What does this mean? Does anyone know of any studies on this phenomenon? Are we to believe that men are 10x more immoral and/or misbehaving than women? Or, are men held to a different standard? Any ideas on the cause of this phenomenon?


closed as off-topic by Keelan, Dave, Alexander S King, virmaior May 16 '15 at 2:06

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's mainly about sociology and the philosophical problem is unclear. Also, the question "Any ideas...?" is in general a bad fit for the SE network. – Keelan May 15 '15 at 19:59
  • Voting to close as this is a sociology question. – Alexander S King May 15 '15 at 20:44

I think that the difference in standard deviation in a lot of attributes between men and women is huge. Men are much more likely to be morons or geniuses, for instance. Our society focusses on the upside, but the downside is equally real.

Part of this is natural, because men have 5% less genetic material. But far beyond that, the social structure creates excessive competition which via vicious cycles drives the standard deviation between men up and that between women down.

Women are encouraged to complete directly to be appreciated, because this is a social norm, which limits their willingness to be too different and avoids spreading their distribution.

Men are challenged to be good enough at something to be appreciated, and so more often focus on becoming better at what they are already best at. Also men are both naturally inclined and further conditioned to compartmentalize their self-image in a way that isolates them from awareness of their deficiencies. These two forces artificially spread their distribution.

As hidebound as these two characterizations may sound, they are not significantly reduced in our modern society. Women are allowed to compete with men, but they still feel constrained by the expectation that they should at he same time compete directly for appreciation and a different kind of social status -- this shapes the kinds of jobs they go into. And we definitely see the males in out-groups punished differentially. (No one is accidentally shooting a large number of black women. I have never seen a lesbian dragged behind a truck, and there is not open denigration of them embedded in our day-to-day slang. In any war, we kill mostly enemy men, doing otherwise is immoral.)

The primary driving force that allows us to favor this is the historical disposability of men. Look at my other answer at https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/a/17817/9166 for some potential historical sources of this phenomenon.

Criminality is a specifically awful aspect of a high heteroscedasticity between the genders because its opposite has very little open visibility. We define crime very closely, and we can see where lying near extremes leads one to alienation from social values and toward obstacles to developing reasonable empathy or accountability. But there is never any crime in being too average.

  • It is a topic on which I have invested concentrated effort for purposes of maintaining my own sanity. Unfortunately, I think the close is warranted, and the question may disappear. The forum tags include "feminism" and other social terms, but the forum itself does not consider questions of a sociological or anthropological nature very often. It invites opinionated trolls. – jobermark May 16 '15 at 16:11
  • via Reuters Why do men exist? Scientific study offers an explanation But populations with weak or non-existent sexual selection showed more rapid declines in health under inbreeding, and all went extinct by the tenth generation. – Ron Royston May 19 '15 at 16:24
  • @RonRoyston The crazy thing is that males exist in almost equal numbers as females even when most of the males do not breed and all of the females do. Walruses seem like an exercise in maximizing wasted fish. (But actually it is an exercise in concentrating competitive pressure by isolating it in alternating generations. All the males compete, none of the females do, and any female without sons ends her participation in the competition.) – jobermark May 19 '15 at 16:39

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