Every other male is a potential ally

Saturday, April 15th, 2023

Helen Reddy’s 1971 anthem “I Am Woman” captured the spirit of feminism in that era, Arnold Kling notes:

The mood was optimistic, proud, and spirited. “Nothing can stop me,” the song seemed to say. Once doors were open to women, they would charge through and never look back.

Today, the mood of feminists seems much darker. On college campuses, some seethe with resentment. They look to university administrators to fend off “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture.” They allege that free speech causes harm. They insist that schools ban words and speakers. They want “safe spaces.” It seems as though “I am strong, I am invincible” has been replaced by “I am anxious, I am vulnerable.”


I would suggest that higher education, once dominated by men, used to cater to men’s warrior nature. Today, with female students the majority, colleges and universities cater much more to women’s worrier culture.

In her book [Warriors and Worriers: The Survival of the Sexes], Benenson presents extensive empirical evidence for general differences in behavior and temperament between human males and females. These are differences that she and others have found in infants, toddlers, children, and adolescence. They are found in primitive cultures as well as in modern Western cultures. They are similar to traits found in other primates, including our chimpanzee relatives.


Benenson catalogues numerous differences in temperament and behavior between males and females. These include:

  • Boys are drawn to fight one another, and girls are not.
  • Boys are eager to play on their own, without the authority of teachers, and girls are not.
  • Girls enjoy play that involves acting out scenes of caring for a baby or a person in distress, and boys do not.
  • Women show higher levels of fear and anxiety and lower propensity to take risks than men do.
  • When evaluating same-sex individuals as potential friends or allies, men look for strength, courage, and useful skills. Women look for vulnerability and the absence of overt conflict.
  • Boys tend to have large groups of friends, with loose ties and shifting alliances. Girls tend to form tight cliques.
  • At recess, boys enjoy competitive team sports. They are concerned with formal rules and spend time negotiating such rules. I think of pickup softball games where there are only six players on a team. The rules might be “anything hit to right field is a foul ball,” or “batting team supplies pitcher, catcher, and first baseman” or some other ad hoc modification of normal baseball rules.
  • At recess, girls are less likely to choose competitive team sports, and they lose interest in team games relatively quickly.
  • Men value competition with prizes for those who demonstrate the most skill. Women prefer that no one stand out.


Benenson claims that what underlies these differences is that women pay more attention to their survival as individuals, while men pay more attention to survival in group competition. In terms of evolutionary psychology, a female needs to protect her own health in order to be able to bear children and to enable them to survive to adulthood. Benenson notes that until recently in human history, 40 percent of children died before the age of two. Increasing the chances of her baby’s survival had to be a major concern for women.


For men, the ability to pass their genes along is relatively less dependent on their individual survival. It is relatively more dependent on the ability of their group to out-compete other groups, especially in war.


For a female, every other female is a potential competitor. Women eliminate a competitor by ganging up on the unwanted woman and excluding her. The excluded woman may not have violated a formal rule, but she seems threatening for some reason.

For a male, every other male is a potential ally. You may fight a man one day, and the next day you may join with him to fight a common enemy. Men want to see non-cooperators punished, but subsequently the rule-breaker might be rehabilitated. Permanent exclusion would be a bad practice.


  1. Michael van der Riet says:

    Girls have play relationships with dolls, learning how to control minds. In boys’ games they do things to each other’s bodies, like kill them for instance.

  2. Jo McRae says:

    Boys and later, men, prefer to cull the herd. We don’t seek to kill our opponents. The feeling is to trim the fat, to eliminate those that can’t compete at the level chosen. We blast each other within certain rules that allow us to fight another day. In the field of warfare, taking prisoners is an obvious manifestation of this feeling. However, when that pact is broken, as with the Japanese in WW2 in which prisoners were mistreated and in some cases eaten, all bets were off. In retrospect, the Japanese were not only infused with Budo, but were considerably smaller and poorly fed in comparison with the Allies. Little man syndrome was part and parcel of the Japanese War Plan.

  3. Jim says:

    Jo McRae,

    The Japanese are a noble race. Their formidableness in war has nothing to do with any kind of inferiority complex. It is an expression of their warrior spirit. The bovine races — which is most of them — do not display heroism or honor, ever.

  4. Jim says:

    G*rl “students” and w*m*n “teachers” were the worst part of my compelled schooling; w*m*n “employees” are the worst part of the c*rp*rations with which I do business.

    W*m*n’s “liberation”—that is, to pretend to be men—was, is, and will ever be the capitalists’ most perfidious invention.

    If we must have c*rp*rations, let them be an epic sausagefest; if we must have schools, let us have no f*m*le within a thirty-three-mile radius thereof.

    Curtis “Wife-Killer” Yarvin once proposed a beautifully simple and very funny plan, namely RAGE: Retire All Government Employees. My modest proposal is simpler and much more effective:

    RAW: Retire All Women.

  5. Mike-SMO says:

    First, some teachers “got the magic”. Those, especially at the early elementary school level, can identify the mature ones, and teach them differently from those struggling with the mysterious “gkyphs” on the page. The common educator will plod through the detailed lesson plan, from on high, boring many students while loosing others. Still, the mass of female teachers seem ed to prefer a detailed plan. I think the male v female thing is being played out inthe UkrainiN War. The Russians use an old Soviet concept where by detailed orders are issued to units in the field, that cover every eventuality (sic). When the unexpected occurs, the show stops until new orders are received. The Ukrainian forces have been indoctrinated for a decade with a rather, in my opinion, “male” approach, where in those “on high” issue general decisions leaving the local commanders with the decisions of how to accomplish those goals, while reporting back their technical needs, i.e. artillery support and/or supplies. It is a difficult game involving competent, individual “teams”. Local initiative is a “male” type of organization, distinctly different from the detailed lesson plan or Russian/Soviet control from “on high”. The function through semi-independent skilled “teams” seems to be more aligned with male group action than it does with “female” detailed control. Creating and/or assembling such “teams” is a daunting task. That may be why most effective leaders are men, who seem attuned to such tasks. Such is a hypothesis.

  6. Shadeburst says:

    @Mike-SMO Don’t you think that the first week of the Russian invasion typified male behavior? Don’t ask for directions, the instructions are something you read when things go wrong. The Russian generals must have been informed that they would be up against the latest American technology and chose to ignore it.

  7. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Shadeburst: “Don’t you think that the first week of the Russian invasion typified male behavior?”

    Equally, it could be understood as female-oriented behavior.

    Russia initially intervened in the long-running civil war in the Ukraine with a military demonstration rather than a genuine attack. The demonstration was intended to make the Zelensky regime understand that its years of aggression against Russian-speaking Ukrainians were unacceptable, and bring Zelensky to the negotiating table.

    This female-oriented demonstration almost worked. But then US/UK/NATO intervened and aborted the negotiations which the Ukraine had already started.

    That brought the conflict back to a male-oriented perspective, where the only option for Russia was to destroy the Ukrainian military.

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