Nature vs Nature
The age-old debate – how much of our behaviour is inherited (genetic) versus how much is a result of our surroundings. They both play a role in how a person develops, it is the degree which is often questioned.
Champion sports men and women are blessed with a physiological make up far above average, but how much they make of their raw talent is determined by other behavioural factors. This is a simplification, but an accurate one. It is often said the top 20 to 50 sportspeople have similar abilities. It is above the shoulders that determines whether they are number 1 in the world or number 20.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this generalisation. The great Sir Donald Bradman’s batting average was 99.94, not all readers are cricket fans, but looking at the top 10 batting averages of all time provides an excellent example of nature versus nurture
The top ten averages, by batsmen who have scored over 2,000 runs in test cricket, since its inception in 1877.
An interesting footnote is Brandman needed only to make 4 runs in his last innings to finish with an average of 100. He was bowled out second ball for 0.
What the above shows is that the difference between 1 to number 9 was a tad over 4 runs. It could therefore be argued that they were all pretty much of the same natural ability. Bradman on the other hand was so far above the rest of the all-time greats, that this difference was due to a once in a 500*-year freakish natural talent, rather than any mental strength (*don’t know how often a natural talent of his level comes along. In 142 years, there has been no one that approaches his level, so whether it is every 150, 200 or 500 years, no one can tell).
For the statistically minded, 3 standard deviations from the mean cover 99.7% of the total population. Bradman was 6.48.
So how does cricket relate to advertising? I have been an admirer of Professor Mark Ritson for some time. He tells it the way it is and teaches marketing function, as opposed to the marketing fashion that drives so much of the industry today (think Brand Purpose).
So, I was somewhat surprised by his article in Monday’s Australian Media section in which he supported the British Advertising Standards new rule banning advertising that gender stereotypes.
Mark placed way too much emphasis on the effect advertising has in gender stereotyping. Advertising doesn’t set social norms and trends it merely follows them.
And since human’s began walking upright, society has differed in the roles it portrays and how it treats boys and girls. Advertising has simply followed societal norms. It is a commercial business, not a protest, or ideological movement,
I am strongly opposed to any form of discrimination between the sexes. But going back to nature versus nurture, men and women are different. The XX and XY chromosomal make up and resulting hormones are facts of nature. The absurdity that gender is a social construct has as much scientific validity as flat earth theory.
Cisnormativity is seen as offensive – assuming your gender is determined by your reproductive organs. This is the case for all animals in nature which have developed to the point of having sexual organs of some description. We have female and male sharks, frogs, snakes – the list goes on. But only in Homo Sapiens, sexual organs do not determine gender? These people need to study some very basic science. It is incredible that in the 21st century, such thinking exists.
We don’t have figures for Australia, but in the US between 3.5 and 4.1% of the population identify as LGBT. It is safe to assume this would be the figure for Australia, as this is a function of nature, not nurture (gay people say that no form of behavioural shifting therapy will change their sexual preference, so it is safe to assume this is also the case for heterosexuals).
And a large proportion of gay men associate with being male and lesbian women associate with being female. Those who believe their gender is fluid, would make up less than 2% of the population. But this vocal 2% has somehow managed to dictate to the other 98% – think of the absurd Safe Schools programme. It is supposedly anti-bullying, but at its heart it teaches gender neutral theory. The irony is that bullying is always a case of lack of tolerance. Yet, the proponents of this idiotic course are some of the least tolerant people in society.
Universities have been turning down scholarships from Ramsay Centre for the study of Western Civilisation on the basis it is racist (it seems the fault with western civilisation is its success, hence it must therefore denigrate every other civilisation).
Thirty years ago, such events would be used as fictional occurrences for a hilarious Month Python film (like ‘The Life of Brian’), but today these people are deadly serious, and taken seriously.
Advanced western civilisation had reached the point where there should not be any discrimination based on sexual preference or what sex a person feels more aligned to. It had settled into a comfortable educated ‘live and let live’ attitude. Hard to say exactly when or why we reached the point we are at now. Though Gramsci, the Italian Philosopher at the turn of the 20th century, stated such thinking will “triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media.”. Hmm, seems to be an accurate description of what is happening.
Why is it that diversity is celebrated, except when it comes to men and women? Different does not equate to inferior. The push in Tasmania for sex to be left off birth certificates is as much ridiculous as it is potentially harmful. A child of 12, 13, 14 even 16, has not developed mentally to the point where they are safe from manipulation. We see 13-year old’s wanting a sex change. They are not mentally developed/mature enough to make such decisions. When they are fully matured adults is the time for them to determine what gender they identify with.
So how does advertising address this new rule? Are we going to see both men and women featured in lipstick ads? Because by showing only a woman using lipstick stereotypes. Look around you – why is it that 95% of women dress as women and wear makeup?
It is a noble gesture to say that advertising will no longer stereotype, but what does that mean specifically? Gesturing is all the go, but what is the practical execution? Women can take on most roles that men can (Irrespective of all the superhero movies, organisations such as the SAS are a step too far. But that is in no way denigrating to a woman’s capabilities).
Will it be illegal to have “women” as part of your target market definition? That some members of the LGBT community take offense at advertising that is relevant to groups within 95% plus of the population is akin to a person with one leg taking offence at advertising targeting people with 2 legs.
Men and women are different. That is a scientific fact that cannot be disputed. But that does not mean women are consigned to particular industries or activities, because “that is what girls do”. Of course, this is rubbish.
But just as there are different personality types who excel in different areas, we find a slightly higher percentage (SLIGHTLY HIGHER), prefer and excel at different activities to men. There is a push for more women to study maths. In my final year pure maths lectures there were only 12 people. There were 4 women and 8 men. If we find that women have a less than male average appeal for mathematics, do we accept this or try to change nature?
I will say it one more time, Men and Women are different (and for 95% plus of the population that is a good thing indeed). But that does not imply superiority. Men may have a more natural affinity to mathematics (may not definite), but Einstein’s first wife was a mathematician and without her, he probably would not have been able to produce his theory of relativity.
So, there may be more men who are mathematicians, but the female mathematicians are every bit their equal.
Advertising beauty products to women. Will that be considered stereotyping. How about women’s fashion. Is that stereotyping?
We need to be careful when saying advertising should not stereotype. It just should not do so in a manner which denigrates either sex. There are products and services that have a greater appeal to women than men (and men to women).
I live at King Street Wharf and every Friday and Saturday nights see a chock-full of stereotyping. The women are in high heels, tight dresses and wearing make-up. The men are wearing the latest male fashion.
We should be able to say, without fear, men and women are different. This whole crazy gender-neutral approach has gone way too far. There needs to be a clear clarification of what is stereotyping. Is it advertising that places women in a pre-determined role, like God forbid, a mother? Though not true for all men and women, the physiological difference between men and women results in women having a stronger inert pull to nurturing. Yes, there are some families where the dad stays home and mum works, but for all the gesture signalling in the world, they remain the minority. Saying that advertising to mums is stereotyping goes against the basics of the past 200 years of scientific discovery (whether it is mum or dad who does most of the parenting, or whether it is equally divided, parenting is one of the noblest professions of all. It determines what type of adults the children become).
Why is it that 99% of serial killers are men? Women are more inclined to bring life into this world, not exterminate it.
Of course, the communications should not be showing the dutiful wife at home looking after the kids and cooking hubby’s dinner (the thought just hit me. How do you make a product for expressing milk for breast fed babies gender neutral?)
Though society is more technologically advanced than ever, we know less about basic science than our parents, or even grandparents. No need to learn science, Google will answer it. The result? Idiots and their theories and philosophies get taken seriously, without any educated scrutiny. Veganism is another example of fashion over function.
We have chefs, who are just glorified fucking cooks, with zero knowledge or understanding of anatomy or physiology, proposing “healthy diets” that are good only for their personal wealth. Paleo Fucking Pete makes a fortune out of the gullible.
A major problem is science was once a pure form of knowledge. It has now become politicised, no longer objective.
Forget this rubbish about gender stereotyping. Admit what is scientifically indisputable, that men and women are different. There will always be products and services which have either strong female or male bias.
Equality should be the aim. Admit and celebrate difference. Different but equal should be the catch cry. And to hell with the flat earth theorists.