Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sex

Apparently my recent linkings have created a significant amount of furor among the teensy weensy population of people who actually read my blog. I have been accused of being sexist and of not having quite enough consideration for other folks' (i.e. girls') feelings.

In light of this, I'm dedicating this post to my personal beliefs about the differences between males and females, and how the world Ought To Be (tm). I'll also expand a bit on my lack of explanation or commentary on those posts -- because, of course, people automatically assumed that I was either in agreement with what they said or delighted by the idea of stupid women.

Read it.


First off -- the Greenstone all-women's talk show network. I don't object to this on a business level. If they can make more money marketing it to women, fine. More power to them. I do, however, disagree with quite a few other things about it. For one, it has founders like Hanoi Jane, who is in many respects a traitor to this country. For another, the company embraces the brilliant practice of fighting _____ with _____ (insert social injustice, i.e. racism, sexism). One of the major premises of this network is not that it merely has women on the radio talking to women about women things, but that it is run by women:

Steinem said the network, which is run by women, aims to provide an alternative to current radio talk...
So what does that mean? Either they are employing fair hiring practices and having outrageous coincidences in their hiring numbers or they are discriminating against men. How is that fair? If there was an all-male radio talk show that had the stupidity to make a similar claim (all men, run by men) they would be ridden out of town on a rail.

Moving on to the IQ study. I said no matter how good the study is, this guy is comitting career suicide. This outlines my opinion of the unfortunate state of science and research over all in our too-sensitive politically correct environs. When I use the word "good," I'm not lauding (or criticizing) the outcome of the study, merely the way it was conducted. For example -- polling a man and a woman, and finding men to be more intelligent from women would be a bad study. By corollary, polling every man and every woman in the world and finding that women are more intelligent than men would be a good study.

Having said that, I do find that study to be very interesting for a variety of reasons. One, because I do not believe that men and women are inherently equal, niether mentally nor physically (***DISCLAIMER: I similarly disbelieve that there is one sex that is either superior or inferior to the other***). I also find that the differences between sexes are really what makes the world interesting (take that however you like).

If you read the whole study, the author expands on this concept, saying that the difference in intelligence between women and mean changes with age. Specifically, girls appear to develop mentally at an earlier age than boys. Many of these types of studies are done on children. Because of this, for a long time many researchers actually thought women were more intelligent than men. However, this not being politically incorrect, there was very little objection to this study. Sorry, guys.

But Prof Rushton, who was born in Bournemouth and obtained his doctorate in social psychology from the London School of Economics, argues that the faster maturing of girls leads to them outshining boys in the classroom.

And since almost all previous data showing an absence of difference between the sexes was gathered on schoolchildren, the gender difference could easily have been missed.

'It looks like up until late adolescence, the females have the advantage over males because they mature faster, which masks the underlying difference, he said.

It also says that the difference is purely physical. Men just have more neurons, even when taking body size into consideration:

Prof Rushton believes the differences are directly linked to brain size, with other studies showing men having slightly bigger brains than women.

'We know that men have larger brains, even when you take into account larger body size,' said the researcher. 'That means there are more neurons. The question is what these neurons are doing in a man - and they probably have an advantage in processing information.'


So rather than hush up this kind of information with feminazi anger (i.e., we want to be treated equally as long as we're treated better -- see hiring example above), we as a society should say "Wow, that's really interesting. Good thing we can't make it with either sex, so it really doesn't matter!". In addition, he's talking about a measely 3-4 IQ points. Get over it people.

This brings me to the real meat of my post, What I Think About Men And Women. I know, terribly exciting.

Here's the long and short of it: men and women are not equal. We serve different purposes. There are jobs that men can do and women cannot; there are jobs that women can do and men cannot. There are jobs that both can do, but one or the other is more suited to. There are (in many cases) reasons for the way our societies treat different sexes, and there is more to consider when challenging so-called chauvanist notions than equality between the sexes.

Let's start with the difference discussion. Men are stronger than women, specifically in their upper bodies. This is easily denoted by going to the gym and watching the strong guy do bench press and then watching the strong girl do a set. Or try having a push-up or arm-wrestling competition with your friend of the opposite sex. Likewise, women apparently have more endurance than men. I'm not a big biology buff, but someone told me once about different kinds of muscle and how men's and women's bodies are made for different purposes. This is why many women can run marathons in a fashion that is much more similar to men, while there is no way on Earth that women can keep up with men in fast-twitch, high intensity workouts (such as powerlifting).

Next, women simply think differently than men do. Its actually part of the physical process of thinking. Men think better in terms of 'spatial ability' and women tend to do better with verbal exercises (hence typically high female populations in journalism or English or literature and high male populations in engineering, math, and science majors). Women tend to have more empathy, and men tend to rely more on logic. I'd look up references for all this stuff, but I don't really feel like it -- if you're interested, there have been many studies done on it and there's plenty of information on the web.

So what does all this mean, K2aggie07?! Well, to me it means several things:
  • Trying to make men and women equal in both the workplace and society is silly
  • Men and women should be glad they're different
  • Rather than supressing their differences and 'moving toward the middle' they should expand on them, gaining the benefit of both
  • Folks ought to quit with the fallacy of equality (or get a dictionary and speak with some sort of semantical accuracy and say what they mean)
For example, I do not believe in women being in high-strength, high-intensity jobs in the military. I would not want to be on an infantry combat team with my girlfriend (as much as I love her) because she is about 50 pounds lighter than me and could absolutely not drag me out of the line of fire if I was hit or carry me in a fireman's carry to safety. It makes for a dangerous situation.

I also think that society has set up certain social norms for a reason. Some socially accepted principles are bunk (see: Slavery, Racism). Some are good (see: disapproval of incest). I believe that gender-defined roles are, for the most part, done that way by necessity. Men fight because men are prone to fight; men go to more aggressive jobs (and succeed more in aggressive fields) because men are more naturally aggressive (hello, testosterone!). Women tend to be more nurturing, and typically (that means I know I'm stereotyping -- if this doesn't apply to you, it doesn't apply to you. Move on, I don't disagree with your life) end up in jobs that are more slanted towards taking care of people. Newt Gingrich says it pretty well:

"Upper body strength matters -- men, women. Because men are biologically stronger, and they don't get pregnant. And pregnancy is the period of male domination in traditional societies. On the other hand if what matters is the speed with which you can move the laptop, women are at least as fast and in some ways better. So you have a radical revolution based on technological change. And you've got to think that through. You talk about being in combat, what does combat mean? If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days, because they get infections. And they don't have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they're relatively rare. On the other hand men are basically little piglets, and you drop them in a ditch and they just roll around in it and it doesn't matter. I mean these things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time, because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes".


At the same time, if a women can beat a man at his job, she deserves it (I have no problem with female CEOs!). Likewise, if a man is better at being a nurse or a preschool teacher than a woman, he ought to be able to do that, too. But mandating that we have some sort of societal equality in these things is just silly.

Finally, I think that our PC culture has driven us into a corner. We've made decisions we can't easily un-make, and I don't think this is serving our best interest. Some folks have become so obsessed with gender inequality that they've forgotten that, in fact, we're not the same. Schools have funding cut for sports because there aren't equal numbers of female and male athletes (legislators forgot that more boys like to play sports than girls). In New Jersey its illegal to have Ladies' Night at a club! In many ways, women enjoy a double standard -- they can demand to be treated just like another employee at work, and at the same time sue for sexual harassment in a case that would never be pursued if the gender role were switched. They can want to be a dominant force in a relationship, but can also get mad if the jerk doesn't pay.

So what's the answer? For me, its to treat everyone as civilly as possible. I open doors for both guys and gals, but I'm more likely to do it for a girl. I'll give up my seat for a girl -- a guy can deal with standing. I will treat women differently than men because they are different. Just like I peel oranges but eat the skin on apples. And frankly, I'm glad we're not all oranges.

Long rant, I know. But now if you think I'm a sexist jerk, at least you have evidence to base it on.

2 comments:

3agsmom said...

Preach on -- God made us differently for different purposes and together we are successful. Men and women are meant to compliment each other - not fight against each other to be the same.

triticale said...

As for frontline combat, women have certain advantages over men on precision shooting, relating to control of breathing and heart rate. This is why the Soviets, during WWII, and the Israelis, have used them as snipers. It is also one reason, along with being more stable for skeletal differences, why shooting sports are one of the few areas, along with drag racing, where women compete on an even basis with men.