standard SL 53 – The Importance of Women in Our Society with Dr. Melvin Konner

 

Jason Hartman welcomes Dr. Melvin Konner who is the author of Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy. Melvin sits down with Jason and talks about the importance of women and how they”ve always played an important roll throughout history. In our society, we”re seeing more women take on higher leadership rolls, more men being stay-at-home parents, and much more on today”s Swank Life episode.

 

Key Takeaways:
3:40 – Why does genetic variety make us more immune to germs?
7:00 – Men are dependent on women for their own connection to the future and that”s why men fight over women.
10:50 – Women had a voice in hunter and gather societies.
18:10 – Men are usually the instigators and leaders to illegal crimes more so than women.
23:05 – It”s extremely hard to be a good mom.
27;30 – Women are generally healthier than men and can make up for lost time outside of the work force.

 

Tweetables:
“Male power is not a myth,but some aspect of it are greatly exaggerated.”

“We”re seeing more and more families, statistically, which a male earns less than his wife.”

“The percentage of women CEOs in the fortunate 500 is less than 5%, but it use to be 0 and it”s raising.”

 

Mentioned In This Episode:
The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell.
http://www.melvinkonner.com

 

Transcript

Jason Hartman:
It”s my pleasure to welcome Dr. Melvin Konner to the show. He is a professor at Emory University in the field of neuroscience and behavioral biology. His book is entitled Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy. Ought to be a very interesting interview. Melvin, welcome, how are you?

Dr. Melvin Konner:
I am fine. Thanks so much and how are you?

Jason:
Good, good, it”s good to have you on the show. Kind of take us through the thesis of your book if you would and how things have changed over the millennia.

Melvin:
So, evolution started out with cells that were basically female, because they all could produce life out of their own body, but for some reason in those females or the evolutionary process really invented males and evolutionists have spent a lot of time trying to figure, biologists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why that ever happened and it seems to be because of the variety that it produces when you have sexual reproduction and that protects you from germs much better than everybody being genetically the same, but the cost is you have this whole other sex called males that kind of are a burden on the system and the creates problems on their own. There are lots of different ways of arranging sex in different species and some females are dominant and some males are – I think we are in a phase of the end male domination, which has lasted for thousands of years, but probably wasn”t where our species started.

Jason:
Wait, those are some big statements there. I just gotta ask you about. So, you said that life started out as female life. I mean, I know, in utero we all start as females and then something has to happened to become male, but what do you mean all life started that way and the male was just created for evolutionary purposes. That”s a bigger concept.

Melvin:
That”s a good question. The basic original cells had to reproduce by butting or dividing and the offspring came out of their own bodies and were genetically identical to them and then males basically evolved out of that. Maybe it”s not 100% accurate to call those original cells female, but they did produce life by themselves and now the females can”t do that anymore.

Jason:
Why does genetic variety make us more immune to germs? That”s one of the things you said, you said that evolution happened in this way and the male came along because it created more variety in the species. Is that the proper word? Species?

Melvin:
Yeah, that”s okay. It creates more variety even in the offspring of one individual, so if you”re a female and reproducing by yourself, you”re basically making identical genetic clones of yourself and all your offspring are genetically identical to you and each other and if a germ comes along, it has to figure out, how to do it”s dirty work on one of you and then it can do it on your all of you because you have identical genes. If you mix it up, like what happens in sexual reproduction, then everyone of your offspring is not genetically identical and it takes the germs much longer to figure out how to spread. That”s the best explanation to why sex has evolved.

Jason:
So, in the reproductive activity, do people seek their opposites in many ways as a way of diversifying the gene pool? For example, does a dark-haired male prefer a blonde-haired female?

Melvin:
Actually, there”s a lot of evidence of the opposite. We have a saying, you know, opposites attracted. There”s plenty of evidence that people tend to choose mates that are more similar to themselves then you would expect by just random selections, so more similar to themselves in height and weight and skin color and hair color and so on, intelligence. Now, it is true that there are plenty of couples where the man and women are very different from each other, but statistically not the most common.

Jason:
So, you said when you first started, you said males were a problem or causes problems, something to that affect. Tell us about that statement. I”m sure car insurances might agree or crime states might agree.

Melvin:
Up to a point it is funny. Males ended up completely dependent on females for their reproductive future so in most species males make, in humans, males make a very teensy biological contribution to the next generation and the female makes a tremendous contribution by carrying the baby for nine months and going through the risks and pain of labor, but the males are completely dependent, men are completely dependent on women for their own connection to the future, so men fight over women and have always done that. Women sometimes fight over men, but not to the same extent and not with the same violence and determination. You look at Boko Haram, ISIS, and the Taliban and you see a mirror, I think, of a lot of things that happened in the past throughout the world. Male dominated society, very violent, stealing women from other men, killing men in order to get their women, basically distributing among soldiers. This is the ancient world, this was the British Island in the medieval ages. This tribal male dominated behavior in which males just fight relentlessly over women.

Jason:
It”s really too bad, I mean you”ve got this segment of the global population that”s living in the seventh century. It”s unbelievable. That”s probably a different subject for a different episode for a different show, but it”s an interesting comparison you make and I would agree. So, is it just, when you said that males are a problem or can lend to problems, is that strictly in the fighting over females or is there another domain in which this is problematic.

Melvin:
There is certainty one other major domain, which is male sexual, which is quite different from female sexuality. After all, it”s evolution, we have different brains and different genes, so it”s not just a matter of upbringing at least in other two areas. In the area of violence and the area of sexuality and males have what I call a driven-sexuality. It”s almost like a pressure coming from withing. I got to have it, I”ll go on the prowl for it, I”ll do whatever is necessary, pay for it if I have to, I”ll use force if I have to, and obviously this is not a description of all men, but it is a description of a lot of men and I think women have to be concerned about that.

Jason:
You know, that driven-sexuality that you talk about, that”s an interesting way to put it and I wouldn”t disagree with you, but is that an evolutionary necessity? If that didn”t exist, would we have perished as a species by now?

Melvin:
Well, it”s hard to say what would have happened and it”s one of those what ifs historical things, but we did go through a transition. I mean, for hundreds of thousands of years we were as a species hunting and gathering for a living and I”ve lived through the hunting and gathering population for a couple of years in Africa and that is a small scale society living off the land with groups of, bands of 30 or so people, 30 or 40 people of all ages, and living in face to face contact and knowing everybody that you see everyday quite well and in those kind of societies, decisions are made sitting around the fire at night and women had a voice.

Go forward to what we call civilization,the rise of civilization, you have very dense large populations. You have specialized armies, priesthoods, and you have for the first time , you have, you know, a critical mass of men who can exclude women from decisions from public life and relegate women. This is the first time we have a separation between public and private faces in men to control public spaces and to send women off into the private space of the home and the kitchen and that”s the way it”s been for thousands of years, but I think we”re seeing an end to that right now and that”s why I wrote Women After All.

Jason:
Where are we now? I mean, have we evolved to the point where frankly uglier sides of maleness really are going away and it is changing. I mean, you still here and feminists complain that they don”t earn as much and, you know, I think that argument has a lot of flaws to it, frankly. I”m happy to discuss that if you wish, but there are powers that women used over time to combat this male power if you will and, you know, I had Robert Greene on the show and he wrote that very interesting book Seduction that you may be familiar with. I mean, women are better, I mean, they”ve developed things that men don”t have. They are better at intuition. They”re better at, I”m just going to say it, manipulation. Hope I don”t get a lot of hate mail on that. They”re better at obviously seduction. They have an arsenal of their own strengths. I don”t think those make things equal or not, but certainty there are counter balances for each gender, right?

Melvin:
Yes, I agree completely with what you say, women, but I think you have to look at the circumstances have causes women to have to develop those skills in manipulation and seduction to product themselves against a man”s world in which they, that was the only chance. You have men who say, well, women have all the power already, well, in a sort of perverse sense that”s true, but this is not a fair and equal division of power and it”s not equality. I think that part of what women do when they get into position of powers and a number of studies have shown this is that they”re actually less egotistical, less autocratic, they are more willing to kind of look for the opinion”s working under them and make decisions more collaboratively, to be more transparent in the way they run their companies or in case of politicians has been a good study of majors, women and men majors.

So, Sheryl Sandberg, the CoO Facebook said the world is going social and women are more social than men and that”s one of the big transitions we”re in and she”s, Facebook is a predominantly female, not overwhelmingly, but predominantly female media, so men may be, on the average, more technologically in depth than women, but when it comes to social media, which is one of the most important applications of technology, women seem to be ahead of us.

Jason:
Very good point, very good point. Okay, so what”s fascinating me and I may get this wrong, is it Herb Goldberg who wrote some books, I think he wrote a book called the Myth of Male Power.

Melvin:
I think it”s Warren Farrell.

Jason:
Warren Farrell wrote that, okay.

Melvin:
That is a book that I read and paid a lot of attention to it.

Jason:
I couldn”t be confusing the books here or the promoter of this idea, but I think it was very interesting in that whenever there”s this couple that commits a crime. It”s not a couple, it”s always the man who goes to jail, you know, like if it”s Enron, if it”s Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, whatever it is, right, but the wives, you know, they”re getting the benefit of all these ill gotten games. They don”t seem to ever really pay the mentality for it. It”s always the man. I mean, look at Bernie Madoff. I mean, he”s married. Don”t these women, maybe they”re not really part of the actual crime, but I don”t know, many times they are, but they gotta know, they gotta suspect something. I mean, our system doesn”t seem to be very fair to men, certainty anybody who has been to family court, any male who has been to family court and tried to get custody of their kids in a divorce, you know, I think automatically the system favors women, right?

Melvin:
There”s state by state differences in the custody laws that are important, but generally speaking I”d say there”s a presumption that favors mothers and I think that kind of makes sense because in all societies mothers are the ones who are typically most involved, not in every family, but typically most involved with children and the most likely to give children a good life, but shared custodies seems to me fair outcome on that one. When you talk about the criminality and who gets punished and I think if you, I don”t know the criminality statistics well except to say that most crimes are committed by men and women alone will do crimes sometimes like embezzlement if they are in a certain financial position as accountants or something like and I talk about that some in Women After All, but the conspiracies that involve men and women usually turn out to be ones in which the men are the instigators, planners, and the leaders, that was true in the Enron thing. So, equal punishment for equal crimes, but not…

Jason:
I certainty agree with you there. I”m not, what I”m really saying there is that shouldn”t the spouse, usually female in this case that we”re talking about who”s sitting at home and the mansion, you know, enjoying the country club membership, enjoying all these perks of her husband”s disgusting white collar crimes. I mean, isn”t there culpability there to just take and spend that money? I mean, Bernie Madoff”s wife didn”t know, they didn”t have any pillow talk. I can”t imagine it, you know?

Melvin:
I agree. It” implausible, but I”m sure it was investigator and Bernie Madoff”s family members were investigated, one of his sons committed suicide. I don”t think life was a bed of roses for Mrs. Madoff after this thing was discovered and he sent to prison.

Jason:
But she”s not going to die in prison.

Melvin:
Right, the book that you mentioned, The Myth of Male Power I think says certain things that do need to be said. Male power is not a myth,but some aspect of it are greatly exaggerated and it”s not entirely consistent with the message of my book, but when I look at the statistics and one of the things that Farrell said in that book about equal pay, you know, it should be paid for equal work. If a man and a women are really doing the same job and getting paid differently that”s not fair to women, but there”s certain situations, I think he gives an example in the telephone company where a guy who claims a telephone poll to repair the wires is considered to be at the same level as a certain level of secretary, but he”s paid more than she is. Well, he”s not just being paid for a certain number of hours of work, he”s suppose to be paid for risk, for taking risks, and men deserve to be paid more if they”re taking risk and if a women does the job of claiming a telephone and taking the risk, then she should be paid exactly the same as he is.

Jason:
Well, see I actually take it, I take it a step further and listen, I”m not disputing, I certainty think there should be equal pay for equal work and also if you look at pay and most of the world basis pay on experience and experience, you know, for better or worse is not exactly accurate of course, but it”s based on some degree on seniority and number of years doing that job and many women leave the work force for several years to have children and for that, they get a much closer bond with their children, I mean, certainty being a mom is an extremely important job. I grew up with a single mom. I saw how much she struggled to take care of me, but the mother has big advantages.

I mean, Mother”s Day is a much more important day, at least in our culture in the west than in Father”s Day. I”m just going to say it, I really think that”s true. I think moms have loads of benefits. No body compensates the male for not having as close a bond with his children yet the mom may have left the workforce for seven years, comes back in, I don”t know, I think it”s questionable if they”re doing the exact same job if she should be making the same amount of money with seven years less experience, you know, it”s not that wasn”t offset by some other life benefit, which is a closer bond with your children, getting to watch your children grow up where males largely miss a lot of that.

Melvin:
Yeah, I think it”s very sad that we do. I think one of the benefits for men, the big transition that society is undergoing in sex roles is men are not going to be deprived as much of their bonds with their children. I agree with a lot of what you say. I lost my wife in 1996 when our kids were 18, 14, and 9 and after that I was a single father – I was a great dad and I was a pretty good mom, but it was much harder to be a pretty good mom than it was to be a great dad and you have to give women credit, because they”re taking on the lion”s share of the burden or the lioness”s share, but that”s changing a lot. One of my daughter”s is a bread winner in her family and my son-in-law is a great stay at home dad, we”re seeing more of that. We”re seeing more and more families, statistically, which a male earns less than his wife. The future is uncertain, but it looks like there”s going to be more men getting more involved in childcare, which I think this would be good for men.

Jason:
When you look at college, I mean, women are dominating colleges and master”s programs too. That”s really quite a change, it”s great. It”s quite refreshing. A lot of males will default to, you know, the jobs that involve physical labor and more blue-collar type jobs. Most of those jobs don”t earn nearly as much money or have the potential of the white-collar high education oriented jobs have. It”s really a big change, yeah. What does the future hold for the genders?

Melvin:
In the short term I think we”re going to see, you know, a steady continuing progression where women participate more and more in all aspect public life, leadership, economics, a majority of new businesses in the 21st century have been started by women. The percentage of women CEOs in the fortunate 500 is less than 5%, but it use to be zero and it”s raising.

Jason:
It”s raising. Is it raising quickly enough?

Melvin:
Well, many women would say no and I certainty sympathize with them. I think they have the right to be impatient, but like you say, it takes a life time of experience to run a company like that. If you look lower down in the ranks, you look at the vice president rank and the one below that, you see more and more women. So, there”s a deep bench of potential women CEOs. I think there”s a deep bench of both parties of women who could possibly eventually run for president and there have been women leaders in Britain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, India, lots of other countries and it”ll come here eventually. I would like to say one more thing about the fact you were basically talking about the mommy track, the fact that women get off the career track for a while.

The fact that women live five or six or seven years than men on average and are healthy at later ages means that, you know, the path that was followed by Sandra Day O”Connor to the supreme court where she went to law school, she took many years off to be a mother and raise her children and then somehow made her way back into judicial role and ends up on the supreme court is something like what Margaret Thatcher did, something like what Hilary would like to do, and if you think of 65 year old women who is being in the sense younger and healthier than a man the same age, they might be able to make up for lost time after they”re done raising their kids, which might be much younger, it might be 45, 50. I think we”ll see more of that, but I, you know, we have more and more people like you who have grown up with single mothers who made tremendous sacrifices. Now we”ve had two presidents who were raised by single mothers, Clinton and Obama. It”s not like women don”t have an important roll that they”re playing, I agree with you on that, even traditionally.

Jason:
Well, this has been a fascinating discussion and it”s sure to anger and bother a few people at least my comments, so I apologize if it did.

Melvin:
I specialize in that and I assume you did too.

Jason:
I want to bring everything out into the light and debate it. I like to do that and also a little controversy gets more engagement. So, I like that too. Good stuff. Well, hey, give out your website and tell people where they can find the book.

Melvin:
MelvinKonner.com is the website. The book is at a book store near you or on Amazon.com.

Jason:
Excellent, so I just want to clarify for the listeners that”s Melvin Konner and Konner is with a K. Dr. Melvin Konner, thank you so much for joining us.

Melvin:
And thank you, Jason. I appreciate it.

Announcer:
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email media@hartmanmedia.com. Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

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