Re: Coordinating Sex Roles

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 16:51:05 -0700 (PDT)

I asked:
> Are you claiming that these are not in fact long shots, or that one
> should hide such facts from children for fear of discouraging them? I
> have no problem with people taking long shots, if they know that's
> what they are doing. answered:
>You missed my point. Are we talking statistics or are we discussing
>how I am to raise my child? Perhaps pursuit of a glorious career is a
>long shot for someone , who has not the talent or perserverence. You
>seem to claim it is a long shot for ANYONE to become a movie star. I
>must point out, that for those who are already there, this a natural
>state. I know a two "movie stars". ( No astronauts sorry). They are
>simply people who put one foot in front of the other every day, like
>you and I, but aimed in a certain direction

Michael Lorrey also responded:
>With respect to personal achievement, Robin, you should know that the
>chances one has of making it to the goal are mostly affected by
>preparation and perseverance. While going for it may be a long shot for
>those who only try, those who follow Yoda and live by "There is no try,
>do or do not." have good chances.

Yes, of course one should condition estimates of career chances on
estimates of talent and willingness to persist relative to others.
But even conditioning on these, there are many people for whom many
careers are "long shots". I know very persistent people who tried and
failed to become movie stars.

Moving back to the topic of sex roles, I would claim that current sex
roles make many goals "long shots" for most males. To my previous list:

>a son who would like to be a fulltime house-husband, or who is hoping
>he'll never have to deal with violence from bullies at school, or who
>is hoping to deal with his shyness by waiting for girls to ask him out

I would add fathers who hope to gain custody of their children in a
divorce. The responses above sound like the standard response to male
complaints: "If you were a real man, you'd try harder and succeed."

Robin D. Hanson