Friday, February 09, 2007

Why Do Women Complain More Than Men?

Robin Hanson:

We often see a women complaining about a men, to that man or to other women.  We less often see the gender-reversed scenario.  At least that is what I see, in friends, family, movies, and music.  Yes, men roll their eyes, and perhaps in general women talk more about people.   But women complain more, even taking these into account.  Why?

The politically correct theory is that women's lives are worse, so they have more to complain about.

After all, men often ignore, disrespect, and abandon, even beat and rape, women.  But slaves weren't know for being complainers, and they had the most to complain about.   

Women also ignore, disrespect, abandon, and beat men.  Women rarely rape men, but they do cuckold them.  Men suffer more health and violence problems, and the standard evolutionary story is that men suffer a higher outcome variance, and so have more disappointments.

Clearly part of the story is that when women complain, others tend to sympathize and take their side, but when men complain, others tend to snicker and think less of them.   But why are their complaints treated so differently?   

One factor is that we value toughness more in men than women.  Another factor is that men seem to signal their devotion to women more than vice versa.  But I'm not sure why these happen, or if they are sufficient explanations.

Whatever the true story, the politically correct theory, that women complain more due to worse lives, seems both wrong and biased.   Surely most people know enough men and women to see that their quality of life is not that different, at least compared to their complaint rates.

Also see Hanson's post on gender profiling.


Ferrari said...

Well, women's lives are more difficult, and I will tellyou why: we give birth and take care of the children far more than men do. Once the women gets married and especially has a child, she becomes much more vulnerable than men - it is difficult to excell in professional world, much of her interests have to be given up, if things don't work out in marriage it becomes more difficult to remarry with "baggage". Women also fall prey to their craving for love and emotional attachement, it is true addiction (as they still want to be married rather than not inspite of all the sacrifices thay have to make). Unless you as a men do not understand this, you will not succeed in a relationship. Men rule the world, that's why they shouldn't complain. It is easier for them to change things, they don't have chains on their feet like women with children do. It is Saturday, and I am up at 5 am because I have to study for the test - taking an advance accounting course. I have to go back to work Monday - 33 miles commute each way. There will be a lot of overtime this week as it is the end of the month and the end of the year, and books need to be closed, and reports need to be prepared and analysed. I miss my children already. I will have to plan ahead and cook their meals for the week. I will have to check their homework when I get home from work. My husband was off for 10 days this last week, and he spent most of the time glued to the computer doing stupid greenscreeen photography while I had to do grocerie shopping, cleaning and laundry instead of spending time with the kids. I am thinking really hard about leaving him. And not remarrying for a while, just ejoying life with a lot of responsibility but without constant dissapointment. My husband probably thinks that I complain too much, too. Well, he will have all the time in the world for the greenscreen photography when I am gone. Unless you men learn to give birth and nurture children, do not complain - your lives are pretty good. And be compassionate with us poor souls who have to do that AND work AND take care of the house AND climb the corporate ladder because this kind of life is too hard for you – you can only do one thing at a time.

Unknown said...

Wow, Ferrari sounds like she is out of touch with reality

xy said...

I feel sympathetic with women whose lives are difficult. To the same degree I feel sympathetic with men whose lives are difficult. However, the truth is that men don't complain as much as women do. Men and women think differently ( Unfortunately, all we can do about that is to come to terms with it.

Unknown said...

Ferrari, your whole paragraph is the reason for the topic.

Anonymous said...

Ferrari posted the exact same comment on another thread that I read today... If you are having problems and you want to complain, do like the rest of our wives and bother your husband.

Rich said...

What I do hate the most about discussions like these is women bringing up the fact that they have to bring up an look after children. Firstly, it is your choice to take this on! Therefore any discomfort or life changes are resultant of this choice you have made. Secondly, there are many male single parents out there, who go through exactly the same situations, its not a women only thing. Thirdly, when a women is looking after the child, the man is expected to work to supply money, food, shelter an every need. The stress generated from knowing you need to earn, that you cannot afford to loose your job, that everything else in your life is suddenly viewed as not as important can be tremendous. I'm not saying life is not hard for women or anything like that, I know it is, I just hate that this argument is used so one sidedly all the time...

TBoN3 said...

My wife and I just recently got into an argument about household duties. The ironic part about it is, I was in the kitchen, doing the dishes, cooking (preparing meals for the next 2 days) and she begins to tell me that I don't do enough around the house and she can't keep up with the housework. My first reaction was utter shock, then we start going toe to toe on who does what, the same ole song and dance about "worth" who does what and what's more important. Those kind of fights/arguments are useless because how do you measure doing the dishes vs doing the laundry. I cut the grass all year long while she takes out the trash. As a male, all I wanted was some recognition that I'm doing housework, but I don't even get that, I get nothing but complaining and whining about how much I don't do.

What I need to start doing for this argument and the next and next is... get a note pad or a journal and start writing down when I do something, when I say something nice, how often I do something as this is the only way it seems things I do as a male will get noticed. When an argument comes up, I have to not only justify what I've done, but pinpoint when I've done it and how often otherwise it never happened.

Everyone's situation is different and everyone sees their own situation different looking out opposed to those looking in. It's frustrating as hell to have someone nagging at you for things that you feel you are doing right. When I was at work, I polled every male in the office and asked, "Do you and your wife usually argue about household chores?" The consensus was, "Everyday!", and my conclusion is, if you own a penis, be prepared to get bitched at, because she won't notice the newly renovated bathroom you installed over the weekend, or the grass you cut, the leaves you raked, or the car that you fixed. Rather, she will focus on the clothes you left on the floor, you watching TV while she is "cleaning" or the time you spend alone and away from her because in the back of your head, who the hell wants to hear more complaining and bitching, simply create some space.

null said...

Ferrari is spreading her stupid ot multiple blogs!

"Well, women's lives are more difficult"

Oh look, a woman complaining about how hard women have it, as if women are innocent victims. GO FIGURE.

"and I will tellyou why: we give birth and take care of the children far more than men do."

Women CHOOSE to give birth, it is a CHOICE that a woman makes, so you can't say "women have harder lives because we give birth.", because giving birth is a CHOICE.

You want some FACTS about who's lives are harder? How about men who are expected to earn high amounts money to support the family? No wonder men:

1) Have higher rates of suicide at all ages
2) Die in higher rates *from all causes* that women.
3) Have higher blood pressure, more heart attacks, etc.

Women will complain about how "bad they have it", even while they float on a cloud drinking martini's and having GQ models rubbing their feet. It's in women's nature, and it's the reason why MEN DON'T LISTEN TO WOMEN.

If you don't believe me, here's some more FACTS: