Biology Does Not Make Men More Aggressive Than Women
III. Institutional Is Different from Individual Behavior Page 4

Title Page

I. Introduction
Page 1

II. A Politically Useful Myth
Page 2

III. Institutional Is Different from Individual Behavior
Pages 3 - 4

IV. Male Animals Are Not consistently More Aggressive Than Females
Pages 5 - 6 - 7

V. The Complex Relation of Human Aggression to Animal Aggression
Page 8

VI. Conclusion
Page 9

Page 10


The male monopolization of warfare had enormous consequences for all subsequent human history. First, it extended from warfare itself into the monopolization of the tools of war which meant a monopolization of big-game hunting and metalworking. Second, it extended from the act into the planning of warfare; with the development of the state, it extended into other aspects of state power as well. Since war required the organization of armies and economic support, these came under male monopolization; since war was used to acquire slaves, male power extended into the control of slaves, and, hence into economic and political power throughout the state.

In today's world, male power is signaled not only by the formal organization of power, but also by an intense complex of nonverbal behaviors that boys and girls learn to imitate in the course of childhood. These nonverbal behaviors are brilliantly reviewed and documented in the book Body Politics: Power, Sex and Nonverbal Communication (Henley, 1977). Male power has developed to such an extent, both extensively and intensively, that many people take it for granted as a "biological fact of life," rather than searching for its probable cultural origins.

In addition to an historical analysis, one can use purely behavioral analyses of contemporary warfare to show that institutional behavior is not a direct reflection of individual behavior. As Lagerspetz pointed out in the essay quoted above, the modern warrior need not be angry or otherwise aggressive in order to be effective. In fact, a great deal of the training of the modern soldier is designed to enforce obedience without regard to emotion, whether it is fear or anger. In this respect the modern warrior is not unique; I have pointed out elsewhere that fear and anger do not appear to be necessary for the warfare of New Guinean warriors whose methods are similar to those which prevailed in prehistory (Adams, 1984).

There is yet another contradictory fact: it turns out that there is little gender difference in the aggressive behavior of individual humans when that behavior is carefully analyzed. The most careful analysis I know is that of Averill who required subjects to keep daily questionnaires on when, why, and how they became angry or were the target of another's anger (Averill, 1982, 1983). Contrary to popular belief, he found practically no difference between men and women. The only difference he found, that women tend to cry more often than men, is one that can be explained quite simply by strong child-rearing pressures in our culture against crying by little boys.

(End of chapter)

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