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February 03, 2005

Comments

stanton

I am aware that you were responding to bmmg39. And you ask a fair question. The hard answer is that it is human nature to require a much higher standard of proof from those who disagree with us, than we do of those who agree. I am guilty as charged.

In my own defense, I have actually heard it said that this or that test was biased because some identifiable group scored below some other identifiable group. For one example, The Center for Women's Policy Studies has charged that the SAT test is biased against girls, based on their lower math scores. Does this entitle me to ask you again for an example for your response?

NYMOM

"hos" is derogatory in ANY context...none of the words you claim women used to describe men were similarly situated...

But can I tell you, everything I know about your movement could be summed up by that one statement...

Everything...

mythago

Sure, stanton. Here's a link to the Washington Post article I already mentioned, criticizing anyone who questions Lawrence Summers because, you know, the author's daughter didn't like toy trains either:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27819-2005Jan21.html

More of the same:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/27/opinion/meyer/main669677.shtml

Substantive criticism of the SAT for being sex-biased (yes, I know this is a group with an agenda; the point is that they make an actual argument rather than a flat assertion):
http://www.fairtest.org/facts/computer.htm

On the SAT specifically, you may recall Christina Hoff Summers wrote a whole book about how there is no such thing as bias in education against girls; it actually favors girls over boys.

stanton

Thanks for the links, mythago. I was unable to reach the cbs article - perhaps the url was not complete - could you try it again, perhaps on two lines?

As for the Washington Post article, obviously Ms. Marcus was defending Dr. Summers, and her reference to the toys was anecdotal. She explained why she believed his intentions may have been honorable and the issues raised legitimate, all in a non-sexist manner, it seemed to me. And she did venture a guess that many of the Summers attackers also hold certain other positions on controversial issues. I was looking for the part where she said that "clearly it's a genetic difference and that we're just too PC if we think otherwise," or even anything approaching this. In fact, she suggested that there are probably many reasons for the disparity, and innate differences MAY play a role, and that there needs to be more investigation. Does this seem to you to be an outrageous statement?

I will say that has been my experience that feminists are often outraged at suggestions of research into gender-based differences, possibly out of fear that results would be construed in such a way as to justify oppression somehow. Perhaps this is a legitimate fear in some respects, but this does not justify restriction of the growth of knowledge. This is what I see at work in this case.

Mythago, is it possible that your statement was hyperbole, an intentional exaggeration meant to express the feeling that you get from attitudes, rather than anything that any individual has actually said?

stanton

mythago: "On the SAT specifically, you may recall Christina Hoff Summers wrote a whole book about how there is no such thing as bias in education against girls; it actually favors girls over boys."

Yes, I have read her book. Other than the fact that it flies in the face of conventional feminist wisdom (which has since been assimilated into common wisdom in western society), what errors have you identified in it? In my web searches for criticisms of it, I have found far more ad hominem than actual analysis. In an earlier post, NYMOM said "don't hate the messenger." Christina Hoff Sommers seems to me to occupy the position of "hated messenger" among feminists to the point that any statement or argument requires no more refutation than an attribution to this hated woman. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

bmmg39

"bmmg39, not I, made the comment that if boys outperform girls on an unnamed test, "we are told" that the test must be biased. If you're content to allow bmmg39 to make an unascribed, passive-voice pronouncement of that sort, why should it bother you if I do the same?"

My passive voice was used so as not to imply that the majority of the people here are the ones engaging in that particular double standard.

bmmg39

"However, the comment "girl power" or "sisterhood" would NOT equate with yours...any way you look at it...as yours includes a slur against women...whereas "girl power" or "sisterhood" is NOT a slur against men..."

No...but the ones that say, "Boys Are Stupid: Throw Rocks at Them"...and "Girls Rule; Boys Drool"...and "Grow Your Own Dope: Plant a Man"...and "Men Are Idiots and I Married Their King"...and countless other messages on posters, bumper stickers, keychains, t-shirts, greeting cards and the like most certainly DO slur men, and do so in ways that would bring torches and pitchforks from NOW if they were instead marketed towards boys and men to slur girls and women.

Not that I going around saying, or ever would, "Bros Before Hoes/Ho's". Really, now.

mythago

You do know that those "Boys Are Stupid" shirts were designed, sold and marketed by a man? (I wouldn't allow my daughters to buy them, either.) And I rather doubt that it's feminists who are producing, selling and buying keychains about how men are stupid. I've never seen such merchandise in a feminist bookstore. I've seen them eagerly snapped up by the kind of woman who would rather die than call herself a feminist, though.

what errors have you identified in it?

Okay, have we now shifted from a discussion of who exactly is slinging ideology to a critical analysis of Sommers's work? I cited her book as an example of the 'criticism of gender issues is PC' viewpoint, which is what you asked for.

As for the Washington Post article, I believe you misconstrue it badly. Nobody made any pronouncements about killing research. The anecdotal references about trucks and Brios were offered *as evidence* that there is, in fact, a genetic difference that makes women less interested in science. (The irony that anecdotes are not scientific inquiry seems to have escaped the op-ed writer.) "You just want to stifle research!" is a nonsensical retort to criticism of Lawrence Summer's comments. Or alleged comments, as he will not release the transcript of his remarks.

I highly recommend you pick up Carol Tavris's book The Mismeasure of Woman if you are interested in learning about why feminists have this wacky idea that research into gender differences is used in less-than-optimal ways. The book is skeptical of many "pro-woman" canards as well, by the way, in case you're worried about propaganda.

Anecdotally speaking, as a mother of two girls and one boy, whatever 'innate' gender differences my kids have pale in comparison to the not-so-innate gender roles the outside world tries to shove down their throats. It'd be amusing if it weren't so pathological.

zuzu

One of the things that pissed people off about Summers' comments was that this very issue has been addressed and studied extensively, and I believe it was MIT that looked at the findings and immediately began to change its practices. Then Summers -- an economist, mind you, not a social scientist or psychologist -- stands up in front of a group that is well aware of the research, has participated in the research, and acts like it never happened.

bmmg39

"You do know that those "Boys Are Stupid" shirts were designed, sold and marketed by a man?"

Yes, I do, and we've taken him on many times. I'm not playing the man vs. woman game. I'm more interested in the sexists vs. non-sexists game.

NYMOM

"You do know that those "Boys Are Stupid" shirts were designed, sold and marketed by a man? (I wouldn't allow my daughters to buy them, either.) And I rather doubt that it's feminists who are producing, selling and buying keychains about how men are stupid. I've never seen such merchandise in a feminist bookstore. I've seen them eagerly snapped up by the kind of woman who would rather die than call herself a feminist, though."

Actually boys in certain regions frequently wear these shirts, by choice...

I mean I know boys in the south running around with t-shirts saying "Smart-A@@ White Boy" on them, for instance, or "REALLY Stupid White Boy"...

These are NOT shirts identifying the wearer as stupid, but shirts that warn OTHERS that the wearer is not to be fooled around with...

Wearing a shirt saying "Smart A@@ White Boy" or "REALLY Stupid White Boy" is almost like a challenge thrown out there to any groups of boys (especially if they are black) of the same age group either at school or in other public areas, such as shopping malls...actually they should be banned but not because they discriminate against boys but because they are a subtle form of aggression by boys against each other...

A shirt saying "Boys are Stupid" can also be seen in the same context as "Smart A@@ White Boy" but as a challenge to authority since the meaning of the word stupid has changed over the years and NOW has shades of aggression mixed up within it's meaning...as in "Don't make me act stupid now" which is frequently used in the context of a challenge to authority figures, at least here in New York. I heard it used very often by teenage males when challenged by security, police, teachers or others and EVERYONE knows what it means, it is clearly a challenge...

So to just view these t-shirts as a symbol of negative attitudes against boys misses the point of many of them...

Bottom line is that these message t-shirts have been grasped and taken out of context by MRAs who are just looking for bogus content to act like they are victims of something when in fact, they are not...

bmmg39

"So to just view these t-shirts as a symbol of negative attitudes against boys misses the point of many of them..."

I might believe it if I saw girls wearing shirts about girls being stupid, too...

mythago

bmmg39, I agree with that. My point *was* that it isn't feminists, necessarily even women, who sell the offensive T-shirts that piss of the MRAs.

bmmg39

"bmmg39, I agree with that. My point *was* that it isn't feminists, necessarily even women, who sell the offensive T-shirts that piss of the MRAs."

Yes, I know. Just as many women refer to themselves as "ho's", many men profit from denigrating THEIR own gender.

Furthermore, that dude isn't in business to lose money. Lots of girls are obviously buying them and wearing them -- and some of them might fancy themselves as having feminist beliefs, whether or not they actually ARE feminists or not -- so there's plenty of blame to go around. My only point was that there are plenty of slogans that bash people of all kinds.

stanton

mythago wrote: "The anecdotal references about trucks and Brios were offered *as evidence* that there is, in fact, a genetic difference that makes women less interested in science." Actually, this is incorrect. She referred to the toys after saying, "Is it so heretical, though, so irredeemably oafish, to consider whether gender differences also play some role?" after mentioning several other possibilities (including blatant discrimination) in the prior paragraph. In other words, mythago, the anecdotal evidence was cited as a possible basis for investigating whether or not innate differences play a role, and certainly not to show that there IS a genetic role. The difference is not so subtle!

Far from claiming that innate differences are THE reason for the disparity, she actually says in her speculation that a "LIKELY" reason is "discrimination, perhaps more subtle and unconscious than in the past but nonetheless taking a pernicious toll." How could you possibly read it any other way, unless you are angered at the very idea that anyone could defend Dr. Summers? Will you not admit that Ms. Marcus is NOT an example of the expression you claim - at least not in this particular article?

I apologize if I took off on a tangent with your Sommers reference. Let me just ask you for a page reference in "The War Against Boys" where she refers to gender performance disparities as being due to genetic differences and that those who claim otherwise are just being too PC. Honestly - I cannot find it in my copy. Thus far, the only person that I have been able to find making this statement is you.

stanton

I also must note that NYMOM often finds great significance in the fact that MEN are doing certain things, as if that means that there cannot be any anti-male sexism involved. It is a recurring pattern in her posts responding to examples of anti-male bias in society. I liked bmmg39's response that he is not interested in a "man vs woman game" - just sexist vs non-sexist. Sounds good to me.

But if we are to follow NYMOM's logic, then the fact that women carry the majority of votes in western countries means that women have no right to complain about the dearth of women in power. I disgaree with this myself, but consistency would require this of NYMOM.

As for the T-shirts, the point is what their existence says about our society - not about the maker, the seller, the buyer, or any individual. The fact that these T-shirts can be widely available, with the only audible protest coming from the MRA camp, is very telling. If there were corresponding products sold as widely with girls/women as the foil, all hell would break loose: jobs would be lost, companies boycotted, sensitivity trainers would reap a windfall, marches would be held in major cities, programs launched for advancing the interests of girls/women, etc.

Yes - this is either reflective of a privileged status of women in society, a lower status for men, or a combination of both. And I honestly do not see how it can be construed any other way.

bmmg39

"As for the T-shirts, the point is what their existence says about our society - not about the maker, the seller, the buyer, or any individual. The fact that these T-shirts can be widely available, with the only audible protest coming from the MRA camp, is very telling. If there were corresponding products sold as widely with girls/women as the foil, all hell would break loose: jobs would be lost, companies boycotted, sensitivity trainers would reap a windfall, marches would be held in major cities, programs launched for advancing the interests of girls/women, etc."

That's the crux of it, yes...

NYMOM

"I also must note that NYMOM often finds great significance in the fact that MEN are doing certain things, as if that means that there cannot be any anti-male sexism involved. It is a recurring pattern in her posts responding to examples of anti-male bias in society. I liked bmmg39's response that he is not interested in a "man vs woman game" - just sexist vs non-sexist. Sounds good to me.

But if we are to follow NYMOM's logic, then the fact that women carry the majority of votes in western countries means that women have no right to complain about the dearth of women in power. I disgaree with this myself, but consistency would require this of NYMOM."

AND I frequently DO say this to women...it's the ultimate ending of a lot of the stuff on my blog, as I always say, well women are the electoral majority so these things will END as soon as we wish them too...

I look at it like the matrix...you know women being linked to an artificial reality that is so good compared to the actual reality they are living, that they're rather stay linked then deal with real life...

So when women get tired of believing in this chivalry bullcrap and waiting for their white knight, and being used for sex by men, and losing custody of their children to some moron who just doesn't want to pay child support...and the 1001 other things which happen every freakin day to women, THEN things will change for them...OR should I say then WOMEN will change things...

Until then what do you expect me to do...

I'm on a mission obviously but it's a lonely one as you don't change thousands of years of imprinting in a decade or even a couple of decades...it will probably take generations for a women to be born and raised free of all of these tics that have been bred into us for generations...

I think the only reason I didn't wind up with most of them is because I was raised by nuns since about the age of 5 or so; so I wasn't exposed to a lot of the bullcrap normal girls are just being raised in this culture...

Anyway, that's why I think women aid in their own repression...it's like their bodies are free but their minds are still enslaved...

As to why men sometimes MIGHT do the same thing, I have NO idea, as it works against their own best interests... although frankly, I don't find that men do it as often as women...MOST of you appear very sure of your own best interest and support the groups and institutions that enforce those interests...

So may main point was if OTHER men are against you on some issue, it's probably because they see a side to it that you are missing...like this whole birth control pill for men business...other men might be against it because they rationally, like I have, came to the same conclusion...it's NOT a benefit to men over the long term...that you all screwed yourselves up in the past by abandoning marriage and they don't want all men to be put in the same position again vis-a-vis reproduction itself...

Actually men have been pretty lucky that the courts have even supported never-married fathers' rights as much as they have...It didn't have to be that way nor does it have to remain that way as the courts COULD turn around someday and decide never-married men have NO rights to children...as they had none in our past...then what would you do with 30% of you having children w/o marriage...Your only right could become reimbursing the state for public benefits if your child's mother winds up on welfare...

So no...it's not the same with men as it is with women...Women constantly act against their own best interest, men rarely do...

NYMOM

"Yes - this is either reflective of a privileged status of women in society, a lower status for men, or a combination of both. And I honestly do not see how it can be construed any other way."

It's reflective of nothing...t-shirts please...

If it meant something, other men would stop it...the t-shirt are meaningless...get over it...

NYMOM

You are going to spend so much time on t-shirt and minor issues like that so that you will miss the bigger picture if you ever really ARE in some danger of losing REAL rights...

The courts have bent over backwards for men in this country actually...backwards...so you have nothing to complain about in that area...even your biggest complaint about selective service registration is totally ridiculous...as it consists of NOTHING but going to the Post Office...

Meanwhile women who have lost MUCH more rights through the courts over the last decade or so, especially regarding their legal rights to their children are mad about nothing...

It goes to show the sheer lack of logic operating here...it's just amazing actually, totally freakin amazing...

FP

"The courts have bent over backwards for men in this country actually...backwards...so you have nothing to complain about in that area...even your biggest complaint about selective service registration is totally ridiculous...as it consists of NOTHING but going to the Post Office..."

Yes, its not hard to send in a card to Uncle Sam saying, "I'm 18 now, please draft me in case of war". Its the principle behind that action and the fact that its a LAW that REQUIRES young men to report for duty to the government even if they're never called up.

"Meanwhile women who have lost MUCH more rights through the courts over the last decade or so, especially regarding their legal rights to their children are mad about nothing..."

Please specify which rights you're talking about. What rights have they lost regarding their children?

mythago

stantion, I disagree: the author was trying to buttress Summers's example of his daughter and her trucks as his evidence that genetic differences exist. She was, in effect, saying "he's right because my daughter did something just like that." In fact, she added A clumsy and ill-advised anecdote perhaps, but one that resonated with legions of would-be gender-neutral parents of girls. In other words, it's not merely a cute story, but a Resounding Anecdote of Truth. (One I am baffled to find evidence of in my own children. I really wonder if those 'gender-neutral' parents don't quietly breathe a sigh of relief when Parsleigh puts her Tonka truck in the doll's crib.)

And then she went off on a fallacy the name of which I can't recall, where instead of addressing the point--that Summers's remarks were obnoxious and pretty obviously incorrect--she pretended that what Summers's critics were actually saying was that gender differences *must not* be considered or investigated, and that 'freewheeling inquiry' must be stamped out.

But Summers was not proposing research into genetic differences. He was, as far as we know since he refuses to publish the transcript, saying that innate differences between boys and girls lead to fewer women in academic positions.

Let me just ask you for a page reference in "The War Against Boys"

And there you go again. You can paraphrase a comment from an activist group with no attribution, but I am told to provide specific persons and publications, with page references.

zuzu

If there were corresponding products sold as widely with girls/women as the foil, all hell would break loose: jobs would be lost, companies boycotted, sensitivity trainers would reap a windfall, marches would be held in major cities, programs launched for advancing the interests of girls/women, etc.

I dunno, I haven't seen anyone lose jobs over T-shirts which say things like "No Fat Chicks," "If You Can Read This The Bitch Fell Off," and the like.

stanton

mythago: I quoted Ms. Marcus as stating that there should be investigation into genetic factors, and also stating that there MAY be such factors involved. You have only stated your personal interpretation, with no quotes other than one where she says that anecdotal evidence exists, and from which she drew NO conclusions. I also quoted her statment that discrimination is a likely factor, but this does not fit your view of Ms. Marcus, so it is apparently irrelevant to you. Mythago, I am sorry, but this is a MOST evenhanded article that nowhere says what you insist it does. I ask you again for the quote from the article where she states that this gender diparity is due to genetics. You and I both know that there is no such quote - only the conclusion that YOU have drawn from her anecdotes.

I believe that you are so angered at her defence of Dr. Summers that you are going to see what you wish to see in the article, no matter what she actually says.

mythago:
"Let me just ask you for a page reference in 'The War Against Boys'

And there you go again. You can paraphrase a comment from an activist group with no attribution, but I am told to provide specific persons and publications, with page references."

Okay, I am guilty again, but in this case, I thought we would agree that CWPS takes the view that the SAT is biased against girls, without an attribution. Attributions are for points that need to be established, and I did not think that you would disagree with this one. Okay - here is the reference: Rosser, Phyllis. The SAT Gender Gap. Washington DC: Center for Women Policy Studies, 1989: 29-67.

And I ask you for the specific reference in the Sommers book because I cannot find it, and I believe that you are mistaken. I do not believe it is there at all. So if it is there, show me, as I have shown you, at your request.

I repeat the question I asked earlier: "is it possible that your statement was hyperbole, an intentional exaggeration meant to express the feeling that you get from (perceived) attitudes, rather than anything that any individual has actually said?"


stanton

zuzu: 'I dunno, I haven't seen anyone lose jobs over T-shirts which say things like "No Fat Chicks," "If You Can Read This The Bitch Fell Off," and the like.'

Yes, you can find garments making any and all statements, and by themselves, they indicate little other than about the wearer. That's why I included the factor of wide distribution. These items were on the racks of many if not most major department stores, and were by far the largest selling line of the manufacturer. They were worn to school by girls with no action taken to stop it. My statement stands.

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