The idea that women alone make the world a better place has been around for a while, but every now and then, someone comes up with a new twist.

The latest twist comes from a study of what happened when 10,000 Danish boss-men became fathers. The New York Times reported it thus: “The mere presence of female family members—even infants—can be enough to nudge men in the generous direction. Daughters apparently soften fathers and evoke more caretaking tendencies. 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.”
Really? Here’s what the study’s abstract says:

“We find that (a) a male CEO generally pays his employees less after fathering a child, (b) the birth of a daughter has a less negative influence on wages than does the birth of a son, and (c) the wages of female employees are less adversely affected than are those of male employees.”

In other words, the international team of researchers concluded that the dudes in question padded their own paychecks by gouging their employees regardless of the progeny’s gender, but acted like bigger dicks in screwing the little people more when the wee one had a penis.
I’m not sure that qualifies as a “nudge in the generous direction.” Besides, isn’t the real story here point (c)? Could it be that all we need to do to close the gender pay gap is to somehow make it so that bigwigs with big gigs beget only girls?
That could happen some day. According to the Science Channel show Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, the Y chromosome is on the way out. Apparently, it can’t fix itself the way the X and all its other chromosomal buddies can, so it’s fading into oblivion.
And when there’s no more Y chromosome…no more dudes.
Not to worry, though: Geneticists are working on turning skin cells into eggs and sperm. They can’t yet figure out exactly how to do that without input from a Y chromosome, but Freeman assures us it’s just a matter of time.
And in the meantime…what?
“If all the men on earth died tonight,” Greg Hampikian, a professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State University wrote in another New York Times piece a few years ago, “the species could continue on frozen sperm.”
Which makes me wonder just how much spunk-on-the-rocks they’ve got salted away up there in the Pacific Northwest.
It made Slate columnist Amanda Marcotte wonder why Hampikian was so “paranoid,” asking, “What do men imagine will happen if we don’t need them anymore? Will we magically stop having boy children?”
Oops. Maybe her cable system doesn’t carry the Science Channel.
On the other hand, Marcotte also says that “just because a woman doesn’t need a man doesn’t mean she doesn’t want one. There are lots of things we don’t need but we still want: flat screen TVs, YouTube videos of cats, expensive microbrews, fathers. The only thing that really changes for men if women want but don’t need them is that an individual woman doesn’t have to commit to a man she doesn’t like because she can’t find one she wants.”
A 2011 Chicago Sun-Times survey determined that more men than women are happy with their marriages—and more or less laid the blame on the brides by concluding that “some experts believe that men experience fulfillment more easily than women” while “women have high expectations and romantic inclinations.”
That could make the world a better placefor people who write romance novels. Because, hey, if you don’t love the lug you’re with, pick up a book. It’ll have at least one character with a Y chromosome you’d like to have hanging around.
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