Consequences

Breaking news: men play sports more than women.

Follow the link for James Taranto’s magisterial mockery of the psychotocracy’s leftish myopia regarding gender tendencies, a very useful service indeed. Come back here, however; I’d like to make a tangential point.

The article notes that, although women exercise more or less as much as men, men are drawn to competit…

  1. Rachel Lu
    C

    Hmm. Is the implication that women want to run away from consequences? I think you need to refine your argument a little. Men are more inclined to try to prove their worth through competitive success. Women are more apt to feel affirmed by quality relationships. But of course these are very general trends; men do certainly value relationships also, and women can be energized by competition. I don’t think either sex has a natural edge on “embracing consequences”.

  2. Zafar

    Because men like winning (defined as someone else losing)?

  3. Vance Richards

    And the people who deny that there are any differences between the sexes call us anti-science?

  4. Frederick Key

    I’m just getting tired of always being the consequensee.

  5. Fredösphere
    Rachel L.: Hmm. Is the implication that women want to run away from consequences? I think you need to refine your argument a little. Men are more inclined to try to prove their worth through competitive success. Women are more apt to feel affirmed by quality relationships. But of course these are very general trends; men do certainly value relationships also, and women can be energized by competition. I don’t think either sex has a natural edge on “embracing consequences”. · 23 minutes ago

    Good points; I thought about this sort of thing but not deeply, and not at all in my post.

    However . . . I do think there’s something in the fact of men being more conservative than women, and that being related to the point I’m making, but I admit I haven’t sorted it out in detail yet.

  6. Fredösphere

    Rachel, thinking about what you said a little more, I’d assert that, yes, men do have a natural edge on “embracing consequences.”

    Another way to look at it is the urge to “take responsibility”, which is the quintessential masculine trait. Through some combination of inner drive and societal pressure, men own responsibility more than women.

    Of course there are exceptions. For one, men who fail at responsibility tend to do so more spectacularly than women. For another, the prime example of someone taking responsibility in the last 50 years is arguably Margaret Thatcher.

    Regarding Thatcher, it’s interesting that the book Anatomy of Thatcherism describes her driving impulse (the author doesn’t call it a philosophy) as a concern for the “vigorous virtues”. That is all very closely related to what I’m talking about: taking responsibility; living with consequences. Do read that book if you are so lucky to find a copy.

  7. EThompson

    Women enjoy competition as much as the next guy (in business), but most of us are quite resistant to the threat of physical pulverization. At  5 ’4”/ 115 lbs, I shudder at the thought of ever having to compete against the likes of a Lawrence Taylor or Jonathan Logan. There’s a reason we have no WNFL/WNHL, but women surely represent some of the best sports fans in this country. We appreciate what males are willing and able to endure.

  8. Rachel Lu
    C

    Fredosphere, I don’t believe that men are more natural “consequence-takers”, but only that they take responsibility for different things. They are more self-sufficient, but that’s because nature herself has laid more unavoidable responsibility on women. When, as in our culture, social and familial structures break down, women (given their biologically-decreed vulnerability) are disproportionately hurt by this. So they clamor more for government support. But married women, being less vulnerable, also tend to be conservative. If you think that men are more inclined to embrace consequences, ask yourself this: which abandons children more, mothers or fathers? Which sex is more likely, after saying something insensitive or hurtful, to let the damage to the relationship stand instead of apologizing?

  9. Last Outpost on the Right

    While Mencken’s quote seems rather conservative at the moment, it’s far more apt to categorize him as a cynic instead of a conservative.I agree completely. Mencken was no conservative. He was just a rather arrogant and bitter pundit, who could turn a phrase.

  10. Fredösphere

    Rachel, without conceding the point (that would be pretty irresponsible of me, wouldn’t it) I’d just like to state I believe the question of gender difference (which I let sneak into my post without exactly intending it) is a complex one, unusually resistant to definitive descriptions. I’m glad you’re not  a gender denier, your points are well made, and your position is quite possibly correct.

    But mostly, I’m just sorry I’ve muddled my point by making two when I intended one.

  11. Fredösphere

    And EThompson, that goes for you too.

  12. Rachel Lu
    C
    Fredösphere: 

    But mostly, I’m just sorry I’ve muddled my point by making two when I intended one. · 11 hours ago

    Fredosphere, I understand, and in fact my point can be generalized. (Which I say as an enthusiastic sports fan, and someone very interested in explaining the moral value of sport.) I think you need to refine it a bit. Consequences are part of sport, but also almost every other area of life, so that doesn’t help very much in explaining the appeal. 

    I would suggest that a kind of idealized justice is a bit part of the good of sport, however. Life almost never gives us such perfect, clearly-spelled-out rules for how success is to be achieved and measured. On the field, conflicts that go on in real life can be distilled into a head-to-head battle that is far more regulated and fair than off-field conflicts are ever likely to be. That’s part of the satisfaction of the game.

  13. david foster

    There are a lot of women who do very well in SALES, which is about as competitive and consequence-fraught as anything you can find short of actual warfare…OTOH, sales has an emotional-intellegence component which is not so strong in most sports.

  14. Susan in Seattle

    I’m drawn to competitive sports.  For me, competition ignites a latent fire within and urges me to do my best.  I really don’t like to lose, either (a consequence).  I quit one sport a few years back because I was too fiercely competitive and my poor playing frustrated me.  Currently I swim on a masters’ team and I find my competitive juices flowing -  although I won’t be entering any meets anytime soon.

    btw, I was conservative in vitro.

  15. dittoheadadt

    Soccer is the sport that epitomizes no consequences (goals are about as frequent as Halley’s Comet) – and we have Soccer Moms

    NASCAR is the sport that epitomizes total consequences (just ask Dale Earnhardt…’s son) – and we have NASCAR Dads

    ’nuff said.

  16. EThompson
    dittoheadadt: Soccer is the sport that epitomizes no consequences…

    Ditto that!

  17. Amy Schley
    Fredösphere:  … conservative sages ranging from H.L. Mencken to  … (The people want the other side, and shall have it. Good. And. Hard.)

    While Mencken’s quote seems rather conservative at the moment, it’s far more apt to categorize him as a cynic instead of a conservative.  The man who wrote words like these was certainly no fan of conservative values …

    To sum up: 1. The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. 2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. 3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.

    Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter.

    What should be a civilized man’s attitude toward such [religious] superstitions? It seems to me that the only attitude possible to him is one of contempt.

     How is it possible for a human brain to be divided into two insulated halves, one functioning normally, naturally and even brilliantly, and the other capable only of such ghastly balderdash which issues from the minds of Baptist evangelists?

    Source

  18. Fredösphere
    david foster: There are a lot of women who do very well in SALES, which is about as competitive and consequence-fraught as anything you can find short of actual warfare…OTOH, sales has an emotional-intellegence component which is not so strong in most sports. · 4 hours ago

    The stakes are often very high in sales, but I wouldn’t call it a paradigm of predictable consequences — too many variables out of the salesman’s control.

  19. Vice-Potentate
    Fredösphere: Isn’t this craving for consistent, predictable consequences a distinctly conservative trait? · · 18 hours ago

    The reduction of variables into a closed problem/solution oriented system, i.e. sports and math, is not uniquely Conservative. Technocrats are also famous for this same orientation. As for the Conservative movement as a whole, there is an erudite eloquent philosophical language-centered kernel to Conservatism, which is surrounded by the practical and results oriented win/lose system that makes sport so appealing.

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