Men (Still) Behaving Badly

Powerful men continue to fall in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's tumble. I doubt if it is news to many women that there are a lot of predators out there, but it keeps surprising men, including the perps, many of whom seem shocked to learn that their behavior was reprehensible. Of course that could be feigned, but I don't think all of it is. One would hope that the steady demolition of icons would cause predators to change their behavior, but it's probably way too early to tell.

I was watching a morning news show in which several women discussed a bunch of highly influential newsmen among the recently fallen, and the role they may have played in Hillary Clinton's defeat. The argument was that their predatory behavior was linked to pervasive disrespect for women, and that disrespect was reflected in the coverage of Clinton. I found their arguments pretty persuasive, but I also have to confess that whenever the camera focussed on the youngest one, my primitive brain could not resist announcing to me that "Damn, she's hot!"

So what's the cure, or is there a cure? Most cultures have considered the issue and concluded that men are inherently so dangerous that women need to be kept locked up, one way or another. Oddly enough, many women don't like this idea. An idea popular with the panelists was that more women in power would discourage male predatory behavior, and I think that that sounds reasonable, but I also guess that the predatory instinct is deeply embedded.

I recall somebody, perhaps Jared Diamond, writing about young chimpanzees but with an eye to their cousins, that the males competed obsessively for status, first dominating younger conspecifics, then females, and finally other adult males. It's not a purely male problem, as among humans, as well as our hairier relatives, females are attracted to those dominating males.

White women in Alabama are mostly planning to vote for Moore.


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