Trailerology: Barnyard (Whoa, that CAN'T be Right)

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Just got back from watching Cars, and leading it was a trailer for Barnyard (trailer 2 is the one we saw). Am I wrong, or is something horribly amiss? Give it a watch, see if you can spot it. Click here for the answer. Is this old news? Is it intentional? I'm stunned.

The content of movies is very much determined by the market. If we are seeing 98 cops&robbers movies to 2 teaparty movies, it's because teaparty movies lose money. And they lose money because neither males nor females go to see them. That doesn't mean, of course, that females don't want to see them. Most females go to the movies with a male and submit to the male's choice of movie. Why do they submit? - for the same reason teaparty movies are female's movies: social cohesion, 'bonding' - fusion rather than fission.

Look at what happens in cops&robbers movies: - the cops split the robbers from society (put them in prison), alienate their own wives/girlfriends (end up divorced or dumped), lose their partner-cops, use their service pistol to split from this life. It's all about fission. (Yes, I'm slapping myself for giving the appearance of making light of a serious bunch of problems.)

So does this mean that movies are inherently not a girls' game or that it is a game being played unfairly?
My condolences on the Italian Diving Exhibition.

I can't think of a plausible argument for the position that movies are not a girls' game - perhaps because I have trouble thinking of movies as a game. Wittgenstein challenged us to say what all games have in common - my answer is that all games have players. Movies have players (or some movies do, they say so in the credits), but...but that's argument-by-pun.

Cliche-but-true: nobody ever said the game of life was fair. The question perhaps is can it be made fair. That's what ethics is about. The interesting thing is that it isn't necessarily what 'female' ethics is about. If there's such a thing as a quintessentially female ethic it's not an impartial ethic. 'Male' ethics are impartial, female ethics are partial - they exclude the unrelated. That's why the cop's wife divorces him - her ethic is that the family is what's most important, and, if he can't see that, if he insists on pursuing his impartial enforcement of the law, she'll get herself a new family. It's tragic - inherently.

I noticed the same thing and showed my girlfriend. But be as the movie is written and directed by Steve Oedekirk, he will try any way he can to throw in a repeat of the cow/bullet-time sequence from Kunk Pow, so he's giving the characters as many venues (and organs) as he can to make that extremely possible.

I take it this 'cow' is the kind of Betsy who hangs out on the corner of Hollywood and (Bo)Vine. You can find anything in L.A., and that's no bull (or maybe a little bull... depends on your tastes...).

Even kids' cartoons are socially progressive these days. Clearly, the character in question is a post-operative transsexual.

Well, not too progressive. Actresses are still having trouble finding good roles. But Courtney Cox does play the bovine love interest which just heaps on the irony.

I'm tempted to say that Barnyard must be the screen adaptation of M. Buttermilk. And who am I to resist temptation?

If you feel that you've been steered wrong then just lie back and envision the alternative.

got milk?

Apparently, they've polled girls and boys and both groups would rather see males in lead roles.

Is that perhaps because most decent lead roles are written for men, and that's what people are used to seeing? Surely if there were more interesting and/or popular lead roles for women, people would then associate women with lead roles they actually want to see? Perhaps the world just needs more Ripleys (from Alien).

I'm not sure that I buy the chicken-or-the-egg reasoning about lead roles for women. This may be because I have no idea what it means to be a chicken or an egg. How do we get "more interesting and/or popular lead roles for women?" I hope that we all think that this is a problem. But is the problem the casting of women or the writing for women?

If anyone doesn't think this is a problem I'd be curious as to why... or I'd be happy to scream until I black out.

By which I mean that I would try to calmly and concisely explain what I think is bad about it.

buddy cites Ripley. But that kind of role for women may only accentuate the problem. Let me explain.

Perhaps the seed problem is that "what men do" (on average) is more valued than "what women do" (on average). In general, men are instrumental, women are relational. Men are driven to change the world, women are driven to maintain the world. There are bits of both in each man and woman, and I'm unfairly generalizing and probably stepping on toes, but I do believe this describes the majority of our population.

With men as the usual catalysts of change (because they are wired that way), it's unsurprising that history books mostly tell of male exploits. Also, men are physically dominant over women - this is even more widely true than the change/maintain thing.

There are other differences. What's I'm saying is that if the world chooses to place more value on what men are designed/evolved to do better or more often than women, then of course the world will value men more.

Am I completely off-base, here?

No. I don't think that you are completely off-base. I agree with some aspect(s) of what you say.

I don't understand (or I differ with) how you frame the issue. I'm not sure what "relational" means as opposed to "instrumental" (which sounds like a requirement.) I disagree with "women are driven to maintain the world." Men have started countless battles (which seem to have changed little.) Women have been the backbone of every social movement that I can think of (which has brought what little change there is.) If anything I think that men have tried (desperately) to maintain the world as it is.

"History books mostly tell of male exploits" could be the problem for women in film (and life... whatever.) It is easy(er) to tell a male narrative of action, violence and possession. It is hard(er) to tell a story of emotion, negotiation and sharing. Dropping a woman into a male role in a male narrative makes sense only if you want to keep telling that kind of story. Is this close to what you meant by "that kind of role for women may only accentuate the problem?" (Did you mean "aggravate" rather than "accentuate"?)

Men may be stronger... women more powerful.

You remind me of an old, crude joke: Women have all the vaginas: of course they're more powerful!

Men have almost always been the movers of policy, technology, religion, philosophy, science, and art. But, the ratio of women's contributions grows with their rise from oppression.

If women are the backbone of most social movements, men are the hands and feet. Harriet Tubman and others are so notable because they are the exceptions. That said, women do tend to be more compassionate than men, so I have no problem thanking women for many social movements.

It is easier to tell a male story of action, violence and possession, and harder to tell a story of emotion, negotiation, and sharing. That is exactly what I meant by "instrumental" vs. "relational," and why glorifying women in male roles may aggravate the problem of society seeing men and male-type activity as superior.

Emancipation, suffrage, child labour laws, the peace movement, the United Nations, civil rights, environmentalism, sustainable development, gay rights, workers' rights, native rights... all done by chicks. Dr. King can show up in Oslo to pick up his prize but it was women who drove the movement. I don't know what you mean by "hands and feet" but look around your church, your charities, your political campaigns... if women aren't the vast majority I'll eat my hat. Just because you're elected, appointed or annointed doesn't mean that you are running the ship.

"Harriet Tubman and others are so notable because they are the exceptions." That is just a self-fulfilling tautology. These women are notable because they are the exceptions allowed into history books. Thanking "them" makes it seem as if "they" did it to benefit "you." You can keep your Nobel Prizes, I'd rather get things done. Wangari Maathai, Barbara Askins, Mary Magdalene, Hipparchia the Cynic, Rosalind Franklin, the women of Gees Bend. All unexceptional... and un-noted.

Mind if I butt in? What progress there's been has undoubtedly been accomplished in de facto partnership between the sexes/genders. It's just as absurd to suggest that females have done all the real work while males have hogged the glory as it is to suggest that males have done all the real work because females have been under subjection and most of them have liked it there. Sexual superiority and inferiority are like the racial kinds: - idiotic. You can only fairly judge people on an individual basis - their sex/gender, just like their race, is almost entirely irrelevant.

I don't mind at all.

Is a "de facto partnership" fifty-fifty? Hindsight is 20/20 but I just can't see it. I suppose that the elimination of slavery could be considered a partnership between slave and master (a "minority partnership," if you will) but it seems a poor union indeed.

I don't mean to suggest that women have "done all the real work." I mean to say that no real work seems to get done without women... with the notable exception of the creation of Administrative Professionals Day. As for the glory, who would think of our progress up to this point as glorious? (I think I might know the answer but people aren't going to like it.)

I agree with the "idiotic" sentiment. But ask people who fall on the wrong side of the sex, gender and/or race line if this is in any way irrelevant.

All I mean by "de facto partnership" is to describe the actual situation as distinct from the apparent one - the one in which males are routinely awarded the kudos for any perceived advance. (Who was it freed the slaves? Abraham Lincoln, of course.) And this de facto partnership is consistent with no real work getting done without women. So I see no disagreement between us there.

I certainly didn't mean to call either you or lukeprog idiotic - I have great respect for both of you. My meaning was that it is, from an ideal (philosophical) point of view, idiotic to evaluate people on any other basis than their merits and demerits as individuals.

It never occurred to me that you were calling anyone an idiot.

That either speaks well of you or is proof positive.

Certainly not completely. It's funny, in the fall semester of last year I took a sociology course that made me think that gender roles are mostly imposed on humans by society, rather than being innate in how we're designed. In the spring semester of last year I took a psychology course that made me think that gender roles have indeed become mostly innate based on natural selection and each sex's role in reproduction. So I've gone back and forth, but certainly the unfair gender roles are there, no matter how they got there.

I'm not sure how Ripley would only accentuate the problem though.

You might find Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature interesting. It is interesting that sociologists and psychologists each give an answer that serve their own vested interests... of course I have my own ideas regarding gender v. sexuality.

If it's true that what makes a woman feel alive* comes from biology as much or more than from society, then glorifying Ripley as she does what makes a man feel alive* only asserts that the "male role" (whether it's played a man or woman) is superior.

*I'm avoiding the term "gender role" because it conjures Leave it to Beaver. Most women I know don't "feel alive" by conquering (politically or ideologically), contributing a new idea to science or the arts, achieving wealth, etc. Most women I know feel most alive when their relationships are strong and warm, when they are cherished and honored, etc.

I'm also struggling to describe how I perceive women because their experience of life is totally foreign to me. I am waiting for some women to inform me, here.

I think a movie that glorifies a woman doing what makes a man feel alive is less likely to accentuate the problem than a movie that glorifies a man doing what makes a man feel alive.

I disagree, but I can't back that up.

Well, I guess since I didn't back up my statement either, it might foster debate a little better if I expanded on that. By the way, I'm going to use the term "gender role" or "what men/women do" because they're faster to type and less awkward-sounding than "what makes a man/woman feel alive."

A movie that glorifies a man fulfilling a male gender role. This simply reinforces the status quo and tells us once again that THESE are things that men do, and since this role is glorified, one might infer that the role is more important than a female role.

A movie that glorifies a woman fulfilling a female gender role. This reinforces the idea that certain roles that are commonly associated with males (though not in this particular movie) are important, and perhaps more important than roles typically associated with females. One could argue that the movie is saying kicking ass ("what men do") is more important than forming emotional relationships ("what women do"), though I think this message gets across just as strongly in the first movie, if not more so. But I think rather than that message, the movie is refusing to accept the categorization of these roles into "what men do" and "what women do," instead showing a woman who kicks ass.

Perhaps you are saying that since Ripley is glorified because she fulfills a male gender role, that fact undermines female gender roles. But I think there are plenty of movies that glorify women for doing "what women do," so I don't think the fact that Ripley is glorified as well accentuates the problem. I certainly wouldn't say the only way for a female character to be glorified is to fulfill "male roles," hence Ripley's role doesn't get that message across, and I don't think she makes the problem worse.

On the flip side, I think it is interesting that the male performances that tend to be the most acclaimed and award-winning are the ones that show men doing "what women do," i.e., being vulnerable and overtly emotional. Truman Capote was a homosexual who formed an emotional bond with the man he was interviewing and cried when he died. Ray Charles suffered to overcome a drug problem in order to prove he loved his wife. Jimmy Markum... well, okay, he was kind of a badass, but he was sad and stuff about his daughter's death. And I didn't see the Pianist. Or Training Day, but that seems like a bad example. Or Gladiator, but that seems like a REALLY bad exa- anyway, my point is, women can't drive.

Just to defend my mentioning of Ripley, and to contradict a point everyone seems to have taken as given: Ripley is not "doing what men do" in the role. With the inclusion of Newt as a character, I would say that the role is distinctly and powerfully female. Never mind the fact that the role was originally written as a man - the character gained added depths by making her female, and fleshed out some themes that are sorely neglected by writers and filmmakers. That is, the idea that a woman (mother) is a force to be reckoned with when her charges are threatened. I don't know about you folks, but the women I know aren't, for the most part, touchy-feely and all about relationships. The women I know drive change more fiercely and effectively than most of the men I know. Now that's something I'd like to see a film about.

No need to defend... if I understand you right.

I admit that I was thinking about Ripley mostly in her original Alien incarnation. Ripley might have originally been written as a man but I doubt that a man would strip down to his undies to enter hypersleep with his pussy, Jones. And even if he did do all that it wouldn’t convey such sexually-coded messages.

The fact that “the character gained added depths by making her female, and fleshed out some themes that are sorely neglected” says to me that girls who play boy games are inherently interesting. It also reinforces my opinion that movies are great at telling boy stories and not very good at telling girl stories (as opposed to stories with girl characters.) I find it interesting that Ridley Scott and James Cameron both include strong women characters in (most of?) their movies.

The Ripley in Aliens is a great coded story of women. Ripley, proxy parent to Newt, is the most experienced and sensible member of the mission. She is also the least powerful. Her pleas to the men leading the mission fall on deaf ears until the Sarge, Gorman and Burke are all out of the picture. Even then she still has to sweet-talk Hicks.

At the end of the movie her family is complete. SPOILER - highlight to read Ripley and (husband) Hicks have successfully adopted daughter Newt under the protective gaze of father-figure Bishop.
Which is one of the things that gives the movie such resonance.

But it sure ain’t no tea party.

I would also like to see films about woman-driven change. The question is: Are those stories tailor-made to become huge motion picture summer blockbusters?

I've always seen the film's focus as that of a scary mom defending her child, as summed up in the one line: Get away from her, you bitch! These are two women having a battle that is uniquely female. Men may play the protector, but they tend to be more altuism-driven than fiercely protective of their loved ones. I liken the story to a theme I loved in a novel called The Tent Peg , which described women as mother figures much like bears. Soft, but don't make 'em mad. It may not be a typical "female story", but is one that I think most women can identify with (and possibly even men). What wouldn't your mom do if your life was threatened?

So I don't think that it was inherently interesting putting a woman in a role that was written for a man. It may have been, but I think it accidentally hit on this theme that has not been tackled like this before (i.e. in such a suspenseful, violent fashion).

And lastly, women-driven change doesn't need to be handled much differently than man-driven change. Movies like The Insider were popular enough, and not particularly boyish. Surely we can have strong females driving change without them having to wear trashy clothes and gravity-defying pushup bras [*cough*Julia*cough*].

Nicely put.

Let me just say that I'm in no way looking to movies to free us from the chains of oppression. (That's a job for music.) Sometimes I just want to see guys with big square heads rescue gals with big round... I'm gonna say, "troubles." And 'splosions. Lotsa 'splosions.

However, I do enjoy it (more) when gals get to play Cops & Robbers. Space Marines & Aliens. Cowboys & Indians... erm, Cowboys & Native Peoples. Not the Brokeback kind of Cowboys. This may be the crux of the (my?) gender issue with movies. Even if girls got half of the roles in Cops & Robbers movies they would still be playing Cops & Robbers. Girls playing a boys game.

Nobody plays Tea Party. Most movies are Cops & Robbers. If you go by budgets then more than most movies are C&R. So part of the problem (as I see it) is deeper than girls not be allowed to play a boys game. The problem is that the only games being played out on the screen are boys games. If girls want to play at all they have to play Cops & Robbers.

Girls never (rarely) get to play Tea Party and when they do boys never (even more rarely) play with them. Or when boys do I am reminded of something someone else once said. "It is possible to have a male novel without any women in it. It is impossible to have a female novel without any men in it."

Your point about "acclaimed and award-winning" performances is well taken. But what does it say when men get prizes for acting like women? And how many people have ever seen a Philip Seymour Hoffman film? I have trouble thinking of more than a handful. How many people have seen a Thomas Mapother Cruise movie? I can't think of anyone who hasn't.

Being queer, crying or Scientology doesn't necessarily mean that you are filling a female gender role. But jumping on a couch just might. Don't even try to tell me that Gladiator has Pianist envy.

Driving Miss Daisy, snakes on a plane.

Well, snakes on a plane, anyway.

I got your melon-farming snakes on a plane right here.

There is nothing Sam Jackson can't do. Literally.

I'd like to know what portion of the stereotypical male/dominant/active and female/submissive/passive roles are natural and what portion are conditioned.

Biological factors typically give men advantages in strength, spatial and logical reasoning, and aggression, which tend toward mastery of labor, engineering, science, combat, certain arts (sculpture, painting, music), etc.

Biological factors typically give women advantages in emotional comprehension, nuances of behavior and expression, and language, which tend toward mastery of nurture, interpersonal skills, social action, character judgement, speech, listening, etc.

Also, it's my honest impression that most heterosexual women I know well want a man to be her strength and protection, and to lead her. In a sense, to rule over her. And most heterosexual men I know well want a woman who will be his support and encouragement, who will follow and respect him. They wants to rule.

Is this the generalized impression of others? Do you tihnk this is mostly biological, or mostly conditioned?

I'm going to do some reading on this.

I'm not going to weigh in on the biology/conditioning factor of this discussion, just to make things simpler for myself.

As for the specific biological factors you point out, I would like to add a wrinkle. I saw a program about a study done on a broad selection of men and women, and tested them on the types of skills you mention as being male or female. At the end of it all they totted up the scores, set a large line on the ground with one end being the most "male", and the other the most "female". While there was a male at the far end of the "male" side, and a female and the far end of the "female" side, lots of people fell somewhere in between, and there was some crossover in the middle. So the stereotypes you mention are VERY broad generalizations and should be taken with a grain of salt.

As for heterosexual women wanting her man to be her strength and protection, and the men wanting to rule, I have to put another caveat on that. Yes, that's true sometimes. But it's also very simplistic, and I know plenty of couples for whom the woman takes care of the man in as many ways as he takes care of her. That includes financial support, emotional support, etc. And those, too, fluctuate according to the situation.

I think AJ's right about women sometimes letting their men think they're stronger than the woman is. You have a point about men needing to feel strong and women needing to feel valued. But the reverse is true as well, and the balance of those things between the man and the woman vary from couple to couple. I'm betting the same is true for a lot of gay couples as well, but that's something I'm not very informed about, so I'll leave that issue be.

And one last thing - I don't know which men you know who want a woman to "follow and respect" him, and if they expect to return the same to their partners. If not, then good luck to them in finding fulfilling partnerships. I for one do NOT want someone to "lead" me, but to journey beside me toward many of the same goals.

Women probably should encourage their man to feel stronger than her, just as he should make her feel more attractive than he. Etc. Learn your partners' healthy needs and fill them, obviously: and men tend to be more needy for respect and women tend to be more needy for love.

I know plenty of women who don't want a man to lead her. I know more women who want the opposite. This is because most of my past experience is with rural Protestant Christians, who get most of their ideas about love and marriage from the writings of Paul, who espouses a male-dominant view of relationships.

My views are very parochial, but I don't think they are out-dated because I believe they can work today. In fact, the most fulfilled, loving, impressive, effective married couples I know have this kind of relationship. I aspire to this parochial ideal because I want a relationship as apparently fulfilling and effective as the ones I see around me. I imagine so many women I know have this parochial ideal for the same reason, in addition to whatever Biblical pressure they might feel.

I think particularly of a young woman I respect greatly. She is very independent, capable, and beautiful, and could have the whole world as her oyster with or without a man. She's engaged now, and I remember her talking about how she badly wanted a man who stood up, took responsibility, made decisions, and lead her. I'm not making this stuff up.

And neither are you. You don't want to be lead, and there are masses of women who don't want to be lead. It's tough to generalize, especially since I've not been actually quoting any data.

I forgot to thank you earlier for joining the conversation.

Thanks for letting me join the conversation. It's great to flex the old brain muscle for a bit - 'cause work ain't doing that.

Anyway, I actually deleted the comment about your views being parochial, because that's just personal opinion and doesn't specifically address the issues at hand.

Now that I understand where you're coming from (rural Protestant Christianity), I can understand a bit more why you have the views you do. I can also assure you that the type of relationship you describe may work perfectly well for the people you know, but don't accurately describe much of the First World population. You are making generalizations based on a particular demographic, and that is always dangerous and limiting to your thinking.

Anyway, this is all very far from barnyard animals, so I think I'll stop my posturing there, and thank you for your input. It's always an eye-opener to be reminded that people have radically different views than mine.

Eh, I don't know if these views are as limited as all that. That's a lot of red on that map, and Luke is even from a blue state.

Not that these views on relationships are stable across religious areas of the South and Midwest. According to this chart, the highest state divorce rates in the country tend to come from the South and Middle America. On the other hand, the two lowest divorce rates in the country come from Washington D.C. and Massachusetts. Another site called www.religioustolerance.org suggests that the Bible Belt sees a higher divorce rate because "More couples enter their first marriage at a younger age," "Average household incomes are lower," "They have a lower percentage of Roman Catholics, a denomination that does not recognize divorce," etc.

So I think Luke's views can accurately describe a good deal of America, but it seems like he is lucky to be in an area where these views seem to work for everyone. Indeed, Minnesota has the 13th lowest divorce rate of all the states. It also has the 10th highest per capita income and tends to be more towards the middle in terms of age of first marriage data*. So perhaps it's not the rural Protestantism that causes the aforementioned high divorce rates, because it seems like things get better once we give people more money and stop them from jumping into their first marriage. Or perhaps not. Despite my attempts to be Malcolm Gladwell via twenty minutes of Internet research, I don't have the answers.

* - I found some chart that broke the states into five sections. This data is for MEN in 2000-2002:

Median Age at First Marriage is 23.66 to 24.81: Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma
Median Age at First Marriage is 24.82 to 25.97: Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Carolina
Median Age at First Marriage is 25.98 to 27.12: Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
Median Age at First Marriage is 27.14 to 28.29: California, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii
Median Age at First Marriage is 28.30 to 29.44: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington D.C.

I wasn't thinking about the proportion of Protestant Christians in the U.S. As someone living in Canada and recently come from the UK, and having done extensive travelling throughout Western Europe and part of Eastern Europe, I was thinking more along the lines of Western society. That's my bias.

That's interesting about the divorce rates being lowest among atheists and higher among Christians (non-Catholic). Thanks to all for the info - I'm afraid I'm going by mostly personal experience and opinion.

So in your experience in Canada and the UK, did you come across any Protestants whose views would be similar to lukeprog's? Or did you get any sense of how prevalent those views are in non-U.S. countries?

Well in the UK I met people of several different types of Christianity, but none were very devout or practising. Roundly I'd say most of the English women I met conform to the ideas I've put forth, though maybe slightly less so than in Canada.

In Canada, I went to lots of different churches throughout my childhood (from Protestant to Pentacostal to non-denominational Four Square). That's my background and it has helped me to form my views of gender roles and relationships. My impression of much of the US is that it is quite a bit more conservative than the rest of the countries I've seen.

I'm pretty sure professing Christians have a divorce rate just barely higher than the whole population in the U.S. I also think you're right that my view of relationships does apply to a huge portion of the 1st world, especially in the U.S. And not just to Christians, either: to many Muslims, Jews, and other groups, too.

There are certainly more troubled marriages in my community (Christian or not) than the amazing ones I envy, but it is true that the most incredible married people I know have the parochial relationship I've been describing. All of them.

This includes my parents, even though they are opposite the gender stereotypes in many other ways. For example my father is more sensetive and more people-oriented than my mother, and my mother is about the most pragmatic woman I know.

I'm not going to argue the divorce rates, but the rest of your first paragraph got me thinking. How much is Protestantism and/or Christianity associated with traditional values outside of the U.S.? It has always been my impression that the United States is in a different league of other First World countries when it comes to traditional values versus liberal values.

For example, I once heard a sermon at my synagogue about the death penalty. The rabbi talked about which countries of the world allow the death penalty. I found the list again, and the results are stunning. It's a list that includes the United States, Japan, many African countries, many countries in the Middle East, North Korea, South Korea, Cuba... well, you get the idea. The death penalty has been outlawed entirely in Canada, Mexico, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Australia.

Even more shocking is that the United States is one of seven countries which has executed a minor since 1990. The other six? Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yeesh.

I realize that the death penalty is far from a Christian value, but it is a conservative value [that is easier to talk about quantitatively than views on gender roles], so you get my point about the U.S. being much more conservative than other First World nations. I'd be willing to bet that the view of a relationship as a woman supporting the man in control applies for a good part of the U.S. but not much of the rest of the First World.

As for the Jews, you're absolutely right about Orthodox Jews, but they're a small subsection of a very small population. I really don't think conservative or reformed Jews would fit into that group. As for Muslims, I guess I haven't met any strongly religious Muslims in the United States, so I can't really comment.

yikes!...

Alright, you got me. I'm baffled.

Give it 120 seconds [insert smiley emoticon here]

Kudos on your work, search and research above. Instant Gladwellization (just add water... which puts out the fire.) But different divorce rates are quite a pivot point to move from gender issues to capital punishment. An incendiary one, if you will.

Going from broad statistical evidence to anecdotal experience is very tricky. Its what I think is Gladwell’s biggest strength. It is also the way to (and the reason for) his greatest weakness. He’s a fine practitioner of truthiness. This is especially true when he is in full-on debunking mode. Some of what he does is (I think) done to provoke. Gladwell’s “evidence” sometimes fails the standard of proof by being incomplete, irrevelant and/or misinterpreted. (I don’t want to sound harsh about Malcolm Gladwell... just his mistakes.)

Consider the kind of red vs. blue state world lukeprog lives in.
lukeprog’s purple state
lukeprog’s red vs. blue county
lukeprog’s purple county
lukeprog’s big purple county
lukeprog’s multi-media election
lukeprog’s weird ass country
lukeprog’s country in summation

Connecting any of that information to the personal experience, the anecdotal evidence, of lukeprog or anyone reminds of a Groucho Marx quote: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” [WARNING: chance of apocrypha]

I agree with and like the point you make about America and the death penalty. (Who am I to argue with a rabbi?) But to layer countries and religions over one another and then label capital punishment a “conservative value” seems destined for misunderstanding at best. I don’t see how it all can be brought back to American gender roles. And even if it can, the round trip through death penalty country appears to me to be “putting out the fire with gasoline.”

But it all comes down to how well and provocatively (in every sense of the word) your writing is. Combine it with my love of that Bowie song and... for lack of a better word: yikes!

It's true, I did feel like I was extrapolating a bit much to be talking about capital punishment. I think you will see the same trend with other issues, though.

Professing Christians seem to come out rather on the high end of the divorced percentage. Agnostics/atheists have the lowest percentage of divorce (1-in-5.) If you're in a non-denominational small conservative group then you break the 1-in-3 barrier... not that this should have any impact on anecdotal experience.

Ya know, all along I've been talking about stereotypes of male/female gender roles, but buddy got me thinking, I don't know too many women who fit the stereotypes we've been using, and I don't know ANY women from my generation like the ones you're describing (though I have older relatives who might fit that a little better). The women I'm friends with are generally ambitious and hard-working, who might need a man for some reasons but certainly not to rule over them. Some of these women, though, are good at giving a man the false impression that he's in control.

As for biology vs. conditioning, again I've gone back and forth, and I'm not a scientist, but I would think that the physical strength and aggression (both components of testosterone) would be biological, but in terms of mental capabilities, I think those things are conditioned based on the way society thinks women and men should need to think. In childhood development, those traits are focused on more strongly than "thinking like the opposite gender."

P.S. In my earlier post, I meant to say "A movie that glorifies a woman fulfilling a male gender role", not "A movie that glorifies a woman fulfilling a female gender role." But I think 0dysseus and buddy got what I meant.

Okay, so we hang with very different types of women. Very interesting. Anyone else?

Yeah, girls get screwed up pretty early.

I could guess, but: what are you saying?