Evolutionary Biologist Reveals How Society Is Losing It’s Grip on What Makes Us Men and Women

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

The video is about a conversation with an evolutionary biologist discussing how society is losing its understanding of the differences between men and women.

The video is a conversation between Tom and evolutionary biologist Heather Heing about the differences between men and women and how society is losing its grip on what makes us men and women. They discuss how some people believe that gender differences are entirely socially imposed, while others argue that they are natural. Heather explains that there is evidence from 500 million years back that shows that men and women have different strategies because they are sexually reproducing organisms. They also discuss how this topic has become a hot button issue in modern culture and how activists are using it as a talking point.

  • There is a cultural shift where people are losing their understanding of the differences between men and women.
  • Looking at other cultures and what babies do, we can see that the differences between men and women are not entirely a social construct.
  • Activists are using the legitimate concerns about gender roles to push their own agenda.
  • Sex differences are not complicated.
  • There are differences between men and women at the biological level, such as the presence of a uterus in women.
  • Women are pushing back against the idea that they should only rear children and are seeking to do more.
  • Individual life satisfaction and fulfillment are not necessarily tied to reproductive success.
  • Women adopt traditionally masculine traits to succeed in a society that rewards those traits.
  • Women use relationships and ideas as their weapons.

Evolutionary Biologist Reveals How Society Is Losing It’s Grip on What Makes Us Men and Women - YouTube

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Introduction

  • The conversation is about evolutionary biology and the differences between men and women.
  • There is a cultural shift where people are losing their understanding of the differences between men and women.
  • The differences between men and women are a hot button topic for people.
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Legitimate Concerns About Gender Roles

  • There were socially imposed differences between male and female gender roles.
  • Some people wrongly extrapolated that those differences were entirely socially imposed.
  • Looking at other cultures and what babies do, we can see that the differences between men and women are not entirely a social construct.
  • There was an error in applying what was to imagine what should be.
  • There was a legitimate and good faith pushback against that error.
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Activist Talking Points

  • Activists are using the legitimate concerns about gender roles to push their own agenda.
  • There are many things that activists are doing that we used to know until yesterday.
  • There is a lot of evidence from 500 million years back that men and women are sexually reproducing organisms that have different strategies.
  • The differences between men and women are the easiest topic to deal with because there is so much evidence.
  • The differences between men and women are the most hot button topic.
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Evolutionary Biologist Reveals How Society Is Losing It’s Grip on What Makes Us Men and Women - YouTube

Sex Differences Are Not Complicated

  • Sex differences are not complicated.
  • There is a lot of evidence from 500 million years back that men and women are sexually reproducing organisms that have different strategies.
  • Men and women are different on average.
  • There are differences between men and women that are not entirely a social construct.
  • Sex differences are the easiest topic to deal with because there is so much evidence.
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Evolutionary Biology and Gender

  • There are differences between men and women at the biological level, such as the presence of a uterus in women.
  • These biological differences may also be reflected in differences in brain structure and function.
  • However, there is a point where society's understanding of gender breaks down, particularly in regards to traditional gender roles.
  • There is a sense that men have had it better or easier, which creates fervor around achieving parity of thought and action.
  • Women are pushing back against the idea that they should only rear children and are seeking to do more.
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Is it Better to be Male?

  • At an evolutionary level, there is no inherent advantage to being male or female.
  • Either sex can become more valuable if one sex becomes more rare due to factors such as war or infant mortality.
  • Reproductive success is the ultimate measure of evolutionary success, but there is no clear advantage to being male or female in this regard.
  • On average, every person in a stable population leaves about two kids, but there is much more variance among men than women.
  • However, individual life satisfaction and fulfillment are not necessarily tied to reproductive success.
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Gender Roles and Parity

  • There is a societal push for parity of thought and action between men and women.
  • Traditional gender roles, such as women staying at home and men going out to conquer, are being challenged.
  • There is a sense that men have had it better or easier, which creates fervor around achieving parity of thought and action.
  • Women are pushing back against the idea that they should only rear children and are seeking to do more.
  • There is debate over whether women should act as male as possible in order to achieve their goals and aspirations.
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Individual Fulfillment vs. Evolutionary Success

  • Individual life satisfaction and fulfillment are not necessarily tied to reproductive success.
  • People can find fulfillment in their careers, hobbies, and other aspects of their lives.
  • There is no inherent advantage to being male or female at an evolutionary level, but there may be societal advantages or disadvantages.
  • Gender roles are being challenged, and there is a push for parity of thought and action between men and women.
  • Ultimately, individuals must decide what brings them fulfillment and happiness in their lives.
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Base Assumptions and Traditional Gender Roles

  • Base assumptions drive surface level arguments.
  • Traditional gender roles are based on the highest value being prestige and climbing the hierarchy.
  • Women adopt traditionally masculine traits to succeed in a society that rewards those traits.
  • Individuals buy into the highest value being prestige and climbing the hierarchy.
  • Adopting traditionally masculine traits is a way to succeed in society.
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Mixed-Sex Hierarchy and Female Dominance

  • Other primate societies have male hierarchy and dominance.
  • Female hierarchy and dominance exist in other primate societies.
  • Mixing hierarchies in modern humans is complicated.
  • Women are finding it necessary to act in ways that look more like male dominance attainment.
  • Men have had more political power outside of the home, making it necessary to mix hierarchies.
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Nature and Nurture and Female Strategies

  • The brain requires nurture for proper development.
  • Nature and nurture are interdependent.
  • Women use relationships and ideas as their weapons.
  • Women are more relationship-oriented in how they move pieces around the chessboard.
  • Society is playing a big mind game, and it feels like a useful female strategy.
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Personal Experience and Female Influence

  • The speaker's wife was a traditional housewife who facilitated his business career.
  • His wife wielded tremendous influence on him.
  • Women use relationships and ideas as their weapons.
  • Women are more relationship-oriented in how they move pieces around the chessboard.
  • The speaker's wife played a significant role in his ambition and cultivating it.
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Female vs Male Power Structures

  • The future is female and testosterone is the problem with power structures is divisive and dangerous.
  • All-male power structures tend to go off the rails in a particular way with which we're well familiar from history.
  • All-female power structures would go off the rails in a particular way that we're less familiar with from history.
  • Experimentation would be happening in real-time with an entirely female power structure.
  • Some of the conversation around women in power is illegitimate.
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Differences Between Men and Women

  • There is very little precedent for how many billion people are on the planet at this point.
  • We are now acting globally at every scale, so we can't get it wrong given the actual weapons that are at our disposal.
  • Full freedom of choice still shows that boys are more likely to choose jobs that allow them to work with things and numbers, and girls are more likely to choose jobs that allow them to work with people and relationships.
  • These differences do not inherently suggest patriarchy or oppression or misogyny or sexism.
  • There is very little evidence for that in the modern era.
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Women vs Men

  • Women are different and, in some ways, better at seeing some kinds of problems than men are.
  • Men are also better at seeing some kinds of things than women are.
  • There will be some men who may be better than any women currently alive at whatever those female typical things are and vice versa.
  • This is about population level differences.
  • Full freedom of choice still shows differences between boys and girls.
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Conclusion

  • It's not possible to be unsexed and go home to our private lives and have whatever sexual relationships we want.
  • It's not about the limitations of you or me as a man or a woman.
  • It's about population level differences.
  • There is very little evidence for patriarchy or oppression or misogyny or sexism in the modern era.
  • It's important to understand the differences between men and women and not pretend they don't exist.
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Sex Differences in Activities Across Cultures

  • Review of work done in 50 pre-industrial cultures on sex differences in activities.
  • 185 activities were analyzed, from weaving to hunting to gardening.
  • Activities were categorized as male-only, female-only, mostly male, mostly female, or whoever is available.
  • Activities that were exclusively male included hunting of large marine mammals and iron smelting.
  • These activities were likely male-only due to high risk of death and burst strength needed.
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Gendered Activities Across Cultures

  • Activities that are more likely to be women's activities include cooking and gathering of vegetable foods.
  • Activities that are more likely to be men's activities include cooking of animal meat.
  • These gendered activities vary across different ecosystems and cultures.
  • Men are mostly doing large game hunting while women are doing small game hunting.
  • Men need to be skilled at preparing the hunted animal in the field to prevent it from rotting.
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Gendered Activities and Division of Labor

  • In some cultures, the person who did the killing gets to decide how the meat gets distributed.
  • Meat distribution varies by culture and can be attributed to either males or females of the family.
  • Highly gendered activities like basket weaving, loomwork, and pottery making are different across cultures.
  • There is utility in having an activity be gendered, but there is nothing inherent about the activity that makes it more likely for men or women to do it.
  • Division of labor is valuable and not inherently divisive or oppressive.
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The Value of Division of Labor

  • Division of labor is valuable because it is a category that is real.
  • Division of labor is not inherently divisive or oppressive.
  • Just because there is a difference in division of labor based on cultural norms, it does not mean that the work is either better or worse based on what sex or group is doing it.
  • The economic model reveals that the work that is more outward facing pays more.
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Immutable Differences Between Men and Women

  • Sex is ancient and hundreds of millions of years old.
  • The vast majority of human beings who have ever lived are male or female.
  • The gender roles that come from sex are also old within cultures.
  • Division of labor can also be based on age groups.
  • Division of labor is valuable and not inherently divisive or oppressive.
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Why Gendered Activities Exist

  • Gendered activities exist because there is utility in having an activity be gendered.
  • There is nothing inherent about the activity that makes it more likely for men or women to do it.
  • Division of labor is valuable and not inherently divisive or oppressive.
  • Just because there is a difference in division of labor based on cultural norms, it does not mean that the work is either better or worse based on what sex or group is doing it.
  • The economic model reveals that the work that is more outward facing pays more.
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Gender Roles and Division of Labor

  • The value of division of labor is far older than anything having to do with oppression or patriarchy.
  • Women's work is devalued because it's not paid as much, but that is a later overlay.
  • Primates have been doing separate social hierarchies for tens of millions over 100 million years.
  • Men are bigger and more powerful on average, so women tend to use power that is more covert.
  • Women's kinds of power have been less obvious, so it's harder to point to and shut down.
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Mixed-Sex Teams vs. All-Male Teams

  • It is easier to work in groups that are exclusively men for men, but it is more productive to work in mixed groups because of heterogeneity of ideas.
  • It is easier to communicate in all-male groups because rules of engagement can be established easily.
  • Women tend to use power that is more covert, which is harder to shut down.
  • All-male teams tend to have brief points and glory for only a few people, while mixed-sex teams tend to be more productive.
  • It is tough to mix up between the sexes and pretend that it's no biggie.
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Categories and Rules of Engagement

  • Categories are useful, and it is necessary to ask how much of this has to do with the act of sex complicating things.
  • Rules of engagement can be established easily among guys, but it is not helpful or useful when doing it to women.
  • Women's kinds of power have been less obvious, so it's harder to point to and shut down.
  • Illegitimate uses of traditionally gendered power of any sort should be shut down when working together.
  • It is important to look for ways to shut down all of the illegitimate uses of traditionally gendered power.
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Friction and Challenges

  • Mixed-sex teams are more productive, but there are challenges.
  • Women tend to use power that is more covert, which is harder to shut down.
  • Men are bigger and more powerful on average, so women tend to use power that is more covert.
  • It is tough to mix up between the sexes and pretend that it's no biggie.
  • It is important to look for ways to shut down all of the illegitimate uses of traditionally gendered power.
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Playing Ultimate on Co-Ed Teams

  • Co-ed teams had a mixture of impulses from both men and women.
  • Women tended to be more careful and focused on short passes.
  • Men tended to be more energetic and focused on long hucks.
  • Co-ed teams tried to match the sex ratio to ensure fair play.
  • Playing on co-ed teams acknowledged and celebrated differences between men and women.
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Using Categories to Achieve Fulfillment

  • Categories can be useful in achieving fulfillment for everyone.
  • Categories help us discern between different shades of experience.
  • Using categories can help us identify and achieve our goals.
  • Categories can help us understand the different roles needed for success.
  • Men and women can be seen as categories with different strengths and impulses.
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Categories and Productive Friction

  • It is important to understand categories to find productive friction.
  • Men and women have different approaches to the world.
  • Friction between different world views creates a healthier company.
  • Getting rid of categories of usefulness is not helpful.
  • Understanding differences and acknowledging their value leads to progress.
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Operations Officer vs. Visionary

  • The dichotomy of operations officer vs. visionary appears to map onto the male-female dichotomy.
  • Research shows that women are more capable of doing detailed work.
  • Women's visionary nature tends to look different from men's.
  • Female visionaries may have different natures that are harder to recognize.
  • Cultural and economic systems make it harder for women visionaries to have their visions revealed.
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The Advantage of Splitting the Brain

  • The cerebral cortex is split between left and right brain.
  • The corpus callosum connects the two halves.
  • Splitting the brain allows for hiding things from oneself.
  • Reconnecting the brain allows for better communication and analysis.
  • The advantage of splitting and reconnecting the brain is still being studied.
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Resistance to Male-Female Dichotomy

  • Something deep in the speaker resists the male-female dichotomy.
  • Modern understanding of executive function is more likely to be highly capable in women.
  • Women's visionary nature tends to look different from men's.
  • Extraordinary and ridiculous claims about there being no differences are being made.
  • Female visionaries may have different natures that are harder to recognize.
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Neurological Differences Between Men and Women

  • Women have a larger corpus callosum than men, homosexuals, and left-handers.
  • Corpus callosum is responsible for making connections between different parts of the brain.
  • Having a big corpus callosum is good for work that requires making connections between different parts of the brain.
  • However, there are times when being able to focus on one thing without being disrupted is better.
  • Whether being male or female is better is a naive question.
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Toxic Femininity and Toxic Masculinity

  • The male way of being, when taken to the extreme, becomes tyranny.
  • The female way of being, when taken to the extreme, becomes chaos.
  • Categories of male and female are useful.
  • Denying the real differences between men and women will cause problems.
  • It is in the difference that the magic happens.
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Male and Female Categories

  • The dichotomy between a visionary and an executor has nothing to do with sex.
  • 50% of women are visionaries and 50% are executors, and the same goes for men.
  • Categories of male and female are useful.
  • Striping away these categories breaks how we've come together.
  • Culturally trying to beat the difference out will cause problems.
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Jordan Peterson's Views on Male and Female Power

  • Male power taken to its extreme tends to tyranny.
  • Female power taken to its extreme tends to chaos.
  • Jordan Peterson's book, "12 Rules for Life," is an antidote to chaos.
  • The female is essentially nature itself because it leverages sexual selection.
  • The male must do things to please the female in order to have their progeny move forward.
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Male and Female Power

  • The idea of male power taken to its extreme leads to tyranny.
  • Female power taken to its extreme leads to chaos.
  • An entirely female-powered system would lead to tyranny just as equally.
  • Unchecked power of any sort will ultimately lead to tyranny.
  • It is interesting to think about what female tyranny would look like.
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Friction and Checks and Balances

  • The magic is recognizing that things could go wrong.
  • Friction and working together with good faith is important.
  • Checks and balances are necessary.
  • There is no ill intent on either the male or female side.
  • Communism feels more feminine to me.
  • Covert movements can tear somebody down without proof.
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The Unknown and Chaos

  • Chaos is the unknown.
  • Nature itself is the element of chaos and change.
  • There is a sense of the new and unknown that you must venture out into.
  • Female power has been able to affect change in more covert ways.
  • It is difficult to imagine what an entirely female-powered system would look like.
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Misrepresenting Jordan Peterson

  • Many people intentionally misrepresent Jordan Peterson.
  • He is not a misogynistic crank.
  • His book "12 Rules" does not feel disparaging in either direction.
  • It is difficult to guess at what he meant without hearing it from him directly.
  • It is important to speak truthfully about him and his work.
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Gender Differences in Status Erosion

  • In male hierarchies, status erosion tends to be out in the open and involve physical fights.
  • Women don't engage in physical fights in the same way as men.
  • Women use different tools and weapons to erode status.
  • Changes in status happen differently for men and women.
  • Women are more likely to couch things in terms of "I think" or "Don't you think?"
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Challenges of Mixed-Sex Teams

  • It won't be easy to have a team of both men and women who are ambitious and hard-charging.
  • Men tend to be more direct and may hurt the feelings of women at the table.
  • Women are more likely to couch things in terms of "I think" or "Don't you think?"
  • Even linguistic differences can make it easier for women to be ignored by men.
  • Both men and women need to engage in different ways to be productive.
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Productivity and Fairness

  • Running a business requires finding a way to navigate mixed-sex teams.
  • The goal should be fulfillment for as many human beings as possible.
  • The best person for the job should be hired regardless of gender.
  • Productivity and fairness can be achieved with as little friction as possible.
  • Both men and women need to engage in different ways to be productive.
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Poverty as a Mindset

  • Poverty is a mindset that can be destroyed and is not genetic.
  • Affluence can help create a mindset towards success.
  • Jeffrey Canada believes that poverty is a mindset that can be changed.
  • It is self-evident that poverty is a mindset.
  • Breaking the poverty mindset can lead to success.
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Building a Productive Team

  • The difference between inner city kids and middle class kids is the number of words they hear by the age of five and the ratio of positive to negative he's like.
  • Building a media company can help people think in a certain way and fulfill their goals.
  • Personal glory and positive impact in the world can be achieved through building a successful media company.
  • The best people for the job are needed regardless of their gender or appearance.
  • Mixed groups give the best outcomes in terms of productivity.
  • Rules of engagement are important to create a productive team.
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Choosing the Best Fit for the Team

  • Looking for the best fit on the team is more important than looking for the best players.
  • Creating a document that outlines the rules of engagement is important.
  • Asking interviewees when was the last time they were offended helps to determine their threshold for offense.
  • Offense can be destructive to the group, so it's important to find people who are not easily offended.
  • John Wooden's idea of looking for the best fit on the team is important.
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Creating a Coherent Unit

  • Choosing students who are mature, capable, team players, and intellectually up to the challenge is important.
  • Creating a coherent unit is important when taking students on a study abroad program.
  • Individuals are chosen based on their personality and their ability to work with specific people.
  • Skills are important, but personality is more important.
  • People are moved around based on their skill set.
  • The layover test is important in determining whether someone is a good fit for the team.
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