Study Shows Men Get More Generous With Birth of Daughter #notconvinced

by Katharine Ernst

I’m more than a little skeptical about a new study that asserts that the birth of a daughter and growing up with female siblings makes men more generous with their money. I can see how growing up with siblings in general makes  people, not just men, generous because they’ll be more inclined to share, but I don’t buy that all female children are more nurturing and soften all men in the household in general. And what happens to those that fall through the cracks in the male/female equation?

To me it seems that this study does nothing more than confirm the prevalence of sexism in our society. To declare that, biologically, women are more nurturing and men are more aggressive in nature is a little dated, don’t you think?

What bothers me most about this study is the declaration that men are more extreme while women are neutral. Now really, how can that be confirmed? Saying that men are capable of the most intense acts of aggression and still have the capability to be the most selfless makes it seem that women can’t inhabit either extreme. That position is extremely problematic and also does not account for the absence of women in history due to patriarchy. It’s only pretty recently that women en masse have been able to attain positions of power. And we still have battles to fight, such as for equal pay.

The idea of women as neutralizers in society is an antiquated one, and cannot be proved with science. Each woman is different and some may be more adept to an extreme decision or action just as much as a man. The fact that this is a widely accepted notion is infuriating because shows a scientific justification for a greater social problem. I’m very suspicious of how unbiased this research is. Isn’t it more likely that socially constructed ideas of gender have influenced the actions of the men in this research—as opposed to the idea that this specific relationship between men, women, and generosity biologically occurs?

Source via Administrative Science Quarterly and The New York Times

Photo via CNN

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