April 2, 2009

"Sisters spread happiness while brothers breed distress..."

"... experts believe."

82 comments:

rhhardin said...

We're not happy until you're not happy.

Revenant said...

those who grew up with sisters were more likely to be happy and balanced.

This explains why I'm such a ray of sunshine.

Ron said...

we don't want life to be too easy, eh?

joewxman said...

Just another reason to use the education system to feminize boys. And how is this even relevant in Europe where most families have either one child or none for that matter. Or does interenalizing all that anger mean that men without sisters grow up to be G-20 protesters.

The Drill SGT said...

what joe said but shorter:

Girls good, boys bad.

Pat Patterson said...

I always thought that trying to do backflips off my dad's garage into the pool was fun. Now, thanks to enlightened research, I know that I was merely acting out of my darker impulses. Inspired not by glee but my nature to make everybody else miserable and give my mom and sisters as many grey hairs and nascent ulcers as possible.

Michael Hasenstab said...

.....experts believe.

Some experts are full of shit, commenter believes.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Gah! That damn article cries out for the obvious conclusion: We need a government department that will teach boys how to react like girls to their emotions.

BS. The war on boys continues. And I am not internalizing my anger.

Paavo said...

Most distress I ever saw my mother in: when my sister pretended to be abducted.

Issob Morocco said...

"...experts believe."-Nice call out Althouse!

This one caught in my craw..

"...more likely...", hmmm that certainly sounds scientific. The problem with supposed research like this is that subjective and anecdotal at the same time.

In any family, their are a myriad of factors, all of which must be accounted for, but in reality you would have to have the family live like rats in a cage to measure and observe those factors, and once that is done, reality ceases to exist and now it is laboratorial research.

By focusing on a small amount of factors or heavily skewing certain factors, they run a high probability of missing more critical factors. Subjective. And by failing to look at all family members they become anecdotal.

Certainly there must be better issues to spend money against than this, which can never be proved or disproved.

Cheers!

joewxman said...

And btw just because someone internalizes things doesn't necessarily mean its bad. Maybe boys cope better by internalizing. I wish my daughters would internalize more. Im dealing with my daughters latest battle with her friends which is now into its second day about who said who to what where and when.

Boys are easier. They beat each other up for 5 minutes and then its overwith.

traditionalguy said...

Did this British expert test for the well known factor in England of girls with boy's brains and the boys with girl's brains? Obviously more Government Grant money is needed to test for this.

Darcy said...

What garbage.

Yep. War on boys.

MadisonMan said...

I think who spreads happiness/distress is more a function of parenting style than child gender. But I'm just a parent, I'm not an expert.

commenter said...

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article3598093.ece

Something that you've probably known intuitively for years is finally official: mothers of daughters are different to mothers of sons, and we produce the sex of children we're most suited to bring up.

Traditional perception is that the sex of your baby is pure toss-of-the-coin chance, but ten years ago, Dr Valerie Grant, a reproductive scientist at the University of Auckland, came up with the theory that dominant women have high levels of testosterone (often considered the male sex hormone) and are much more likely to give birth to boys.

A small group of researchers, from anthropologists to evolutionary biologists, have known for years that something other than chance affects the human sex ratio which, rather than remaining at a constant 50:50 male to female, is prone to fluctuations; during both World Wars, for example, there was an increase in the number of male births. Grant, who has a PhD in psychology, was the first to suggest that it was down to the character of the mother. “Scientists already knew that mothers behave differently towards their babies according to their sex [mothers of boys are more initiating, mothers of girls more responsive], but the conclusion was that this was because of the strength of sex stereotyping. I'd say there was evidence that the mothers were behaving in ways that were natural to them.”







She has found that those who most dislike the theory tend to be men and mothers of daughters. “Because assertiveness is now very valued among Western women, a lot of people don't like being told that they haven't got it and will impose value judgments, such as superiority, on these characteristics” she says. “More respectful characteristics, typical of mothers of daughters, are highly valued in other cultures, such as those of China, where assertiveness in women is not necessarily a good thing.” And, she agrees, in most cultures there is a still a certain patriarchal pride in having sons.

The people most enthusiastic about the theory tend to be women who have noted similar differences among their own friends. I love it because it explains why the ratio of sons to daughters among my female hockey-playing friends is the statistically improbable 34:2 - testosterone and competitive team sports, Grant says, go hand in hand.






Grant admits that it is strong stuff. “I'm a scientist; if I find out farther down the line that my research doesn't add up, I'll be the first to retract it. But my current evidence supports what I'm saying”.

Now in her sixties, she has spent her working life on this theory, even though it never did her career any good. “However difficult the work got, I could never quite give it up, I'm entranced by it. It's such a relief to see my latest research published. I thought I might die without seeing it through.”

joewxman said...

Since its the male sperm that provides either the "x" or the "y" does the doctor suggest that women with higher levels of testosterone mitigate the males imput?

And this is purely antedotal but i have a friend where he has nothing but brothers (4) where they married and produced nothing but sons (14) before 1 grandaughter was born. Now to your female hockey team. Do we need to look at their partners and their families offspring ratios to determine which factor is greater here?

Old RPM Daddy said...

[Lead researcher Professor Tony Cassidy] said many of the participants had been brought up in families where parents had split and the impact of sisters was even more marked in these circumstances.

So, in their sample, did the researchers get a representative proportion of single versus married parents? How did the marital status of the parents influence presence of happiness or unhappiness in the household? The article didn't say exactly how the study was built, but I would think they'd want to cover variables like that. Is there somebody here with a background in sociology that could shed some light?

David said...

I had no sister. Once again I am astounded that I have found any joy.

save_the_rustbelt said...

My brother was and is a pain in the ass, but manageable.

My sister is a super giant pain in the ass, and totally unmanagable.

But that is family.

Esther12 said...

They should go read King Lear.

There are so many potential problems with these kinds of studies. The kind of people they sampled, the kinds of questions asked and how the answers were interpreted, plus a number of other factors such as parenting styles, cultural background, overall number of siblings, a number of individual differences, etc., etc., etc.

Usually what happens is that someone tries to go replicate it, controls for some of these factors, and find the result has disappeared (who knows how strong the effect was to begin with). Anyway, definitely no call for such silly overstated headlines on brothers and sisters in general.

Henry Buck said...

If many of the families studied had been impacted by divorce, I suspect that in most of the cases, the children were being raised primarily by the mother. The boys would be left with significantly reduced (or no) adult male contact. That, in and of itself, might cause boys more distress than girls and explain the results.

Henry Buck said...

Here's another data point - I two kids, both girls, and they seem to enjoy trying to make each other miserable.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Alternate conclusion:

The absence of something that was unpleasant makes you happier. The absence of something pleasant makes you sadder.

The people with sisters are happy they don't live with them. The people who had brothers miss them.

bearbee said...

Bullshit

k*thy said...

Well, that’s not my experience. I’d agree that it’s more parenting styles than gender.

TMink said...

This is a wonderful study. Too bad it does not mean at all what the researcher thought it meant.

It is a simple OPINION survey. It measures ATTITUDES. There are no measurements of happiness or adjustment or, well, anything other than attitudes.

And the prevailing attitude today is men bad, women good. New flash.

I wonder how much money they spent to "study" that?

Trey

rocketeer67 said...

I have no sisters. However, I do have three brothers. Aside from my wife, they are my closest friends and having them as brothers has been one of the greatest sources of joy in my life. If everyone had such good men as brothers the world would be a far better place.

Of course, if they ever found out I'd expressed this in a public forum, they'd beat me senseless. Which is as it should be.

Meade said...

rh: I'm pretty sure Althouse wants to give you a hug.

tamsf said...

The Slate web site had an article a year or so ago in which a resercher presented statistics showing that families with at least one boy tended to stay married at a higher rate than those with only girls. Apparently there is still something, even in our western culture, that wants a son. I wonder if these researchers, in adjusting for the family status, factored this fact out of their analysis.

mcg said...

Is this related to that study that showed that girls were made of sugar and spice and everything nice, and boys made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails?

'Cos that's kind of old news.

lohwoman said...

Speaking as the second of three girls, married to a fellow who is the first son but second child in a family of five, I have always wondered why "Big Brother" was to be feared. In real life "Big Sister" was and always will be in charge.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Lies, all lies(!!), at least in my own experience.

I was the one that got in the middle of my sisters' and my mother's fights although they are significantly older than me. I have been the one trying to bring cohesion and peace to them. I was the one who listened to their gossip and bitching about each other. That was until one day, at the age of 11, I told the three of them that I was tired of listening to it...

Don't get me wrong, I love my sisters, and I am particularly close to my older sister; but to think that they are the ones spreading peace and happiness in the family would be a huge stretch. My brother, on the other hand, preferred to stay out of it, so he and I were the only reasonable ones. I am sure I am not the only one with similar experiences.

Sometimes I wonder how they come up with this data. And, also, why...?

Good morning to all of you.

The Elder said...

" . . . brothers breed distress."

LOL!!! How true!

Especially when they ask to borrow money.

commenter said...

joewxman,

i dont know about any of this. i actually don't care. my whole family three sisters and one brother seem a bit less than truthful to me but they are actually being tactful, but i am the best g-danged drummer in the family. I am also a blunt loud mouthed female with too much testosterone sometimes, and too much female hormones at other times.

You KNOW YOU ARE are a MIGHTy female with too much testosterone if
•the idea of a three some would be two guys and one girl because it takes somebody with four balls to keep up with you (not in bed, but mentally),
but you know you are wimpy , new age female because
•your heart and liver melts emotionally for singer song writers like james taylor and Yusuf islam, and •you would only marry and stay married for love first and foremost and want your sexlife private and not broadcast..

Most importantly, you know you are human because you have a soul.

Richard Fagin said...

I'll be happy to invite any of those researchers to spend a week or so with my stepdaughter and stepson and see if they form the same conclusions.

Henry said...

The University of Ulster said having daughters made a family more open and willing to discuss feelings.

Growing up, I would have to say that my sisters bred equanimity while my brothers bred emergency room visits.

Now that I have kids I can see that the sister breeds glue while the brothers breed noise.

ElcubanitoKC said...

commenter said...
[...]

Most importantly, you know you are human because you have a soul.

8:59 AM



Can you back that up with some hard (or hardly) validated, analyzed and filtered data from an accredited scientific study?

commenter said...

if you can't understand the religious explanantion, or you can't feel the emotional connection when you close your eyes and envision music, the hard data would be in electronic pulses that make footprints when the surf comes in.

Bissage said...

Sisters spread happiness while brothers breed distress...

I think there’s probably some truth to that.

I was happy for the sex but I think it may have caused my sisters some distress.

But hey, who knows for sure, right?

Pogo said...

the boys i mean are not refined
e.e. cummings

the boys i mean are not refined
they go with girls who buck and bite
they do not give a fuck for luck
they hump them thirteen times a night

one hangs a hat upon her tit
one carves a cross on her behind
they do not give a shit for wit
the boys i mean are not refined

they come with girls who bite and buck
who cannot read and cannot write
who laugh like they would fall apart
and masturbate with dynamite

the boys i mean are not refined
they cannot chat of that and this
they do not give a fart for art
they kill like you would take a piss

they speak whatever's on their mind
they do whatever's in their pants
the boys i mean are not refined
they shake the mountains when they dance.

ElcubanitoKC said...

commenter, if you can't understand the sarcasm, it will hit you like a wave, or a frying pan, or something like it.

commenter said...

i understood it. i ignore it all the time because sarcasm is such an old standby on the web. That's what you all don't get. So learn to swim in choppy waters and ignore the cold, the sewage, and just pull your own weight with a strong kick on the return.

amba said...

More gender bullshit. It makes you want to stick your fingers in your ears and scream. It's getting to where I run the other way if I just catch a glimpse of this kind of headline.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Another alternate conclusion:

People who grew up with sisters learned to lie about how they are feeling when asked.

Pogo said...

Brothers breed distress?

I dunno. I grew up with 5 sisters.
And seven brothers.

Only my sisters could make my mom cry.
Every day, in fact.
At least, in the decadee or so spanning their teenage yhears.

We brothers learned to stay out of the house to play, all day if possible.

When I had my baby girl, I taught her to say "MY jeans!" for my sisters who visited. None of them thought it was very funny.

MadisonMan said...

More gender bullshit.

Typical female response.

Pogo, that MY Jeans line is hilarious. I will say that I worship my sister -- she's the oldest and I'm the youngest. She can do no wrong in my book and if she dies before I do, there will be a huge void in my life, even though she lives on another continent!

Darcy said...

LOL, Pogo.

Yeah, nothing about how mean sisters can be. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters and adore them all, but yeah...the worst stuff was the sister stuff. No contest.

Darcy said...

Hoping one of my sisters who reads Althouse doesn't see that. He he. Love you, sis!!

Kurt said...

Sorry, I didn't read the article. But the header reminded me of a song from Avenue Q, so I just thought I'd share:

Christmas Eve:
Love

Kate Monster:
Love

Christmas Eve:
And hate

Kate Monster:
And hate

Christmas Eve:
They like two brothers

Kate Monster:
Brothers

Christmas Eve:
Who go on a date

Kate Monster:
Who....what?

Christmas Eve:
Where one of them goes,
Other one follows
You inviting love
He also bringing sorrows

You can hear the whole song here if you wish.

We now return to our regularly scheduled commenting.

Joe said...

This is England where the male creature has been beat down over decades. Of course the sisters "spread happiness"; they are being coddled and told they are superior while the brothers are told they are scum. What the hell else do you expect as a result. While totally anecdotal, I've observed that English women seem very unhappy.

* * *

Henry went to the emergency room a lot less than I did and send my best friend to the emergency room. You were part of the problem, buddy!

* * *

With my own kids, my oldest daughter was extremely stubborn and, well, the proverbial child from hell. She caused havoc at home, put us through hell, and still manages to get her siblings riled when she visits (all quite intentional), though now that she has a daughter, it isn't as bad.

Meade said...

A truism: All girls are good and are sisters to each other. Sisters only want their sisters to be always happy and to never be envious of each other.

Brothers show their love and affection for each other by punching and slugging each other. All boys are evil. This is axiomatic.

PatCA said...

Another in our continuing peer-reviewed series: Destroy the Patriarchy!


For a palette cleanser, read Rick Moody's great short story Boys.

joewxman said...

"Most importantly, you know you are human because you have a soul."


Well said!

Shanna said...

My family is just my brother and I, so I don't have a sister. Sometimes I think it might have been nice to have one, but sisters seem to always be fighting and having drama. Brother's are so much easier!

This article didn't really give any information at all, though. I think probably mixed gender families are nice because there is balance (but I'm probably biased on that).

Henry Buck said...

What this thread lacks is gayness! What about gay sons or daughters, do they spread happiness or cause distress?

Buford Gooch said...

The whole thing is unadulterated horse shit.

Oligonicella said...

Esther12 --

"There are so many potential problems with these kinds of studies."

Actually, there is really only one kind of problem. The bias the 'researcher' starts with. It ain't science, it's polling.

Choey said...

As a boy I took great delight in spreading distress among my sisters. Now I love them dearly, even the one who grew up to be a pompous twit.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Henry Buck said...
What this thread lacks is gayness! What about gay sons or daughters, do they spread happiness or cause distress?

11:55 AM


I already stated my opinion. What else do you want? Video??

Henry Buck said...

Of the three Simpsons kids, sure Bart may be a mischief-maker, but Lisa causes more actual strife, and Maggie doesn't make any effort to smooth things over among family members.

And don't get me started on all of the trouble caused by Buddy (a girl, despite the name) on Family.

That U.K. "study" is ridiculous.

Pete the Streak said...

Richard Fagin said...
I'll be happy to invite any of those researchers to spend a week or so with my stepdaughter and stepson and see if they form the same conclusions.

Amen, brother.

Henry said...

"Most importantly, you know you are human because you have a soul."

Unless you're a dog.

Methadras said...

That one time my brother and I fought really hard, and taking all of that martial arts training and focusing it into hurting each other all makes sense. We fought for a good 2 minutes but it felt like hours. It should have only lasted 10 seconds really. But it ended abruptly when he snuck in an open palmed strike to my solar plexus that sent me flying backwards into my Mom's glass coffee table. I sat on that thing like it was a couch and it shattered into a million pieces. Except for that one shard that jammed itself through the outside of my right thigh and stuck itself into my femur.

We just both looked at each other and had that, "Oh shit" look. Not because we had just battered and bruised each other into a pulp but because our mom was going to be pissed we broke her table. He helped me up and then started freaking about about the glass shard that even though was jammed down to the bone, still stuck another 6 inches out of my leg. I didn't even think about it. I just went to the bathroom, wrapped the protruding end with a bunch of toilet paper to not cut my hand and slowly pulled it out. That was nuts. It bled like crazy, but then clotted up and stopped. He helped me jam sterilized cotton into it and I skateboarded down to the hospital.

We temporarily bred distress, but in the end we have a memory of a lifetime that actually bonded us better.

Methadras said...

Meade said...

A truism: All girls are good and are sisters to each other. Sisters only want their sisters to be always happy and to never be envious of each other.

Brothers show their love and affection for each other by punching and slugging each other. All boys are evil. This is axiomatic.


I wonder how you are going to show Althouse how you love her. :D Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Henry said...

We temporarily bred distress, but...

That is exactly right. Brothers spread happiness and distress. You can't have one without the other. Any theologian will tell you that.

In response to my own brother above, I think I was 1 for 1 for 1 in terms of emergency room visits -- one time the aggressor, one time the recipient, and one time both.

Shanna said...

It bred distress for me when my 5 of my brother’s 12/13 year old friends would come over and eat everything in the house like a plague of locusts.

Also, when they would eat lunch with their shirt off. One of my brother’s friends refused to put on his shirt at lunch. What poor Manners!

But my brother’s friend have told me that it bred distress for two of them to be stuck in the back of my little eagle talon when I was forced to give them rides in high school and my best friend and I would always sit in the front. I rather enjoyed whipping around curves and my brother and his friend were both pretty tall. They didn’t fit all that well back there.

Bruce Hayden said...

Since its the male sperm that provides either the "x" or the "y" does the doctor suggest that women with higher levels of testosterone mitigate the males imput?

While that is true, the female apparently can affect the outcome too. For one thing, apparently X sperm are hardier, and Y sperm typically more plentiful. The result is that the acidity of the woman's reproductive track apparently has some affect on the percentage of each type sperm that survive.

Something is going on though, and I don't think that anyone really knows exactly what. We had a family of 5 boys, after having almost all girls in my mother's family for several generations. My father's father had just brothers, but his mother had mostly sisters. Girlfriend has five grandsons, but only two can be attributed to an alpha female.

Sometimes I think that you statistically get what the two of you most want. My mother was tired of all women, and got the five boys whom she couldn't control.

On the other hand, another factor seems to be socio-economic. In many species, including our own, it appears that there are more males with alpha parents, and, in our case, it appears that this may be true for alpha MALES. Daughters of the poor can marry (or at least breed) up, while males from rich households have better breeding chances. So, the theory is that it is more advantageous, from the point of view of how many healthy grandchildren you have, to have boys if you are rich, and girls if you are poor.

Joe said...

I forgot about Henry's broken collar bone which was the result of a pillow fight with couch cushions, if I remember correctly.

For the record, it was our youngest brother who took the brunt of torture, er, bonding.

commenter said...

the trouble with having a soul though, is that my soul is troubled for the moment. Atheists have it easier. It's like that dang game, TROUBLE, where you need a six to get out, and everytime i get a six some person thinks it is hilariously funny to land on me and send me back to start.

WOW, thinking of that… You can not believe the strict rules we had to play by, according to my exhusband, You had to land on people if you had the chance to. You had to get exact numbers to get home. To this day mention the game trouble, parcheesi, in any language and one of my most calm sons will probably throw the board at his father.

Really, it was easier going to the emergency room with minor accidents after wrestling mishaps in the basement instead of playing that game. It would inevitably put a damper on any holiday.

srfwotb said...

My sister was the terror. My brother ruled, but then he was an anomaly, I guess because he was significantly older and most brilliant. I felt sorry for girls with mean brothers.

The study seems to be assuming a family unit in which case, yes, a family of sisters will likely be more *stable* which translates as happiness for social workers , but genuine, really happy? Maybe the brothers need a place of their own more than a bunch of sisters.

Revenant said...

the trouble with having a soul though, is that my soul is troubled for the moment. Atheists have it easier.

Er... unless you're claiming that atheists don't have souls, that argument makes no sense.

Henry said...

I got hit in the head with a shovel. It was our younger brother that got the broken collarbone. Neither of us were responsible.

commenter said...

well i think they do, but they are hollow or they don't worry about them. i told you i met one intent on prooving that there is nothing else. And i do believe that maybe in a hierarchy of dimension some of us do reach the end and it is nothing.

but i am certainly not that far.

TMink said...

Olig wrote: "It ain't science, it's polling."

And not even scientific polling!

Trey

Revenant said...

well i think they do, but they are hollow or they don't worry about them.

If atheists can avoid your "soul problem" simply by not worrying about it, it seems that the source of your troubles isn't "having a soul". It is "believing in gods". :)

commenter said...

i think you don't understand my beliefs at all.

but thnk you for trying.

amba said...

More gender bullshit.

Typical female response.


Typical male response to female response.

commenter said...

i beleive there is a above me and a below me. interesting to tie this all together with my comments on race being a function of color and not of shade.

In India, aggravation or trouble or sorry!, which is essentially parchisi is named also: Royal Game of India. This is because when created in or around 500 bc the game was danced on palatial grounds with the dancers/pawns garbed in four colors red, green, blue, yellow. Not exactly pantone , but instead lab colors. And yea, i fully realize we have moved on to more than 8 bit color schemes but i don't really understand how all this fits in the scheme besides 5 bits for every channel and one alpha.

I'm not that far yet.

amba said...

I wasn't claiming there's no difference, but rather that the tendency to generalize moronically on what it might be is almost universal -- male, female, traditionalist, feminist. People should just shut the fuck up and get it on.

Henry said...

i think you don't understand my beliefs at all.

I guess so, because it sounds like the trouble with having a soul is the constant burnishing of it.

commenter said...

or the fact that people bare their souls?

oh so long ago (1996.7.8…?) and oh so transparently on a network instead of to a god?

i did say the hard data would be in electronic pulses that make footprints when the surf comes in.

i'm really wishy washy on this subject so if you all call me out as a making no sense, believe me, i understand.

MadisonMan said...

amba, that made me chuckle!