January 16, 2007

Life is cruel to the male.

Consider this:
Many... species are beleaguered by infections that can turn males into females, selectively assassinate males, or render males irrelevant by allowing females to give birth without them....

Males are a target for a reason, [says Rochester University biologist Jack Werren]. Many types of bacteria travel from parents to offspring through eggs. Males represent a dead-end, so such infectious agents benefit by doing away with them before they're born while leaving females unharmed.

If that weren't enough, Werren says, males tend to find themselves disproportionately targeted by mutations and other "selfish" genetic anomalies....

More often than not, however, infections and selfish genetic agents bias the sex ratio toward females, since species can soldier on with fewer or even no males, while losing the females means quick extinction.
You men still want to think you're better off. I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners.

30 comments:

altoids1306 said...

You men still want to think you're better off.

I thought it was feminists who wanted make sure everyone thought this.

I'm pretty sure both men and women would prefer to have less men around, it's a win-win!

David said...

Nothing makes a male look better in the eyes of a desperate female than a lack of other males or a gaggle of other equally desperate females.

I'm feeling the love...!

Mark the Pundit said...

I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners.

Well, you're the one who brought it up...

SteveR said...

Men can turn anything, very quickly, into a fantasy. I suppose that's how we've adapted to being the "beleaguered" gender.

No time for long narrative, relationship fantasies. "Hey, the world is ending tomorrow." "Great, let's see how many times I can score"

the pooka said...

Wow. And I thought the whole toilet-seat thing was bad...

Bob said...

Yep, multiple female partners and widespread lesbianism, our favorite fantasies.

*laughs*

Meade said...

Inasmuch as we process pretty much every truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners, I suppose your bet would be a winner.

In this case, however, the partners in question would be female spiders, mites, nematodes, and parasitic worms. And not just any female spiders, mites, nematodes, and parasitic worms but bacterially infected female spiders, mites, nematodes, and parasitic worms - partners, I think one would find, typically found on most men's lists of sexual turn-OFF's.

Kirk Parker said...

Wow, you're on to us...

Anonymous said...

Ann wrote: "You men still want to think you're better off. I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners."

It's already been done at least twice, once by a highly-regarded male author, once by a highly-regarded female author: Frank Herbert wrote "The White Plague," and Margaret Atwood wrote "The Handmaid's Tale." I highly recommend reading them back-to-back, much as I highly recommend seeing "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and "Godspell" back-to-back.

Tibore said...

"But one type of lemming has fallen victim to genetic warfare, in the form of an X chromosome that attacks the Y."

Noooooooooooooo!!!!! (*Sniffs*) Biology ain't misandry, dammit!! (*Sobs*).

;)

Hehe... seriously, much of the research in that article applies to insects, not mammals. So I think us humans are fairly safe from "feminizing bacteria" affecting the male/female population ratio.

"More often than not, however, infections and selfish genetic agents bias the sex ratio toward females, since species can soldier on with fewer or even no males, while losing the females means quick extinction."

Yeah, true. And that does apply outside of insects. From what I understand (I don't hunt deer), it's common to see a dozen or more does in a hunting weekend before you see your first buck, yet in most places, aren't the deer populations rather stable, right? And also, when I read about places where the deer are overpopulated, the directives are to go after the does, not the bucks.

"I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners."

Oh, that happened a long time ago, and it wasn't because of this story... ;)

paul a'barge said...

Oh dear ... multiple female partners? ... Oh dear.

JimNtexas said...

I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners.

You say that like its a bad thing.

Icepick said...

You men still want to think you're better off. I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners.

Well, DUH! Straight males do that with EVEREYTHING.

Anonymous said...

Well, isn't life just a little cruel to all of us?

Trey

J. Peden said...

And the ultimate proof of insurmountable male subjugation to females? The Acidman's, "They got all the pussy."

Icepick said...

Paul Snively wrote: It's already been done at least twice, once by a highly-regarded male author, once by a highly-regarded female author: Frank Herbert wrote "The White Plague," and Margaret Atwood wrote "The Handmaid's Tale."

Two other tales spring to mind: Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" (made into a movie (that I haven't seen (to rip-off XWL's gimminck (of embedded parentheticals)) starring a young Don Johnson), and James Tiptree Jr.'s "Houston, We Have a Problem". That's another boy (Ellison) - girl (Tiptree) set, for those keeping score.

(Huh-huh, I wrote "score".)

Revenant said...

You men still want to think you're better off.

I don't think most men think of our gender as the one that has it comparatively easy. Especially since its the *other* gender that has the stuff we really want.

Like Steve Martin said, I could never be a woman because I'd just stay home and play with my breasts all day.

KnightErrant said...

Maleness is a genetic anomaly, a mistake by God that nature is correcting.

Henry said...

You men still want to think you're better off. I'll bet you've already processed this cruel truth into some fantasy involving multiple female partners.

Or maybe a fantasy involving an underground bunker, television, and beer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the fact that males are physically bigger and stronger might be an outgrowth of this phenomenon:

After the American Civil War, because militias were often organized by towns, there were entire towns in both the north and the south that sometimes were full of dozens of 20-40 year old women but had fewer men in that age group than you could count on one hand.

I also remember reading that after both World War I and World War II in most European countries females in the 20-40 age range outnumbered males by about 3:2, and closer to 2:1 if you limited it to reasonably healthy males (back in those days losing a limb severly limited life activities.)

After the Iran-Iraq war, any Muslim men in either country who wanted to follow the teachings of Islam and have multiple wives, had little problem finding them.

In other words, men being bigger and stronger (hence the warriors) might play into this because of the 'selection' over centuries of them beating each other's brains out with cudgels, spears, swords, muskets, rifles, machine guns, big bombs, etc. And as medicine has reduced the effects of disease, the weapons of war have become deadlier and made up for the difference.

Anonymous said...

But then in some Asian countries like China and Pakistan the ratio has historically been biased heavily towards males due to factors like bride-burning, female infanticide and more recently the selective abortion of females.

Chris O'Brien said...

Dear Penthouse:
I never thought I'd be writing to you, but recently, my brilliant geneticist girlfriend came up with the darndest way to spice things up between us....

Anonymous said...

Knight Errant wrote: "Maleness is a genetic anomaly, a mistake by God that nature is correcting."

In your case, judging from your chosen moniker, I believe that may be true.

Trey

Mortimer Brezny said...

I'm not so sure about life being crueler to men. Men tend to be more risk-loving than women and suffer the consequences. But it is women who more often die alone while sipping on broccoli shakes.

And I imagine a world without men would be a nightmare for many women. For many women, men are their escape from other women.

Joel H. Seachrist said...

Prof. Werren is at the University of Rochester, not "Rochester University" as the linked article wrongly has it. Not a big deal, but it stuck out to this alumnus.

Palladian said...

"Especially since its the *other* gender that has the stuff we really want."

Speak for yourself.

Revenant said...

"Especially since its the *other* gender that has the stuff we really want."

Speak for yourself.

The 3% of men that aren't attracted to women aren't a large enough group to merit an individual mention in every statement about the gender.

Some people are maschosists, but I don't see anything wrong with the statement "men don't like being kicked in the balls". Yes yes, some people do, whatever, yawn.

Palladian said...

Lighten up, honey. Being doomed to a life of genetic anomalies and oblivion seems to have affected your sense of humor.

tjl said...

"The 3% of men that aren't attracted to women aren't a large enough group to merit an individual mention."

We're so much more vocal than the rest -- you can't ignore us. Since we're disproportionately well represented in the creative sectors, we make our presence felt in the culture beyond our numbers. So no sweeping generalizations about the male gender are complete without taking us into account.

DTL will be here any minute now to demand a retraction.

Bruce Hayden said...

As I was channel surfing tonight, I kept running into a TV show on lions. There, a group of males control a pride for maybe two years, before being run off to die by the next group of males. The females in the tribe typically live longer as they typically stay with their sisters, mothers, daughters, etc. and are much more efficient hunters. The males are handicapped in that regard by being too heavy, having a mane that makes it much harder for them to hide, and when not in a pride are in much smaller male only groups.

So, what do they get out of this situation? A huge amount of sex, being waited upon (or hunted for), and, most importantly, being able to pass on their genes.

And that later is why males put up with this basic unfairness - we need females to pass on our genes.

The other thing that has to be kept in mind here is that the genetic / evolutionary dynamics are very different for the two sexes, esp. with many mammels. Females have relatively similar chances of passing on their genetics to at least the next generation (their problem is the generations after that, where survival rates depend on the genetic advantages of the mates they pick). It is with the males that evolution really plays out, with the best being able to mate more and create more offspring. And because not all the males are needed, or even wanted, for this, surplussing some, or even a lot, of them often works out advantageously for a species.