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January 18, 2006

Comments

Q Grrl

"Further, I don't for one second buy the theory that discrimination is responsible for the variability in representation of women in math and science; all the data I've personally looked at point to individual choice. "

By this logic (or should I say unfounded opinion), if men want funding for sports, they should logically "choose" to play either football or basketball. Any man who "freely chooses" wrestling must face the facts of his choice and should take his lumps as a man. It would be foolish for men or male spectators to complain about lack of funding for wrestling teams, as the wrestlers have freely chosen to participate in an underfunded sport.

Mr. Bad

Q Grrl wrote: "By this logic (or should I say unfounded opinion), if men want funding for sports, they should logically "choose" to play either football or basketball. Any man who "freely chooses" wrestling must face the facts of his choice and should take his lumps as a man. It would be foolish for men or male spectators to complain about lack of funding for wrestling teams, as the wrestlers have freely chosen to participate in an underfunded sport."

Hey Q Grrl - way to set logic and reason back a couple of centuries. You obviously didn't 'get it.'

If Title IX didn't use the proportionality test for enforcement, the scenario you describe above would be exactly what I advocate, i.e., the more men that choose to participate in a sport, e.g., wrestling, the more funds would be allocated to that sport. Unfortunately right now, participation in sports has nothing to do with it, thus, money is given to girls even if they don't participate in sports.

Noumena

Now, you might want to argue about why it's the case that there haven't been many (any?) outstanding female philosophers, but such arguments are better left for a women's studies, political science, or history class, not philosophy, where the topic should be the philosophy itself rather than gender politics.

Really? Philosophers shouldn't interrogate our (I'm a grad student, a philosopher of math) tradition and try to figure out why so few women are included in the Western canon? One critique that's been highly developed over the past thirty years is that the methodological norms of mainstream philosophy (and physics, and mathematics, &c.) are tied to a particularly 'masculine' POV. I don't buy this myself, but it's intellectually dishonest to dismiss this as 'gender politics' rather than a deep philosophical criticism.

Another point. You focus on my use of the term 'historical', reading it as 'in the past'. I intended it to be read as 'when fully located in our culture' (appropriately inflected). Present tense. Denying either active or passive discrimination in the academy is playing the same ostrich game Larry Summers did last year. Things have improved, definitely, but a newly-minted physics Ph.D who happens to be a man is, generally speaking, going to have a significantly easier time building his career than a woman of equal ability. This has been well-documented, though I don't have references readily available, and lumping everything into 'personal preference' is itself a form of male privilege (as you might know had you bothered to seriously engage any feminist critiques of the academy).

Caitriona

Noumena, the absence of documented women philosophers throughout western history is quite easy to explain. After all, what happened to Hypatia?

alexander

Charles Murray, in the September 2005 "Commentary" magazine, has an article "The Inequality Taboo." He points out that all major philosophical and mathematical systems have been invented by men.

Now, I would be interested in learning what major philosophical and mathematical systems have been invented by women.

Or if there is a "woman's physics" then please tell me what it is.

[I am using quote marks for the following instead of italics since the italics function seems to be haywire.]

""Phyllis Schlafly (sp) is free to think women don't want to be athletes, she just can't turn her views into an institutional policy of any federally-supported university she happens to be on the board of trustees of.""

Another example of feminist repression. If one can not turn one's views into policies without retribution, then this is another example of feminists opposing freedom and supporting repression.

""Rather, the purpose of affirmative action programs is to combat institutional discrimination against groups of people who have suffered historical discrimination.""

So then we should have an affirmative action military draft? Again, I assume this is the number one demand of feminists? And feminists are marching down to military recruiting offices and volunteering for duty in Afghanistan to fight "patriarchical" groups like the Taliban?

alexander

Someone asked what happened to Hypatia (the 5th century female mathemetician). Here's an answer:

"A few years later, according to one report, Hypatia was brutally murdered by the Nitrian monks who were a fanatical sect of Christians who were supporters of Cyril. According to another account (by Socrates Scholasticus) she was killed by an Alexandrian mob under the leadership of the reader Peter. What certainly seems indisputable is that she was murdered by Christians who felt threatened by her scholarship, learning, and depth of scientific knowledge."

In other words, she got equal treatment to men such as Socrates, Giodano Bruno and Timothy Leary.

Q Grrl

No, Mr. Bad, you were implying that women shouldn't complain about low numbers of women in science/math etc. because women choose not to participate. Yet you don't bother to define choice or how one might be socially coerced into not making certain choices. I'm saying that by your line of reasoning, men don't have a leg to stand on when complaining about funding if they chose a sport that receives less than others. Because it's all contingent on personal choice, right? I mean, you aren't trying to say that men are influenced by outside social forces (like Title IX), but that women aren't when it comes to attendance in math or science fields. Sounds like a right old fashioned double standard that you're preaching.

Q Grrl

Alexander, if you read any feminist blogs, boards, or books, you would realize that feminists are fighting to get women into combat roles; yes this would include the draft. If one cannot fight for one's country, one cannot believe that one is a full citizen. To not be "allowed" to fight, makes one an object, not a citizen, which other citizens must protect. That's not equality, son.

Caitriona

Q Grrl, I believe in equal opportunity WRT the draft - don't draft anyone.

Hugo

Amen, Cait, amen. Give me that old time peace church religion!

will

"But surely the PRIMARY purpose of sports programs at the college level should be to serve the sports' participants, not to entertain crowds of people."

Outstanding point HappyF! You hit the nail on the head.

I agree with the concept of Title IX. But, I swam at my college so I am a little sensitive to the cuts that have happened to a lot of men's swimming programs. Personally, I would like to see a system that eliminates football from the discussion and just looks at equality in the other sports. Title IX may even do that, I just do not know enough about it.

Hugo

Will, eliminating football from the discussion is like eliminating Microsoft from a discussion about the future of desktop software -- not an impossible task, but a bit of a mental leap. You're right -- college sports don't exist to entertain or make money (and contrary to popular belief, many D1 football programs LOSE money too). They exist to provide opportunities for growth to their own students. And those opportunities need to be commensurate with the gender ratio of the student body.

will

Hugo:

I agree that many lose money. (I think I mentioned that above...)
But they do generate money. The key is not spending too much.

Noumena

Hear, hear, Caitronia. I have strong pacifist tendencies, but not overwhelming ones, so I would like to see a military where any and all positions are open to volunteers of any gender or sexual orientation, but no draft.

Alexander, I think you made the same misinterpretational mistake Mr Bad did. Please see my last comment or two.

On the issue of 'repression', do you consider anti-discrimination laws in general repressive? Do you consider Title IX repressive independent of the fact that it's conditional upon the school receiving certain government funds? Phyllis Schlafly and other anti-feminists could certainly open a school that did not give women's sports any funding; and, so long as they received no government support, they would not be in violation of Title IX, as I understand it. Thus, as a 'carrot' rather than a 'stick', I do not consider it repressive.

Antigone

Note, I said that it was 20th Century philosophy. You're going to tell me that women didn't contribute to philosophy in the last century?

It's not that there ARE NOT women who did important things in history, literature and philosophy. It's that they are not included in the classes. Which is why we have women's studies: women HAVE done and CONTINUE to do important things and it's important to know this. Since the "regular" departments won't include us, we had to make our own.

La Lubu

Hey, cheer up, Mr. Bad. As wrestling becomes more popular with high school girls, wrestling teams will come back (via Title IX) to the college level. ;-)

NancyP

Too bad old Helmet Hair Phyllis didn't propose the obvious solution from her screed: import Chinese college-educated bachelors to marry those overeducated American women. However, not in HER family, she'd have the same response as some WASP woman on the TV show Book of Daniel to an Asian classmate dating her high-school-age daughter: "I am NOT going to have Asian grandbabies around MY family Christmas tree".

As always, I remind readers about Phyllis's own family, no doubt defective in her eyes: she has a gay son, outed or came out voluntarily, living with her and being the chief financial officer (accountant) of Phyllis' political organization Eagle Forum. Now, THERE'S some sick family dynamics - kid staying with a parent who denigrates his right to exist.

I also like to remind readers that Phyllis is a lawyer, at one point a student of defense and a pundit on defense matters (wrote a famous anti-communist book), with ambitions to become Sec'y of Defense, and only went for the anti-feminist gig once it became clear that the Republican party didn't have any use for a female defense expert and did have a use for an anti-feminist to campaign against the ERA. Now she has tried to expand into education policy and has a radio show on that topic, but that's a LOOOONG way from her original ambition for Cabinet-level service.

She lives very well, in the poshest suburb in town, and advocates a return to the home, possibly with part-time jobs, but advises young women to conserve their time for their children and hire maids for the housework.

Mr. Bad

Q Grrl said: "I mean, you aren't trying to say that men are influenced by outside social forces (like Title IX), but that women aren't when it comes to attendance in math or science fields. Sounds like a right old fashioned double standard that you're preaching."

No double standard, just a sense of current reality Q Grrrl. Title IX demonstrably and specifically discriminates against men, however, there is no discrimination against women in math and science any more. Hasn't been that way since before I was a kid in the 1960s and '70s. Such alleged discrimination is a myth, left over from the Second Wave.

As for Sommers, what he said (what he actually said, not what the hysterics like Hopkins et al. thought he said) was correct, and there are past and current studies demonstrating the differences between male and female brains; the evidence is valid and sound. However, as alexander correctly noted, the feminists are quick to show their totalitarian side and repress speech they disagree with, no matter whether it might be true or not. Couple that with Sommers' cowardice and we have his disgraceful capitulation to the Talibabes at Harvard.

Q Grrl

Wait, Mr. Bad, let me get this right. Title IX discriminates against men who have already received the bulk of the college/universities monies for sports by redistributing that money to women's teams? Hmm. I'm sure you can come up with a handy dandy non-sexist motivation for the men being allocated the greater funds in the first place, right? I mean, you do realize that everything is a process, even social change. Blatent discrimination against women in the sciences might not be apparent today, but that doesn't mean the influence isn't still felt. Title IX is asking that men redress institutional sexism. It's not like you guys were complaining when you had the greater share of the pie. Uh, which you still do, at least as far as sports funding goes. So, I really don't see how men are suffering. Sure, some sports geared towards men are suffering, but one could argue that this is the fault of men for being so exclusive from the get go.

Q Grrl

Mr. Bad: How did feminists "repress" Sommers' free speech? I wasn't aware that mature criticism of another's words amounted to repression. I mean, unlike denying women the right to vote until the 1920's; denying admission into college or medical school to women; denying women the opportunity to participate in sports (at any level). You would have to rewrite history to ignore all that. Why is it that you call out "Foul!" when you as a man have benefited from hundreds of years of male-only opportunity? I mean, you didn't get complacent in your comfort zone did you?

bmmg39

"Title IX discriminates against men who have already received the bulk of the college/universities monies for sports by redistributing that money to women's teams?"

You're treating "MEN" as a monolith. I think we'll all agree that football and men's basketball receive most of the money from the schools, with, I think, women's basketball in third. (These sports bring in a lot of money, too, remember.)

I think Mr. Bad is talking about the lesser-known sports that are facing the knife: archery, wrestling, et cetera. When women's sports were facing even tougher financial times than they are now, certain people said, "Tough." Now that women's sports are getting a little help, though, even less money is going to men's archery and bowling and badminton and so forth. And, unfortunately, we now have a completely different group of people seeing that and saying, "Tough."

Title IX isn't an altogether bad idea; we just need to ensure that NO college athlete's sport is getting squeezed out to make room for someone else.

bmmg39
Men's Rights = Women's Rights = Human Rights
www.safe4all.org

Col Steve

NancyP

"it became clear that the Republican party didn't have any use for a female defense expert" ----

Schalfly founded StopEra in 1972, eight years before she actively sought (at least according to one biography) to become SecDef. Additionally, candidate and then President Reagan leaned heavily on a more "qualified" security/foreign policy advisor - Jeanne Kirkpatrick.

I'm sure there is enough material to criticize Schalfly and her motivations without resorting to broad and thinly supported claims that the Republican party made her do the "anti-feminist gig."

Caitriona

You're right, Col. Steve. All one needs do is search through Google Groups to see the "medical opinions" with which she and her son verbally bludgeon people on support groups. At least they leave the fibromyalgia group alone.

Noumena

bmmg, while your sentiments are nice, they're rather naive. How are more athletes (male and female vs. just male) going to be supported off the same percentage of the budget? You might argue that there won't be any more athletes (eg, assume the size of the student body is fixed, we just see the female:male ratio increase, and assuming equal interest in sports, the total number of athletes will be stable), but then there's no reason for the controversy in the first place. Either there's increased demand for the same resources (the athletics budget) or this whole controversy is tilting at windmills.

Mr Bad, how is Title IX inherently discriminatory? Perhaps I'm misremembering, but doesn't it require funding be split 50/50 between male and female athletes, etc.? This only seems discriminatory on an assumption of the form that males are entitled (for whatever reason) to significantly more of these funds than females.

Next, your reporting that there has been no discrimination in math or science does not mesh with numerous studies of academia by sociologists conducted over the past thirty years. Certainly there's been little blatant, illegal discrimination (refusing to hire a job candidate simply because she's female), but subtler forms of discrimination (eg, a CV with a female name at the top is considered, on average, only somewhat impressive, while the same CV with a male name is, on average, rated extremely impressive) have been well-documented. Could you please elaborate on your assertion, and provide some references?

Also, I would echo the call for you to elaborate on how Sommers was repressed, as opposed to being thoroughly but never dishonestly criticized (for example, for ignoring longstanding critiques of those studies you both gesture at). You also claim that was Sommers said was 'correct', but quite a lot of what he said in that speech were policy positions -- it doesn't seem to me that, for example, not to pursue further investigation to determine how much of women's 'underrepresentation' in the sciences is due to systematic discrimination could be either construed as either 'correct' or 'incorrect' policy, at least the way your usage seemed to suggest.

NancyP

Righto, Col. Steve. My goof re chronology. The stuff about her son, and her posh address in Ladue MO (suburb of St. Louis), is well known in St. Louis, and her syndicated radio program broadcasts locally as well.

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