Michael Moore has taken out after men on his Twi**er feed; here’s a sample of three in order of posting:
I don’t know what to make of this. Certainly men have been dominant over history, denying women the opportunity to melt the ice caps, build smokestacks or start the Holocaust (though there were plenty of women guards who abused women in the women’s camps). And the reason men have been dominant is largely sexual selection, which happened to make women the childbearers and the men larger and stronger. This is NOT to say that socialization and sexism have played no role in the oppression of women, for a group with higher status and dominance will culturally try to maintain that privilege. But the inequality between the sexes had to start somewhere, and that start is sexual selection. (Again, I’m not justifying the inequality, just explaining its inception.)
But I have a feeling that Moore means something more here: that women are by nature less aggressive and competitive, and more conciliatory. That is, some part of these differences are inborn—genetic. And I suspect he’s right. But evolutionary biology also helps explain that, since men must compete for women and status, and the hormones that promote that behavior can have all sorts of bad side effects. I have little doubt, in fact, that a world in which women had power equal to that of men would be a world we’d like better. But to say that is to admit that the differences in behavior between men and women are not purely cultural. They must be at least partly based on evolved genetic differences. (Of course men and women have almost the same sets of genes, except for those on the Y chromosome, but evolution has caused them to be expressed differently in the sexes.) If there were no genetic differences, and women gained full equality of power and opportunity (i.e., experienced the same cultural environment), then culturally-based differences would disappear, and women and men would behave the same. (What that behavior would be is of course unpredictable.)
Moore’s tweets, then, while expressing a social reality, are also a tacit admission of biological differences in behavior between the sexes, something that to most evolutionary biologists is palpably true, but is anathema to many liberals and feminists—especially gender feminists. If you maintain that women are by nature the kinder, gentler, sex, and will always be so, then you’re usually admitting that the behavioral differences between men and women are based on part on genes.
I have to add a sardonic tw**t by one of my hosts here in Singapore, Melissa Chen: