Lots of cultures want to have at least one boy child, and might keep having children until they get one / give up, so that might help explain why women have more siblings than men?

Expand full comment

A) Male data point. I was spanked as a kid, experienced really intense medical trauma (bleeding disorder Hemophilia, in hospitals A LOT, thousands of IV needles (only delivery mechanism of my medicine), being held down by nurses to get needles in to me).

I eventually got over the trauma. by my mid-20s I'm pretty sure I didn't consider my childhood traumatic. Maybe if you asked me when I as 15 or something. I have a pretty positive look back on my life, but this is PROBABLY a coping mechanism or a philosophical software package.

It seems odd to me that women were abused/mistreated more as children. I just performed the "as a child, did I get spanked ____" and there is some subtle determination that happens between Rarely and Sometimes for me.

B) I would love if you could somehow get a team of researchers to interview random people at banks and Walmart to take the study to figure out how biased the online-survey-taking-women-from-tiktok sample set actually is. e.g. my girlfriend has a trades job, is the opposite of "hyper online" and also skews heavily away from almost all of the data points I've read in your articles.

Expand full comment

The elite are looking... self-absorbed and narcissistic here 👀

Expand full comment

I might mis-phrase things and be accidentally offensive here. I apologise if that happens, I have tried hard to avoid it, but I know I do it sometimes, and ask your patience.

If your theory about narratives affecting how people remember/reconstruct their memories is consistent, I would naively expect those who affiliate more with said narratives to have a stronger effect.

I know you limited things to politically liberal/progressive, but did you happen to ask about how strongly the people identified with feminism or related ideas? I'd expect politically liberal/conservative to be good proxy for this, but I wonder if a more targeted examination might elicit more clarity there - if "degree of feminism" and the variables of interest are correlated it might imply something?

(Obviously feminism isn't all about "women are all victims", I'm using it as a crude proxy for said narratives)

Expand full comment

I once dug into why the CDC report on sexual abuse had such off a deviance between yearly and lifetime abuse suffered by men. Another study shed some light: among adults that were definitely abused as children, men were something like 1/4 as likely as women to respond “yes” when asked if they were absurd as children.

My hypothesis was our culture has ready narratives of victimhood for women so women remember their abuse better. Men don’t have those narratives or at least don’t benefit from them (sympathy isn’t offered to men or is harmful) so men don’t frame their lives that way and therefore forget or at least don’t remember without being promoted with more than a label they don’t apply to themselves.

Neuroticism is a better explanation.

Expand full comment

Maybe I missed something, but why is the idea that girls might be treated worse than boys on the average not plausible?

Expand full comment

First, a datapoint: I'm a male and i'm *very* nostalgic. I yearn for pretty much any period from more than 2 years ago (and it's unrelated to any particular event, it's a rolling 2 years period before I start having a rose tint when I look back at it).

Then a nitpick:

>This one is weird. We’re looking only at the most liberal, so it’s not like we’re getting conservative and discipline-heavy girls vs. freewheeling boys.

If we assume that conservative do most of the punishement, then it's possible that conservative do punish boys more than girls, and that the marginal punishment dished by liberals is somehow more targeted toward girls (and your demographic mostly catch these). I don't really believe it's possible, but it's maybe worth investigating.

Expand full comment

One thing I've started focusing a lot on in surveys is the question of "what is it about?". For example, when children get spanked, it's for doing something they're not allowed to do, right? So I've come to believe it's very incomplete to just ask about the frequency and not what it was about.

I'd be curious about e.g. whether men and women remember being spanked for the same things.

Expand full comment

What's your sample size for men and women respectively? If you have a selection bias with respect to both gender and some other variable, then this can lead to collider bias which can introduce artifactual correlations.

Expand full comment

Fwiw, my sisters both report being emotionally and verbally abused by my dad, while I do not. Neither my mom nor I remember any notable difference in how my dad treated me versus my sisters, and when I've gotten my sisters to talk about specific events they considered abusive (this was very hard, btw, they mostly wanted to just talk about how they "experienced abuse" in abstract terms), they reported events where I remember the event, sometimes as a fellow "victim" sometimes as an observer. We have more or less the same factual recall of the events. They just perceive them as "abuse" while I perceive them as "my dad being an asshole". So, yeah, the interpretation of my sisters wanting to/believing they fit into the victim/survivor/whatever narrative whereas men take a more decouple-y perspective definitely scans with my experience.

Also relevant, my sisters insist against my judgement to the contrary to my insistence that I also experienced abuse. Actually, this might make an interesting follow-up. Something like "did your [male/female] siblings experience [emotional, verbal, physical] abuse?" If the "experiences were identical, framing is different" hypothesis is true, then I would expect to see women reporting their male siblings being abused at similar rates to themselves being abused, and vice versa.

Possibly relevant demographic info: My siblings and I are aged 26-30, two sisters, I was the only boy and middle child. My sisters would probably describe as "very liberal" or maybe just "liberal" (they are very liberal, but are also in a closed bubble and I'm not sure if they'd correct for their peer group also being very liberal). I go back and forth between "somewhat conservative" and "no affiliation".

Expand full comment

Potentially false memories

It's easy to look backwards and apply today's feelings and insecurities to the past

And to ignore our own negatives

Expand full comment

" I cropped the sample down to people aged 19-26" Oh, no wonder the results seem so distant from reality.

Expand full comment

I’m reminded of a theory in evolutionary biology asserting that in times of plenty, people will have more men, because the upside of a really great man is a very large number of grandchildren, and in times of squalor people will have more women, because there’s a limit to how reproductively unproductive women could be.

Expand full comment

I think it's misleading to restrict this to liberals and call that "controlling for political orientation". When you include everyone I think the spanking trend reverses, and men are spanked more.

Expand full comment
Nov 10·edited Nov 10

This is silly. The survey asks for if men and women have such and such experiences in their childhood, women remember their childhood differently than men, so the survey concludes people are wrong about their childhood? Wrong; not every family has more than one child and they could come from households that do or do not have people of the other gender

To me, the results seem to make very good sense; men and women everywhere are influenced by the world around them regardless of many other factors. If a family only comtains females or contains more females, it is more likely that family will be lower class because of the pervasiveness of gender inequity.

I realize it tries to control for some things, like parents reporting their boys being spanked more often by their parents and being more rambunctious, but it fails to consider that spanking does not always occur in the home (Catholic schools, for instance. It doesn't fully control for the parents beliefs or behaviors or where they are IN these countries even when we know they are white and in a wealthy country) and just because the parents say they spank the boy more, that doesn't mean that they do, just that they associate boys with being boys and probably assume in their head that the boy gets punished more when in reality, they let them off the hook more often than not.

Expand full comment
Oct 12·edited Oct 12

Re. "Or maybe men are just more positive? Maybe they want to view themselves as strong, unabused, more successful, so they can compete better with their peers. Unclear."

Men are under great pressure to project confidence and high status, and never tell anyone that anything is going wrong. Men who complain are looked down on. Sexual selection alone has a powerful effect. Women feel free to talk about their problems with their friends; men don't, because their friends may use any knowledge about a man's weaknesses to climb above him in the pecking order.

Expand full comment