Dilbert Creator Says Bad Male Behavior “Natural Instinct”



In a recent (double entendre?) post titled “Pegs and Holes” Adams explains why “Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating…”

Apparently it’s the fault of society. As he says, “the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable.”

He goes on to write,

“The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I’m saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness.”

Adams may simply enjoy creating a ruckus. Or he may be trying to paint over his own problems with a heavy gloss of rationalization.  But it’s worth a moment’s pause to reflect on the state of men in society. Are they tragically forced to suppress themselves, forsaking happiness unless, as Adams notes, a wife “fulfills his needs?”

Historian Sara Lipton clarifies these topics and more in a recent NY Times op-ed.  She says we have the impression that rampant sexual appetites go along with ambition and charisma, especially in the case of powerful alpha men. But this is a recent notion.  Throughout most of Western history, the ability to resist temptation through “force of will and intellect” was a primary characteristic of manhood. “A man who indulged in excessive eating, drinking, sleeping or sex — who failed to “rule himself” — was considered unfit to rule his household, much less a polity.” Rampant sexuality was actually associated with the youngest men and with the gender having the least power, women.

In light of history, Adam’s bluster seems all the more cartoonish. What do you think?


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8 thoughts on “Dilbert Creator Says Bad Male Behavior “Natural Instinct”

  1. It seems a little ridiculous to say that a society with morals that were created pretty much entirely by men is designed to suppress men. For millenia men have basically made the rules, rules that include things like not raping people, and monogamy (obviously that hasn’t always been considered a must for men, but since it’s in the ten commandments, I’m including it here). I seriously doubt that the people in charge would have kept this system in place if it was really so terrible for them. The truth is that this system works. Monogamy, and thus a strong family system where the male knows that his offspring are his, is important for our society.

    Besides, there’s an easy solution to Adams’s problem – don’t get married! Then you can have all the sex you want! If anyone will have you of course.

  2. *facepalms* Again, this *is* Scott Adams we are talking about here– I don’t expect him to be a fountain of wisdom, ever. His comedic niche is engineering + office politics. Nowhere do I see that equals sagacity on gender roles.

    I think he has about as much validity on the topic as Some Random Bro Writing A Blog or however else you’d like to characterize it.

    That’s not to say that I don’t think we have problems with gender roles, or that feminism hasn’t lost its way in certain aspects (where women have shown they can be just as calloused as the men, or embrace a warped form of masculinity in retaliation), but c’mon… Scott Adams is not a worthy source to start such a discussion, IMHO.

  3. There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal recently:


    that addressed the effects on society of having too many men (the author was talking about the implications of aborting 163 million girls since ultrasounds became readily available. In a way, the article supports Adams’ point that men need the stabilizing effects of a woman because they innately have dangerous instincts…

    “There is indeed compelling evidence of a link between sex ratios and violence. High sex ratios mean that a society is going to have “surplus men”—that is, men with no hope of marrying because there are not enough women. Such men accumulate in the lower classes, where risks of violence are already elevated. And unmarried men with limited incomes tend to make trouble. In Chinese provinces where the sex ratio has spiked, a crime wave has followed. Today in India, the best predictor of violence and crime for any given area is not income but sex ratio.”

  4. I think he’s yanking our collective chains and/or rationalizing his difficulties behaving in a generally-accepted moral manner; both of these are his right to discuss, and possibly even part of his job description to get more eyeballs to his blog.

    I don’t think that men are naturally criminals or rape machines, any more than women are. But men, like women, can make stupid life choices, feel trapped, and then feel a need to act out in stereotypical stupid ways.

  5. By simply reacting to Adams’ (cartoonist) notes we resonate with them, otherwise they would be simply ridiculous and ignored.
    Fact is, we all need to be “house broken” regardless of gender, but Adams has a recent streak of saying “men, thats the way it is, don’t whine” witch is pretty much common sense.
    After all he is just saying that it doesn’t matter if you feel the desire to rape someone, it is not ok. And then many feel offended?
    The notion of humans being good by nature has clearly been abused lately.

  6. Most of what Scott Adams writes in his blog seems to be written tongue-in-cheek, heavy on the sarcasm. That’s the way I read this particular post of his.

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