The Good Man's Chivalry Dilemmaby Bob Hurt, 30 May 2016
Women. Charles Krauthammer in 1998 raised the thorny matter of feminism killing chivalry. See his article below. He makes the point that "women and children" going to the lifeboats first makes no sense in modern times where feminists demand that women stand equal to men. That they go with the children to the lifeboats equates them to children, needing man's protection. It definitely does not make them man's equal, and it raises the question of why men should not go first with the children to the lifeboats, since men can certainly care for children as well as can women, particularly since most women don't breastfeed their babies at all, if for long.
Now, to cement woman's equality with man, women serve on the Supreme Court, in Congress, serve on the front line of military conflicts, pilot combat craft of various kinds, and now even command the entire army of the Western USA and campaign to become President. So, why shouldn't man's chivalry, protection of women as weaker and putatively inferior, go ahead and die a long overdue death?
I can think of one reason. Women generally do not have the brute strength of men, and in physical combat, they will generally lose to men unless they distract the men with an offer of sex.
And there we have the linchpin of the argument against Krauthammer's pesky question. Humans have lived on the planet for the past million years. Today we see women in commercials and in public flaunting their physical presence with lipstick, pantyhose, high heels, glittering jewelry, provocative clothing, sassy hair styles, cute ways of walking, twerking, etc., ALL calculated to lure men into accepting their sexual pleasures. Never mind that the law gives women a pass for becoming so irresistible to men of excessive testosterone who sexually molest women, even those who claim they don't want that kind of attention.
Men can always argue that if women didn't want that attention, they shouldn't dress and act so sexy. Women honestly sometimes admit that they want the attention, but only from the men they wish to target. And some will confess that they dress provocatively in order to weaken men against whom they compete or whose approval they seek, such as in job applications.
I personally believe that for most of the past million years women have traded sexual favors to men for security. Yes, in a manner of speaking, that quest gave birth to the world's oldest profession. And as a consequence, humankind has through selective breeding produced the kind of men today who respond reliably to women's sexual provocation, and women who cannot resist behaving sexually provocatively. Those who don't provoke or respond adequately get bred out of the population because members of the opposite sex generally don't want them.
In other words, ancient humans selectively mated such that modern day women have diminutive size compared to men and tend toward that ancient willingness to trade sexual favors for security. That explains their overtly sexually appealing or enticing manner of dress, makeup, and comportment. They just cannot help it, and men just cannot help feeling attracted to them because of it.
That also drives men impulsively to want to defend and protect women. And it makes men annoyed and frustrated for women to spurn such efforts. That explains why men have loathed, or not responded well to, feminism that seeks to insist that men and women are equal.
I submit that the brains of men and women function differently from one another as a result of that selective breeding over the past million years. Demonstrably, men have a better grasp of spatial relationships, have better single-minded focus on the task at hand, and do math measurably better than women. Furthermore, women seem to excel at nurturing roles, have better tolerance to pain, and multitask better than men. Men also have larger brains than women.
But I make this main conjecture in raising this issue: all self-respecting men worth their salt will, for the foreseeable future, feel chivalrous toward women, and intuitively want women to get into the lifeboat first. Our ancestors have bred us men that way. That explains why the feminist agenda causes us men such psychic agony, and why most self-respecting women reject the feminist agenda as well. It goes against our in-bred nature.
Generally neither men nor women want to get rid of chivalry. Bottom line, humans have customized their female descendants to swap sexual favors to men for security. I believe we humans shall continue that tradition apace for millennia to come.
Thank you, Ladies. How can I ever adequately express my gratitude to you?
"WOMEN ANDCHILDREN." STILL?
by Charles Krauthammer (below article excerpted from Things That Matter,Chapter 2).
You're on the Titanic II. It has just hit an iceberg and is sinking. And, as last time, there are not enough lifeboats. The captain shouts, "Women and children first!" But this time, another voice is heard: "Why women?"
Why, indeed? Part of the charm of the cosmically successful movie Titanic is the period costume, period extravagance, period class prejudice. An audience can enjoy these at a distance. Oddly, however, of all the period mores in the film, the old maritime tradition of "women and children first" enjoys total acceptance by modern audiences. Listen to the booing and hissing at the on-screen heavies who try to sneak on with—or ahead of—the ladies.
But is not grouping women with children a raging anachronism? Should not any self-respecting modern person, let alone feminist, object to it as patronizing and demeaning to women? Yet its usage is as common today as it was in 1912. Consider these examples taken almost at random from recent newspapers:
Dateline Mexico:"Members of a paramilitary group gunned down the Indians, most of them women and children."
Dateline Burundi: "As many as 200 civilians, most of them women and children, were killed."
Dateline Croatia:"Kupreskic was named in an open indictment … for the massacre in Ahmici in which 103 Muslims, including 33 women and children, were killed."
At a time when women fly combat aircraft, how can one not wince when adult women are routinely classed with children? In Ahmici, it seems, 70 adult men were killed. Adult women? Not clear. When things get serious, when blood starts to flow or ships start to sink, you'll find them with the children.
Now, children are entitled to special consideration for two reasons: helplessness and innocence. They have not yet acquired either the faculty of reason or the wisdom of experience. Consequently, they are defenseless (incapable of fending for themselves) and blameless (incapable of real sin).
That is why we grant them special protection. In an emergency, it is our duty to save them first because they, helpless, have put their lives in our hands. And in wartime, they are supposed to enjoy special immunity because they, blameless, can have threatened or offended no one.
"Women and children" attributes to women the same pitiable dependence and moral simplicity we find in five-year-olds. Such an attitude made sense perhaps in an era of male suffrage and "Help Wanted: Female" classifieds. Given the disabilities attached to womanhood in 1912, it was only fair and right that a new standard of gender equality not suddenly be proclaimed just as lifeboat seats were being handed out. That deference—a somewhat more urgent variant of giving up your seat on the bus to a woman—complemented and perhaps compensated for the legal and social constraints placed on women at the time.
But in this day of the most extensive societal restructuring to grant women equality in education, in employment, in government, in athletics, in citizenship writ large, what entitles women to the privileges—and reduces them to the status—of children?
The evolutionary psychologists might say that ladies-to-the-lifeboats is an instinct that developed to perpetuate the species: Women are indispensable child bearers. You can repopulate a village if the women survive and only a few of the men, but you cannot repopulate a village if the men survive and only a few of the women. Women being more precious, biologically speaking, than men, evolution has conditioned us to give them the kind of life-protecting deference we give to that other seed of the future, kids.
The problem with this kind of logic, however, is its depressing reductionism. It recapitulates in all seriousness the geneticist's old witticism that a chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg.
But humans are more than just egg layers. And chivalrous traditions are more than just disguised survival strategies. So why do we say "women and children"? Perhaps it's really "women for children." The most basic parental bond is maternal. Equal parenting is great—it has forced men to get off their duffs—but women, from breast to cradle to cuddle, can nurture in ways that men cannot. And thus, because we value children—who would deny them first crack at the lifeboats?—women should go second. The children need them.
But kiddie-centrism gets you only so far. What if there are no children on board? You are on the Titanic III, a singles cruise. No kids, no moms, no dads. Now: Iceberg! Lifeboats! Action!
Here's my scenario. The men, out of sheer irrational gallantry, should let the women go first. And the women, out of sheer feminist self-respect, should refuse.
Result? Stalemate. How does this movie end? How should it end? Hurry, the ship's going down.
Time, March 30, 1998
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