No, Men Don’t “Secretly Want Their Wives to Fail” August 31, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
Yeesh, another sorry article. This time there’s really nothing wrong with the science – it’s the crappy spin put on it by the Telegraph that’s the problem. Here’s their headline:
Men feel worse about themselves when their wives or girlfriends succeed, especially in an area where they have failed.
The second line is a fairly accurate summation of the study, which found:
According to the study of 896 heterosexuals published in the APA Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men subconsciously had the lowest levels of self-esteem when they thought about a time when their female partner thrived in a situation where they had failed.
Another kind of “duh” observation. Guys don’t want to think that they suck. At anything. So when they’re told that they suck, it lowers their self-esteem. They feel bad about themselves. They want to do better.
So far it doesn’t imply that they want other people to fail. But wait, there’s more:
In the final two experiments, conducted online, 657 American participants were asked to think about a time when their partner had succeeded or failed.
When comparing all the results, the researchers found that it didn’t matter if the achievements or failures were social or intellectual, men subconsciously felt worse about themselves when their partner succeeded than when she failed.
Ignoring the dubious merits of online experiments, I don’t think this changes anything. Guys are competitive even when they’re not in the game, and they also need to feel needed. When their partner succeeds without them, they feel unnecessary and their self-esteem drops.
Har. Now that I’ve waded through all that, I just ran across a quote from the lead author of the study. It pretty much dispenses with the Telegraph’s ridiculous headline:
“I want to be clear — this really isn’t the case that men are saying, ‘I’m so upset my partner did well.’ The men aren’t acting different toward their partners. It’s not like the men are being jerks,” Ratliff said. “It’s just hurting their sense of self to be in a relationship with someone who has experienced a success.”
So, lame Telegraph author and editors, men don’t secretly want their wives to fail. We just want to be everything to them.