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Post No. 73 (Lolito)

February 10, 2012

The Times (online edition) yesterday reported a court case about a 36-year old single mother of 2 daughters who admitted to having had “sex with boy, 15“.

I don’t know what the reporter had in mind by “sex”. I’m assuming s/he meant penetrative sex – not that it’s central to my argument, but still…

I was struck by the pro and con distribution of the comments in the comments board. The people condemning the occurrence were balanced by the people cheering the boy on – as surreal as that may sound. This observation led me here, to drown my sorrows in a click or two 🙂

Had the protagonists been the other way round, i.e. older man and younger girl, the comments board would have been rife with condemnations and invocations  of every conceivable torture and general discomfort upon the “older” man. Nobody would have been congratulating the girl for “living the dream”

Why this double standard?

My idea is that it has to do with our perception of the roles of the sexes. Despite what the political correctness  and the gender equality brigades say, there is a necessary difference in the way male and female sexual behaviour are judged. (Justification for this hypothesis at the end of the post, so as not to burden you with unnecessary and abstruse biological detail *ahem*)

The way I see it,  the woman in the story comes out as a figure of ridicule, rather than scorn. She’s doing a man’s job and failing spectacularly too.  She comes across as “hysterical” (in the original sense of the word) or “a few sandwiches short of a picnic” but not really “disgusting” or “a threat to society” as a man would have. This may be in part due to the fact that the boy, at 15, had the physical (if not emotional) …er … wherewithal to comply with her requests.


Science bit from which above inferences were drawn

Males are “donors” and females are “receptacles”. This is probably due to the way that the gametes generally behave. The male gamete travels to the female gamete which receives it. The female generally bears the brunt of fetal/embryonic preparation – be it egg-laying or live birth. The energy expenditure is enormous. Males, on the other hand, generally shower their sperm and move off. There are quite a few exceptions to this, but the bulk of the energy outlay is still the responsibility of the female.

In the time it takes for a gamete to develop into a “fertilizable” egg or for an embryo to become “viable”  – time during which the female can’t do much else besides play solitaire , the male can shower as many other eggs with sperm as he feels like. The more the species approach us (taxonomically), the greater the effort required by the female. By the time it reaches us it takes  years of resources before we can get shot of our offspring (9 months pregnancy and the years until the child becomes a legal adult  – law, like everything else we do, is affected by our biology and it affects our biology)

It is only natural – given the resources used up by the female to bear her children – that parental care (in species where this is an option) is provided by the female. (Don’t anybody mention seahorses, lionfish, three spined stickleback and stay-at-home dads. Those are the exception that prove the rule)

It is said, even of  “farm” animals, that a female who, for whatever reason, neglects her young is a “bad mother” . Even to today’s enlightened mind *cough*cough*, to be called a bad mother is a worse dishonour than to be labelled a bad father.  The reason being that a female has more at stake than her mate in bringing up her offspring. As pointed above, during the time a female spends being pregnant and providing parental care, a male can fertilize quite a few other specimens.

Due to this child bearing and child caring role, human females who publicly admit to enjoying sense have traditionally been looked upon as aberrations. It’s expected of a man to enjoy sex and brag about it, though. Despite living in this enlightened age, this and other differences between the sexes haven’t gone away yet. Why else do you think that feminist movements have been reinventing themselves and dressing up differently all this time? You don’t come across women’s groups campaigning for their right to vote in the civilised world, do you?  The differences are hardwired into us and no amount of demonstrating, remonstrating and whining will ever change that. It’s what we’ve evolved to be.)

From → The Elephant

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