Tall and Expendable

Misogynists will hate this article. Feminists might hate it slightly less.

Fact: Given the talent, determination and opportunity, a woman can succeed in any field, including leadership. Most of the difficulty lies in the opportunity. The road to success might be extra difficult — due to a bigoted boys club or a resentful ladies groups. Therefore, unconventional tactics are often required — sometimes drawing even more resistance and venom. It is a good thing that pioneers are among history’s favorite heroes and heroines.

There are a few things to think about regarding this issue. Perhaps science can shed some light.

1. Is there such thing as equal sets?

Yes. {1,2,3}={1,2,3}

Will every measure of 3 billion men ever be exactly the same as every measure of 3 billion women? No. Even randomly changing “statistically equivalent populations” will occasionally diverge and fail statistical tests.

2. Is it natural for genders to play separate roles?

When it comes to reproduction, the answer is “Duh”. When it comes to other activities — like raising offspring, finding food, leading/protecting the tribe — the answer is “Sometimes”. Being good at those activities can be attractive in a mate. Peahens typically choose the most adorned peacock. It’s a signal that he lives a comfortable life and doesn’t need to run much from predators. So, through eons of natural and sexual selection, we find things (other than equality) irresistible in a mate.

One reason the peacock can afford to be so cavalier in the face of danger is that he is expendable. If he gets eaten by a tiger, another peacock will impregnate his wife. (Forgive the personification.) If the peahen is eaten, other peahens might not have a need for the widower.

Throughout nature, it is common for males to fight for mating rights. Females do too, but because males are often expendable, patriarchal competition normally escalates to grander heights. Males will fight to eliminate each other (e.g. elephant seals, rams, humans) or they will display for female attention (e.g. birds of paradise, cuttlefish, humans).


With the help of a friend, I ran a little experiment.

Because expendable men are more likely to leave their home and move to another corner of the world, there are more single men than single women in the Bay Area — making men even more expendable than usual. I asked my friend (who is perspicacious, pulchritudinous and married) to pretend to be single and create a dating profile on OKCupid. WITHIN AN HOUR she received 124 views, 103 likes and messages from 41 dudes. Her “gentleman” suitors were lining up.

How were they competing for her attention? Well, in this stallion's opinion, they were rather pathetic.

  • 10 messages just said “Hi” or “How’s it going?”
  • 7 more were also substanceless: “Wow” or incomprehensible emojis
  • 8 had poor grammar (a deal breaker for my friend)
  • 10 asked somewhat polite questions “Where are you from?”, “What do you do for fun?” or something pertaining to her profile
  • 9 complemented her looks: “Beautiful”, “Gorgeous”, “Lovely”
  • 1 gave a different complement: “You seem fun.”
  • 6 offered a generic proposal: “do something sometime”, “get to know each other”
  • Nobody directly solicited sex, but one guy hinted at it with what was probably innuendo: “I can think of something fun to do ;)”
  • Nobody offered a creative date idea. Nobody said anything smart or funny.

Looking deeper at some of the guys who messaged my friend, I started to feel bad for single women everywhere. Eventually, a charming fellow might come along, but the rest of the guys are weeds in need of vinegar.

It’s pretty bad if your defining attribute is that you are not a good-natured person.

I’ve been peacocking; showing off my lexicon and disparaging my competition, so it seems suitable to plug my profile:

Meet me for a pint at the Cottage Elysée on the Champs-Elysées (Table pour deux).

Yet, as a man, I am used to being expendable. I can take more risks. I’m easier to fire. I’m more likely to be sent off to war. [I’m an advocate for peace, but after the deadliest wars, population growth accelerates. That would not be the case if women died on such a scale.]

Humans may be at risk of extinction, but not due to lack of reproduction. More likely it would be due to over-consumption of resources or self-annihilation. The need to view women as fragile prizes has run its course. Women will rule (and save) the world.

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