Chapter 12 outlined the effects one’s social network had on their longevity. They found that those who felt loved and cared for did not make them live longer. Additionally, somewhat contradictory, those who had a larger social network lived longer lives as well as those who helped out both their friends and neighbors. Furthermore, those who were labeled “good” such as those who were more agreeable, thoughtful, and helpful, lived longer than those who were considered “bad”. Lastly, the researchers found that getting your lonely, old grandfather a puppy will not make him live longer. This chapter really upset me. Just because you will not live the longest, why does this, therefore, conclude that you should not seek out to be loved and cared for. It seems backward to state this as a finding because who doesn’t want to be surrounded by those who love and care for them? Additionally, wouldn’t it be contradictory to state that those who are not loved and cared for but have larger social networks live longer? If you have a large social network, at least for me, I would want those involved to truly look out for me and love me. Lastly, the puppy issue. I am a huge pet enthusiast. When my grandfather started to get sick, he got a brand new puppy. Each time we visited he seemed to be getting stronger and more active and he attributed it to his new dog. Whether the researchers found that to be true or not, it seems that having something that loves you no matter what and encourages you to be active would be a positive thing. Regardless if you live into your nineties or hundreds, living a happy life with those who love you surrounding you should be the focus; not how many years you managed to stay on this Earth.
In Chapter 13, they analyzed the longevity differences between feminine and masculine men and women. They found that men who were widowed did not live much longer than their lives. They could have just died from a “broken heart”, however, widowed men who were also highly neurotic cut their mortality rate compared to their fellow male widowers in half. The researchers also found that the reason women live longer than men is that they are more feminine: the more feminine women and men live longer than those who are more masculine. Additionally, feminine women and feminine men are less likely to die from all causes, while their opposites are concentrated in cancer or other smoking-related diseases. In relation to women, women are more likely than men to seek help when they feel sick while men will wait until it’s possibly too late. In contrast to men, widowed women live longer than their even married women. This chapter frustrated me as I felt that it took on many gender stereotypes that seemed sexist. By describing those who are feminine as those who stay in the home and perform more feminine tasks such as cleaning or being a receptionist. I do not think it is scholarly to promote women and men to not pursue “higher risk” jobs and goals because it will make them more masculine and, therefore, lead to an earlier death. We should be encouraging feminism to be more about your successes as a woman, not ones of safety and living a life in the home.