Why are women so _________________?

Why are women so....?

From despondent hand-wringing teen boys in their basements to angry unshaven men drinking their lives away a the corner bar, you can hear the eternal refrain, “Why are women so…….?”

It is reflected on the internet, as well, with the lonely and the heartbroken howling the question into the void: Why are women so mean? Why are women so needy? Why are women so dishonest? Why are women so immature? Why are women so confusing? Why are women so difficult to figure out?

Top Google Hints to complete the phrase: Why are women so mean? Why are women so emotional? Why are women so complicated?

Top Google search results have articles with more variations: Why are women so stupid? Why are women so unhappy? Why are women so angry?

Well, you are in luck. I have the answer.

If you ever find yourself asking “Why are women so…..?” this is what you should do: substitute the word “people” for “women”, and see what you think of the sentence.

There is a very good chance the question will still be a totally valid and sensible question.

Why are people so immature?
Why are people so dishonest?
Why are people so emotional?
Why are people so complicated?
Why are people so angry?
Why are people so difficult to figure out?

All of these are great questions. They are valid questions. After all: many men are immature, just as many men are dishonest, and many men are both emotional and complicated.

You don’t believe it? Ask someone who is married to a man… I’m sure that person will have plenty to say on the matter.

Now, if you are a heterosexual man, it’s possible that you simply haven’t particularly noticed that men are complicated and difficult to figure out. There’s a good chance you haven’t noticed, because you haven’t dated them. But that doesn’t mean women are any more complicated than men to decipher… it just means the fact that dating men is complicated doesn’t impact you at all, if you are a heterosexual man.

 


 

Here is where the hardcore defenders of the “Why are women so…?” trope will reply with the following defense:

“I never said that men are not (stupid, angry, dishonest, etc).  Sure, they might be that way too. But at this moment I’m just asking about the women!”

The problem with that is that, to put it bluntly, asking the wrong question can lead you to the wrong answers. If the reason some people are complicated and difficult to figure out have to do with general human characteristics, then looking at specifically female traits will not lead you to the correct answer. It’s misdirection. It will make it harder for you to actually be able to figure out what’s going on.

Imagine how ridiculous it sounds to ask: “Why are Americans not able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound?”

It’s a question that sounds weird. It sounds wrong, because the obvious response is: no human beings can leap over tall buildings in a single bound! What on earth is the sense of singling out Americans?

Because even though, in a raw logic sense, “Americans are not able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound” is a true statement… it is misleading. By singling out “Americans” there is an implicit contrastive stress: it implies that this sentence is true about Americans in particular, but is not true of others.

I’ve talked about the psychological mechanisms behind why people understand sentences this way, in my article about the term “Muslim religious extremists.” The principle is the same: If you are criticizing “Muslim religious extremists” for things that all religious extremists do, then you are using the same type of misdirection.

In that case, the practical outcome is that people look in the wrong place for the source of the problem: they try to figure out what is wrong with Islam rather than what is wrong with religious extremism.

When you ask “Why are women so….” you are making the same mistake.

And that is why you are so confused. Women aren’t your problem. Women aren’t especially confusing: people are. Women aren’t especially dishonest: people are.

Ask yourself the question: What are some of the reasons people might lie to you? What are the reasons people might be tough for you to figure out? What are the reasons people get angry?

That will get you closer to your answers than your questions about “women” ever have.



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  1. Mitchel says:

    Great article!

    I’ve always found it ridiculous when guys write angry rants about how women are whores and sluts. This seems to be common among frustrated “red pill” bloggers. I find it beyond strange when guys who are EASILY 50 lbs overweight and a sloppy mess have the audacity to blame women. Who would have thought attractive women like guys who take care of themselves lol? If you criticize these guys too then you’re instantly labeled a “feminist” since they have such black and white thinking.” I don’t consider myself a “feminist” as I find a lot of this feminism stuff is a bit much, and you’re basically labeled a “sexist” and/or a “misogynist” no matter what you say. I suppose I’m somewhere “in the middle” as I think it’s a two way street.

    I really like the fitness articles on this site as well. Have a great holidays!

    • Greg Stevens says:

      Thanks for your comment! And I agree with you that there can be people on either side of this issue that come off a bit crazy. In the end the big demon in the room is black-and-white thinking, as you alluded to. Not everyone who criticizes any men’s rights activist hates men, just as not everyone who criticizes any feminist is a misogynist.

      Keep up the good work on your blog, Mitchel.

  2. J says:

    ” they try to figure out what is wrong with Islam rather than what is wrong with religious extremism.”

    I think you can ask both questions. In Christian theology, there’s the basic axiom that a greater understanding of God can be gained over time through human reasoning. So even though institutions like slavery existed since antiquity,the Christian church in the medieval era extended its sacraments to all slaves and then imposed a ban on the enslavement of Christians, effectively abolishing slavery in medieval Europe. There were vestiges of slavery that still existed sure, but theologians like Saint Anselm campaigned to abolish slavery in Christendom in the eleventh century. All of that was a result of progressive theology, since doctrines on how to treat slaves were in both the new and the old testament.

    My point in bringing that up is that no such doctrine of progression exists in Islam. So actions that they take that seem “backwards” to us in the west are pretty much their literal interpretation of the Qur’an. Most religions tend to look back in time for examples of the purest version of their religion and Islam is no exception. That’s why slavery still exists in parts of the Islamic world. Muhammad owned slaves and the practice is easily justifiable when you look back in time. The same “back in time” rationalizations are used to justify killing infidels.

    • Greg Stevens says:

      The doctrine of progression is not strictly scriptural, though. Sure, it exists explicitly in interpretations of medieval scribes and has had a HUGE influence on the development of Western civilization: I’m not contesting that. However, “conservative” and backward-looking groups of Christians can be (and are) just as literal in their interpretations of violent and closed-minded portions of the old Testament, as conservative Muslims can be in their literal interpretation of the Qur’an. To claim that one text is INHERENTLY more progressive than the other is, I believe, inaccurate. Both the Old Testament and the Qur’an can be used to find, for those who are cherry-picking, both statements that encourage rape and murder, on the one hand, and those that encourage peace and tolerance, on the other.

      An argument can be made the Islam suffers from the problem of fundamentalist extremists making up far TOO LARGE of a portion of the mainstream religion. That is a cultural issue, and worth discussing. But when you do the apples-to-apples comparison of fundamentalist Islamic extremists to fundamentalist Christian extremists, it becomes pretty clear that the problem is fundamentalist extremism, and nothing that adheres to the religious “texts” themselves.

  3. Venimus says:

    Typical stupid liberal you try to pretend you can just replace “woman” with “person” like there are no differences at all between men and women but I hate to burst your liberal bubble but men and women ARE DIFFERENT you can live in denial all yo uwant but its true.

    • Greg Stevens says:

      Thanks for your comment! I agree that men and women are different. I love those differences and think we should celebrate them.

      I just think we have to be more precise when identifying those differences. When people say “why are women so difficult to figure out?” a lot of the time it has nothing to do with women in particular…. it’s just that people in general are damn difficult to figure out!

      I’m not saying men and women are alike in all ways. I’m just saying when talking about this stuff, it’s helpful to just kind of stop, and think about it, and see if it really IS a difference,… or just the way human beings are.



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