Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa has made it his mission to oppose feminism, which he defines as "the radical notion that women are men." His latest column — on why all women are essentially prostitutes — inspired us to take a look back at his mansplaining oeuvre.
Back in 2008, positive psychology was big. Not to be left behind, Kanazawa took to his Psychology Today blog to explain how all people could be happy. Here's how:
Money, promotions, the corner office, social status, and political power are what make men happy (as long as they win, of course, but then dropping out is by definition a defeat). Spending time with their children is what makes women happy.
This has larger policy implications:
What can evolutionary psychology tell us about what we as a society can do so as not to repeat the Swedish mistake [Swedes are not as happy as Danes] and make our citizens happy? The best thing to do is to kill all the feminists and hippies and liberals.
In all species in which the female makes greater parental investment than the male (such as humans and all other mammals), mating is a female choice; it happens when the female wants it to happen, and with whom she wants it to happen, not when and with whom the male wants it to happen.
Apparently Kanazawa is not familiar with rape. Moving on:
In reality [...] women do often say no to men. (In my experience, they always do.) This is why men throughout history have had to conquer foreign lands, win battles and wars, compose symphonies, author books, write sonnets, paint portraits and cathedral ceilings, make scientific discoveries, play in rock bands, and write new computer software, in order to impress women so that they will agree to have sex with them. There would be no civilization, no art, no literature, no music, no Beatles, no Microsoft, if sex and mating were a male choice. Men have built (and destroyed) civilizations in order to impress women so that they might say yes. Women are the reason men do everything.
Here Kanazawa neglects the achievements of, say, rumored lifelong virgin Isaac Newton. He also repeats this popular canard:
If a woman — any woman — wakes up in the morning and says to herself, "Tonight I will get laid," the prediction will always come true every time. Such is the power of female choice.
During the 2008 primary, Kanazawa proposed his own candidate:
Here's a little thought experiment. Imagine that, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, the President of the United States was not George W. Bush, but Ann Coulter. What would have happened then? On September 12, President Coulter would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost.
Yes, we need a woman in the White House, but not the one who's running.
[M]odern feminism is unnecessary, because its entire raison d'être is the unquestioned assumption that women are and have historically always been worse off than men. The fact that men and women are fundamentally different and want different things makes it difficult to compare their welfare directly, to assess which sex is better off; for example, the fact that women make less money than men cannot by itself be evidence that women are worse off than men, any more than the fact that men own fewer pairs of shoes than women cannot be evidence that men are worse off than women. However, in the only two biologically meaningful measures of welfare –- longevity and reproductive success –- women are and have always been slightly better off than men.
Kanazawa loves talking about ladies and their footwear — the UK edition of his book was titled Why Men Gamble and Women Buy Shoes. On the "evil" issue, Kanazawa is pretty predictable: "the culpability of modern feminism in making women steadily unhappy, because it is based on false assumptions about male and female human nature, is difficult to deny."
If monkeys and nonhuman apes routinely engage in prostitution, as the research by de Waal, Chen and Santos, and others seems to indicate, and if the evolutionary origin of prostitution thus dates back long before we were human, then it means that prostitution is evolutionarily familiar. If prostitution is evolutionarily familiar, then men's brain should be able to recognize prostitutes and to treat them differently from "ordinary" women, whom they do have to impress if they want to have sex with them. In other words, there should be an evolved "hooker module" in the brain.
But then a prostitute named Maggie set him straight, by explaining that "the average client of a $300/hour hooker (which was exactly what I charged) wants a good, quality 'girlfriend experience' (GFE), which will be much more likely if he treats his 'date' like a lady." This led Kanazawa to conclude:
Prostitution is evolutionarily familiar, because mating is evolutionarily familiar and prostitutes (at least the classy ones) are no different from other women, whom men also have to pay –- not in cash payments but in dinners and movies, gifts, flowers, chocolates, and motor oil –- if they wanted to impress them enough to have sex with them.
And he winds up his column by quoting Maggie's definition of the contemporary feminist: "a sort of twisted male chauvinist who believes that women are not good enough as we are and should therefore strive to think, act, work and look as much like men as possible." He writes, "unlike modern feminists (or neofeminists), Maggie and I know that women are not inferior versions of men."
It's hard to muster up too much outrage for someone who's clearly trying so hard to attract it, but it's worth noting that Kanazawa's main point in all this — that feminists believe all women are the same as all men — is one of the oldest and dumbest misconceptions about the drive for gender equality. Wanting the opportunity to, say, make the same salary as one's male colleagues doesn't mean you think every woman necessarily wants a corner office — and while some feminists insist on lockstep orthodoxy, most have far more flexible ideas of what people want than Kanazawa does, with his success-for-men, babies-for-women prescription. In his column, "How to be happy," Kanazawa writes, "Live as you feel like, not as you think you should live like." It's too bad he doesn't understand that most feminists want to help women do just that.
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