'Man Down': We Interview Dan Abrams About Why He Believes Women Are Better Than Men
Women are better than men. At least that's what media mogul and ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams argues in his new book, "Man Down." According to plenty of research, Abrams reports, women are better at everything from managing hedge funds to avoiding getting struck by lightning. (Let's face it -- you definitely won't be in any condition to manage billions of dollars if the lightning gets you first.)
Women are better cops, better doctors, better drivers and better at dealing with painful breakups. That guy who shrugs and says, "Whatever. I'll just hook up with her friend"? He's definitely bawling his eyes out every night. But women aren't just emotionally savvy, they're technologically tuned in. His ex could beat that guy at every video game he owned. Which is another reason why he's crying.
As hilarious and lighthearted as many of the examples in "Man Down" are, there's something serious about its premise. Yesterday the White House released a report called "Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being" that documents a continuation of the familiar pay gap, despite the increase of women in higher education and the workforce.
If women are not only great at a lot of things they were told they couldn't succeed at, but even better than men at those things, then maybe the world needs a little reminding. Maybe the world needs to hear about it from someone unexpected.
How about ... a man?
Abrams is a lawyer, and he knows how to make a convincing argument. Of course, many of us didn't need any convincing in this case, but we still wanted to find out more about the man behind "Man Down". So MyDaily got right on the job. After all, that's what we women do.
MyDaily: Why should everyone read this book? And why is now the right time for people to read it?
Dan Abrams: First and foremost, I hope it's a fun book. I think it's also an interesting book. But I think what makes it a timely book is that so many of the studies are from the last few years. I think that does make it a bit of a wakeup call...for men, in part. And in part I think that both men and women will read it with a smile on their face.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but why were you a good person to write this book?
Not at all. Look, the way I came upon this was pretty random. I just happened to be reading a light- hearted article about why women are better than men, and I started wondering if the research was right. I started doing research on it. I hired a research assistant and started looking into all the reasons why.
Do you think being a guy helps your case or hurts it?
I think coming from a man it has more credibility. Look, it's the same way lawyers are chosen sometimes...You want someone who doesn't have an agenda.
I walked out of Good Morning America this morning and the security guard said, "You're a sell out."
He was joking. But he said it twice.
I think my brother said something like that too when he heard about your book.
[Laughs] I've been getting that.
So, back to your research: What was one of the most surprising things that women are better at? Don't tell me gathering mushrooms in a remote part of Mexico, like in the last chapter. I have no desire to gather mushrooms.
But do you get why that's so important? The truth is, it's a microcosm of all the bottom issues.
I think most surprising to me is that studies show that women are better politicians and world leaders. They secured more funds for their constituents. They co-sponsored more bills and the bills were more popular.
On the other side, I was surprised to learn that 82 percent of lightning strikes occur to men.
Because guys are more likely to play that extra round of golf even though there's a thunderstorm coming. They tend to be more reckless.
Speaking of men, did you learn anything unexpected about them? I mean, other than that they can't do a lot of things nearly as well as they've all been claiming.
I think that the most troubling thing that I found in the research, especially the research about why women are better students, has been the sort of positive stereotyping associated with the slacker, but only around men. I think that's troubling for the future.
That's really troubling. Do men do anything better than women?
There are studies that show that while women are better drivers, men are better at parking. Men have better long-distance vision. Studies show that men are better at reading maps and better dieters. And there are studies that show that men treat their friends better than women do.
Really! That's interesting.
I think if we start to get into that it'll take a long, long time, so: What was your favorite part of working on the book?
Um ... it was fun! It was fun finding these studies and researching them, and it was a fun topic. The bottom line is that I don't want to suggest that I'm some sort of crusader. I'm just a lawyer who looked at evidence on a really compelling topic and decide to chronicle it.
You cite a study that shows that people often find news more credible when it's read by a female newscaster, but that the same people often find male newscasters more credible in general. This dynamic shows up in your analysis of women in politics as well. Can you tell us what you think is going on here?
Look, I think that there are still a lot of people who have what I might view as antiquated stereotypes about how they view everything from world leaders to doctors to newscasters. It's really striking, the idea that they viewed the messages coming from a woman as more credible but when they were asked who was more credible, they said men.
Since you can't seem to avoid referencing it in the book, what, exactly, do you think can we learn about gender from "Jersey Shore"?
I don't think that "Jersey Shore" is a fair representation of any kind of society. It does not reflect the country. With that said, a couple of the guys on the show do represent some of the problems that men are facing. They seem to relish their ignorance.
This is personal, but everyone is dying to know, so I have to ask. If women are so great, then why are you still single?
This is a lawyer's look. The book is not intended to be a celebration of women. My personal status I don't think says anything. I spend a lot of time with women, I have a lot of women in my life, and I am dating someone lovely.
Fair enough. You mentioned it a little in your recent ABC interview, but can you elaborate on your prediction for the future? Is it inevitable that women take over formally where they have, according to this book and a lot of people, been quietly running things behind the scenes for a long time anyway?
I think that more and more you're going to see more women out front. I think that's there's a reality in this country that more of the single parents are single women, and that effectively means there are a lot more women than men who have a fulltime job before they start working. I don't know if and when that's going to change significantly, but I don't think there's any way that the findings of this book will not be reflected in society in the years to come. I think that more and more people will better appreciate that women are superior than men in a variety of ways, some of which are important.
This book is not my opinion on the topic. This book is evidence. It's chock full of evidence and facts. I think that that's important, that I tried to look at this like a lawyer, but with a smile on my face.
Kate Fridkis blogs about body image at Eat the Damn Cake and education at Un-schooled. She also writes for The Huffington Post. She lives in Manhattan but can't ever seem to dress very fashionably. She is also, somewhat randomly, the cantor at a synagogue in central New Jersey.
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