Geschlecht zugeordnet ist, was eben wieder zu den verschiedenen Fähigkeiten und Motivation passt.

Baumeister führt dann an, wozu Männer in Kulturen gut sind:

  • First, culture relies on men to create the large social structures that comprise it. Our society is made up of institutions such as universities, governments, corporations. Most of these were founded and built up by men. Again, this probably had less to do with women being oppressed or whatever and more to do with men being motivated to form large networks of shallow relationships. Men are much more interested than women in forming large groups and working in them and rising to the top in them.
  • The second thing that makes men useful to culture is what I call male expendability. This goes back to what I said at the outset, that cultures tend to use men for the high-risk, high-payoff undertakings, where a significant portion of those will suffer bad outcomes ranging from having their time wasted, all the way to being killed. (…) Thus, men create the kind of social networks where individuals are replaceable and expendable. Women favor the kind of relationships in which each person is precious and cannot truly be replaced.
  • The phrase “Be a man” is not as common as it once was, but there is still some sense that manhood must be earned. Every adult female is a woman and is entitled to respect as such, but many cultures withhold respect from the males until and unless the lads prove themselves. This is of course tremendously useful for the culture, because it can set the terms by which males earn respect as men, and in that way it can motivate the men to do things that the culture finds productive

Klinkt etwas nach „Das Patriarchat ist an allem schuld“ aber anders als dort ist die Kultur nicht der Hauptwiderspruch, dessen wegfallen das irdische Paradies ausbrechen lassen würde, sonder ohne diese Form der Ausbeutung des Mannes wären die anderen Vorteile, die dieses System mit sich bringt, nicht mehr nutzbar.