he Hidden Sexism of How We Think About Risk


A THIN LINE: Risk assessment is highly dependent upon the person and the situation—most people tend to avoid what they view as high-risk situations. Philippe Petit, who walked a wire strung a quarter of a mile high between the Twin Towers, described himself as “absolutely the contrary of a daredevil.”

If men take more risks than women, it’s not because of biology.

My eldest son has long been irresistibly drawn to danger. At 6 months old he rolled across the entire expanse of the living room in order to more closely inspect the drill that his father—forgivably assuming that five yards was a safe distance to place a power tool from a baby who couldn’t yet crawl—had put on the floor. On one memorable toddler playdate, within five minutes he had located the drawer of sharp kitchen knives that his little host Harry had failed to discover in his two years of life, and began juggling with its contents. At the age of 10, I left him happily engaged in the normally hazardless activity of assembling a cake batter, only to return five minutes later to discover him about to plunge a roaring hair dryer into the mixture. As he calmly explained, he had forgotten to melt the butter before adding it to the bowl, and was therefore trying to do so retroactively.

I admit that at times like these I have occasionally wondered why it was my lot in life to have a child so blasé about risk, and whether ultimately this will prove to be a blessing or a curse. On optimistic days I imagine him reaping enormous benefits: the invention of a time machine, say, after decades of dangerous experimentation. But in darker moments, I foresee much bleaker fates featuring mortuary lockers. While proponents of what I call Testosterone Rex—the idea that women are driven by biology and evolution to be cautious, and men to be daring—obviously don’t share this fascination with my firstborn and his future, they do have a strong interest in the idea of risk taking as an inherently male trait. They would regard each of my son’s perilous follies as successful manifestations of evolutionary pressures: a pitiful consolation, I can assure you, when you are trimming singed hair from your child’s bangs and hoping the other guests at the barbecue won’t ask too many questions. Economists Moshe Hoffman and Erez Yoeli recently spooled out the familiar chain of assumptions in the Rady Business Journal:

When males take on extra risk in foraging for food, ousting rivals, and fighting over territory, they are rewarded with dozens, even hundreds of mates, and many, many babies. A worthwhile gamble! Not so for the females.

Dozens? Hundreds? Sure—if you’re a red deer, or the leader of an ancient Mongol empire. While Hoffman and Yoeli’s arguments mostly refer to the “fighting” part of Darwin’s sexual selection theory (intrasexual selection), other researchers suggest that risk taking also adds to men’s appeal as a mate; the “charming” part of Darwin’s subtheory (or intersexual selection). As psychologists Michael Baker Jr. and Jon Maner explain:

Among men, risky behaviors have potential for displaying to potential mates characteristics such as social dominance, confidence, ambition, skill, and mental acuity, all of which are highly desired by women seeking a romantic partner.

But for women, there are no such benefits to be gained from taking risks. This is because—the authors seem to try to put it as tactfully as they can—“men tend to desire women with characteristics that signal high reproductive capacity (e.g., youth) rather than characteristics that might be signaled by risk-taking.” In other words, so long as the hair is glossy, the skin smooth, and the hip-to-waist ratio pleasing, then a cringingly low sense of self-worth, apathy, incompetence, and stupidity are relative trifles, more easily overlooked from the male perspective.

There is an element of uncertainty to everything we do.

Having drawn on a vintage version of sexual selection to claim an evolutionary imperative for male risk taking, the next obvious step is to argue that this is a major contributor to persistent sex inequalities, helping to explain why fame, fortune, and corner offices are disproportionately acquired by men. Hoffman and Yoeli, for instance, argue that:

stocks have higher average returns than bonds, and competitive jobs can be quite lucrative. These rewards make gender differences in risk preferences one of the pre-eminent causes of gender difference in the labor market.

The reference to competitive jobs points to a related explanation for occupational inequalities also much in vogue within the economics community: competition. Competition also involves risk taking since outcomes are uncertain, and the possible gains have to be weighed against the costs of taking part and defeat. Thus:

Over the past decade, economists have become increasingly interested in investigating whether gender differences in competitiveness may help explain why labor market differences persist. If women are more reluctant to compete, then they may be less likely to seek promotions or to enter male-dominated and competitive fields…




Eat Like a Martial Arts Master and Increase Your Willpower

Image via chrisbeetlesfinephotographs.com


Deep in the crevasses of the Songshan mountain range, an Indian dhyana master established the first Shaolin Monastery in 477 AD, seeking to spread the relatively new teachings of Buddha at the time. This monastery then bred the Shaolin monks, who are now popular for their incredible feats with Chinese martial arts, particularly with Shaolin Kung Fu.

Since then, Chinese dynasties have been both built and destroyed, but the lives of the monks have persevered through both progress and persecution.

Modern Shaolin monks are popular and known throughout the world, which is evident from their presence even on the silver screen—especially in martial arts films. More than a million people per year visit Shaolin in order to capture a small glimpse into the simple yet extraordinary life of a Shaolin Monk.

The allure of the Chinese monks hinges on the relatively unchanged lifestyle that they have lead for hundreds of years. They follow strict schedules, which include waking up extremely early (5 a.m.), followed by constant strenuous and physically punishing training sessions and bouts of meditation.

One habit of the monks’ lives that is key to their success is their well-known vegetarian diet. Like every other aspect of their lifestyle, the diet is centered around Buddhist ideals, like purity and simplicity. The traditional diet of the Shaolin monks consists primarily of rice, vegetables and fruits—all of which are grown in the confines of the temple. While what they eat is no secret, it’s rare to get a glimpse into the actual meals, as most temples bar technology from being used inside.

Enter Reddit

Redditor pie5135 is a Korean-American student currently taking a gap year in China at a secretive martial arts school/temple for four months. He posted a guide to eating like a Martial Arts Master, including what, when, and how to eat in order to use your body to its full potential.

In the thread, pie5135 described a bit of the foreground of the martial arts school, mentioning that his master is one of the last genuine descendants of the original Imperial Guard of China. Out of hundreds of applicants, only 20 are selected at a time to experience and train with him.

He then goes on to break down his dietary experience into two sections—theory and rules.


  • We are designed to eat as if food was scarce.
  • Half the digestion process is manual.
  • Food should not be a mystery.


  • Chew 30 times per bite. Your food should become into something similar to a liquid or porridge before you digest it. Use all sides of your mouth to prevent soreness in your jaw. Chewing helps your body break down food much easier because of enzymes that break up and increase the surface area of the food.
  • While you’re chewing, put your utensils down. This allows you to focus on your current bite, without having to prepare for the next one. This also gives your body more time to digest the food.
  • Eat everything on your plate. This actually encourages you to put less on your plate, because we usually tend to overcompensate and smother our plates with too much food. As a general rule, start out by only putting about 1/2-2/3 of the amount you’re accustomed to eating.
  • Think before you attempt for seconds. If you want more food because you’re hungry, it’s fine to take more. If you want more food simply because you want to taste more food, it’s better to lay off the seconds. Give your body time to get full before you try for seconds, as unnecessary extras might result in a food coma. Forced bites are not good.
  • Eat everything with chopsticks, including rice. Chopsticks are ideal for gathering the right bite sizes.
  • Set up a time limit (around 20-30 minutes) within which you cannot finish your food. You have to finish afterwards. The slower, the better.

The meals are divided into portions in terms of weight, which is 1:1:2 with vegetables, tofu, and rice. They also have eggs, tofu and broth, which is made by both the students and cooks that they have at the monastery…






by Nathaniel Mauka, Staff Writer, Waking Times

With all the scientific developments in neuroscience, perhaps none have been utilized so thoroughly and so effectively for social engineering as in the advertising industry.

If you thought you could get away from the influence of this machine, you’re mistaken. Nearly a century after Coca-Cola took cocaine out of its most popular beverage, neuroscientists have found that soft drinks still work like illicit drugs, as does fat, salt, and sugar on our brains – but strangely, so do the images we “consume.” Are you sure that you are motivated by your own, sovereign mind or are other forces at play?

This massive industry manufactures societal problems such as sexism, gender, race, and age division, depression, etc. by using subtle (and not so subtle) programming that is plugged directly into the brains of millions of people across the globe.

It isn’t just women who are degraded with print and media advertisements. Men are relegated to a certain patriarchal, hyper-macho role relegating them to caveman status. In this advertisement by Old Spice, the inference that man is nothing more than a mindless robot isn’t exactly subtle:

In a Calvin Klein ad, women are relegated to the role of whore, and men to the role of pimp. The imagery is a bit more subtle than in the Old Spice ad, but obvious for those who are intelligent enough to see through the propaganda machine’s façade. Notice, that the woman is a grown, thin, white woman dressed as an innocent child while her legs are open just enough to draw the eyes to her crotch, and the man depicted in the ad happens to be African-American, with one eye oddly half-closed as if he were possessed by a demon. They are also  separated by a clear visual frame, and do not interact with one another, subliminally reinforcing gender and race division.

In yet another twisted advertisement meant to desensitize us to the pervasive problem of domestic abuse, a woman is depicted sitting on a sofa with a black eye while an ominously posed man stands behind her in a position of power. To add insult to injury, quite literally, she is told to “look good” while her face is being battered in.


In another ad presented by Van Heusen, a woman’s place in society is clearly depicted by the power brokers who create the nonsensical world which is supposed to sway our subconscious motivations.

Some of us think we live in a democratic society, but as Edward Bernays, the self-proclaimed “Father of Public Relations,” and master-mind behind the Tobacco industry’s push of cigarettes on an unsuspecting population openly details,

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” 

To wit, look at this slick pic of a gang-rape scenario made “vogue” by Dolce & Gabbana, or the immensely degrading ad by American Apparel. In the first advertisement, there isn’t a woman expressing her sexuality freely, and being honored, but held down by force while 3 other men stand in line to abuse her.


In the American Apparel ad the woman posing was either extremely uncomfortable, or told to look distressed as she is photographed spread-eagle, insinuating that we should have full access to her, even without her consent…


About the Author

Nathaniel Mauka is a researcher of the dark side of government and exopolitics, and a staff writer for Waking Times.

This article (These 7 Unbelievable Ads Exemplify How the Advertising Industry Degrades Women and Men) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Nathaniel MaukaIt may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.