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Working thesis: males as the hothouse flower

February 25, 2009

I have been reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse, which has me thinking about the forces/rules/structure of a given society.  In that mist, I read a Salon Broadsheet post about the Van Dyke clan of roving “radical” feminists which all seems to fit into my overall dissertation of finding oneself (as an American trope) by going on the road as a means of escaping domesticity.  It seems that Ms. Van Dyke herself fits into this trope, which broadens it up (excuse the pun) from being just a male desire/need/fantasy.

The two topics then got me thinking about societies in general (see also the Salon article about the lack of the great American novel written by a female), the large bulk of which seem to align along patri-lineal lines.  Why?  What is it about the male half of a society that engenders (again, pun unintended) such attention.  My working thesis, as of this morning, is that the males are more vulnerable, more susceptible, and thus more in need of being saved.

Working points (which may or may not be specifically society-centric):

  • males 18-26 have the highest mortality rates due to their own stupidity (see any episode of Jackass, Scars, or any Hollywood movie aimed at this demographic)–see also YouTube skater falls
  • males 18-26 have the highest insurance rates–a society’s hedge against a general tendency–for just the above point
  • Young males have a higher rate of incarceration
  • Ask an older man about roving gangs of youths (race indifferent) and the overwhelming response is that they need a job, war or some other outlet, preferably far away from the older man
  • Non-species specific: roving bands of male elephants only cause destruction
  • Males in general: do not live as long as females–shorter life-span
  • Males are more susceptible to disease
  • Males have less social-building skills, are less verbal (the New York Times Book review notwithstanding) and less communicative
  • Males are less willing to take care of themselves (which may lead to shortened life-span)
  • “Male” diets are not healthy
  • Men are not looked upon as capable of rearing young (may be society-based–but there are a lot of society’s basing their pop-culture on this premise)
  • Males are “de-femaled” during the birth process

All in all, the male side of the human diad is, at best, regardless of his physical strength, more vulnerable.  He is the hot-house flower which must be preserved, ensured and tended to, often at the expense of the female (see the negative results of China’s one-child policy).

If these assumptions, tendencies and tacit rules can be teased out, certainly they have played a role in societal formation of patri-lineage.

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  1. Are Men Really Hothouse Flowers? « Unasked Advice

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