Friday, April 02, 2010

Sex Ratios and College

Roissy, with his usual brio, makes an interesting point:

A sex ratio favoring women might have very different effects in Afghanistan than in the US. In cultures where women have little incentive to slut it up, delay marriage, or pop out bastard spawn confident that the government will act as uber beta provider, they may well become more chaste, and pickier about choosing reliable Dad types. But in cultures of free-wheeling sexuality, easy availability of contraceptives and abortion, female economic empowerment, anti-male divorce laws, and disappearance of anti-slut social shaming mechanisms, women may very well respond to a favorable sex ratio by opening their legs for every alpha male to shower five minutes of attention on them, preferring to share the choicest cock with other women rather than monopolizing the ground beef cock of the squabbling male masses.

As I have blogged before, my daughter's ambition is to attend a service academy, wherein the sex ratios run around 3-4 men for every woman. My chauvinism about women in the military notwithstanding, I have encouraged this ambition for the obvious reasons: fully funded education, potential full funding (with salary) for medical school, and a guaranteed job on graduation. But it also seems like an outstanding way of avoiding the girls-gone-wild atmosphere of civilian colleges where women outnumber men.

But is this expectation realistic? I had thought that by their relative scarcity, the female cadets could hold the male cadets to high standards of courtship behavior. As Roissy points out, however, this depends on female morality, itself a function of a lot of structural factors that are not what they once were.

I'm aware of the academies' episodic scandals, but I had previously chalked these up to higher levels of scrutiny, given the political sensitivities surrounding female soldiers, and the fact that the highly structured life at the academies makes all misbehavior a bad bet for the cadets. But let me ask my readers: does anyone know whether these scandals are, in fact, representative? What is the academies' moral environment for a young woman?

I see three possibilities:

  • The high behavioral expectations of the female cadets create a superior moral enviornment compared to the civilian schools where women are more numerous;

  • The low behavioral expectations of the female cadets create a fetid swamp; or

  • Each individual woman uses her high marginal SMV and her own values to create her own personally-designed dating environment.

Thoughts? Evidence, or at least anecdotes, are preferred to more theory.

11 comments:

Elusive Wapiti said...

My $.02:

- The service academies, while microcosms of the wider culture on a certain level, are much better behaved than their civilian counterparts. The UCMJ and all that. This applies to both male and female cadets

- Their higher public profiles--and quick/easy links to Congressional complaints--mean that anything that goes wrong gets blown out of proportion.

- Rape hysteria culture is less powerful there, but still very much present, this time via Federal level attention and monies. A low level of sexual assualt reports, and the service academies have a "culture of silence" and a "culture that inhibits reporting". A high level of sexual assault reports and its "see I told you so".

- Female sluts do exist there, but by and large they are not nearly as numerous as would be at a civilian institution. Why?

Speculation #1: the 5:1 sex ratio means that women don't have to slut it up to attract male attention. They are surrounded by the sex-starved who have little alternative until junior year when they all are allowed vehicles.

Speculation #2: Lack of alcohol on campus means that each woman's inner slut has a hard time coming out of the box. This is a good thing for both men and women. For men, it means that the incidence of false accusations is a lot less. For women, it means that they have less opportunity to be victimized by their poor judgment to mix alcohol with hungry libidos.

Speculation #3: Females who attend service academies are more serious students. For one, you have to be a higher achiever to get in to the service academy. Second, you have to want--really want--to be there. These types of females self-select against the meandering unserious party girls at civil institutions.

samsonsjawbone said...

As I have blogged before, my daughter's ambition is to attend a service academy

Really? I hadn't read that. Where did she get the idea, out of curiosity? Of course I don't know your daughter's personality, but I wonder how it would make me feel if my daughter expressed a similar aim, given what I've previously blogged re: wanting to raise my daughters into "traditional" women.

Let me hazard a guess: I wager that in deciding to pursue a service academy education, one factor that has not crossed your daughter's mind is how attractive such a career choice will make her to a man who seeks a traditional-minded marriage partner.

(Obviously there's a lot in there to clarify. Maybe at this stage in her life she doesn't think she wants a traditional-minded man; maybe despite your best efforts she's not a very "traditional" woman. And I'm not arguing that in a college environment where women are outnumbered 3-4:1 that she will necessarily have trouble finding a decent man of some sort. In fact, if she has considereed the issue at all - doubtful enough among young women today - she probably thinks that attending a college where she's vastly outnumbered by men is a no-brainer for snaring one. But I bet she has never considered that men who are seeking traditional marriages might not rank military women high on their list.)

Anyway, very good questions you're asking. I have no experience with the service academies, but I do have more than a decade of military experience in general. I have often thought that there is no way on God's green earth I would ever allow my sister, daughter, etc., to join the military. Not out of chauvinism towards women in the military, which I do share with you, but because in my experience the pressure and temptation towards sordid sexual escapades is well-nigh irresistible for most.

I have rarely met a young, single woman in the military who did not use the experience as an opportunity to help herself to a rotating buffet of the most select alpha genitalia. (Which, if you follow these sorts of issues, is considered by many folks, myself included, to be one of the biggest reasons to exclude women from the military - the havoc wrought by such behaviour on unit cohesion/camaraderie, etc.)

However, mine is mostly an enlisted experience. I suspect a young woman at a service academy would fare rather better. In terms of the sociosexual issues you're talking about, I bet she wouldn't find it all that much different than attending any fairly conservative college where the sex ratio is 50:50 and the party atmosphere is low-keyish. Which is to say, the opportunities for sex will be there – you can't devise a human society where they aren't – but the danger of mutation into a crazed sex fiend is likely minimal if she's of good character to begin with.

Professor Hale said...

I will add my own observations to the above:

1. I am a service academy grad. I could not buy a date with any of my female classmates and even the very plain ones had full social calendars. Most men don't like standing in line.

2. Also reducing slutiness is the fact that they wear uniforms that are not very female-flattering.

3. A woman cadet, because of her rareness, is known to all of her classmates. Any harm she does to her reputation by being slutty will follow her and will become widespread. This reduces inclination to sluty behaviors. She also knows from the beginning that she will be in the same career as these guys for the next 20 years after she graduates.

4. Women who drink underage or otherwise evade limits of restrictions will face disciplinary action. So she has a higher incentive both not to report real sexual assault (to avoid her own punishment) and to falsly accuse sexual assault, (to evade personal punishment). Military academy policies currently reflect the worst trends of accepting that the woman would never lie about rape and therefore she should be granted immunity from her other infractions so that she will report sex abuse.

5. In reality, sex abuse at the military academies is lower than at civilian universities. Most of the men she meets, knowing they don't have a snow ball's chance in hell of scoring with her, will become instead protective "big brother" types.

6. You should really be more conserned with what happens to her after graduation. Is a career in the Army really what you want for your daughter? It is a hard life for women officers whether they marry or remain single. They will always be judged first on their sex appeal and second on their competence.

ironrailsironweights said...

It would seem to me that sexual dynamics at the service academies are also going to be affected by the fact that nearly all the male students are Alphas. Even if the female students are unavailable, few if any of the men are going to lack for opportunities elsewhere (time permitting, of course).

Peter

samsonsjawbone said...

It would seem to me that sexual dynamics at the service academies are also going to be affected by the fact that nearly all the male students are Alphas.

Peter, are you speaking from experience? Because if you aren't, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be very skeptical that most men at the academies are Alphas - as often as not, military officers have a geeky streak. Think about the academic qualifications one needs to even get accepted to these colleges.

trumwill said...

Kind of tangential, but the use of military to pay for medical school can be risky. Clancy was all set to join the Air Force when they declined to accept her for medical reasons. This turned out to be a good thing as the doctors she knew that went the ROTC route uniformly told her that she should be glad she didn't. The military makes it difficult to get out once your commitment is up. She got testimonials both from doctors that did get out and ones that were still working at a military installation where she toured because they couldn't get out.

If your daughter plans on sticking with the military as a career, though, I guess that would be less an issue.

And racking up some debt for medical school isn't nearly as big an issue as for other college. We're actually poised to get some help from the State of "Arapaho" and the Federal Government for serving an underserved population. The better part of this arrangement is that unlike the military, if we decide it's not worth it we can leave.

trumwill said...

Samson,

Being really smart is not inconducive to being an "alpha". Particularly since the military academies, as I understand it, look at far more than just grades to get in.

ironrailsironweights said...

Being really smart is not inconducive to being an "alpha". Particularly since the military academies, as I understand it, look at far more than just grades to get in.

I read a while back that not only were nearly all students at the service academies high school athletes, but something like two-thirds of them were team captains. It's very doubtful that many nerds and/or deep introverts make it through the selection process.

Peter

Φ said...

Many thanks to all of you for your insights on this matter.

A couple of clarifications:

Γ is, um, nine. So no, she hasn't really started strategizing about how to catch a particular type of man. She just assumes, at this point, that she will just get married because that's what people do.

Yes, a military career will require a fair amount of career flexibility on the part of her future husband. But then, a career as a doctor was going to require that anyway. The good news is that if she does marry a fellow officer, the services put some effort (although not unlimited effort) into working joint spouse assignments.

I have counseled Γ about the lengthy service commitment, but again, that goes hand-in-hand with medical school in general, even as a civilian. It's not as if she would be able to just drop out of her career to make babies full time, not with the student loans over her head. Yes, civilian life offers more flexibility . . . but military life offers better compensation: even as a med student and resident, she will still draw an officer's salary, instead of spending eight years in crummy student housing eating mac-n-cheese.

Yes, the military life is hard for line officers when they serve as, say, platoon commanders. And even trauma surgeons will spend a lot of time deployed. But I'm pretty sure that pediatricians spend their careers stateside.

Trumwill: I was under the impression that keeping officers in against their will and beyond their service commitment was an extraordinary rather than routine measure. Perchance, did the stories to which you refer happen soon after 9/11?

Peter is correct in general about cadet athleticism; the factoid I recall is that 80% of admitees were HS varsity letter winners. However, my own theory is that "alphaness" is contextual. For the same reason that not all Koreans in Korea are shopkeepers, and not all Jews in Israel are bankers (pick your own stereotypes here if you prefer), academy cadets have to find their own social niche, regardless of who they were in highschool.

The consensus among you seems to be that the academy environment is to be preferred to its civilian counterpart.

samsonsjawbone said...

Being really smart is not inconducive to being an "alpha".

Yes, I know. It was meant as an illustration.

I read a while back that not only were nearly all students at the service academies high school athletes, but something like two-thirds of them were team captains. It's very doubtful that many nerds and/or deep introverts make it through the selection process.

*shrug* Okay. In my experience, anyway, most officers are much less alpha than the NCOs. But I'm willing to drop this point of discussion.

Γ is, um, nine

Oh dear - I hadn't realized! Surely we can agree, then, that her long-term life goals may undergo just a teensy bit of adjustment over the coming years. (Decades...) :)

trumwill said...

Phi,

I hope you didn't read what I said as a criticism of her tentative path. I was mostly just wanting to point out something that a lot of people don't realize (I certainly didn't prior to hearing Clancy talk about it).

Anyhow, what you say about keeping officers may generally be true, but it may not apply as much to doctors whose skills are so in demand. On the other hand, it probably doesn't apply nearly as much to pediatricians.

I agree with the consensus (though I don't even have anecdotalism to rely on) that the military academy will probably be better than the civilian alternative. That being said, I would expect that the key factor will be what your daughter's sexual attitudes are when she gets there.