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New UC Davis study says male-dominated societies aren't more violent

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Are expectations of elevated levels of violence in groups with excess men oversimplistic? And what happens in societies where there are too many women, for example, a large number of female office workers in Washington, DC and not so many males? For the present, in the Sacramento and Davis areas, a new University of California, Davis study says that male dominated societies are not more violent, according to the March 31, 2014 news release, "Male-dominated societies are not more violent, study says." Read the paper online, or see the new study's abstract "Too many men: the violence problem?"

Conventional wisdom and scientific arguments have claimed that societies with more men than women, such as China, will become more violent, but a University of California, Davis, study has found that a male-biased sex ratio does not lead to more crime. Rates of rape, sexual assault and homicide. You also may be interested in another work, "The Class of Nonviolence." (PDF file article).

You also can view the brief video, "Explaining the research." (Videography by Karen Nikos-Rose/UC Davis.) Scientific arguments have claimed that societies with more men than women, such as China, will become more violent, but a recent University of California, Davis, study has found that a male-biased sex ratio does not lead to more crime. In comparison, in female-dominated societies do men rebel against their female 'bosses' by being violent to them?

And do women with more income and/or education than their partners/spouses experience more intimate violence from the males who may feel inferior, angry, and frustrated by the women, as in the old Enjoli ad (seeEnjoli - 1980 - YouTube) plays, who "bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let him forget he's a man"? Or do some social scientists assume the woman would rather forget her partner is 'a man' in the hunter-gather-controlling-meat-eating image of a dominant male who still thinks real men don't eat quiche? Then there's the body-building vegans and their images. The noteworthy fact in the study is the finding that violence is lower in societies with more men than more women.

Rates of rape, sexual assault and homicide are actually lower in societies with more men than women, the study found

And, evolutionary theories predicting that when males outnumber females, males will compete vigorously for the limited number of mates don’t bear out. The study, “Too many men: the violence problem?” is published in the April 2014 issue of the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution - Cell.

“Here, we untangle the logic behind the widely held notion that in human societies where men outnumber women, there will be more violence,” said Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, a UC Davis professor of anthropology and co-author of the study.

The anthropologists who conducted this study took their lead from recent developments in evolutionary theory

These new ideas challenge the claim that when in abundance males will necessarily resort to violent competition. It is true that most perpetrators and victims of violence are men. “It isn’t surprising that arguments of more men leading to more violence dominate discussions, this could create such an effect,” explains Ryan Schacht, a co-author of the paper and doctoral researcher at UC Davis. “But the evidence does not support a relationship between violence and a short supply of women,” he says, according to the March 31, 2014 news release, "Male-dominated societies are not more violent, study says."

The reason for this unexpected outcome, the authors said, has something to do with supply and demand. “You may actually adjust your behavior according to the circumstances,” says Kristin Liv Rauch, a postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the paper. “When men are abundant, rather than rare, they often switch their strategy to compete in nonviolent rather than violent ways. They tend to pursue females in more of a courtship manner that would lead to long-term relationships and marriage, in an attempt to secure a partner in a depleted market.”

Schacht, Rauch and Borgerhoff Mulder’s study has important policy implications

For example, “tough on crime” policies that incarcerate increasing numbers of men might be contributing to higher rates of violence, rather than alleviating them, the authors explain, according to the news release. Future studies might investigate the particular forms of violence that are associated with imbalanced sex ratios, and whether interventions are available that do not further exaggerate asymmetries in the availability of opposite sex mates, the authors observe in the news release.

The highlights of the research point out, according to the study's abstract: We explore the relation between violence and the sex ratio in humans. Conflicting theoretical and empirical arguments within sexual selection are reviewed. Evidence indicates more variance in male fitness when males are scarce rather than abundant. Agonistic competition is not the only male response to a shortage of mates.

And expectations of elevated levels of violence in groups with excess men are oversimplistic, the study observes. You also may be interested in other research such as, "Why Do Women Leave Science And Engineering? - Forbes," or "More men in their prime working years lack jobs, says WSJ." Or see, "Demographic Change and the Future Workforce." You might want to read the article, "Rape is all too Thinkable for Quite the Normal Sort of Man."

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