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People’s Psychological Atavism, as the Actual Cause of their Gender-Related Intolerance Essay

When it comes down to discussing what prompts people to commit particularly despicable crimes, such as carrying out terrorist attacks, psychologists commonly approach the task that within the context of what they believe accounts for the particulars of these people’s mental inadequacy.

Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence as to the fact that, contrary to the assumption that it is namely the concerned criminals’ mental impartment that leads them to indulge in a socially-inappropriate behavior, these criminals’ sharply defined violent-mindedness should not necessarily be referred to as being thoroughly pathological.

After all, as practice indicates, despite the sheer horrendousness of their criminal acts, the interrogated perpetrators of these acts are often able to provide a logically sound rationale to what they have done. In their articles, Michael Kimmel and Kathleen Alcala discuss this idea at length.

According to Kimmel, the commonly overlooked aspect of what motivated Muslim terrorists to fly passenger planes into both WTO towers is that these people’s life-experiences caused them to adopt clearly misogynist attitudes towards women.

The author explains this by the fact that in today’s world, the traditional masculine virtues affect the essence of surrounding socio-political reality to the ever-lessened extent.

This causes traditionally-minded men to perceive this reality as being thoroughly corrupted, “The events of September 11… resulted from an increasingly common combination of factors – the massive male displacement that accompanies globalization, the spread of American consumerism, and the perceived corruption of local political elites” (157).

In other words, one of the main motivations behind 9/11 attacks was the fact that those who perpetrated them strived to reaffirm the soundness of a traditional outlook on gender roles.

In her article, Alcala explores primarily the same idea, in regards to what she believes caused Andrea Yates to drown her children, despite the fact that throughout the course of her life, she never exhibited any signs of mental impairment.

According to the author, Andrea’s crime came because of her growing frustration with what she believed accounted for her inability to provide children with a proper upbringing, “She (Andrea) drowned her children to save them from eternal damnation.

Because she had been a bad mother, Andrea reasoned, her children were also turning out to be bad” (1112). Therefore, just as it was the case with the Muslim terrorists’ motivation to carry out 9/11 attacks, Andrea’s motivation to drown her children can be well discussed within the context of what was the essence of her deed-seated anxiety to perceive a surrounding reality and its place in it through the lenses of socially upheld gender-constructs.

Thus, the ideological implications of both articles can be synthesized as follows: people’s preoccupation with trying to adjust their lives to the traditional gender-based existential virtues is being counter-productive, as it often causes them to act in a clearly anti-social manner.

This suggestion, however, cannot be discussed as such that represents an undeniable truth-value.

The reason for this is apparent – the innermost essence of how women and men have traditionally been relating to each other, in the social sense of this word, simply reflects the fact that biologically and psychologically speaking, the representatives of Homo Sapiens species are nothing but primates.

Therefore, men and women’s adherence to the behavioral provisions of their gender affiliation cannot be referred to as the potential cause of destructive behavior, on their part; because such their adherence is being absolutely consistent with the laws of nature.

After all, in the societies of primates, males dominate and females submit. In other words, the actual origins of the gender-minded people’s destructive behavior should be discussed in relation to the specifics of their religious beliefs.

In their turn, the social implications of people’s religion-based worldviews cannot be assessed outside of the particulars of these people’s ethnocultural affiliation. In this paper, I will aim to substantiate the validity of the earlier suggestion at length.

The reading of both earlier mentioned articles reveals the fact that the factor of religion played a crucial role in how 9/11 terrorists and Andrea Yates perceived the significance of relationships between the representatives of opposite genders.

For example, according to Kimmel, “Terrorism is fueled by a fatal brew of antiglobalization politics, convoluted Islamic theology, and virulent misogyny” (6). After all, it does not represent much of a secret that it is specifically Muslim fundamentalists that find the sight of women wearing short skirts utterly offensive.

Yates, on the other hand, has also been revealed as a deeply religious woman, who never doubted the validity of mutually contradictory Christian fables.

Given the fact that, contrary to what is being assumed by the majority of Christians, Bible does endorse murder as the socially appropriate tool of dealing with ‘sinners’, there is nothing particularly odd about Andrea’s decision to drown her children.

Apparently, she did seriously believe that by doing it, she, in fact, helped them to maintain the ‘purity’ of their ‘eternal souls’, “Because she had been a bad mother, Andrea reasoned, her children were also turning out to be bad. Only by drowning them… could she assure their eternal salvation” (Alcala 1112).

Nevertheless, drawing parallels between the social implications of 9/11 terrorists’ fundamentalist sense of religiosity, on the one hand, and the social implications of the fundamentalist religiosity of Christian bible-thumpers, cannot be considered thoroughly appropriate.

The reason for this is quite apparent – whereas, the majority of Christian fundamentalists consist of elderly people, quite incapable of perpetrating the acts of terror, the majority of Muslim fundamentalists consist of comparatively young individuals with plenty of testosterone in their blood.

This is the actual reason why, whereas, the outbreaks of Christian fundamentalist violence in today’s world are comparatively rare, the same cannot be said about the outbreaks of Muslim fundamentalist violence.

In its turn, this explains why, as of today, many Western affiliates of ‘traditional values’ experience particular envy towards those fundamentalist Muslims who actively resist the process of Muslim societies becoming increasingly feminized.

As one of the most prominent American White supremacists Rocky Suhayda had put it, “It’s a disgrace that in a population of at least 150 million White/Aryan Americans, we provide so few that are willing to do the same [as the terrorists]” (Kimmel 157).

Apparently, it never occurred to Suhayda that unlike what it is being the case with the majority of highly secularized Whites (even those that are being formally affiliated with Christianity), the majority of non-Whites do not rationalize religion-based ‘traditional values’, but rather experience these ‘values’ as such that organically derive out of the genetically predetermined functioning of their psyche.

In its turn, this explains a sharply defined inconsistency between what accounted for the particulars of 9/11 attackers’ upbringing (most of them came from rather well-off families), the subtleties of their educational background (most of them were highly educated), on the other hand, and these people’s willingness to kill innocent civilians, on the other.

Apparently, the 9/11 terrorists’ affiliation with the values of a civilized living never ceased being purely artificial. Psychologically speaking, these people were more animals then the representatives of humanity – quite contrary the fact that they possessed Western university diplomas.

This suggestion helps us to gain a better understanding of the very roots of the Muslim fundamentalists’ misogyny, mentioned in Kimmel’s article – because the particulars of these people’s biological constitution naturally causes their animalistic anxieties being especially acute, the Muslim fundamentalists’ strive to enforce ‘traditional values’ simply reflects their tendency to derive a sadistic pleasure out of humiliating women.

After all, humiliating ape-females in just about every possible way is what dominant ape-males preoccupy themselves with most of the time.

In its turn, this also explains why, despite the fact that Christianity is being just as intolerant towards women as Islam, the majority of even hard-core Christians do not refer to women in terms of a soulless commodity, as it happened to be the case with Muslims.

Apparently, the lessened acuteness of Christian fundamentalists’ animalistic anxieties points out to the fact that, as compared to Muslims, they are being more evolutionary advanced – even if they do not realize it rationally.

This argument also applies to the discussion of what prompted Andrea Yates to drown her children. Whereas, psychologically atavistic Muslims derive sadistic pleasure out of humiliating women, psychologically atavistic women derive a masochistic pleasure out of being humiliated – pure and simple.

The fact that, in her mind, she had failed at raising children caused Andrea to experience the lack of a masochistic satisfaction out of living up to the ideal of a traditional apron-wearing housewife.

However, being an intellectually shallow and mentally unstable woman, she thought of her increasing inability to profess the traditional values of womanhood in terms of the ‘God’s punishment’, which in turn created objective preconditions for the tragedy to occur.

In other words, it is not people’s adherence to the traditional notions of gender, which causes them to indulge in a socially-inappropriate behavior, but their psychologically predetermined tendency to refer to these notions, as the source of atavistically subliminal pleasures.

After all, no soberly minded person may suggest that men are better than women at raising young children, or that women are better than men at addressing professional tasks, associated with heavy physical labor, for example.

It is only when gender-based differentiation between men and women become discursively ‘fetishized’, as it often being the case in ‘traditional’ societies/secluded social groups, that the affected individuals suffer a great deal of the emotional damage, which in turn often prompts them to decide in favor of ‘fixing’ what they perceive as the ‘ungodly unnaturalness’ of gender egalitarianism.

I believe that the deployed line of argumentation, in defense of the idea that the extent of people’s capacity to utilize violence, as the instrument of promoting their gender-related agenda, cannot be discussed in terms of a ‘thing in itself’ (regardless of the specifics of these people’s biological constitution), is being thoroughly consistent with the paper’s initial thesis.

Boys will always be boys and girls will always be girls – to believe otherwise would contradict the very laws of nature. Yet, killing people for the sake of promoting this self-evident truth constitutes a much higher violation of the very same laws.


Alcala, Kathleen ???? The Woman Who Loved Water.

Kimmel, Michael 2002, Gender, Class, and Terrorism. Web.

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Merritt, Alia. "People’s Psychological Atavism, as the Actual Cause of their Gender-Related Intolerance." IvyPanda, 11 Sept. 2019,

1. Alia Merritt. "People’s Psychological Atavism, as the Actual Cause of their Gender-Related Intolerance." IvyPanda (blog), September 11, 2019.


Merritt, Alia. "People’s Psychological Atavism, as the Actual Cause of their Gender-Related Intolerance." IvyPanda (blog), September 11, 2019.


Merritt, Alia. 2019. "People’s Psychological Atavism, as the Actual Cause of their Gender-Related Intolerance." IvyPanda (blog), September 11, 2019.


Merritt, A. (2019) 'People’s Psychological Atavism, as the Actual Cause of their Gender-Related Intolerance'. IvyPanda, 11 September.

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