Where Have All The Real Men Gone?

A Twitter friend of mine who in her seventh month of pregnancy relates what seems to be a daily ordeal on New York City’s subway system:

There used to be a time when a man wouldn’t even think twice about letting any woman, pregnant or not, stand on a bus or a subway while he sat comfortably in a seat. Now, we seem to be in a winner takes all world. Am I the only one who thinks we’ve lost something?

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. LK says:

    This is basic human goodness — we shouldn’t need to build it into the Real Man(tm) ideal, it should be something that any person should do out of standard morality.

    I am reminded of the TED Talk about how we need to change the idea of what a “man” is when creating media for our male offspring. This is a fig leaf in my opinion; we should teach males to respect females (and vice versa every which way) as human beings, no gender role incorporation required.

  2. Even I would offer my seat to an obviously pregnant woman, as well as to an elderly or disabled person, or someone struggling alone with large packages, or someone who has an infant or small child with them.

  3. Lynn says:

    I don’t think it’s a case of “real men;” there is no reason why a 20 year old man should be more obligated to offer someone a seat than a 20 year old woman.

    I take the bus and light rail a lot. At least several times a week, I see someone get on who has trouble navigating (because of age or disability or pregnancy or small children). The front seats are generally filled with college-age people, none of whom move a muscle. If I’m standing already, I yell at them to get up. If I seated, I get up myself.

    It doesn’t seem to bother them at all to see a 67 year old woman offer someone a seat while they remain seated.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    We un-taught that behavior, probably a consequence of a shrill early version of egalitarianism circa 1980 or so. We need to make it less about “male” and more about “common decency.”

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Not in the Northeast Megalopolis.

  6. JWH says:

    Two thoughts:

    1) If a pregnant woman would like one of the seats, nothing stops her from asking one of the young men to give up the seat for her.

    2) To tell the truth, I think this has been a bit more of a dog-eat-dog world. When driving, I used to readily give up my lane to somebody who signaled for it. But after so many incidents where other people don’t show me that courtesy … I’m less likely to show it to other people.

  7. Pinky says:

    The most embarrassing thing was riding the subway when my ACL was messed up and I couldn’t stand for the pregnant and the elderly.

  8. Tillman says:

    Freedom means the freedom to be a dick.

    Also, the men might’ve thought she was obese. That’s an increasingly common mistake.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Off topic, but I can’t believe Doug and James have missed this: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/26/coffee-cuts-suicide-risk-in-half-say-harvard-researchers/

    Coffee cuts suicide in half. Or from my perspective, lack of coffee makes me want to kill myself. (And others.)

  10. walt moffett says:

    Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our empathy and now live with the results.

  11. JKB says:

    Fishing.

    But then if the sexes are equal, that pretty much negates special privileges. And she didn’t have to be punished with that fetal lifeform it was her and her alone’s choice. She could have snipped in the bud. And as some university types promote, it really isn’t a life worthy of protection until a year after birth.

    When you teach these things to the youngin’s why are you confused when they inform their behavior by them?

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    So in order to do the courteous thing and offer a seat to a person who needs it more than you do, you first have to be offered some special status as a male? And you need to be pro-life?

    And yet, on those rare occasions when I’m on public transport I do it all the time.

    Honestly, the conservative mind. . .

  13. Woody says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Exactly. In this kind of situation, a fit person – regardless of gender – is better off giving up their seat.

    The pregnant woman rests easier, the standee has done the decent thing, and onlookers are given a subtle push to do it themselves next time.

  14. Andre Kenji says:

    There is a cultural factor. Here in Brazil, if a pregnant woman enter the bus or the subway anyone, woman or man, will cede a seat to her(There are some seats reserved by law to pregnant women, women carrying babies, people over 65 and people with disabilities). If a woman is carrying a baby, not only people will cede her a seat but they will help her with her baby stuff. If a woman wants to breastfeed, no one complains and no one stares at the mother.

    The image of the mother is very strong here, and it´s not so different in other countries in Latin America. On the other hand, there are countries where mothers do not even have paid maternity leave.

  15. Tillman says:

    @Andre Kenji: Culture in the U.S., from my viewpoint, is less cohesive. Being a nation of multiple ethnicities, we rely much more on what pop culture and our immediate circle of peers is up to in order to gauge what is acceptable and what isn’t.

    I mentioned how the men might’ve thought she was obese, and I was speaking from [secondhand] experience. A colleague in sales congratulated a customer on her pregnancy only to discover she wasn’t pregnant, and we probably lost a customer that day.

    I want to drift into how libertarianism has relied on “community values” to hold up decency even though the actions of business become unfettered and set their own moral examples, changing the community’s ethics in the process, but that’s too complicated to get into in a blog comment and, frankly, I’m not certain I have the wherewithal to get into the details.

  16. PressWatch says:

    There are NO MANNERS
    because there are NO PARENTS to teach
    and the TEACHERS in SCHOOL have no manners either
    instead of liberals teaching about sex – they should teach basic social skills

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    I never sit on the subway or bus, never, never. First, sitting is bad for you, so stand whenever you can. Second, a man should not sit while a woman, child or elderly person lacks a seat.

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    There used to be a time when a man wouldn’t even think twice about letting any woman, pregnant or not, stand on a bus or a subway while he sat comfortably in a seat.

    I personally think a man should never sit in such a situation — however, there was never such a time. That’s just a nice myth we tell ourselves.

    Now, we seem to be in a winner takes all world.

    We are in one of the least “winner takes all” worlds in human history. If you think this is bad, think to how women were treated in the 19th century. Sure, if you were a very wealthy rich white lady, life was good (assuming you didn’t die in childbirth), but if you weren’t, your life was basically one of constant pregnancy, drudgery, cooking and childcare, interspersed with the odd rape.

  19. Andre Kenji says:

    @Tillman:

    1-) There are many cultural similarities between different ethnic groups in the US.

    2-) An important point in this discussion: it´s no wonder that men ignores pregnant women in the subway. People like Bethany Mandel always defended that women do not need paid maternity leave and always ignored the necessity for a social net to mothers(And I did not enter things like preschool). According to the tweet, men seems to have learnt the lesson that Conservatives taught them.

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tillman:

    Culture in the U.S., from my viewpoint, is less cohesive. Being a nation of multiple ethnicities,

    Umm, Brazil is a nation of multiple ethnicities as well.

  21. angelfoot says:

    “There used to be a time when a man wouldn’t even think twice about letting any woman, pregnant or not, stand on a bus or a subway while he sat comfortably in a seat. Now, we seem to be in a winner takes all world. Am I the only one who thinks we’ve lost something?”

    There’s a fine line between chivalry and chauvinism. Maybe there’s no line at all. But certainly compassion and civility would demand offering your seat to anyone who might be uncomfortable standing in the aisle.

  22. Press Watch says:

    @PressWatch:
    I guess I offended liberals
    Too bad – it’s true –
    I find they are the worst offenders of basic manners

  23. angelfoot says:

    @Andre Kenji: From my experience here in the U.S., the front seats on buses are reserved for seniors or riders with special needs, as ridership demands. Most people seem to honor that.

  24. angelfoot says:

    @Press Watch: Obvious troll is obviously concerned with polite and civil discourse. Obviously.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    Conservatives are still very upset that we object to them calling black people nig*ers and gays fag*ots. They think that’s bad manners on our part. Good manners would be state-ordered vaginal probes of pregnant women and the occasional bit of torture.

    See, it’s about manners, people. If everyone just knew their place and when to tug the forelock and who to address as massa, all would be well.

  26. angelfoot says:

    @Lynn: I use mass transit everyday here in the Twin Cities. And there are often self-absorbed, ignorant jerks on board but most of the regular riders are pretty aware and respectful of others. Maybe it’s the “Minnesota Nice” thing or just the routes I take.

  27. Andre Kenji says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Umm, Brazil is a nation of multiple ethnicities as well.

    More or less. A majority of the Brazilian population still descends from a mixture of the major ethnic groups in the colonial times(African, Moors/Portuguese/Spanish, Amerindian). If you imagine someone with African, Amerindian and White ancestors on the same time you have the average Brazilian.

    The divisions between the ethnic groups are much more subtle than in the US.

  28. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds:

    See, it’s about manners, people. If everyone just knew their place and when to tug the forelock and who to address as massa, all would be well.

    It goes beyond manners. In most countries that have civilized public policies toward mothers(Socialist things like paid maternity leave and free preschool) Mrs. Bethany Mandel would find lots of people ceding her a place to seat in the transit.

    That´s not a coincidence.

  29. tipwing says:

    Did this lady ask the men to give her a seat? If they refused, then yes it is rude. If not, well, not everyone’s a mind reader. Or more likely in my part of the world, they are too busy playing games on phones to look up.

  30. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I have found that subway cars tend to be a lot more “winner take all” than busses in terms of seating, even within the same transit system. I really am not sure why.

  31. Michael Robinson says:

    The men were simply exercising their comparative advantage. If one of them had simply volunteered his seat, he would have been depriving the marketplace of an critical price discovery mechanism.

    The fact that Bethany remained standing simply shows that the market clearing price for a seat exceeded the marginal utility to her of sitting down.

    This is all elementary economics that we have understood since at least the Reagan Revolution. The free market works!

  32. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Think about what kids are taught for pre-school on and then tell me how they would get the message that men should defer to women? Or even the pregnant?

    Also, do you work for ABC News because you misquoted me badly. I said, if you promote equality, you negate special privileges for those who might ought to be given consideration over another. How you got to that meaning “male privilege”, I don’t know?

    Before you can assert women/old/disabled/pregnant should be given special privileges, you must first concede that they are not equal in all respects to the group who you feel must concede those privileges. Of course, benefitting from being conceded a seat on a lurching bus or subway doesn’t implicate inequality in other areas of life.

    Teach the children well…..oops, to late.

  33. JKB says:

    @Michael Robinson:

    You repeat the words but apparently have little comprehension of the material. Let me guess, Liberal Arts major? Ivy League?

  34. Neil Hudelson says:

    Remember the Victor Davis Hanson thread, when the gist of the response was that its silly to take anecdotes and use that to create a stereotype for a whole people?

    Additionally, is everyone else having problems with kids with their skateboards and their video games always getting on your lawn?

  35. wr says:

    I don’t know what Doug is whining about. This is his Libertarian paradise come to fruition. If she wants a seat, she can pay for one. If she can’t afford one, it’s because she’s a loser.

  36. Tillman says:

    @Rafer Janders: I just wanted to not use the phrase “melting pot.” Also, I naively presumed the U.S. had more ethnicities than Brazil.

  37. Helz says:

    Lack of fathers to teach their sons how to treat others could be a contributing factor.

    OTOH, women looking toward government to take care of them instead of having the traditional family could be anther reason.

    Or maybe men really are just pigs?

  38. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Also, do you work for ABC News because you misquoted me badly. I said, if you promote equality, you negate special privileges for those who might ought to be given consideration over another. … Teach the children well

    Yeah. If only someone had taught you what “equality” means …

    Honestly, five likes for that BS? Depressing.

  39. Lynn says:

    @angelfoot: ” From my experience here in the U.S., the front seats on buses are reserved for seniors or riders with special needs, as ridership demands. Most people seem to honor that.”

    Your experience is different than mine, clearly. Sure, the seats in front are reserved for the elderly and those with disabilities but, in practice, it means nothing. Perhaps twice a week, I’m offered a seat (by virtue of my grey hair). For me, I really don’t care as I’m perfectly capable of standing and often prefer it. But, those who really do need seats generally are not offered them… some do ask, but it’s unusual.

  40. Lynn says:

    @angelfoot: “I use mass transit everyday here in the Twin Cities. ”

    And that’s where I live… perhaps we take different routes. I’m generally on the 16 through the U or on the light rail.

  41. george says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    According to the tweet, men seems to have learnt the lesson that Conservatives taught them.

    You know, as bat sh*t crazy as much of the American Conservatives have become (conservative in general, as a world wide political philosophy is very different), its a real stretch to suggest not standing for pregnant women in a bus is a conservative action.

    Or a liberal one for that matter.

    Sometimes assholes are just assholes, and politics doesn’t come into it.

  42. Michael Robinson says:

    @george:

    Sometimes assholes are just assholes, and politics doesn’t come into it.

    “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally assholes. I meant to say that assholes are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”

    –John Stuart Mill

  43. An Interested Party says:

    OTOH, women looking toward government to take care of them instead of having the traditional family could be anther reason.

    Who are all of these women who are supposedly looking for the government to take care of them? And, uh, this “traditional family” you talk about…how would that work if the father of the woman’s child is a selfish ass who doesn’t want to take care of his responsibilities? Perhaps he should be forced to marry her at the point of a government gun? For all of these conservatives who are so upset about these kind of situations, they should be all for birth control being as widely available as possible…of course, many of them seem to think that even birth control is evil…

  44. PLEASE STOP WHINING!!!!! In the USA woman aren’t even paid the same as men, there bodies are controlled by mostly white conservative Christian men in Congress, and even many conservative Christian woman believe that if a woman is raped or treated badly she did something to deserve it. DON’T blame the young men, blame those who lead the way if disrespect towards woman and others. I HATE when people play the victim and refuse to accept some responsibility for what is going on!!!!!!

  45. @Michael Robinson:

    Conservatives ARE assholes. It’s their ideology, they chose that lifestyle!

  46. @george: conservative ideology attracts assholes

  47. @wr: perfect analogy

  48. @Michael Robinson:

    “Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals”
    ~ Mark Twain