A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned research showing that men feel less committed when assigned to teams that contain more women than men. The opposite, however, appears not be the case. What’s up with that?

I’ve also posted research showing that women make fewer dumb mistakes, are calmer in a crisis, and that women in business are on average smarter than men. Weirdly, some men found these ideas to threatening. Here are some representative comments:

  • “If women are so smart why don’t they build their own companies instead of expecting men to do it for them. Oh yeah I forgot women don’t and never have built anything in history anywhere.”
  • “It seems sexist to make such large far reaching statements. People are individuals and need to be treated individually.”
  • “Thousands of years of men innovating society and a single generation where women start to do better (in school and so forth) and rather than looking at the big picture, we’re free to generalize, so long as those generalizations are harmful only to men.”

Considering that women have tolerated 7,000 years of scientific and religious claims of male superiority, you’d think that men could take a little of their own medicine. But apparently not.

The way men describe women often exhibits vast insecurity. For example, I recently heard a man refer to his female boss as a “real ball-breaker.” When confronted with a powerful woman, many men apparently feel as if they’ve been (or are about to be) castrated.

The glass ceiling, the old boys club, brogrammer culture... it seems to me that these aren’t signs of an all powerful patriarchy so much as an ongoing manifestation of men who are terrified to compete with women on a level playing field.

What astounds me is that men who think and talk this way don’t realize that far from making them “manly,” misogyny makes them seem like boasting little boys who are secretly terrified that their mommies might spank them.

In the classic gangster film Little Caesar, the protagonist constantly belittles his enemies with the statement “he can dish it out but he can’t take it.” A lot of men are like that; they can belittle women easily but get their shorts in a twist if the tables are turned.

Considering all the guff women have bravely endured over the years, it seems to me that any man who feels threatened by a powerful woman, can’t take criticism from a woman, or can’t tolerate the merest suggestion of female superiority is just being wussy.