Some books open vistas of thought. Smart and SeXy may challenge all of your conceptions of gender, but it will not do so in the trivial way that mainstream media does, but instead will encourage you to look inside the theory to see what resonates.
Half science paper and half policy paper, this book lines up theories of genetic sex differences and draws connections between them in a way that opens possibilities for further exploration. Fortunately, the author chose to avoid two extremes of style — dry science and popular science-ish writing — that could impede the communication, and so it is written in an erudite but practical style which flows easily across the page.
For many of us, Smart and SeXy goes right on the shelf as a reference because it consolidates over 300 citations to peer-reviewed science journals describing the most recent research in genetics, sociology and human behavior. These links are invaluable, as are the factual data compiled using them; Kaine frequently cites a dozen studies on a page, and ties together the different statistics and facts to show a more complete picture of the issue than is offered anywhere else.
This has the effect of elevating data to theory by using multiple contrasts and critical analysis of the old school to deduce meaning, and from that, to construct general knowledge that eventually approximates a thesis for the book. By building up from a broad base of data, and including seemingly contrary data and explaining it, Smart and SeXy avoids the cherry-picking common to many science-oriented publications.
In 2011, there were almost 100,000 more girls than boys that took the SAT, a difference of 6%. Girls also seem to perform better academically than boys. In the SAT population, there were 127 girls in the top ten percent of their academic class, based on GPA, for every 100 boys. This gap narrowed but remained for students between the top 10 and 20%. There were 144 female test takers with an A+ (4.0) GPA to every 100 boys, while the average GPA of girls was 3.4 compared to 3.27 for boys. Girls also had more years of coursework in subject areas surveyed, which notably includes mathematics and science, and they had taken more AP courses, again including mathematics and science.
These figures have to be taken with something of a grain of salt because the academic advantage of girls is partially a reward teachers give for more docile behavior unrelated to cognitive ability and which is a strong factor in grading at the elementary level.* Some studies have also demonstrated that female teachers tend to grade males more harshly than intellectually equivalent females. Since in most western schools the teacher population is often 75% female or more, this could also partially explain current male underperformance.* In addition to more submissiveness to authority figures, the gender gap in academic performance is likely also partially attributable to non-cognitive skills more common in girls such as organization, dependability, and self-discipline with respect to completing school assignments.** These traits are probably helpful for the timely completion of questionably useful busy work. (98-99)
In addition to being wryly humorous, the above passage tackles a difficult quandary: the thesis of the book is that males, who have only one copy of the X chromosome, experience greater cognitive benefits as a result of the intelligence-related genes that are not suppressed by a second X chromosome which has conflicting traits which can pre-empt intelligence-related genes. If males are more humorous, why is their scholastic performance lacking?
Kaine tackles this question above by first comparing SAT and grade data, which taken alongside an earlier chapter explaining the rough IQ equivalency of SAT scores, shows that grades diverge from intelligence. He then explores this by looking for reasons why grades do not measure intelligence, and in the process uncovers some convincing data about the non-essentiality of school and grades.
Everywhere you see an asterisk, he cites a peer-reviewed study, and this is in addition to the SAT data whose citations are given earlier, which builds the case for his argument using different studies and data points as rungs in a ladder. The effect is quite convincing, and written with a similar mixture of policy, analysis and science.
Smart and SeXy takes an interesting approach because it does not have a single thesis, since its fundamental assumption about X-linked intelligence genes is borne out by the data, but it ends in a conclusion that is more like a thesis. This conclusion unites the policy and science halves of the book, and points out a grim reality that most people do not want to acknowledge: biology is destiny, and feminist/egalitarian sex roles and policies have a dysgenic effect by discouraging reproduction among those who adopt them.
Humanity as a whole will return to traditional gender roles because the groups where women prioritize motherhood will displace the groups that don’t through demographic increase, displacement and eventual subjugation. This is true for both intra-ethnic competition (conservatives and reactionaries out-breed liberals) and inter-ethnic competition.
The real question is whether or not the West will have a place in the future. The West can either accept that harsh biological reality has allotted motherhood as the primary raison d’etre of women, or it can be displaced by less advanced and less benevolent cultures who haven’t forgotten that reality. (208)
This conclusion is more like a thesis because it shows the importance of what is discussed in the book, which forms a ladder of the following parts: males tend to be more intelligent, but those genes must be passed through women, so having smart women to breed with is essential or these genes are exterminated; female equality creates a wave of incompetence in society, driving men away and causing intelligent women to fail to reproduce; deleterious traits pile up at the same time important traits decrease, and this creates a chain reaction where the smarter and better people refuse to breed. Plug that into the thesis-conclusion and the end result is civilization death caused by the pursuit of sexual equality.
What makes this book powerful is that, while it is clearly well-versed in the science, it is not exclusively science and extends its domain to what was once called critical thinking or logical analysis, which is an ability to deduce from contrasts and conflicts what is possibly true. Most scientists cannot analyze their way out of a paper bag, hence their tendency to grab a few detailed studies and make broad, unrealistic generalizations; all of the thinking here is tiered in steps to a conclusion, and Kaine compiles some of the more interesting theories he has found in his reading and incorporates them into his own thinking, choosing the best option for each step of the ladder.
In doing so, he often translates less articulated ideas into fully-coherent explanations of the data as presented. For example, here he tackles the concept of sexual gatekeeper unions, a concept exogenous to his writing but neatly woven into the background of data and analysis:
The benefits accrued to women by enforced scarcity of sex explain why the phenomenon of “slut shaming” as well as the dislike of pornography and sex workers is almost entirely female driven. In addition, drug use could also be expected to increase female promiscuity and reduce the cost of sex, which, in connection with the sexual trade union instinct, explains why most temperance and prohibition movements have been largely female driven as well. Although many leadership roles in temperance movements were occupied by men, the base supporters were overwhelmingly female.
Women are able to get more resources for sexual favors if access to sex is limited and they understand this at an instinctual level, though maybe not at a conscious level. A sexual trade union instinct is not necessary to begin the process of developing hypergamic instincts, but it is understandable why it would begin to develop in parallel once hypergamy became sufficiently widespread in a population. (140)
These explanations tie together common sense observations with logical deduction only where supported by fact, and bring out one facet of the reality we face regarding sex roles in society. As is the nature of any book which advances a strong thesis, this book argues persuasively from its thesis as the root of many social conditions; this will not be convincing to all, but that is not from rejection, but the state of being partially convinced. We can for example think of many reasons why women are the largest base of support for temperance movements, and while this may be one possibility, other possibilities also exist and some strike us as more likely.
That does not erode the point being made here, which is that a certain type of thinking leads to a certain result, so that in addition to those other factors, hypergamy also leads to certain political results. Kaine does not argue this as a means of discrediting hypergamy, but of strengthening the front side of his argument where he asserts that hypergamy is pervasive; when we see its connections to politics, society and so on, this gives context to and strengthens the foundations of his argument. This may seem like a trivial distinction but it is important when reading books like this which, at first glance, seem to explain all social ills through their own thesis alone, and that is not what is happening here.
As befits a book whose thesis rests mostly on genetics and breeding patterns, Smart and SeXy begins with a review of human genetics and an explanation of gene expression, especially of intelligence-based genes. It then progresses to explain how duplicate genes can pre-empt one another, and how this can lead to fewer beneficial traits; at that point, it moves into assessments of male intelligence and explanation for differences in behavior between the sexes in addition to intelligence and personality differences. From there, it launches into the political theory half of the book, which starts by exploring the nature of feminism, the institutions that support it, and the effects it has. After that, Kane races toward his thesis: feminism is literally killing us off by destroying natural and healthy breeding patterns that favor intelligence, leading to a death spiral and crash as Idiocracy paves the way for ethnic replacement.
I found the majority of arguments in this book to be convincing, especially if one views them as contributing factors and not singular factors. The carefully balanced arguments, and Kaine’s habit of internally testing his thesis by incorporating and explaining contrary data, ensure that for any idea he offers, the precepts lead to the conclusion but are not identical to it as is the case in propaganda writing. Instead, the book takes us on a lively journey through genetics and sex, making a solid case for the advancement of male intelligence through traditional mating and reproductive patterns.