In his latest opinion piece for Cosmo—I’m sorry, the New York Times—writer Adam Grant takes us on a winding safari through the jungles of male delusion for “Why Men Need Women,” a piece that examines the effect of the female presence on male generosity. As a card-carrying pussy-holder, reluctantly absent of the why-oh-Y chromosome, most of the referenced generosity I found therein involved the tenuous relationship between the facts presented and the resulting conclusions, however well-meaning. Perhaps “Why Politics And Business Need Women” would have been a better title, to highlight the sheer fact that men see no need to reexamine long-held (and sometimes outdated) ideals until it personally affects them.
The researchers Grant cites found that a male CEO generally pays his employees less after fathering a child, that the birth of a daughter has a less negative influence on wages than the birth of a son, and that the wages of female employees are less adversely affected than are those of male employees and positively affected by the CEO’s first child of either gender. Additionally, they found that male CEOs pay themselves more after fathering a child, especially after fathering a son. You know, because there’s more of a future to invest in when your baby comes out with a ween attached.
“Daughters apparently soften fathers and evoke more caretaking tendencies,” Grant writes, while I foam quietly at the mouth. “The speculation is that as we brush our daughters’ hair and take them to dance classes, we become gentler, more empathetic, and more other-oriented.” OTHER-ORIENTED? I can’t rail enough against the tired trope of men in power who view any alternate demographic—women, minorities, anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the ClipArt CEO aesthetic—as beneath them and in need of help. These self-important fucknuggets fail to take into account that throughout history, we haven’t had an ounce of their help until our collective anger at any given point has threatened to upset the very power structure from which they derive their hoards. It is only then that they will inevitably, and so generously, siphon off a tiny portion for us—the “supporting cast”.
Grant goes on to wonder, “what would happen if every classroom followed the jigsaw structure, with mixed-gender study groups providing boys with the opportunity to learn from girls? In addition to gaining knowledge, perhaps they would learn something about teaching, helping, and caring for others.” This entire piece contextualizes the very young women Grant is claiming men should learn from as stepping stones in their quest to be better people and more ethical providers, no doubt for us little people. He pretty much says as much, as he continues “when some of those boys grow up to become rich men, they might be less like Scrooge and more like Mr. Gates — or at least less likely to become your wealthy neighbor who refuses to pay his share of the hedge trimming.”
As far as I’m concerned, he can take his hedge-trimming, hair-brushing and “otherness” and place them in the vacuous rear-end void traditionally reserved for such fodder, where it will be welcome company for his head and partial neck. In the meantime, I will continue to go about my business of taking what is mine from the clammy, cigar-stained hands of those too self-involved to stop and recognize, and certainly won’t be waiting on them to share it with me. It wouldn’t kill science to start pointing out unifying truths that can push us towards a better and more equal society, and not what the rest of us can do to get male CEOs to throw us a bone.
“It’s often said that behind every great man stands a great woman,” finishes Grant. “In light of the profound influence that women can have on men’s generosity, it might be more accurate to say that in front of every great man walks a great woman. If we’re wise, we’ll follow her lead.” #Protip: she wants you to stop writing think pieces about her needs that engage in this beat-to-death “Mars vs. Venus” bullshit.