The decline of the male and rise of the female

This is a brief compilation of some of the ideas from the first day of ideaCity 2010 around the changing place of men and women in our culture, from a number of different viewpoints.

The chemical threats (Dr Shanna Swan)

  • In the last 50 years, sperm counts have declined 50%
  • Testosterone levels have reduced
  • Phalates, chemicals in plastics including DEHP, DPB and BPA, reduce ‘maleness’
  • These chemicals are used in babies bottles, the tubing used in hospitals and in food production, for food packaging, line tin cans, in cosmetics (hairspray and nail varnish)
  • In the absence of testosterone in the womb, the genital tract becomes female

Our children are born pre-polluted. (Barak Obama)

  • Babies today receive 97 chemicals in breast milk

Women on the ‘pill’ are chemically pregnant. (Lionel Tiger)

(In monkeys, males ceased to be sexually interested in females on the ‘pill’)

Cellular research and reproduction (Dr Renee Reijo Pera)

  • Human reproduction is relatively inefficient, with 75% embryo loss, as well as high levels of chromosomal problems
  • It is now beginning to be possible to create stem cells from skin cells
  • These stem cells can be ‘shaped’ to almost any need
  • This includes the potential ability to make life cells (egg and sperm)

Media images

  • On TV, men are increasingly presented as slobs and nerds, women as sleek, polished and aggressive

Our modern, post industrial economy is more congenial to women than to men (Moses Znaimer)

Society, the Economy and Education

  • 40% of all babies in the industrial world are born to women who are not married

Women have adjusted to a reproductive strategy not dependent on pair bonding. . . If you want grandchildren, have daughters! (Lionel Tiger)

  • 82% of those laid off in the recession were men
  • In North America, on average, a 17 year old boy has the reading skills of a 13 year old girl (Christina Sommers)

90% of the victims of Ritalin are boys. (Lionel Tiger)

  • 61% of graduates are female (though males still dominate engineering and maths)
  • Women tend not to feature on lists of ‘wealth’ – perhaps because the parameters used to create the lists relate to male definitions (Lakshmi Pratury)

Increasingly, behaviours and interests that we traditionally think of as ‘male’ are being censured; ‘rough and tumble’ play is frowned on – there are playgrounds in the US where Dodge Ball and Tag have been banned in favour of ‘tug of peace’ and ‘circle of friends’.

Let’s get back to different but equal! (Christina Sommers)

Christina Sommers  heartfelt plea for balance, rather than a pendulum swing to uniformly female centric approaches within education and society, was echoed by Lionel Tiger’s call to get back to respect and away from ideology.

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