48 Thoughts on “Civil Rights Journal: The Myth of the Wage Gap

  1. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 10:36 am said:

    You continue to see everything conveniently as a choice. Forget that women are pushed into care work. Forget that women are pushed toward more traditional roles even in high-paid, high-power positions. It’s always a choice for you. That’s where you’re wrong. It’s not always a choice. If you ask a class full of high-achieving college women whether or not they have ever felt that they had to choose between having children and having a career, there would be quite a number of women raising their hands. On the other hand, if you did the same for a class full of college men, a stark difference would occur. The fact that women more often than men feel like they have to sacrifice their careers for children should show you my point. I beg you not to attribute this to “motherly instincts” because I have all already discussed how this is merely a social construction. I also beg you not to tell me that everyone makes choices. I understand that. I do not say that women who choose a family over a career are wrong or less deserving of respect. I do not speak against (or with more acclaim to) men who make the same choice as housewives. I am merely asking that you see that fact tha women are faced with the choice more often than men and are compelled to choose between one and the other points to an inequity.

    Additionally, you still say there is no unequal treatment along gender lines then how do explain the way in which the worst names to call a man are feminine terms. I can list them, but I think you know which ones I’m talking about. Women additionally are objectified in the media and popular culture.

    If you think all of these are choices and not structural problems, then I ask you why the poor don’t just choose to make money?

  2. The fact that women more often than men feel like they have to sacrifice their careers for children should show you my point. I beg you not to attribute this to “motherly instincts” because I have all already discussed how this is merely a social construction.

    Are you asserting that there are no mental or emotional differences between men and women? Despite all the neurological research clearly indicating that men and women’s brains are intrinsically different (and therefore will make different choices regardless of “socialization”)?

    Michael Gurian, The Wonder of Boys. I highly recommend it.

    If you think all of these are choices and not structural problems, then I ask you why the poor don’t just choose to make money?

    There are a couple of reasons – a big one is cultural. Groups which demean academic and subsequently financial success as being too “white” choose to cripple themselves in the workplace.

  3. I am merely asking that you see that fact tha women are faced with the choice more often than men and are compelled to choose between one and the other points to an inequity.

    Actually, since it takes a man and a woman to have a child, women and men are equally given the choice between family and other priorities. The fact that many men choose other things over family (including abandoning the family unit altogether), and many women don’t should be a point of pride – and is primarily biologically based.

    Everyone has to make a choice. The two groups (male/female) may on average make choices different from each other, but this is not because they are forced to by society. If anything, it is because they are inclined to by biology.

  4. Additionally, you still say there is no unequal treatment along gender lines then how do explain the way in which the worst names to call a man are feminine terms.

    How would you remedy that? Should we create more masculine terms to insult men with? Brute? Caveman? Neanderthal? Muscle-bound freak? Incompetent child rearer? Emotionally distant recluse?

    And do you know if this is true across various languages, or is it specific to English?

    If it is true across various languages, and therefore various cultures, to what would you attribute that?

  5. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 1:50 pm said:

    Firstly, I speak of gender issues in America, since that is not just the focus of my study but where the majority of my experience has come.

    To blame anything on cultural differences is racism and sexism in disguise. Again, please read “Racism without Racists.” Additionally, I do argue that there are far less differences between women and men than you believe. Yes, there are inherent biological differences. There are also inherent biological differences between race. Of course these differences are not as numerous as many people like to make it out to be. The same goes for gender. There are societies in which men take care of the children instead of the women. So that “motherly instinct” would not be so motherly in that society. See the point of social construction.

    Additionally, it may take a man and a woman to make a child, but it does not take both to carry a child. Women are forced to choose. Men are not. I’m not talking about abandonging or anything so drastic. But let’s talk about maternity and paternity leave. Maternity leave is now fairly standard, while parternity is not. Obviously this points to a problem. Now that more and more employers are offering paternity leave, are we expected to celebrate and congratulate them? Of course. However, there is more work to be done. Men who are offered paternity leave often don’t take it. Women who are offered it, more often than not (when necessary) take it. Why is this? It is because men can choose. I provided the example of college-aged men not believing they have an ultimatum as opposed to the women who feel like that. Why is that? Is it merely cultural? If it is cultural than why does it span various cultures in our society?

    Additionally, how on earth would creating derogatory masculine terms advance anyone? Your argument is completely silly. You show your weakness by suggesting that instead of abolishing these derogatory female terms, you want to make new terms for men…as if that will make women feel any better. Of course it won’t.

  6. To blame anything on cultural differences is racism and sexism in disguise.

    What? Your whole premise is that masculine and feminine stereotypes (in this case, feminine insults against men) is a social construct – isn’t that saying that it is a function of culture? Couldn’t we compare cultures and see which ones are more “anti-feminine”? Or if we observed something constant, wouldn’t we be pressed to find a different explanation besides culture?

  7. Additionally, I do argue that there are far less differences between women and men than you believe. Yes, there are inherent biological differences. There are also inherent biological differences between race.

    First of all, the biological differences between men and women are very significant. Again, I suggest to you The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian as a start.

    Second of all, the biological differences between races are less than the biological differences between members of a specifc race. Why? Because race is a purely social construct. See: http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-01-07.htm.

    There are societies in which men take care of the children instead of the women.

    Please, name one specifically. Sounds like utopia.

  8. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:12 pm said:

    Stereotypes are not the same as defining differences by culture. I definited the social constructs as different. Obviously, as you and I agree when something is a social construct it is fluid and ever-changing. That is far different from saying one culture is different than the other and that’s natural.

  9. I provided the example of college-aged men not believing they have an ultimatum as opposed to the women who feel like that. Why is that? Is it merely cultural? If it is cultural than why does it span various cultures in our society?

    Not sure what example you’re talking about, but let’s discuss the maternity/paternity leave. To assert that women use maternity leave more than men use paternity leave because men have more choices begs the question – what is the source of that choice. Clearly, in the case of pregnancy, it is purely physical – the woman must go through labor and delivery, and the man cannot. You’ve identified a non-social construct mechanism here, and misinterpreted it as socially constructed limitations on women.

  10. Additionally, how on earth would creating derogatory masculine terms advance anyone? Your argument is completely silly. You show your weakness by suggesting that instead of abolishing these derogatory female terms, you want to make new terms for men…as if that will make women feel any better. Of course it won’t.

    I’m trying to point out how silly your argument was – the idea that because the variety of insults available to people to criticize men are dominated by accusations of feminine traits, somehow our society is anti-woman is silly. Certainly, if we found a society that insulted men with masculine and feminine insults equally, that would destroy your arugment…and frankly, the idea that you could abolish any language terms is truly tilting at windmills. Especially in an age of free expression on the Internet, you’d be hard pressed to eliminate any insults at all. At best, you could try to achieve parity in the types of insults used.

  11. Additionally, it may take a man and a woman to make a child, but it does not take both to carry a child. Women are forced to choose. Men are not.

    You’re arguging against biology here – men and women have no choices when it comes to who carries the child to term. Men have no choice, and women have no choice.

  12. That is far different from saying one culture is different than the other and that’s natural.

    I’m not sure what you’re asserting here – are you saying that it is wrong to assert that there are differences between cultures that are natural?

  13. Regarding the biological differences between men and women:

    http://www.sfu.ca/~dkimura/articles/constraints.htm

    We need to face the fact that men and women may be disproportionately represented across a wide range of occupations and professions, without the inference that there must have been either deliberate or systemic obstacles being put in the way of either sex. Rather, it appears that self-selection on the basis of talents and interests now largely determines such career choices. Engaging in coercive social engineering to balance the sex ratios may actually be the worst kind of discrimination. It also serves to entice some people into fields they will neither excel in nor enjoy.

  14. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:25 pm said:

    You are arguing that there are not obvious differences between races? Such as skin color and eye color?

    You think I would make this stuff up? Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist, conducted study of three tribes. One tribe will be of more importance to you. The Tchambuli tribe had what we would consider reversed gender roles. If you think that a society which contains a prevalent relationship of social oppression according to gender regardless of the biological make-up of the roles is utopia then I don’t think we should be talking anymore. It is bad enough you think it’s “natural” for women to want to go into jobs which command less salaries. I think this type of statement would end our conversations abruptly.

  15. More information regarding biological gender differences:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/PTO-20030624-000003.html

    The difference between the sexes may boil down to this: dividing the tasks of processing experience. Male and female minds are innately drawn to different aspects of the world around them. And there’s new evidence that testosterone may be calling some surprising shots.

    Women’s perceptual skills are oriented to quick — call it intuitive — people reading. Females are gifted at detecting the feelings and thoughts of others, inferring intentions, absorbing contextual clues and responding in emotionally appropriate ways. They empathize. Tuned to others, they more readily see alternate sides of an argument. Such empathy fosters communication and primes females for attachment.

    Women, in other words, seem to be hard-wired for a top-down, big-picture take. Men might be programmed to look at things from the bottom up (no surprise there).

    Men focus first on minute detail, and operate most easily with a certain detachment. They construct rules-based analyses of the natural world, inanimate objects and events. In the coinage of Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, Ph.D., they systemize.

    The superiority of males at spatial cognition and females’ talent for language probably subserve the more basic difference of systemizing versus empathizing. The two mental styles manifest in the toys kids prefer (humanlike dolls versus mechanical trucks); verbal impatience in males (ordering rather than negotiating); and navigation (women personalize space by finding landmarks; men see a geometric system, taking directional cues in the layout of routes).

  16. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:30 pm said:

    Paternity leave does not just include having the child. It includes taking care of the child after it is born. Additionally, all of your articles and assertions liken you to the authors of the Bell Curve. Instead of using biology for races, you’re doing so for genders. To say that women are more likely to choose certain jobs because “it’s natural” is sexist. When I mention wage gaps, I include a proliferation of cases in which men and women in the same occupation that does not rely on any biological differences nor does it rely on less experience (for example, surgeons out of med school) being paid less than men. That has nothing to do with any “natural” cause.

  17. You are arguing that there are not obvious differences between races? Such as skin color and eye color?

    There are superficial differences between socially constructed races that have little basis in genetics. For example, sickle cell anemia was once considered a “black” disease – but in fact, it is more dependent on the presence of malaria for a given population – so although both East Africans and West Africans are both “black”, they show significantly different genetics.

    The question as to why these superficial differences appear is generally due to geography – that is to say, any isolated group of humans around the equator will develop a darker skin tone (and apparently it doesn’t take too long either). So identifying two separate groups of humans who have the same skin and eye color as the same “race” is actually problematic, because they have merely adapted in parallel to their environment, rather than being inherently part of the same genetic group.

    Again, I suggest you read the PBS article before discussing further.

    http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-01-07.htm

  18. Gewertz, Deborah. The Tchambuli View of Persons: A Critique of Individualism in the Works of Mead and Chodorow. American Anthropologist September, 1984 Vol. 86 (3):615-629.

    “No people … have been more misinterpreted than the Tchambuli of Papua New Guinea,” says Deborah Gewertz (615). In critiquing the work of Margaret Mead, who did fieldwork among the Tchambuli between January 1933 and April 1933, Gewertz hopes to set the record straight regarding gender differences among the Tchambuli. Also taken to task in this article is a work by Nancy Chodorow that is a reconsideration of the work of Mead. Having done her own fieldwork among the Tchambuli of New Guinea beginning in 1974, Gewertz argues “that both Mead and Chodorow fail to consider adequate non-Western views of the self in explaining gender differences” (615).

  19. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:32 pm said:

    You are bordering on extremely sexist. Might I introduce you to Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray? They kind of thought the same things you do…only about race.

  20. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:35 pm said:

    And women and men have not adapted?

    So you are trying to refute Mead’s study. This means you believe it is “natural” for women to be subserviant to men. You believe women “naturally” do not want to achieve more? Maybe you should take these arguments up in your next women’s studies class. I’m sure you’ll make a lot of friends.

    btw, here you go.
    http://www.unc.edu/~lorelei/sexroles.html

  21. It is bad enough you think it’s “natural” for women to want to go into jobs which command less salaries.

    No, now you’re getting into a different discussion altogether – our society financially rewards tasks that men are more inclined to. It also emotionally and physiologically rewards tasks that women are more inclined to.

    The question about what is “natural” for women, or what they are predominantly inclined to (again, every generalization has exceptions) is a different discussion as to whether or not we believe that current methods of financial reward are equitable.

    Of course, we’d have to factor in the financial rewards obtained by women who are not in the workplace (i.e., in a single-earner household, the other person is generally getting half of the earner’s salary as reward for their “work”).

  22. This means you believe it is “natural” for women to be subserviant to men. You believe women “naturally” do not want to achieve more?

    No, I don’t believe that taking care of children is a subservient position. Neither do I think that a man or woman is achieving more when they bring home a paycheck, versus a man or woman staying at home to take care of children.

    You seem to be asserting that the biological inclinations of females and the choices they are more likely to make, are lesser, “subservient”, and are not worthy achievements.

    I strongly disagree, and think maybe you need to think about the sexist dogma you’re perpetuating.

  23. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:39 pm said:

    Rewards and expectations are two different things. I hate to tell you, but all of your comments have led me to believe you think it’s “only natural” for women to do all the things that you say are “natural.” I think you should stop now. As a woman, I am becoming severely insulted by your assertions.

  24. And women and men have not adapted?

    Brain biology very well may adapt, but on an evolutionary timescale. Your female brain and my male brain are generally the same as female and male brains from 4000 years ago. Perhaps in a million years, we’ll see some real difference. But to assert that you can undo the biological inclinations of men and women in timelines relevant to human lifetimes is ridiculous.

  25. I hate to tell you, but all of your comments have led me to believe you think it’s “only natural” for women to do all the things that you say are “natural.” I think you should stop now. As a woman, I am becoming severely insulted by your assertions.

    I’m merely telling you what the biological science says – there are inclinations for men, and inclinations for women, in the choices that we make, based on different brain biology. This is fact. If it is insulting to you to, your argument is with biology, not with me.

    I am not saying that the general inclinations of women should not be rewarded (or even rewarded more – certainly teachers deserve higher salaries, and that profession is dominated by women). But to dip your head in the sand and assert that there are not significant biological differences in how men and women generally think that can and do affect the choices measured by those two groups as a whole, is just wrong.

    You want to believe that the differences you observe in male and female demographics are based on systemic, institutiionalized discrimination against women. I have shown you a mechanism, that is measurable and factual, that offers an alternative explanation.

    Why are you so averse to entertaining the idea of an alternate explanation for the outcomes we measure?

  26. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:46 pm said:

    And these biological inclinations are the “natural” differences between men and women? The motherly instinct?

  27. Opu on 4/22/2006 at 2:53 pm said:

    Biological science said people between races were different. This was standard for a VERY long time. It was measurable according to the scientists who conducted these studies.

    I am very prone to believe this since I often do not fall into the social construction of my gender. I have friends, and guess what? They don’t follow your “general inclinations.” So much for science! Oh I’m sorry, is it because we are just the many exceptions to the rules?

    You are saying that the idea of men and women cannot be socially constructed because there are biological differences. Well you cannot prove otherwise. You cannot explain why I and women and men I know don’t follow your “natural inclinations.”

  28. And these biological inclinations are the “natural” differences between men and women? The motherly instinct?

    I think you misunderstand. A biological inclination, or “natural” inclination is not an absolute. But yes, “natural” inclinations account for a vast majority of the differences in the choices made between men and women in general.

  29. Biological science said people between races were different. This was standard for a VERY long time. It was measurable according to the scientists who conducted these studies.

    Yes, this was the wonderful world of eugenics, and it has been thoroughly discredited.

    I am very prone to believe this since I often do not fall into the social construction of my gender. I have friends, and guess what? They don’t follow your “general inclinations.” So much for science! Oh I’m sorry, is it because we are just the many exceptions to the rules?

    You’re correct – you are the exception. And exceptions to general inclinations do not invalidate the science of biology, or the inherent differences between men and women in general.

    You cannot explain why I and women and men I know don’t follow your “natural inclinations.”

    Sure I can. A “natural inclination” is not an absolute. They can be overcome by any number of factors. Furthermore, I would venture to guess that if you and your friends’ brains were measured, you would find examples of “bridge-brains” – it is possible to be genetically female with a male brain, and vice versa. The lack of testosterone (or addition of testosterone) at specific stages of development can (although does not often) create these exceptions.

  30. http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay6text.html

    While eugenics was indeed popular, it was poor science and it was rejected on scientific grounds. However, the hereditarian social attitudes that supported popular eugenics remain in the public consciousness to this day. From news stories about “novelty-seeking” genes, to supposedly academic tomes on intellectual “bell curves,” to “reawakened” racist interpretations of American history, the social seeds for resurgent eugenics are still alive. If we are not to repeat the errors of the past, we will need to examine modern eugenic visions with intellectual rigor.

  31. I am very prone to believe this since I often do not fall into the social construction of my gender.

    I’m sorry, what does your falling into general natural inclinations have to do with the accuracy or inaccuracy of assertions that there is a biological basis to race? I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here.

  32. To say that women are more likely to choose certain jobs because “it’s natural” is sexist.

    No, its not. If we can identify a biological basis for such choices and inclinations, it is perfectly reasonable.

    When I mention wage gaps, I include a proliferation of cases in which men and women in the same occupation that does not rely on any biological differences nor does it rely on less experience (for example, surgeons out of med school) being paid less than men. That has nothing to do with any “natural” cause.

    Of course, the problem is, you haven’t adjusted for factors like specialty, or hours worked, or any number of other factors that create such percieved wage gaps. I’m not even sure if you have evidence regarding factoring in experience (the only statistics I’ve seen only talk about female physicians and surgeons, with no mention of experience level). Care to provide a reference?

  33. And hopefully one day your psuedo-science will be discredited as well, just as eugenics was.

  34. http://www.iwf.org/issues/issues_detail.asp?ArticleID=749

    The 76-cent statistic (now actually 80 cents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau) is misleading because it is a raw comparison of all working men and women. Thus a female receptionist working 40-hour weeks is tossed in with the male orthopedic surgeon putting in 70-hour weeks.

    A study of the gender wage gap conducted by economist June O’ Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, found that women earn 98 percent of what men do when controlled for experience, education, and number of years on the job.

  35. And hopefully one day your psuedo-science will be discredited as well, just as eugenics was.

    Are you referring to neurobiology? The actual MRIs we can measure and categorize? The results that are repeatable? The actual mechanisms which have been identified and tested?

    I’m sorry, but there is nothing pseudo-scientific about the clear, measurable, and definite, biological differences between the brains of men and women.

    What would it take to convince you of that difference?

  36. Opu on 4/23/2006 at 7:33 am said:

    First of all, it seems interesting that out of the many articles I have read on the wage gap, none of them come from the same sources you’ve used. Maybe that’s where our roads diverge. Different research yields different results. Your sources kind of remind me of Ann Coulter’s pieces…but with a little more brain.

    Secondly, obviously I recognize that women are different than men. However, you refuse to acknowledge that gender is a social construct. We are not talking the biological with male and female. We are not talking about your convenient label of feminine and masculine. We are talking about gender, man and woman. The gender that is discussed in the articles I sent you. You still will not acknowledge that gender is a social label that is fluid and amorphous much like race. You refuse to acknowledge that society itself has any influence over the roles and expectations of men and women. And if you do, you merely say it’s financial incentives or “natural inclinations.”

    Oh, and about those “natural inclinations” how CONVENIENT you are to say that I and everyone I know are the exceptions to the rule. Heaven forbid it not be that your rule is wrong. What I’m suggesting is that men and women are a lot less different than you think. I am suggesting that those “natural inclinations,” for the most part, are just social expectations. There are biological differences, yes, but I do not think those even tie into the “natural inclinations” you propose. And really, what ARE those “natural inclinations?” You have yet to say. I have merely been left to guess what kind of sexist expectations you have for me. I wonder if you’ll say we have a “natural inclination” for shopping.

    What it comes down to Jere, is that your research, your definitions, and your arguments are, as always, convenient. You have launched us back to the 1700s’ world of natural sexually divided labor and vain women staying at home. I half expect you to tell me that it is not in my inclined nature to read. That would go along with the rest of what you have said. You have socially outcasted me and pretty much every other woman I know to prove your point. We are not the norm according to you. ALL of us are not the norm according to you because it doesn’t fit your hypothesis. Get your head out of reading articles about women, wake up, go meet some women, and look how diverse our “natural inclinations” really are, and how often those inclinations might come pretty close to yours. You’ve got a lot of real world field research to do.

  37. First of all, it seems interesting that out of the many articles I have read on the wage gap, none of them come from the same sources you’ve used. Maybe that’s where our roads diverge. Different research yields different results. Your sources kind of remind me of Ann Coulter’s pieces…but with a little more brain.

    Actually, I believe that the statistics on the “wage gap” are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the data is a single source. The problem comes with analysis, when the data is misunderstood. The articles you have read regarding the wage gap seem to have clearly misunderstood the data collected, and have apparently not done due diligence regarding controlling for other variables.

  38. However, you refuse to acknowledge that gender is a social construct.
    We are not talking the biological with male and female. We are not talking about your convenient label of feminine and masculine. We are talking about gender, man and woman.

    I don’t understand why you insist that gender (i.e., man and woman, male and femal, the biological status of a human) is a social construct, but then refuse to use the terms masculine and feminine, which are patently social constructs.

    Ideas of masculinity and femininity are social constructs. I will argue that these social constructs are strongly influenced by biological tendencies, and we can reasonably disagree on the magnitude of this influence (obviously I think it is stronger than you believe, and would be interested as to what sort of scientific experiment would convince you of the strength of its influence).

    However, the biological label of male and female, man and woman, are not social constructs. If they WERE social constructs, we’d be able to label a human as a man or woman, regardless of their actual sex.

    You still will not acknowledge that gender is a social label that is fluid and amorphous much like race.

    Can you ever be labeled as having the male gender? If not, why isn’t that social label fluid enough to do so?

    You refuse to acknowledge that society itself has any influence over the roles and expectations of men and women. And if you do, you merely say it’s financial incentives or “natural inclinations.”

    I’m sorry, you’ve misunderstood me – I acknowledge society has an influence over the roles and expectations of men and women. What you seem to deny is the fact that there is a great role, possibly a dominant role, played by genetics and biology. The “natural inclinations” you disparage – what kind of influence are you willing to accept they have on outcome differences between men and women? 10%? 50%? 75%? What kind of experimental research would you accept to determine that factor?

  39. What I’m suggesting is that men and women are a lot less different than you think. I am suggesting that those “natural inclinations,” for the most part, are just social expectations. There are biological differences, yes, but I do not think those even tie into the “natural inclinations” you propose. And really, what ARE those “natural inclinations?” You have yet to say. I have merely been left to guess what kind of sexist expectations you have for me. I wonder if you’ll say we have a “natural inclination” for shopping.

    I’m suggesting that you are mistaken in your belief that men and women are a lot less different that you think. I am suggesting that those “natural inclinations” you believe are social expectations, are actually primarily driven by biology. And more than that, I’m providing research and evidence to prove it.

    Insofar as what those natural inclinations are, I thought I had quoted this already:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/PTO-20030624-000003.html

    Women’s perceptual skills are oriented to quick — call it intuitive — people reading. Females are gifted at detecting the feelings and thoughts of others, inferring intentions, absorbing contextual clues and responding in emotionally appropriate ways. They empathize. Tuned to others, they more readily see alternate sides of an argument. Such empathy fosters communication and primes females for attachment.

    Women, in other words, seem to be hard-wired for a top-down, big-picture take. Men might be programmed to look at things from the bottom up (no surprise there).

    Men focus first on minute detail, and operate most easily with a certain detachment. They construct rules-based analyses of the natural world, inanimate objects and events. In the coinage of Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, Ph.D., they systemize.

    The superiority of males at spatial cognition and females’ talent for language probably subserve the more basic difference of systemizing versus empathizing. The two mental styles manifest in the toys kids prefer (humanlike dolls versus mechanical trucks); verbal impatience in males (ordering rather than negotiating); and navigation (women personalize space by finding landmarks; men see a geometric system, taking directional cues in the layout of routes).

  40. What it comes down to Jere, is that your research, your definitions, and your arguments are, as always, convenient.

    Why is that such a typical response? What do you really mean by the assertion that someting is “convenient”? The research, definitions, and arguments I propose to you are reasoned, consistent, and evidence based. Since such things are more difficult to do than emotional, inconsistent and anecdotal arguments, I would suggest that perhaps it is your arguments that are “convenient”, and your dismissal of the evidence presented as very “convenient”.

    You have socially outcasted me and pretty much every other woman I know to prove your point. We are not the norm according to you. ALL of us are not the norm according to you because it doesn’t fit your hypothesis.

    Why do you care so much about being the “norm”? Don’t you understand that a population study that identifies differences between groups will not apply in any absolute manner to individuals? You seem awfully threatened by the thought that you might not be “normal”. Is that why you want to pressure women who decide to raise children and take care of families and eschew the corporate ladder into following your example, so you can feel more normal?

    Get your head out of reading articles about women, wake up, go meet some women, and look how diverse our “natural inclinations” really are, and how often those inclinations might come pretty close to yours. You’ve got a lot of real world field research to do.

    I daresay I’ve met and known more women than you have, and their natural inclinations are incredibly diverse – and they are in many ways quite close to mine. Of course, I’m not a “normal” male, so I think that actually proves my point :).

    Of course, I would never assert that based on anecdotal evidence that men and women were the same or different. That would be poor science.

  41. Opu on 4/23/2006 at 12:18 pm said:

    You call ethnographic research anecdotal. You wish everything to be in numbers, statistics, raw data. How do you simplify a person consistently? I feel like the numbers you ask for never really explain a person.

    I still don’t see what spatial reasoning has to do with the wage gap? Last time I checked both men and women could be surgeons equally as well as each other. I agreed that there are biological differences. I’ve seen that research. I know some psych. I’m not that dumb. I am talking about man and woman as a social construct in the terms of their roles and expectations. Much like the roles and expectations are constructed for race. These roles and expectations for both gender and race are tied to a biological basis. For example, women (as classified as looking or being female) are said to have a tendency to be vain. Chinese (as classified as looking or being Chinese) are said to be shrewd (in the nicest way to put it). See? Socially constructed. I do not believe those tendencies are based in any biology. But they are merely expectations that society has made for people, regardless of the morality or logic of the assertion of these expectations. Man and woman are also socially constructed as race because of the tie to physical indicators. A person who looks like he/she has female anatomy will not be readily termed a man. Just as a dark-skinned black man will not readily be termed a woman. That person dressed as a woman (not dressed feminely) can actually be a man. That black man can actually have some caucasion ancestry. Feminine and masculine are adjectives and describers of a behavior. Man and woman attach those adjectives to physical traits. This is why I will not accept your use of it.

    If I am threatened about not being deemed the norm, then so are you. It is not about a threat. I am explaining to you that all of your evidence has not really proven true for anyone in my short life. Since usually, the simplest answer tends to be true, it seems much more likely that your theories are wrong than some biological or psychological conspiracy that all of us “bridge brains” have somehow subconsiously come to be around each other and insulate ourselves with other people like us. I am not normal for many other reasons, but not living up to all of the social expectations of being a woman is not one of those reasons. I was merely sharing with you that your scientific evidence has not been testable in my surroundings. Maybe it is YOU who is threatened by the chance that you are wrong?

    Finally, you keep calling it science – that things like the sexual division of labor or the increased interest in being a stay-at-home mom are biological and scientific. I still assert that these types of science-based social reasonings sound quite similar to eugenics. I know, I know, it’s pretty scary to think you might actually be a proponent of a gender-based eugenics. But those things are testable and repeatable and based in scientific reasoning (supposedly) and are still being continued today. That sounds pretty similar to what you’re saying except with sex. They made poor correlations in the eugenics studies. It is my argument that you are make poor correlations now.

  42. These roles and expectations for both gender and race are tied to a biological basis. For example, women (as classified as looking or being female) are said to have a tendency to be vain. Chinese (as classified as looking or being Chinese) are said to be shrewd (in the nicest way to put it). See? Socially constructed. I do not believe those tendencies are based in any biology.

    That’s where you’re mistaken. The racial stereotype is completely socially constructed, with no basis in science or biology. There is no racial “shrewdness” gene.

    However, women (not counting cross-dressers, who you seem to include here), who are said to have a tendency to be vain, may indeed have a biological basis for such tendencies, given the general assertion that they “are gifted at detecting the feelings and thoughts of others, inferring intentions, absorbing contextual clues and responding in emotionally appropriate ways.” Someone who is very aware of contextual clues and pays a lot of attention to the way others look seems very likely to also subject themselves to a higher standard.

  43. A person who looks like he/she has female anatomy will not be readily termed a man. Just as a dark-skinned black man will not readily be termed a woman [editor’s note:i think you meant caucasian]. That person dressed as a woman (not dressed feminely) can actually be a man. That black man can actually have some caucasion ancestry. Feminine and masculine are adjectives and describers of a behavior. Man and woman attach those adjectives to physical traits. This is why I will not accept your use of it.

    So you are arguing for using external basis for race and gender based programs? For example, do you assert that in order to qualify for a “black” scholarship, you must look “black”? Or in order to qualify for a “woman” scholarship, you must look like a woman?

    If you want to assert that gender and race discrimination happens because of external perceptions, I suppose that would be a reasonable position to take…

    What seems to be unreasonable is to assert that some sort of system discrimination happens based on external perceptions, but then to use self-identification (or biological identification in the case of sex) as the gateway to extra privilege to make up for the discrimination.

    Do you understand my critique of your argument?

  44. I am explaining to you that all of your evidence has not really proven true for anyone in my short life. Since usually, the simplest answer tends to be true, it seems much more likely that your theories are wrong than some biological or psychological conspiracy that all of us “bridge brains” have somehow subconsiously come to be around each other and insulate ourselves with other people like us.

    Again, you’ve confused the anecdotal example of a single person (yourself), and from that single data point derived a conclusion that is refuted by real science. Your simple answer will be different than someone else’s simple answer – how will you tell the difference between the two? What makes yours right, and an Amish person’s wrong?

    Your personal experience does not a scientific study, nor a general reality, make. Perhaps this is your problem – you’ve seen the world from a personal view, and because you haven’t been exposed to other situations or people, you assume that your view must not only be true, but it must be superior.

  45. I was merely sharing with you that your scientific evidence has not been testable in my surroundings. Maybe it is YOU who is threatened by the chance that you are wrong?

    You’re absolutely wrong here. You, and your friends, can be tested with MRIs to observe brain activity during various tasks. You, and your friends, can engage in the same repeatable experiements as I’ve cited and described.

    You have not tested anything. You’ve only casually observed something, and mistaken your casual observation with science.

  46. But those things are testable and repeatable and based in scientific reasoning (supposedly) and are still being continued today. That sounds pretty similar to what you’re saying except with sex. They made poor correlations in the eugenics studies. It is my argument that you are make poor correlations now.

    The problem you face is that eugenics “science” was discredited by genetic science – there are no biololgical markers, nor biological differences in brains, between races. The biology of the sexes has biological markers visible and testable in the brain.

    Eugenics was never testable or repeatable. They used the same anecdotal methodology you seem to use to justify your arguments.

    Neurobiology, and the observation of clear biological differences between the brains of men and women, are testable, and are repeatable.

    Perhaps you should volunteer for a study sometime, and get yourself tested. You might learn a lot from that experience.

  47. Opu on 4/23/2006 at 3:15 pm said:

    Jere, you can think you win…I don’t care. However, I can no longer talk to you. Debating race-based programs is acceptable. But what you are purporting is pure sexism. You can believe it or not, I don’t care. But I’m throwing in the towel because I will no longer talk to a man who believes the things you do about women. You are degrading, and you disgust me. I hope one day you have your rude awakening. I have tried to make you more enlightened, but I see now I have done this in vain.

  48. I’m sorry you have chosen to interpret the measureable biological differences between male and female brains as sexist. I believe that by understanding the differences, we can better honor both the masculine and feminine in our society, by providing them the tools and support they need to lead happy, productive lives.

    The fact that you would find the reality of such differences as degrading is disappointing, and makes me think you harbor some fairly dangerous attitudes towards women who chose more “traditional” lifestyles (lifestyles which may certainly not be appropriate for you).

    Good luck to you in your future studies, and I hope that one day you are able to embrace and celebrate the differences between the sexes, and the lack of differences between “races”.

    Mahalo for your discussion, and best wishes for your future learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Post Navigation