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lena_chita
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Jun 8, 2012, 7:13 AM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
Yes, I do fall on the nature side more than the nurture side. We are "rational", but we are still sexually reproducing animals and we have 600 million years of sexual reproduction evolution and 3 million years of primate evolution behind our behavior.

I think that one of the things our self-awareness as a species gives us is (IMHO) an endless capacity for rationalization. We make up infinite reasons for behavior that is really genetically determined. Mating behavior (sexual selection) is so deeply embedded (IMHO, again) that we really don't have any control over it. Females attract, males approach and females decide. This genetically determined behavior shapes our societies. It's found in both matriarchal and patriarchal cultures in the historical record.

Hmmm, sexual dimorphism varies greatly from species to species, but in cases where males looks significantly different than females, I think I can name far more species where MALES are the pretty decorated fancy ones, and females are very plain-looking, then the reverse.

So your statement that females of all species are trying to look pretty to attract the males is inaccurate at best. Same goes for females attract, males come, females choose model. It is by no means biologically universal.


rmsusa wrote:
In the end, this may be like all of the religious discussions. Interesting till you've heard and participated in them long enough to know that we'll never have "the answer". Each generation recapitulates them and that's a good thing. Perhaps at some point the rational will overcome the genetic, but it ain't happened yet as far as I can see.

Genetic is not something you overcome. You don't get to re-program genes you have. The nurture part of the equation though... yeah, that is changeable.

Just think of a simple example of color preferences. In present day, pink and purple are very much girl colors, blue is boy color. And seemingly without influence, every girl goes through that " pink stage".
But look back only 80-90 years ago, and it would have been different. For centuries, purple was a bold strong male color, while blue was considered soft and feminine. I am sure if you had lived in those times, you would have been arguing that these things are programmed, too...


wonderwoman


Jun 8, 2012, 7:44 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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Here are some examples from nature:

Birds - The males are pretty.
Lions - The females hunt.
Praying Mantis - The females eat the males.


SylviaSmile


Jun 8, 2012, 2:25 PM
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Re: [wonderwoman] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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I could be wrong, but I think the argument was not that "women attract/men pursue" in all species in nature but rather particularly in homo sapiens . . .


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Jun 9, 2012, 7:47 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
I could be wrong, but I think the argument was not that "women attract/men pursue" in all species in nature but rather particularly in homo sapiens . . .

See the first half of my quote of rmsusa (on the previous page).

GO


camhead


Jun 9, 2012, 8:31 AM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I'm not sure that it has anything to do with a switch to patriarchy a few thousand years ago, if that even happened, but I'm also pretty sure that this is an hypothesis that can't be falsified. Similar behavior is observed in many species. As you say, nobody knows where the line between nature and nurture lies.

But not in the species that are most closely related to humans (chimps and bonobos). There are many traits in human sexuality that are shared with those other two species (female copular vocalization, concealed ovulation, ample sex for non-reproductive reasons, as well as a general egalitarian social structure), which are NOT shared by other species of apes like gorillas, orangutans, or gibbons (or other pack/harem-based and/or "monogamous" mammals for that matter).

Also, archaeological and anthropological evidence has shown that patriarchy is not particularly strong in the bulk of non-agricultural societies.

These are very condensed arguments, but seriously, check out some books like Jared Diamond's Why is Sex Fun?, or Christopher Ryan's Sex at Dawn to see how male dominated patriarchy and the sexual double standard are likely much more cultural constructs of the last 15,000 years then they are "hard-wired" into our genes.


(This post was edited by camhead on Jun 11, 2012, 9:17 AM)


blueshrimp


Jun 10, 2012, 2:12 PM
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A patriarchical society is most definitely "nurture" as opposed to "nature". Enough examples exist of matriarchichal societies to show that it is not "genetic" to have male-dominated societies. Here is some fun reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchy

andhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosuo[[/url]

An interesting common denominator among patriarchical societies seems to be, from my observation, the need to dominate weaker members of said society (i.e. wars and power structures), while cooperation seems to be a common denominator among matriarchal societies. Given a choice, and not because I'm a female, I'd rather live in a matriarchal society any day. It seems to me that members of such societies, of both genders, are much happier, overall, than members of patriarchal societies. It would be interested if someone did a formal "happiness survey" to see if this were indeed the case. (shrug). After all, no one likes to be opressed (subtly by the media or explicitly by forcing you to cut your genitals off and dress in long sleeves in the summer), so a society that allows its members regardless of who they are or what they are or why they are more freedom to determine their own lives and destinies wins by me every single time (more shrugs). (sigh).


clee03m


Jun 10, 2012, 5:23 PM
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Re: [blueshrimp] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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The dynasties prior to the Choson dynasty in Korea were more egalitarian. Shaman priestesses were important figures in politics and religion. Women fought alongside men as worriors. Monarchs were both men and women. Very different than the patriarchal society that Westerners found.

One example of how what seems to be clear gender differences may not be as ingrained as you think.


SylviaSmile


Jun 11, 2012, 8:30 AM
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Re: [wonderwoman] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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wonderwoman wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
cracklover wrote:
I spelled it out, and Drivel agreed that's what she meant. So far no-one else has actually touched it. All of you have merely said that yes, there are gender biases in modern society, and yes, women's looks and attractiveness is deemed important, and that this is *one* of the messages society sends girls. None of that lends a whit of credence to Drivel's claim.

GO

I can't get to the far end of the extreme that you want to take Drivel's comment, but if you spend a good amount of time in a place like Brasil then you'd see very clearly what he means.

North American women are incredibly lucky.

We are lucky that women in other countries are more oppressed than those of us in the states? I guess I should be thankful that I earn as much as 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Thanks for enlightening me as to how liberated we are.

To add more fuel to the fire here, I just came across this article on the gender gap through a friend's FB page.


lena_chita
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Jun 11, 2012, 9:19 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
wonderwoman wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
cracklover wrote:
I spelled it out, and Drivel agreed that's what she meant. So far no-one else has actually touched it. All of you have merely said that yes, there are gender biases in modern society, and yes, women's looks and attractiveness is deemed important, and that this is *one* of the messages society sends girls. None of that lends a whit of credence to Drivel's claim.

GO

I can't get to the far end of the extreme that you want to take Drivel's comment, but if you spend a good amount of time in a place like Brasil then you'd see very clearly what he means.

North American women are incredibly lucky.

We are lucky that women in other countries are more oppressed than those of us in the states? I guess I should be thankful that I earn as much as 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Thanks for enlightening me as to how liberated we are.

To add more fuel to the fire here, I just came across this article on the gender gap through a friend's FB page.

It is actually a pretty good article. It addressed some issues that i felt were always sort of hidden in the 77c stats.


Gmburns2000


Jun 11, 2012, 1:57 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
wonderwoman wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
cracklover wrote:
I spelled it out, and Drivel agreed that's what she meant. So far no-one else has actually touched it. All of you have merely said that yes, there are gender biases in modern society, and yes, women's looks and attractiveness is deemed important, and that this is *one* of the messages society sends girls. None of that lends a whit of credence to Drivel's claim.

GO

I can't get to the far end of the extreme that you want to take Drivel's comment, but if you spend a good amount of time in a place like Brasil then you'd see very clearly what he means.

North American women are incredibly lucky.

We are lucky that women in other countries are more oppressed than those of us in the states? I guess I should be thankful that I earn as much as 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Thanks for enlightening me as to how liberated we are.

To add more fuel to the fire here, I just came across this article on the gender gap through a friend's FB page.

It is actually a pretty good article. It addressed some issues that i felt were always sort of hidden in the 77c stats.

i agree. quite an interesting read.


rmsusa


Jun 12, 2012, 11:17 AM
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In reply to:
A patriarchical society is most definitely "nurture" as opposed to "nature". Enough examples exist of matriarchichal societies to show that it is not "genetic" to have male-dominated societies.

Indeed, but isn't the discussion about sexual selection rather than about social organization?


rmsusa


Jun 12, 2012, 11:25 AM
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In reply to:
So your statement that females of all species are trying to look pretty to attract the males is inaccurate at best. Same goes for females attract, males come, females choose model. It is by no means biologically universal.

I'm sorry if I didn't express myself clearly. My statement: females attract, males approach, females choose, was meant to apply to the human species. This is the way humans work. All I claim is that this is the basis of the pretty/strong differentiation and that this is genetic.

I'm well aware of the opposite mechanism in many other species. It's abundantly clear that it's not a universal model. As to patriarchal/matriarchal organization, It's outside the scope of my comment about sexual selection.

It is a mistake to assume that I'd argue for genetic causes of things like color preferences, as you do in your reply to my previous message.


(This post was edited by rmsusa on Jun 12, 2012, 11:36 AM)


lena_chita
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Jun 12, 2012, 1:05 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
So your statement that females of all species are trying to look pretty to attract the males is inaccurate at best. Same goes for females attract, males come, females choose model. It is by no means biologically universal.

I'm sorry if I didn't express myself clearly. My statement: females attract, males approach, females choose, was meant to apply to the human species. This is the way humans work. All I claim is that this is the basis of the pretty/strong differentiation and that this is genetic.

I guess I misunderstood you when you said "3 million years of primate evolution tied up in females being pretty and males being bold" Certainly primates are more than just human species, and you are just plain wrong about this mode of behavior being universal in primates.

But even leaving primates aside and focusing on only humans, I STILL think that you are wrong in the "women pretty/males bold" being genetically programmed or innate.

(And that's why a switch to patriarchy is relevant in the context of this discussion)

Why would prehistoric humans need "pretty" females? Strong, healthy, able to carry, care for, nurture and protect the young, yes. But pretty?

Pretty only became relevant when women became viewed as property and decoration of men.


lena_chita
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Jun 12, 2012, 1:17 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
A patriarchical society is most definitely "nurture" as opposed to "nature". Enough examples exist of matriarchichal societies to show that it is not "genetic" to have male-dominated societies.

Indeed, but isn't the discussion about sexual selection rather than about social organization?

I don't even know what this discussion is about, but answering the original question, I think it would be something like this:

Are there, currently, measurable/quantitatable gender differences in behaviors, including risk taking/risk tolerance?

The answer to that is YES.

But if you put the question differently, and ask how much of this behavior difference is genetically programmed, the answer would be, probably relatively small portion of it.


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Jun 12, 2012, 1:43 PM
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While I agree with almost all of your post, I think you take it just a little too far here:

lena_chita wrote:
Why would prehistoric humans need "pretty" females? Strong, healthy, able to carry, care for, nurture and protect the young, yes. But pretty?

Pretty only became relevant when women became viewed as property and decoration of men.

"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics. (Please pardon my using language that implies conscious decision-making. It's a shorthand meant to represent the actual drivers to natural selection).

Anyway, many species, ours included, really do care about "pretty". Whether it's more of a driver in humans for males or for females is debatable, and almost certainly at least partly culturally influenced.

GO

edited for clarity


(This post was edited by cracklover on Jun 12, 2012, 2:00 PM)


camhead


Jun 12, 2012, 2:27 PM
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cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.


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camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

But without a doubt, we're not as "pretty" focused as many animals. Just about the only things we've developed as eye-catchers is hair, boobs, buttocks, and, well, our eyes. The peacock and the walrus are not impressed.

The argument has been made that our intellect (in particular our speech) is also, in part, a mating tool. But even if you buy that, calling that a version of "pretty" is, I think, a stretch.

GO


drivel


Jun 13, 2012, 11:19 AM
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cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

I can't tell if you're saying monogamy works pretty well for humans, or not. But something like a third to half of all married people (men AND women) in the US cheat at least once, and very few marriages encompass all of the years of a person's life that they're sexually active. Almost all humans in our western society are at best, serially monogamous, rather than actually monogamous, and humans don't pair bond anything as strong as prairie voles or gorillas or some birds. (although a LOT of birds previous though to be monogamous actually have a lot of "extra-pair mating.")

cracklover wrote:
But without a doubt, we're not as "pretty" focused as many animals. Just about the only things we've developed as eye-catchers is hair, boobs, buttocks, and, well, our eyes. The peacock and the walrus are not impressed.

The argument has been made that our intellect (in particular our speech) is also, in part, a mating tool. But even if you buy that, calling that a version of "pretty" is, I think, a stretch.

GO

that pre-human and early human primates would have strategies for visually signaling fitness seems plausible. That they'd at all resemble our current ideas of "pretty" seems unlikely to me, for not the least reason that societies through recorded history and ethnographies have wildly differing ideals of beauty.


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Jun 13, 2012, 11:46 AM
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drivel wrote:
cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

I can't tell if you're saying monogamy works pretty well for humans, or not.

What I'm saying is that different people are very different in what they want/need in terms of relationships. I think it is fair to say that as a species, we are among those in which various mating strategies are employed, depending on the individual and the circumstances. There are lots of species like this.

A really cool example is the dung beetle, in which big males fight each other for access to females, while smaller males masquerade as females, avoid the big males, and sneak off with the females. http://www.springerlink.com/...nt/df33laq5vw6r5cnc/

GO


rmsusa


Jun 13, 2012, 12:11 PM
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In reply to:
I guess I misunderstood you when you said "3 million years of primate evolution tied up in females being pretty and males being bold" Certainly primates are more than just human species, and you are just plain wrong about this mode of behavior being universal in primates.

But even leaving primates aside and focusing on only humans, I STILL think that you are wrong in the "women pretty/males bold" being genetically programmed or innate.

(And that's why a switch to patriarchy is relevant in the context of this discussion)

Why would prehistoric humans need "pretty" females? Strong, healthy, able to carry, care for, nurture and protect the young, yes. But pretty?

So why, exactly, do you think it's NOT inbred? I think that hypothesis is less plausible than the inbred hypothesis. At least give me something out of verifiable cultural record, which is what you need for a counterargument.

Damn, it's hard to get this across in short bursts. Sorry again. I didn't think I said anything about primates, only about humans. Maybe the reference to long evolutionary periods was something I shouldn't have included. Suppose we just go back 2 million years to homo habilis? Want to keep it to 200,000 with sapiens?

Prehistoric humans didn't "need" "pretty" females. That's just how females attract the attention of males in the human species. It's not rational. It doesn't have anything to do with "why" or "need", both of which sound a bit teleological. It's just how things are with humans and it's probably a result of random accumulated genetic changes. (IMHO, of course). I don't know what homo erectus thought was "pretty", but I'm pretty sure he had a good idea. Change "pretty" for "attractive" if you want. Females attract is the first rule of human sexual selection.

What constitutes "pretty" today includes a lot of attributes linked to health and fecundity Same is true of "handsome", but handsome usually includes some characteristics that indicate "strong". That's just the physical aspect of sexual selection. It's interesting to think about the behaviors as well. What do males and females DO differently when they're around potential breeding partners? How do you act around your partner? How much of that is just as hardwired as the dance of the Prarie Hen?

We disagree on the location of the nature/nurture boundary. That's OK, since nobody really knows where the boundary is, and it's likely to be fuzzy rather than a bright line.

I heard a program on NPR this morning about conditions, both behavioral and physical, in animals and humans. Good show. An interview with a cardiologist who wrote a book. Every human condition (disorder, she's a physician) they looked at had an animal parallel. That kind of thing gives one pause about how much of our lives are hard wired and how much of our brainpower is used to rationalize behaviors that we may be able to do little about. A lot of the work in behavioral economics about how people make decisions may also be uncovering hardwired behavior that we always thought was "rational" or "cultural". Turns out it may be just the electrical wiring.

This whole thing about patriarchal/matriarchal strikes me as a way of telling a plausible story about why things are the way they are. Why did we come up with all our origin stories? Is that something that humans just have to do as well? We certainly seem driven to explain things.

I dunno ... we can all have our opinions till somebody comes up with something subject to falsification and a bunch of people have tried really hard to falsify.

PS - I do enjoy thinking about this subject. It's interesting to see some of the thoughts and opinions brought out in this thread.


granite_grrl


Jun 13, 2012, 12:41 PM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
What constitutes "pretty" today includes a lot of attributes linked to health and fecundity Same is true of "handsome", but handsome usually includes some characteristics that indicate "strong". That's just the physical aspect of sexual selection.

What constitutes as “pretty” in our society today is different from so many societies through the world and through the ages have considered "pretty", it's not a universal biological concept anymore. Consider foot binding in China, how do small feet show that you are a superior mate? In our culture today we value women who are fit and trim, but other cultures value women who are full figured, others women who are fat. One sees vitality, the other sees fertility and the final sees wealth.

I’m sure there is some biological features that are still universally attractive, but humans have more or less overridden the majority of them with what it considers important. Different societies all have different ideas on what is “pretty”. In general it is something that we, as modern humans, have made up.


(This post was edited by granite_grrl on Jun 13, 2012, 12:43 PM)


lena_chita
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Jun 14, 2012, 7:24 AM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
What constitutes "pretty" today includes a lot of attributes linked to health and fecundity Same is true of "handsome", but handsome usually includes some characteristics that indicate "strong". That's just the physical aspect of sexual selection. It's interesting to think about the behaviors as well. What do males and females DO differently when they're around potential breeding partners? How do you act around your partner? How much of that is just as hardwired as the dance of the Prarie Hen?

While many attributes of "pretty" and "handsome" are related to good health (clear skin, healthy hair, bright eyes, well developed bodies, etc.) this is applicable to both males and females. Nobody is arguing that this is not a biological consideration.

I am saying that specifically pretty female attracting males model (vs. good-looking healthy specimens of both genders being more desirable to the opposite sex) is a product of a society where the females needed a male to survive, and were not allowed or able to acquire skills and resources to survive on their own.

rmsusa wrote:
I heard a program on NPR this morning about conditions, both behavioral and physical, in animals and humans. Good show. An interview with a cardiologist who wrote a book. Every human condition (disorder, she's a physician) they looked at had an animal parallel. That kind of thing gives one pause about how much of our lives are hard wired and how much of our brainpower is used to rationalize behaviors that we may be able to do little about. A lot of the work in behavioral economics about how people make decisions may also be uncovering hardwired behavior that we always thought was "rational" or "cultural". Turns out it may be just the electrical wiring.

I have not attempted to argue that are are, basically, human animals, e.i. all our physiological processes are, on the large part, very similar to other animals.

But I am arguing that the behaviors you say are innate are not, in fact, such. And I am using other animal species, specifically primates closest to humans, to justify it.



rmsusa wrote:
This whole thing about patriarchal/matriarchal strikes me as a way of telling a plausible story about why things are the way they are. Why did we come up with all our origin stories? Is that something that humans just have to do as well? We certainly seem driven to explain things.

Yes, we are driven to explain things. And the explanations we have may be as far off the real truth as the bearded guy in the clouds creating Earth story.

You just keep saying, things are this way, they are the way they are, they always have been this way, therefore this way of doing things is genetically programmed.

I am saying, things have been the way they are only since relatively recent past in the human history, therefore, they are not genetically programmed.

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" that camhead suggested up-thread, and you enjoy thinking about the subjects raised in this thread, you should read it. It gives examples better than I could.

I dunno ... we can all have our opinions till somebody comes up with something subject to falsification and a bunch of people have tried really hard to falsify.

PS - I do enjoy thinking about this subject. It's interesting to see some of the thoughts and opinions brought out in this thread.


SylviaSmile


Jun 14, 2012, 9:50 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
drivel wrote:
cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

I can't tell if you're saying monogamy works pretty well for humans, or not.

What I'm saying is that different people are very different in what they want/need in terms of relationships. I think it is fair to say that as a species, we are among those in which various mating strategies are employed, depending on the individual and the circumstances. There are lots of species like this.

A really cool example is the dung beetle, in which big males fight each other for access to females, while smaller males masquerade as females, avoid the big males, and sneak off with the females. http://www.springerlink.com/...nt/df33laq5vw6r5cnc/

GO
I find it a little humorous to compare human behavior with the behavior of other species in some ways, especially making the assumption that what humans do (or what we observe) is what works well. Other species by instinct do what works well for their species and don't, for instance, destroy and pollute the environments in which they live. The same cannot be said for humans. So I think the question of whether "various mating strategies" work well for humans is a somewhat open one. That they're employed is certainly incontrovertible.


SylviaSmile


Jun 14, 2012, 10:01 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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granite_grrl wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
What constitutes "pretty" today includes a lot of attributes linked to health and fecundity Same is true of "handsome", but handsome usually includes some characteristics that indicate "strong". That's just the physical aspect of sexual selection.

What constitutes as “pretty” in our society today is different from so many societies through the world and through the ages have considered "pretty", it's not a universal biological concept anymore. Consider foot binding in China, how do small feet show that you are a superior mate? In our culture today we value women who are fit and trim, but other cultures value women who are full figured, others women who are fat. One sees vitality, the other sees fertility and the final sees wealth.

I’m sure there is some biological features that are still universally attractive, but humans have more or less overridden the majority of them with what it considers important. Different societies all have different ideas on what is “pretty”. In general it is something that we, as modern humans, have made up.

What exactly is considered "pretty" does vary from society to society, but the fact that SOMETHING is considered beautiful does not. The concept of beauty spans human society--all people can recognize the beauty of a sunset, etc. Beauty is by its nature not a scientifically quantifiable attribute. You either sense it or you don't (and boy do those differences in aesthetic opinion get magnified--ever heard people argue about music), but most people recognize there is such a thing as beauty.

Now, in terms of the gender thing, I've heard the opinion expressed that women are just plain nicer to look at than men, from an aesthetic standpoint. I don't know whether that's "objectively true" (again, a very hard thing to pin down when it comes to aesthetics), but there may be something to it. I find it interesting to notice that almost all magazine covers in the grocery store have pictures of women on them, even when most of the magazines are marketed pretty much exclusively to women. This might just be what we as modern humans have made up, by now you'd think women would have rebelled and demanded male models on their magazines! :)


Partner cracklover


Jun 15, 2012, 9:19 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
cracklover wrote:
drivel wrote:
cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

I can't tell if you're saying monogamy works pretty well for humans, or not.

What I'm saying is that different people are very different in what they want/need in terms of relationships. I think it is fair to say that as a species, we are among those in which various mating strategies are employed, depending on the individual and the circumstances. There are lots of species like this.

A really cool example is the dung beetle, in which big males fight each other for access to females, while smaller males masquerade as females, avoid the big males, and sneak off with the females. http://www.springerlink.com/...nt/df33laq5vw6r5cnc/

GO
I find it a little humorous to compare human behavior with the behavior of other species in some ways, especially making the assumption that what humans do (or what we observe) is what works well. Other species by instinct do what works well for their species and don't, for instance, destroy and pollute the environments in which they live. The same cannot be said for humans. So I think the question of whether "various mating strategies" work well for humans is a somewhat open one. That they're employed is certainly incontrovertible.

Actually, no, individuals in other species don't do what works well for the species, they do what works well for the individual. As it happens, that is often quite bad for other individuals of their species.

If you were to compare behavior to various mathematical models of game theory, you'd find that close relatives in many species have some level of "cooperation", which is often beneficial to all. But when you go further from the immediate family, often there is only enough cooperation to avoid mutual immediate destruction.

In fact, on the scale of most individualistic to most social animals, I'd say we're well on the social end. The fact that we're able to recognize our own failings notwithstanding.

And as for this notion of other species doing "what works well for their environment" and not destroying their environment - that's just silly. The instinct of every animal is to consume every available resource, and in some cases, this results in repeated population boom and bust cycles. Having most of a young generation starve to death - or fail to find enough resources to be able to bear young - and then repeating that process over and over - is that a model you'd like to see humans strive for?

GO

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