This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series: 50 Politically Incorrect Thoughts for Men
Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap, by Greg Krehbiel. Crowhill Publishing, 2014.
Subtitled ’50 politically incorrect thoughts for men’, this little book aims to unsettle modern assumptions about women and men. Krehbiel invites us to consider that the ‘traditional’ way of understanding the two sexes may not be as oppressive as we have been told it is, and that today’s ideology may actually be very harmful to us all. He develops this in a disarming, amusing, and gently outrageous way.
Disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything that follows. All I have done is to summarise what Krehbiel says, sometimes using his own words, and sometimes using my own. The book is not evidence-based in any rigorous sense, nor does it even attempt to consider what the counter-arguments might be. Nor is Krehbiel arguing from a distinctively Christian perspective (his arguments are cultural and evolutionary, rather than biblical and theological). But I happen to think that it’s a voice that’s worth hearing.
Here are the first ten ‘thoughts’.
- A lot of what you have been told about men and women is wrong. You have been taught that men and women are essentially the same, that women have historically been oppressed by patriarchy and only now starting to get the freedom that deserve, and that in order to put things right, the woman’s perspective takes priority.
- Eggs are expensive, sperm is cheap. Eggs are expensive because a woman only has a limited number of them, they are ready for use only one at a time (usually), are available only at certain times, and, if fertilised, take up an enormous amount of her resources. Sperm, on the other hand, is produced in abundance, all the time. Both women and men are built to reproduce; but their respective roles in this are completely different at the most physiological level.
- Women and men are fundamentally different. Just as there are differences between males and females in the animal kingdom, so also there are differences between men and women. It’s not just that they have different anatomies, and different roles in the process of reproduction. Men are, on average, bigger and stronger than women. They are different mentally and emotionally too. Might there be something more basic than cultural pressure that makes it more likely they will become engineers, and something about women that makes it more likely that they will become nurses?
- Men have historically sacrificed to protect and defend women. It is the men who have been forced to go off and fight to defend their family, clan, or country. This is related to the fact that a society can afford to lose a lot of its men, because eggs are expensive and sperm is cheap. ‘Societies that sacrifice men to protect women and children are more likely to survive. That’s why men fight wars and go downstairs in their underpants to check out the weird sound in the basement.’
- Office work is not intrinsically more fulfilling or meaningful than keeping house and raising a family. As a general rule, the satisfaction of grafting away day after day in an office, factory or coal mine does not compare favourably with the joy of seeing a child grow up into a happy and responsible adult. Women are built to raise children; it comes pretty naturally to them. And that’s good, because children are very dependent for a very long time. They need, and society needs, someone else who will go out and tame the wilderness. instead of blaming everything on patriarchy, let’s start affirming family and motherhood again.
- Different rules apply to men and women. The modern view is that ‘anything that can be said of men can be said of women and vice versa. But it’s not so. People often complain that certain things are ‘disrespectful to women’. and they’re probably right. But the point is that few people say that anything is ‘disrespectful to men’, because if they did, no one would care.
- Successful societies protect women. Of course, protecting people in general is good. But protecting women is mandatory for the species, because eggs are expensive. The ugly flipside of this is that for most modern people the male perspective doesn’t matter very much.
- Successful societies respect men. It may be natural for men to protect women and children, and for them to be more disposable in that service. But we are not entirely like simpler animals, that do things by instinct. We also think about things. So men need some additional motivation, that have to be socialised and convinced to take on the role that society needs them to take. Otherwise, they’ll just stay at home and play X-box all day. People often lament that men aren’t growing up these days. One reason they are not growing up is that sex is cheap and easily available today. But another reason is that men aren’t respected in male roles, so why should they bother to become a man?
- The men’s rights movement is a mix of good and bad. The trouble with the modern ‘men’s rights’ movement is that it doesn’t attack the myth of equalitarianism. It simply wants to fight back at feminism and assert that men have equal rights and roles. But the reality is that men and women should be treated differently because they are different. But the ‘men’s rights’ people have a point when they argue that feminists’ insistence of equal rights isn’t fair at all, because it has resulted in the woman’s perspective being exaggerated, and the man’s perspective being ignored. If women are portrayed as dumb blondes, people will complain loudly. If men are portrayed as stupid oafs, nothing happens. A healthy society recognises and encourages male and female roles. But the modern silliness doesn’t even believe in sex roles, so few people are willing to tell men how to be men and women how to be women.
- In the modern view, women have rights while men have responsibilities. Women (or rather their spokeswomen) claim more and more rights, while men keep their responsibilities. Take baby-making as an example: the woman has the right to decide whether to keep the child or not, and the man has the responsibility to be ruled by that decision. Or think about work: a woman has the right to go out to work, or stay at home, or come up with her own combination of the two. But a man has the responsibility to work to support the family. But equalitarians can’t have it both ways: either they need to give the same rights and responsibilities to men and women, or else concede that we have to decide what’s appropriate for men and what’s appropriate for women.