Archives for category: boys and girls

if you haven’t already, you HAVE to go watch the brainwash series! really. trust me. it’s terrific! and i’m not the only one who thinks so (see some of the comments in this post). (^_^)

the show — from norway, but now with english subtitles (thank you, internet!), available here and here — was conceived and is hosted by a norwegian comedian (yeah, i didn’t know they had any either (~_^) ), a guy named harald eia. i guess maybe it takes a comedian to point out the most absurd aspects of our modern, western society, eh?

wikipedia says:

“‘Hjernevask’ (‘Brainwash’) … contrasted cultural determinist models of human behavior (also referred to as the Standard social science model) with nature-nurture interactionist perspectives.”

but it’s funnier than that. waaaaaaay funnier than that!

the basic layout of the show is that eia picks a topic — gender equality, for instance — and then goes and interviews some norwegian social scientists — you know, “specialists” in the subject — about it (in this episode it was — heh — gender researchers). and then he goes and interviews researchers in touch with the real world, like biologists or whatever, both norwegian and others (american, english). and THEN he goes BACK to the social scientists with recorded interviews of the non-social scientists in hand and gets the reaction of the lost-in-space social scientists to what the real scientists had to say.

needless to say, much hilarity ensues! (^_^)

the first episode is about differences between the genders and whether any of it is innate or not (i know — pretty basic — how could anyone get this one wrong?). more specifically, it’s about a BIG problem they, apparently, have in norway — the “gender equality paradox.” that is, despite the fact that norway has equal — prolly more than equal — opportunities, education, etc., etc., for everyone, they still have this awful, awful problem that something like 90% of engineers are men and something like 90% of nurses are women. the horror! the horror.

the norwegian gender researchers, of course, blame the differences that men and women have in capabilities and interests on the fact that, from day one, boys and girls are treated differently — boys are dressed in blue and called “little tough guy” while girls are dressed in pink and referred to as sweet little things. you know. that sort of thing. according to one (of the more clueless) gender researchers, some guy named lorentzen, men and women are exactly the same in all ways — mentally, emotionally, etc., etc. — there are just a few minor differences like different genitals, women have boobs, men have beards, and so on. *facepalm*

eia records all of them explaining these concepts and then heads off to talk to some people who have at least half a brain.

first, he talks to one norwegian researcher, trond diseth, who studies behavior in babies born with an unclear sex to see if they behave more like boys or girls (i guess this one of the tools they use when considering what sort of gender-reassignment surgery or whatever you call it to maybe perform on a baby). throughout his research, this guy has found that most boy babies born with all of your standard “boy parts” prefer playing with masculine toys, while most girl babies born with all of your standard “girl parts” prefer playing with girlie toys. there are exceptions, of course, but we’re just that — exceptions.

eia then heads to the u.s. where he interviews richard lippa, who has found that, curiously, gender differences in things like job preference (do you want to be an engineer or a nurse?) seem to be consistent on a global basis. strange if these differences have only a cultural cause that the same differences should show up in different cultures. he also visits simon baron-cohen at cambridge who has found that gender differences are present on day one of life [opens pdf], so again it’s hard to see how culture can be 100% of the explanation for the differences between the sexes.

finally, he also speaks with anne campbell, evolutionary psychologist, who explains natural selection beautifully and points out how unlikely it is that men and women should be exactly the same mentally or emotionally:

Campbell: ‘The key to all this is how many descendants you leave behind you and any traits that increase the number of descendants you leave behind you will tend to stay in the gene pool. And that’s what’s selecting in particular traits both in males and in females…. If women are generally the ones that give birth, that lactate, that raise children, it would surprising if there wasn’t some kind of psychological orchestration that helped women achieve those tasks and made those kinds of tasks particularly pleasurable to women. So, things like empathy in women, things like avoiding dangerous confrontations where you may be hurt or injured, things like avoiding social exclusion, being pushed out of the group, all of those are good things. All of those mean that you are more likely to survive and to reproduce, and to leave children who they themselves also reproduce.’

“According to Campbell, that’s why today’s women are more oriented towards other people than men.”

the best zinger comes right at the end, tho, from simon baron-cohen:

Baron-Cohen: ‘It’s a very moderate proposal to say it’s a mixture of biology and culture. I’m not saying it’s all biology. I’m simply saying don’t forget about biology.'”

heh! ’nuff said, really. go watch the show to see the reactions of the different types of researchers to each other’s theories — it’s all very amusing — and very informative!
_____

btw, the gender-researcher, lorentzen, is a real winner. not only did he insist that his “culture only” theories were correct, he actually laughed at other sorts of research. and he thought that american researchers were particularly bad. from the show:

“Lorentzen was skeptical of this kind of research [specifically richard lippa's research].

Eia: ‘It’s a funny study… You’re laughing as I say the word “study.”‘

Lorentzen: ‘I get telephones from every media when they get these American studies. They’re often American.’

Eia: ‘Are Americans especially good?’

Lorentzen: ‘No, especially poor, I would say. Or especially speculative.'”

you gotta remember that this lorentzen guy was laughing the whole time he was saying this.

now, don’t take this the wrong way, mr. lorentzen, but i have to point out that it’s not like norwegian gender-researchers are, by any stretch of the imagination, on the cutting edge of human behavior studies. you know, you guys gave us ibsen and the paper clip. feel free to rest on those laurels for as long as you like. really. please don’t think that you have to compete with anybody to prove that you’re the best in show science (only to wind up feeling second-rate like you obviously do).

previously: brainwash and the hard sciences are soooo sexist!

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great! can everyone just shut-up about it then already?!

here’s from another (apparently) sane, rational woman out there (there are a few of us — a very few, I know — but there are a few):

There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap

“A study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that women earned 8% more than men….

“Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women — not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.”

yes! women chooooose jobs that they want to do! whew! is that really so hard to understand?

sheesh.

p.s. – actually, according to that one study, there IS a male-female wage gap amongst single, urban, childless workers between the ages of 22-30 — and it’s in the women’s favor!

previously: the hard sciences are soooo sexist!

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they are!! they MUST be! i mean, look right here! here’s the PROOF:

too few women physicists. it MUST be SEXISM!! DISCRIMINATION!! d*mn them!

oh, if only we all lived in a perfect society. you know, like they have in scandinavia:

“And there was some discussion why the most egalitarian country in the world had bigger differences in choice of education and careers between the sexes, than any other developed country.

“This has been called the ‘gender equality paradox’, and nobody could explain it. The common reaction was that we just had to work harder to reach our egalitarian goals. But of course, this ‘paradox’ is easily explained if one takes evolutionary psychology into consideration: Because Norway has such a high living standard that you can live a decent life also with ‘female’ jobs such as nursing, the women now choose careers that suit their psychological needs. [source, via steve sailer.]

oh. oops.

hmmmmm. so maaaaaybe there are more female psychologists and biologists than coders and physicists ’cause (apart from the iq thing) a large proportion of women prefer working with people and|or cute, fuzzy little animals rather than with sql databases and large hadron colliders.

and what the h*ck is wrong with that??

previously: science bloggers are so mean! and oh noes! and they’re at it again

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whine, whine, b*tch, moan: “there’s not enough female science bloggers!” -or- “female science bloggers aren’t treated fairly!” [see here.]

gimme a break already!!!!!

like i said before, there’s nothing — NOTHING — stopping women from blogging about science (or contributing to wikipedia). nothing. nada. zilch. zippo.

here’s some of the more specific comments|complaints out there this time (and they’re all over the board). from thus spake zuska:

“At SciO11, Sheril Kirshenbaum, Anne Jefferson, Joanne Manaster, and Kathryn Clancy did a great session titled ‘Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name’. (See summary here.) The discussion ranged over a lot of topics, and near the end, someone in the audience said ‘I don’t want to get a [job/fellowship/grant/whatever] because of affirmative action, I want to get it on my own merits.’ I said, why do you imagine that the dudes getting those jobs now all got them all on their own merits?

“Not that they aren’t qualified, but do you imagine they had no help along the way, that there was no one pulling levers for them, no one setting them up, no one greasing the wheels for them, no one opening doors and helping them glide along? Why do we imagine everyone else who gets stuff got there all by their lonesome with no assistance from anyone else? I don’t even know what the fuck it means to get somewhere all on your own merits. You can’t even learn to wipe your own ass all on your own merits.”

well, no sh*t, sherlock! so, start networking already! obviously the merit has gotta be there in the first place. someone’s gotta be at least a halfway-decent scientist|science blogger before they’re gonna get “help along the way.” so, the talent’s gotta be there first. but then you gotta WORK THE CROWD! MAKE CONNECTIONS! SHUCK AND JIVE! do what ya gotta do to promote yourself. success is not just gonna drop in your lap!

for example:

“There’s been some buzz around the blogosphere lately about the Science Online ’11 panel on ‘Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name.’ Especially interesting to me (and a lot of other people!) was Ed Yong’s comment that while he receives lots of inquiries from male bloggers asking him to promote their work, he has never received a single message of the sort from a woman.

*facepalm* *double-facepalm*

for chrissakes! are ya’ll that retarded?!?! ya whine and b*tch and moan that no one recognises you and then you don’t even drop other bloggers a line asking for a leg-up?! this really takes the cake!! and makes ya’ll sound like a bunch of passive-aggressive girlie-girls. and i thought women were supposed to be the masters at social games!

like i said before, if you’re gonna enter the world o’ guys (and you’ve got to admit, science and science-blogging were established by guys), you’re gonna have to start acting a bit like guys if you wanna be successful. when in rome, and all that.

from the hermitage:

“There will always be people who are higher on the totem pole, who might even be kind of brilliant (or might be less brilliant than you), but will deny the parental, socio-economic, and network factors that got them there. They will insist the universe is a meritocracy and that if you can’t keep up it’s your own fault.

“I work in a field where most people had their on PC and were writing in C when me and my parents were living out of a van counting nickels to see if we could afford water or not. My list of achievements will never be long enough, my life experiences will always be too foreign, for me to be really one of them. That doesn’t mean they don’t respect me, and it doesn’t make my science any less awesome. But when I’m never put up for any award other than ones for minorities, if I’m never invited to give anything other than a diversity lecture, if I flame out and leave because I never get the same amount of recognition they do, they will rarely, if ever acknowledge, that it is anything other than my fault.”

well, welcome to reality, baby. yup. life is unfair and the “haves” don’t wanna give anything up to the “have nots.” who woulda guessed?! *facepalm* at the same time, tho, my guess is that you haven’t discovered a cure for cancer or a way for us to get to mars in a week, ’cause if you had, then you’d be gettin’ a sh*t load of recognition. if you’re really smart and talented and work hard and get lucky, you’ll become famous. otherwise, fuggedaboutit. it ain’t gonna happen for you. make your peace with it.

also, vivienne @outdoor science writes:

“First, the time issue. I think guys are better at marketing themselves because they’ve got more time. I can’t remember where (can someone find a link?), but someone argued Ed Yong spends lots of time on Twitter – this raises his profile among people who write lists of great science writers. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Rebecca doesn’t spend that amount of time online.

“I can’t spend that amount of time tweeting either. One reason is I’m a part-time housewife trying to do a full-time job. I’m not the only woman in this position. Women do more housework than men. We do the bulk of childcare….”

all that is a matter of prioritization, obviously. you might not be able to be the #1 science blogger AND be a mom at the same time. women might have to start realizing that they can’t have it all. you just might have to make some choices in life.

finally:

“A few years ago, I was standing outside the building where I taught, unlocking my bike. It was one of the first days of the semester, and I had just finished teaching. I was wearing one of my teaching uniforms: wideleg trouser jeans, a black boatneck sweater, and beautiful forest green heels. Except in really bad weather, I wear heels when I teach because it helps me feel older, like I have some authority. Being sometimes several decades younger than my colleagues, but usually less than a decade older than my students, meant my gender and age made me a sort of sexualized second class citizen.

“An older faculty member approached me to unlock his own bike. He complained about where some students had locked their bikes because they obstructed the bike lane. He mentioned that he had told the police but that they never did anything about it. I nodded sympathetically.

“‘Of course,’ he then said, ‘if I had been dressed like you, maybe they would have listened!’

“And just like that, I was no longer a colleague. I was a woman.”

oh, pu-leeeeease! quit being a prude — use it (but don’t abuse it) to your advantage, baby! if you’re attractive (or witty or tough-as-nails or whatever), make that work for you! fortune 500 ceo’s are, on average, 3 inches taller than the average american dude. you don’t think these taller guys aren’t, at least subconsciously, using their height to their advantage?! intimidating the competition by literally towering over them?

to sum up: if you wanna be a science blogger, just do it already. if you wanna be one of the best science bloggers, start emulating the behaviors of the best science bloggers. remember, it’s gonna take a lot of work. a LOT. and let’s all start acknowleding that humans are animals, too — social animals, in fact! — and we’ll exhibit all sorts of animal behaviors in all of our walks of life — and they’ll be impossible to reign in.

previously: science bloggers are so mean!

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via steve sailer i learn that wikipedia is sexist, TOO!! first science blogging and now this! oh the humanity.

clearly — CLEARLY — somehow, some way wikipedia is discouraging women from contributing. clearly. ’cause it says so right here in the nyt article:

“But because of its early contributors Wikipedia shares many characteristics with the hard-driving hacker crowd, says Joseph Reagle, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. This includes an ideology that resists any efforts to impose rules or even goals like diversity, as well as a culture that may discourage women.”

*facepalm*

yes. a place online where you can contribute knowledge for free WITHOUT ANYONE HAVING TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE (I.E. WHETHER YOU ARE MALE OR FEMALE) must somehow be discouraging to one of the genders.

jesus h. christ.

can’t we all just admit that most women have DIFFERENT INTERESTS from most men?? is that really so hard?? is the modern world gonna fall apart if we do that??

look. i’ve contributed to wikipedia — only very slightly i have to admit. (mostly i tend to remove graffiti on the site. can we, please, grow up people?) and, obviously, i read a lot of guy-topics online (hbd-related stuff, for instance). but, i also do some chick stuff online. and let me tell you, there are PLENTY of women online doing things that are interesting to THEM.

ravelry.com (registered users only), for example, is a knitting site (i told you i’m a chick). and there are 1 million+ users. ONE MILLION! and while there are a handful of men over there, trust me — it’s mostly chicks. and there are PLENTY of contributions from them. Posting knitting patterns that they’ve designed; posting photos of their knitting projects; discussing knitting topics; etc., etc. these women are very, VERY busy posting about THE STUFF THEY’RE INTERESTED IN online.

and presumably some of them have even contributed to the knitting pages on wikipedia. but let’s all face it — MOST women are not interested in posting to wikipedia ’cause MOST women are not interested in discussing ad nauseum the minute details of ANY topic. even make-up or dating or babies. that’s just NOT how most women are.

get over it, pc-peoples.

steve sailer said:

“Considering that almost nobody gets paid for Wikipedia, the most obvious thing that can be said about its existence from a gender point of view is that the human race owes a debt of gratitude to the male sex.”

d*mn straight!

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u guys are the best! no, u really are.

in response to a 2004 gss question – “Would suffer than let the one r [respondent] love suffer”:

the poss responses were (a couple of them got cut off on the key to the graph above): agree strongly, agree somewhat, neither agree nor disagree, disagree somewhat, disagree strongly. here are the numbers:

70.6% of white men agreed strongly. 70.6%! only 52.8% of teh bruthas agreed strongly. and only 57.7% of white women.

the figures are a little better for white women if u add “agree strongly” and “agree somewhat” together: white men=93.1%, white women=88.4%. not such a big gap, but still. *facepalm*

we don’t deserve ya, apparently. unless u don’t mean it. but i think ya’ll do – at least that’s been my experience.

poss related: “Acting Selfish? Blame Your Mother!”

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an oxymoron?

apparently there’s a dearth of women in academic philosophy (via mefi). [insert usual whining noises here.]

a couple of male (the horror!) philosophers take a look at responses to philosophical problems from various studies and find … differing responses between men and women. well, whaddya know!

here’s one that i found interesting. a gettier problem. the setup:

“Peter is in his locked apartment, and is reading. He decides to have a shower. He puts his book down on the coffee table. Then he takes off his watch, and also puts it on the coffee table. Then he goes into the bathroom. As Peter’s shower begins, a burglar silently breaks into Peter’s apartment. The burglar takes Peter’s watch, puts a cheap plastic watch in its place, and then leaves. Peter has only been in the shower for two minutes, and he did not hear anything.

“Does Peter really know that there is a watch on the table, or does he only believe it?”

the researchers also asked about the book rather than the watch, and also did a second test like this only with a female character and a ring/fork rather than a guy and a book/watch.

and the results?:

“Only 41% of the male participants said that Peter really knows that there is a watch on the table, while 71% of the female participants said that Peter really knows (p < .05, Fisher’s exact test). Concerned that the gender of the protagonist might be playing a role in generating these results, Starmans and Friedman ran another study using a slightly different vignette in which the central protagonist was female. In this version, the objects involved were a wedding ring and a fork. Once again, the results were striking: 36% of male participants said the female protagonist really knows in the Gettier condition, while 75% of the female participants said that she really knows (n = 112, 54 men, 58 women, p < .01, Fisher’s exact test)."

it seems to me that waaay more women than men are unable to think logically about the differences between believing and knowing (as far as that goes).

apparently there are also differences in response to gettier problems according to ethnicity.

another difference between men and women and philisophical problems is in their response to one of my favorites – the trolley problem (update: invented by a female philosoper!):

“You are taking your daily walk near the train tracks and you notice that the train that is approaching is out of control. You see what has happened: the driver of the train saw five people working on the tracks and slammed on the brakes, but the brakes failed and the driver fainted. The train is now rushing toward the five people. It is moving so fast that they will not be able to get off the track in time. You happen to be standing next to a switch, and you realize that the only way to save the five people on the tracks is to throw the switch, which will turn the train onto a side track, thereby preventing it from killing the five people. However, there is a stranger [or, in the other vignette: a 12-year-old boy] standing on the side track with his back turned, and if you proceed to throw the switch, the five people will be saved, but the person [boy] on the sidetrack will be killed….

“It is morally acceptable for me to pull the switch.”

the researchers also asked what the participants thought about pulling the switch on their (the individual participant’s) own brother or sister:

my guess is that more women than men don’t like the idea of pulling the switch on a 12-year old ’cause of those ole maternal instincts. on the other hand, a man is prolly less likely to want to kill his brother because they share virtually the same y-chromosome and are, therefore, more related to each other than a brother and sister would be.

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but not for me ’cause i know the right answer!! woo-hoo! unlike too many of my sex, apparently.

and the question is: “which is bigger: the sun or the earth”. percentage of okcupid users answering “the earth” broken down by sex & sexual orientation:

(&_&)

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