Thank you ma’am, may I have another?

We often see a women complaining about a men, to that man or to other women.  We less often see the gender-reversed scenario.  At least that is what I see, in friends, family, movies, and music.  Yes, men roll their eyes, and perhaps in general women talk more about people.   But women complain more, even taking these into account.  Why?

The politically correct theory is that women’s lives are worse, so they have more to complain about.

After all, men often ignore, disrespect, and abandon, even beat and rape, women.  But slaves weren’t know for being complainers, and they had the most to complain about.   

Women also ignore, disrespect, abandon, and beat men.  Women rarely rape men, but they do cuckold them.  Men suffer more health and violence problems, and the standard evolutionary story is that men suffer a higher outcome variance, and so have more disappointments.

The opposite theory is that women complain because their lives are better; complaints could be weak version of tantrums, which can be seen as status symbols.   But even relatively low status women seem to complain a lot.

Clearly part of the story is that when women complain, others tend to sympathize and take their side, but when men complain, others tend to snicker and think less of them.   But why are their complaints treated so differently?   

One factor is that we value toughness more in men than women.  Another factor is that men seem to signal their devotion to women more than vice versa.  But I’m not sure why these happen, or if they are sufficient explanations.

Whatever the true story, the politically correct theory, that women complain more due to worse lives, seems both wrong and biased.   Surely most people know enough men and women to see that their quality of life is not that different, at least compared to their complaint rates.

(Obscure title explained.)

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  • James W.

    Assuming arguendo that you are correct about frequency of complaint,
    another possibility is that this has little or nothing to do with
    absolute levels of quality of life and instead has to do with the
    costs of different strategies for melioration of one’s problems.
    If, for whatever reason, men and women pay different costs to use
    various tactics to deal with things they dislike, then members of
    each sex should show consistently different preferences for such
    tactics. Complaint could be one such tactic. Poking one’s
    nemesis in the nose could be another. Paying to make the problem
    go away could be another. I reckon that men get in fist fights
    more, and implicitly threaten or use such violence more than women
    do. Men may have more disposable cash to pay for getting wrongs
    redressed.

  • http://amethodnotaposition.blogspot.com Matthew

    I suspect most men see complaining about their significant others as a sign of weakness and are loathe to do it in front of people they don’t trust completely. I think your “toughness” and perhaps the related “not emotional” traits being much more valued in men are the biggest reasons.

    I do find that the men I am close to are very willing to share complaints about the women in their lives. And those complaints are generally very much the same for all of them. The big two are:

    1) She doesn’t want sex nearly often enough.
    2) She reacts emotionally and irrationally to all manner of issues that come up in the relationship.

  • http://pdf23ds.net pdf23ds

    I think the most straightforward explanation–which is to say, what I think is the primary factor, but not to exclude other factors–is that women are usually less powerful in one-on-one romantic relationships with men, because of culturally bound gender roles and economic inequality. (If you would reflect on your impression of female complaints in relationship where the female brings in a salary comparable or greater to the man’s, what do you find?) Since women don’t have as much direct power, they have to exercise power through manipulation of their partners. The reason a complaining man is looked down on is that it implies that the man is powerless in the relationship (that she wears the pants) and that’s not macho.

    I don’t think this argument has much to do, directly, with quality of life.

  • http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2006/11/the_social_psyc.html EconLog

    The Social Psychology of Gender Bias

    Over at Overcoming Bias, the smartest man I know argues that we underestimate the quality of women’s lives – and…

  • Paul Gowder

    A feminist theorist would say that your analysis itself reflects bias, in the form of discounting or overlooking information tending against one’s own interests, by being disposed to fail to acknowledge male privilege. This might be specifically by failing to reflect the myriad of ways that women’s experience in this society is worse — economic discrimination, objectification, etc. etc.

    Such a theorist might also suggest that there’s reason to fear bias in the subjective perception (w/o data) of relative complaint rates of women and men. This is doubly the case since some of that perception comes from the mass media. Our imaginary feminist theorist might go so far as to point out that false and/or essentializing negative representations of women in the media as weak and whiny are part of the way in which women’s lives are worse — so they don’t complain as much as you perceive, and the fact that the culture invites you to experience this false perception justifies complaint.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    James, it is not clear to me that men do have more disposable cash; they may earn more, but often control spending less.

    Matthew, what fraction of men complaining that women “react emotionally” is men complaining about women complaining?

    pdf, it is not clear that people with less power complain more. For example, bosses complain more to their subordinates than vice versa, I think.

    Paul, yes, I could be biased in what I see. But so could women be biased in what they see. Mass media would be biased toward their customers, but that isn’t obviously men more than women. Simply mentioning the possibility of bias doesn’t get us very far; we’d need some reason to expect one side to be more biased than the other. So does someone here see more complaints by men to women in their friends, family, or media?

  • Patri Friedman

    This reminds me of an interesting argument made by someone I know: Men will be more aware of the gender disparity in intelligence than women. Why? Well, assume we buy the theory that the gender disparity is caused by greater variance leading to disproportionately more men at the tails of the distribution. That means there are a few less men in the large central area, so the proportion of women is slightly higher, and a few more at the sparse tails, which means men are much more common there.

    But think how it looks to women, assuming people mostly associate with and can recognize people of the same intelligence. Except for the few at the top end, most women are in the central part of the distribution, where the ratios are very similar and thus look identical. Only if you are at a tail do things look different – but most of the people at the tails are men, hence their observations tend to get dismissed as being male-centric bias.

  • http://pdf23ds.net pdf23ds

    Robin, the two case aren’t analogous: employees work for the money, and generally don’t claim any other obligations from their bosses. On the other hand, they have lots of obligations to their bosses, and so bosses have plenty to complain about. Also, employees are much more replaceable than romantic partners, and so bosses have *much* more leverage against their employees than men do against their partners. Skipping some details, employees are powerless, whereas women have lots of power, just substantially less than their male partners. (Either partner can inflict a lot of pain on the other by using the emotional ties between them–dumping/divorcing them, in the extreme case.)

    “Reacting emotionally” is just gendered language for irrational behavior in conflict. I don’t think men are any better about it, but their reactions are more often withdrawal or dismissal than passion.

    I have no doubt that the view that women have worse lives than men, and the view that their lives are equal, are biased, in both directions, by many factors. But that’s not really very interesting. Let’s not ask “In which direction lies the overall bias”, but “What are the different biasing factors?” The various answers to that question constitute the meat of feminist thought for the last several decades. Things like media effects and cultural attitudes and structural inequality.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Pdf, if you don’t like the boss-employee analogy, consider parents and kids; parents have more power over kids, and parents complain more to kids. It is not obvious to me that media effects bias our perception here, but yes, studying specific bias mechanisms is of great interest here at Overcoming Bias.

  • http://pdf23ds.net pdf23ds

    Robin, the feminist view on media effects in relation to this issue can be googled using “male gaze”.

    I don’t think parents complain more to kids, except in childhood. In adolescence it equalizes.

  • http://pdf23ds.net pdf23ds

    Oh, and I would expect that it would equalize. I don’t think the power relationship overall between adolescents and parents is really that unequal. While the parents have financial power, the children at that point are not as emotionally attached to the parents as vice versa. They can more easily afford to be cruel or distant.

  • http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton Bruce G Charlton

    This is a brilliant observation – of the kind once read, never forgotten…

  • Yan Li

    I agree with Bruce – brilliant observation! But I don’t know how to put my mind around it. I feel like being asked by a bat ‘why do you “see” through your eyes when you could “see” much better with your ears?’

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Yan, do you mean you have no sense organs to perceive uncomplained male unhappiness?

  • Paul Gowder

    Robin: the mass media bias argument is deeper than that. It isn’t that mass media is biased by their customers, it’s that mass media and the culture in general are systematically biased toward men by a whole conjunction of factors. As applied to this specific case (and I’m not a competent expositor of feminist theory, so someone please come in and fill the hole) the idea is that there is a long-term cultural view of women that is reinforced by all elements of the culture, from the fact that men are in the positions of power at these studios (and don’t see what they’re doing because of male privilege), from our religious myths, from the division of labor esp. in households, etc. All of these things bias the culture toward a belief that women are passive objects rather than active agents, and this is reflected in, e.g., the portrayal of women as whining complainers rather than people who change their problems. The fact of the structures (males dominating the media and the workplace, male-centric myths in our religions, etc.) does give us good independent reason to believe that the media is biased toward those views of masculinity and feminity.

    It also gives us good reason to believe that individual perceptions will be more likely to experience women as complaining more, wholly apart from the mass media. Believing that women are complainers will confirm our cultural presuppositions. Believing that women are not complainers will contradict them. And we know that people are more receptive to evidence in the former category.

  • Yan Li

    Prof. Hanson, not really. What I was trying to say was that differences in the genetic wiring might explain why men and women express their frustrations so differently. Some people perspire more through their armpits; some, their feet; dogs, their tongues, only!

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    On average a random cultural stereotype or expectation is more likely to be right than wrong. Some of them are wrong of course, but to go from the fact of a cultural stereotype that women complain more to a conclusion that women complain less, we would need a more particular reason to think that this particular stereotype is contrary to fact. The mere fact that the stereotype is about women is surely not enough; most stereotypes about women are probably also more often right than wrong.

  • http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/personal_pages/eric_crampton/index.html Too scared of wife to sign name

    Women complain more because it works. They can more credibly commit to doing mutually destructive irrational things if the complaints aren’t addressed. It’s like playing an ultimatum game where you know damned well that any division less than 2/3 in favour of the recipient will be rejected.

  • Paul Gowder

    We do have a particular reason to think that this cultural stereotype is contrary to fact: it’s not a “random” stereotype. The story about how it came into being spans generations of behavior. It’s not as if someone woke up one day and decided “hey, women are passive!” One piece of error combined with another piece of unconsciously motivated power-grabbing to produce a whole worldview that evolved, not because of its truth, but because it happened to coordinate with the interests of those in power. If nothing else should always be suspicious of cultural stereotypes that coincide with hundreds of generations of power relationships, because that’s a prime place where one would expect to find bias.

    Besides, what’s the basis for the claim that “on average a random cultural stereotype or expectation is more likely to be right than wrong?” Unless you’re making some kind of social constructivist claim that the stereotype structures relationships such that it becomes true? Which is probably right, but I doubt it’s the claim you’re pushing.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Paul, for info on stereotypes being on average accurate see: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2005/02/giles_and_stere.html
    Can you show data that cultural stereotypes that “happened to coordinate with the interests of those in power” are on average inaccurate? And it is not clear to me that a stereotype of women complaining is against their interests; as “too scare of” says, women may benefit from a reputation for making good on their threats.

  • Paul Gowder

    Robin, I can’t show data on that posited inaccuracy, but the point is that we have reason to suspect there’s a bias at play when the stereotype coincides with the interests of those in power. This is so just because people tend to more readily adopt beliefs that are in accordance with their own interests, and when those people are in power, they’re in a position to structure society to also reflect those beliefs. Those stereotypes seem to have a characteristic which distinguishes them from other stereotypes.

    There is evidence for stereotype-confirming bias, however, I’ll also concede that there is evidence for stereotype-disconfirming bias too — see Wyer 2004, Not All Stereotypic Biases are Created Equal: Evidence for a Stereotype-Disconfirming Bias, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 6, 706-720 (2004).

  • James W.

    Robin: you responded only to my cash claim, but there could be all sorts of other costs of complaining that make it a better strategy for women than men. Perhaps a good way to look at this is analogously to comparative advantage. By hypothesis the production of complaint differs systematically between men and women. Either the cost of the profit from complaint (or both) should differ systematically between the sexes, or men and women should have other differences in their opportunities to seek redress of grievances such that women end up with a comparative advantage at complaint production.

    It’s interesting to me that complaints are commonly viewed in a negative light, but complaint could be construed as a positive. After all, a fair complaint is an expression of information that could lead to an improved situation, if heeded.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Paul, I think this will be a recurring theme in this forum: when should you adjust your beliefs to account for a bias people say exists but have not bothered to document in any clear way? We saw this before when people claimed that youth is biased to confuse what is with what should be, in order to justify our obvious teaching bias, and now here you say that our gender stereotypes about complaints are likely biased to favor males, which I should use to correct the evidence of my eyes and ears that the women around men complain more. I can see that in these cases I’m going to err in the direction of not putting much weight on these supposed biases until they can be more clearly demonstrated.

    James, yes of course something must be different in either the costs or the benefits of complaining. The question is what. I don’t think I took a position on whether complaints were positive or negative.

  • James W.

    Robin:

    By analogy with the comparative advantage case, it need not necessarily be the case that the costs and benefits are different, though that’s a possibility. It could simply be the case that men have other opportunities that for some reason are not open to women and that yield a higher return than complaining, i.e. men can do something other than complain that women can’t do. So this could be entirely about men having different opportunities from women where those opportunities are a superior substitute for complaining. (Of course this is a hidden difference in costs in the sense that this is an opportunity cost, so perhaps that’s what you meant.)

    You say that it’s obvious that there’s a difference in costs and benefits, but your original post compared the two possibilities that either men have it better or women have it better — but the point of the costs being different is that it might have nothing to do with an overall difference in quality of life.

  • Tweedledee

    If women really do talk more, as per this study:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=419040&in_page_id=1879

    then it is highly unlikely that they don’t also complain more.

  • Paul Gowder

    But given that

    a) there is in fact a well-documented stereotype confirmation bias (see the literature cited in the cite I gave); and

    b) the evidence of your senses is not only vague and impressionistic, but also expressly refers to fictional accounts,

    why should that evidence have any significant value whatsoever?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Twee, very good point!

    Paul, it may be that in evaluating the evidence before them people are biased to confirm their expectations. This does *not* imply that their expectations are on average wrong and they should believe the opposite of their expectations, and ignore anything they see.

    James, I considered more than just men have it better or men have it worse; and having other better options would change the opportunity costs of complaining.

  • http://differenceblog.livejournal.com Differenceblog

    Robin Kowalski’s research, which I discuss more in my own post, suggests that you may be right about the frequency of complaint, but I’m not sure if the categories of complaining are actually the same activity. I’d suspect not.

    But I ask it on my blog, and I’ll ask it here: Where exactly do men have it worse? Women make less money, have less free time, and get worse medical care.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Differenceblog’s post is http://differenceblog.livejournal.com/28003.html Well worth a look!

    To answer your question, men suffer shorter lives, more violence, higher variance in genetic success, and getting little sympathy when they complain. Husbands may make more money, but their wives spend more. Sure women do more childcare, but looking at how eager women are to work with kids, they clearly enjoy it. Women do more housework, but see a bachelor’s place to learn that men don’t want clean homes at much.

  • http://pdf23ds.net pdf23ds

    The widely-spread claim that women talk more than men in general is poorly supported:

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003420.html

    Either way it would be very poor evidence of women complaining more. Note that I *do* think women complain more, and spent several posts theorizing why.

    Also, do the homes of single females tend to be much cleaner than those of single males? I rather think that social expectations are such that men tend to pressure their women to keep a house cleaner than either would want on their own.

  • http://pdf23ds.net pdf23ds

    I should have said “their female partners”. I didn’t mean to imply possession. Damn English.

  • Ute Shaw

    Reading through the comments, I feel the female gender is a bit underrepresented  (not that it makes a difference, though)

    The reason that women complain more than men seems to be because complaining is a form of weakness and men don’t want to show weakness. In a society where women have a similar status (at least in the work environment) as men (such as in former communist countries), women’s complaints outside the family appear fewer.

    I think complaining at home to the man and complaining to other women has two different reasons. Complaining at home seems to be a newer “thing”. Women want that the men take on some traditional tasks, while men have no reason to complain for the most part since the man is bringing home the bacon and that traditionally is his role. Now women bring home some or all of the bacon and want household responsibilities to be taken over by the men.

    Women complaining to other women seems to be due to one woman trying to level with the other woman. Men don’t want to level with the other men; they want to be better than the others. To complain is not really the man’s thing; to brag is.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Ute, leveling vs. bragging does seem a plausible explanation of within-gender behavior. Interesting to hear that women complained less outside the family in former communist countries, and that you think complaining at home is relatively news. Anyone older care to comment on this observation?

  • Ute Shaw

    Robin, if complaining is considered a form of weakness not a form of strength, men complain less because one man does not want to be weaker than the other. Men find topics that signal strength. For women it seems inappropriate to argue something better/stronger than the other but more appropriate to argue something at the same level of the other woman (en) in conversation. Maybe it is not the act of complaining that makes it level but the topic?

  • Patri Friedman

    As a friend of mine pointed out, this assumes that women complain more but count complaints equally, which seems unreasonable. More likely is that complaints serve a different function for women than men, hence women complain more and know to discount each others complaints.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Ute, yes it could be the topic that levels, in which case we’d want to explain different complaining rates some other way.

    Patri, yes comparing complaint times isn’t the same as comparing complaint importance.

  • Robbie Muffin

    “Yes, men roll their eyes, and perhaps in general women talk more about people. But women complain more, even taking these into account. Why?”

    I have to ask, please, is this more than appearance? The wording suggests that studies, taking into account that women talk more than men, do in fact still complain more. I feel for the poor folks who published that study!

    There’s plenty of possible reasons why such a thing might be, in the above. And there’s plenty of challenges to the direction of the post to begin with — so I think it really requires looking at sources to go much further.

    To pdf23ds, regarding “male gaze”. I think it is a fact, or all but a fact, that there is sexual bias in mass media. Beyond that though, male gaze specifically in overall media looks to be still very disputable. First there is the third-wave feminist view that the women are willing participants that recieve benefit from the gaze, and second that it may have biological basis.

    Then there is the question of pervasiveness: is there female gaze to compensate? A familiar argument from recent news is that the main male mate roles in sitcoms are guys you ask, at a glance and after observing them in the show some, “how did she end up with him?” As someone mentioned regarding an art show “The Female Gaze”, “to get these men who had leered at her on the street to strike these poses was amazing. And you could tell that they loved being looked at by her. These guys aren’t attractive, but they sure think they are.” Applying the gleeful subjugation from that as a basic motive to television’s male mates, one can go all the way back to the Honeymooners through television’s history. It is rife with examples.

    I’m not really sure this bias in general should go away. Though an overwhelming male-centricity should; at a glance it perhaps leads to topicality in female gaze as described above. I loved reading “Too scared of wife to sign name”‘s post. :) We are terrible little monkeys for eachother, and damn, don’t it feel good?

  • Robbie Muffin

    Ha! I meant that bit about “we are eachother’s little monkeys” differently than it came out. I don’t know that person. :)

  • Elliot Reed

    We often see a women complaining about a men, to that man or to other women. We less often see the gender-reversed scenario. At least that is what I see, in friends, family, movies, and music. Yes, men roll their eyes, and perhaps in general women talk more about people. But women complain more, even taking these into account. Why?

    Is there any actual evidence of this, other than your subjective impression? Your subjective impression is subject to a bunch of biases, including (a) confirmation/stereotype bias (b) your friends and family aren’t representative and (c) irrelevant data bias (music and movies don’t describe how people behave in reality!).

    It’s odd to see a post like this at a blog entitled “Overcoming Bias.”

  • http://profile.typekey.com/robinhanson/ Robin Hanson

    Elliot, several people have said that their experience fits mine. If I heard several people say their experience is difference, I would of course become less confident of the pattern I thought I saw. But surely we can’t ignore the patterns we think we see, even if we can’t be that confident of them.

  • anonymous

    Do you suppose rather than men not complaining because we value toughness more in men than women or could it be the opposite that we value toughness in men because they complain less

  • Rashaka

    So this piece of agenda-driven stereotyping and royal masculine-normative “we see women” speech is what you post because a bunch of people called you on your own bias earlier? This is a reactionary post, and unlike the other one that seemed at least aimed at opening dialogue about a potential problem and how to fix it, this post looks like it’s meant to do nothing more than offend what small female audience you have. I’m disappointed, because it looks like nothing was learned from the other discussion, and even though you asked the question, it doesn’t look like you heard the answers people gave you. Or you didn’t want to.

  • Anon

    Robin, your proof comes down to “Because I say so, and all my friends will agree with me! Ha!”

    Which is not doing you any favors.

  • Tim Tyler

    Heh, it looks as though the girls have tracked Robin down.

    Following up to Differenceblog’s post on the topic.

    … I found this: research on the topic – by two woman:


    The results indicate that, while the men and women in this sample made equivalent numbers of complaints, they used complaints for different reasons. Women were more likely than men to use complaints as an indirect request for action, while men were more likely to use complaints to excuse behavior or to make themselves seem superior.
    - Gender and expressions of dissatisfaction: a study of complaining in mixed-gendered student work groups.

    Also:


    Women appear to be slightly more likely to nag, complain, and whine than men (Conway and Vartanian 2000), and this verbal behavior has been found to be more stable for women over the course of a relationship than it is for men (Gottman and Levenson 1999). However, Jess K. Alberts (1988) found that while wives complained more often than husbands, this difference was not statistically significant.
    - Purposes and Types of Complaints

    Dare I point out a gradually-emerging pattern: research by women finds no significant quantitative difference between the sexes in complaint volume? ;-)

  • http://shagbark.livejournal.com Phil Goetz

    I’ve never heard the explanation that women complain more because their lives are worse.

    Also, men complain much more than women do about poor performances by their local football team. Perhaps women complain more about relationships (if they do) because they care more about relationships.

  • Tim Tyler

    The main place I see women “complaining” more than men is in relationships with them. This seems to me to be associated with the phenomenon of female choice. The women “kick the males tires”, make efforts to improve him, and assess his worth relative to other males, and relative to other women’s mates. The whole “you’d better shape up”/”hen-pecked husband” thing. Male choice exists too in humans – as Brin argues – but it’s not the same.

  • Maren

    It would appear to me that the original argument is based on anecdotal evidence, something that is highly subjective and subject to confirmation bias. It is unclear to me how much of this is based in actual well-designed research.

  • Anon

    For an example of the male gaze as it has structured thousands of years of representation, and a mythos of gender difference which has culturally influenced the socialization of people into men and women to the present day, see the header of this blog.

  • http://www.eugeniaandino.com Nia

    Men complain less often? As far as I know, men often complain about women in general, and to their partners in particular. You seem to forget about the extremely long history of learned books by men about women, beginning in the mists of time. Say, Aristotle. All the way to Freud saying that the greatest mystery of the mind, that he never managed to fathom, is what women want. Or more recently, to John McCain complaining about women’s “health” (his quotes) being used as an excuse to have abortions.

  • Ilse von Weiss

    “Women also ignore, disrespect, abandon, and beat men. Women rarely rape men, but they do cuckold them. Men suffer more health and violence problems, and the standard evolutionary story is that men suffer a higher outcome variance, and so have more disappointments.”

    well, boo-fucking-hoo, poor men. you seem to forget that for almost the entire history of human race women were treated as second class citizens, practically slaves. in almost ALL cultures of the world they were encouraged to look pretty, keep their mouth shut, spread their legs and give birth to a male child. no right to vote, no right to higher education. not until relatively recently was the plying field leveled and women were given equal status as men (and even that is not true for all the countries yet). and still years after we won our right to be regarded as human beings of equal value as men i still have to fight to be taken seriously in my line of work and not only as a pretty doll or a child that plays at being a programmer but is not capable of real mental accomplishments as that is reserved solely for the “big boys”.

    and yes, maybe we do react more emotionally then men do, but that is mostly brought on by mens tendency to dismiss any comments they don’t want to hear and it drives us crazy because it would drive anyone crazy to be dismissed and ignored like that. and also, is it so fucking hard to do something nice for us once in a while just to show us that we are loved, that you care and think of us? we need that, and if it really is that hard for you guys then i apologize for the inconvenience(and the following profanity), you selfish, egocentric, spoiled assholes.

  • frelkins

    @Ilsa

    As a female member of the OB community, welcome. May I please address 3 of your points briefly?

    “for almost the entire history of human race women were treated as second class citizens”

    Alas Ilsa, monkey society is ugly; girl monkeys have a hard time. Evolution sucks that way. But let me politely point out that for most of human history, even up to the more widespread adoption of universal suffrage, most men were slaves and second class citizens too. Moneky society is also cruel to beta males.

    “i still have to fight to be taken seriously in my line of work and not only as a pretty doll or a child that plays at being a programmer”

    Clearly you are working at the wrong firm. Maybe you should come work for me, where we have many highly valued women programmers and tech managers with multiple PhDs, often from Europe, India, and Russia.

    “selfish, egocentric, spoiled”

    Ilsa please hear me in good faith when I attest that the general OB community is not so. Women are actually more welcome here than on other blogs, I have found.

  • Ilse von Weiss

    ser, perhaps you are content to live in a monkey society but i am not. also, as Discovery channel would show us, the bonobo monkeys apparently succeeded where humans have failed.

    yes, men suffer also, and at a time even whole races were considered less then human. my point is that some of the men suffered some of the time but almost ALL of the women suffered almost ALL of the time. but, let us bygones be bygones, water under the bridge, yes?

    the question at hand is why women complain more then men. if that is true, and i really do not have the data to prove either way except from my own experience and that is that both sexes complain equally and there are more differences between members of the same sex then between the sexes. but if it is true, than it is most likely because you men (most of you anyway) have your fists and your muscles and strength to serve you as tools for proving yourself and getting what you want, while, alas, us women have but our words, tears and cunts for weapons, and so we use them..need we apologize for that or refrain for using them?

    besides, i must be very lucky to have found someone who i understand and who understands me so i hardly nag at all, and he has very few complaints as well… at least concerning the “The two big”, for i have no lack of sexual desire and am not prone to irrational responses. and can cook too. so maybe those who complain more have more reason to complain and it is more a matter of choosing the right mate then inherent female/male behavior.

    the day when i start to care about whether i am welcomed to a blog, or anywhere else for that matter, is the day i give up life and go live in the woods somewhere. i know who i am and where i stand, and people can take it or leave it, read it or not, it is all one to me.

  • bj

    Women could work in the 1800s and before but many chose not to. Hard working dirty butchers with golddigging shopaholic princesses. When life expectancy is 40 and death rate is high for children having a bunch of children at 15 makes more sense than not. After all you need someone to care for you in your bed-ridden years. And their wasnt technology to make life easier (washers, dryers, fridges, cars, white collar work, natural resources, etc) and plenty of war, starvation, epidemics, etc.

    Your welcome for creating society, the roads, government, military, irrigation, houses, buildings, jobs, cars, medicine etc so that we could live in a society where women dont have to farm/have babies “against their will”. Men didnt complain when women called them pansies for not fighting in WW2. They joined up. And men still dont complain while half of domestic violence is against them.

  • Franz

    Most women complain more than men because it works for them. Most men react to complaints primarily by pleasing the women. Most men do not like conflict.

    Most men do not complain NOT because its a sign of weakness but because it will just create conflict.

    Most men do not like conflict because conflict between men normally cause violence. Due to most men being more aggressive in general than women.

    Most conflict between women don’t typically end in violence.

    Women don’t have worse lives than men. People live their lives as they choose to. Women can live their lives just as men do.

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  • Thomas

    I know, this discussion is long over, but still…

    My parents were both born in the GDR (a former socialist country, as most of you may know).
    In my normal social surroundings I never had the impression that women were complaining more (or less) then men. On the other side I noticed that in social circles more tied to ‘capitalist’ values women and men both tend to complain more about the opposite sex.

  • grossedout

    omg what a load of crap. some dudebro whos never heard of male privelege. women do have worse lives, like blacks and indigenous they work in a system that disadvantages them and benefits white, straight, cis males. and btw dale spender showed that MEN TALK MORE THAN WOMEn whether the metric is length or number of words in mixed sex classrooms; that teachers pay more attention to boys and in mixed sex classrooms when girls (who compromised over 1/2 the class) got 1/3rd of the attention boys complained “that girls were getting more than their fair share’

    womens lives are worse, and thus they complain more. mens complaints are taken seriously because theres no such thing as institutionalized sexism against males (or reverse racism for that matter)

    gettings off this blog. you’d rather get raped that cuckolded?? AHAHAHAH yeah. right. and where do you get off saying that rape is a less reproductive harm than being cuckolded? HOW is it less of a harm.

    and yes its totally womens drinking that causes them to get raped. thats why in nations where alcohol is banned, rape is so low (not).