Situational And Dispositional Attributions In The Home

It is a commonplace that male alcoholism and domestic violence is transmitted behaviour, that is, patterns that sons learn from their fathers by imitation. A quite different explanation is, however, deployed for female nagging and denigration, even when this reaches quite extreme and obsessive levels. Such behaviour is always described by respectable women as a rational and appropriate response to husbandly laziness and uselessness.

It should be noted how the explanatory models are precise opposites: men are held to learn their bad behaviour by imitation of their fathers, while orthodoxy excuses women’s behaviour in terms of understandable reactions to the situation in which they find themselves. Explanatory symmetry, and the measurement of each sex with the same yardstick, however, would posit that a woman’s pathological nagging may in fact be transmitted behaviour, that is, a pattern that daughters learn from their mothers. If we think that the son learns that a Real Man™ drinks and beats his wife for no reason other than the emotional satisfaction of expressing aggression, then we ought to believe that the daughter learns that a Real Woman™ keeps up a constant barrage of bitter complaint, insults, cruel barbs, Catch-22 questions and so forth, for no reason other than the emotional satisfaction of expressing aggression. (It is, perhaps, worth noting that there is a Yoruba name meaning “My mother nagged a lot during pregnancy”.)

“I disapprove, therefore I am.” It is no joke; we all acquire our identity at least partly by imitation of our parents. Idleness, crudity, alcoholism and violence are the characteristic father-imitative vices of the male sex. Meanwhile, the characteristic mother-imitative vices of the female sex are chronic lemon-sucking disapproval and the delusion that God has died and put them in charge of the minutiae of other people’s behaviour.

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 12:50 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

One Response

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by The Ghost in the Machine
    on March 7, 2013 at 14:50

    Perhaps just as widespread as: ‘I disapprove, therefore I am,’ is:
    ‘I make you feel guilty, therefore I am.’
    Or perhaps that is merely the more evolved practice?

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply