Is it possible that we are second best?

(195 Posts)
Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 17:29:43

Is it conceivable that the reason women are STILL struggling for equal recognition for their achievements, equal pay, equal respect etc etc is that we are just not as good at a lot of things as men are??
This is a pretty horrifying thought that´s been niggling at the back of my mind for a little while and I REALLY want you lot to convince me otherwise!!

Here´s the deal: I´ve ALWAYS had feminist leanings, stood up for myself, been OUTRAGED whenever anyone has suggested I am in any way inferior or less able to do something based on gender. I was the lone voice at my rather conservative university questioning the status quo, whilst my very intelligent female colleagues (academically, at any rate) would prepare sandwiches for their boyfriends on a Saturday night so they´d have something to stave off the munchies when they staggered back from their drunken boys´nights out. eyeroll
BUT........lately I´m thinking that equality isn´t that straight forward and most of the time it seems we females are out to self-sabotage! Look at all these ridiculous sex-kitten role models that so many girls aspire to be like- one after the other of these female pop stars sells out her integrity and talent to become over-sexed and under-dressed. "Rah rah...girl-power"...my ass! (or rather, HER barely-covered ass!) Their one and only aim seems to be to lay it all out there for men to "come and get it". (Oh gawd...I sound like some prudish Mother Grundy...haha...but SERIOUSLY...can somebody please shut Rihanna and her gurlfriends up??!!)
Yes women are safer drivers as in they have fewer accidents, but my God, I´ve seen some cringey moments with women who just cannot for the love of all things holy park their OWN cars.
And in the work place....we definitely lack the confidence that men have. (I include myself here) I´m in the medical field and I have to be honest....sometimes feminine self-doubt is not at all helpful when it comes to the big decisions. Men are still the top surgeons and it isn´t lack of opportunity as I see it....it´s because they believe in themselves and are prepared to take chances.
And yes, you might say it´s down to conditioning, blah blah...but I think it´s fundamentally testosterone that gives them the edge in so many ways. No matter how much we like to think otherwise, we are sabotaged by our hormones! They make us focus on having babies, being submissive, under-confident and lacking in ambition in our otherwise most productive years.
I´m all ears to hear as many opinions as possible on this!

You don't seem to be giving any examples of us actually not being as good as men though - just of us not believing in our abilities.

I'd say the problem is more -

1 - lack of confidence
2 - society valuing things that are "masculine" such as autocratic self-belief, while denigrating things that are perceived as more "feminine", such as a collegiate attitude to decision-making
3 - all of society being encouraged to believe in a "quick fix" like winning a "talent" show or becoming a "celebrity" rather than putting in the tim and committment into actually being good at something

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 17:45:59

I think the key is to consider people as individuals, not 'us' and 'them'.

LapsusLinguae Wed 02-Jan-13 17:48:36

OP - two questions:

Do you have kids?

Have you read any recent feminist books - eg The Equality Illusion/Living Dolls/The F Word/Delusions of Gender/Pink Brain Blue Brain?

Women are not second best but the Patriarchy sees us as second best.

Many of your examples are the result of individual women surviving in the Patriarchy. I try not to criticise individuals but instead the system.

Many of your examples are due to society's expectations.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 02-Jan-13 17:49:01

What makes you think it is testosterone rather than conditioning?

LaCiccolina Wed 02-Jan-13 17:49:44

Well for starters ur assuming it should be a mans world first and foremost.

U are rating everything on men's perspective and trying to fit us in. Why? From a family perspective I'm not sure that works. Or from a work one. Partly why employment issues are so complicated as 5 days a week 8-6 plainly suits men best (women for a short or breakable period). Do u see?

LynetteScavo Wed 02-Jan-13 17:50:15

"I´ve seen some cringey moments with women who just cannot for the love of all things holy park their OWN cars"

Apparently male brains are better a spacial awareness. This is why DH is better at loading the dishwasher than me...I just let him get on with it

I can say I've noticed women not being able to park their cars any more than men, though.

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 17:53:07

Well I've taken your thinking and applied it race. Statistically (based on the Olympics) black people are stronger and faster than white people. But more of the world's wealth is in the hands of white people. So which race is 'better'? I can't decide.

CaptainNancy Wed 02-Jan-13 17:54:06

Nothing to do with hormones- children aspire to what they're conditioned to.
My children have no desire to be slebs, I know a fair few female surgeons, though a few have not gone back after having their children.

grimbletart Wed 02-Jan-13 17:55:20

Pinkypoops: could you imagine a man posting what you just did about his own sex i.e. that they are just not as good at a lot of things as women are?

I think you would find that the things that they are likely to say they are not as good at are the things that they don't actually want to do e.g. cleaning or other tedious, repetitive tasks. grin

In order to stand up your suspicions, first you have to remove from the male sex their (often subconscious) sense of entitlement. Second you have to wipe out a couple of millennia of put-downs of females.

When you have removed these and other confounding factors/biases, then you can ask that question.

Oh, and just to illustrate that I am by no means uncritical of females (I am not the sort of feminist who says "I will support women, right or wrong" I agree over those silly females who run after males like love-sick puppies, dancing attendance and vying for attention. The really piss me off. However, I suspect that I will be told that it is "conditioning".

grimbletart Wed 02-Jan-13 17:56:02

Oops sorry - the conditioning point has already been made....grin

As far as driving goes, some women do have problems with spatial awareness, and can have more problems with parking, or with deciding whether they can get their car through a certain gap.

OTOH do we think that is a worse fault than being over-confident in their abilities, driving too fast, having little to no care and attention to other drivers and pedestrians - which tend, on average, to be faults more associated with male drivers?

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 17:59:17

Thanks, AMIS....indeed, but it´s that confidence that makes people better at a lot of things and therefore more successful. A lot of feminists complain that women are under-represented in politics, boardrooms and other higher-level jobs.....and one thing that seriously gets my goat is placing under-qualified people in positions because of their demographic (grrrr) so I don´t believe in artificial ratio systems.
Men are often more outspoken and stronger in meetings and debates- ipso facto, better at getting their point across and getting heard.
Physically, watching my kids...boys are streets ahead of girls in physical abilities really early on, but at ages 4 and 7 I have been surprised that the girls are not exactly leaving their male classmates in the dust academically which is what I had been led to believe happens. In fact all the top students in my 7 yr old´s class are boys! I´d be interested to hear if this is different to anyone else´s experience since I have sneaking suspicion the school they are at has a male bias when it comes to teaching methods...hmm
As for things I see men doing "better"...mmm, let´s see: Sports of all types, computer stuff, fixing stuff, quite often cooking (!), getting a work project done faster, much more dexterous at manual tasks, inventing stuff, building stuff, most acclaimed comedians artists, singers, actors, performers....and yes BIIIIG generalisations but on the whole in my experience, one CAN make them :-/ OK, OBVIOUSLY these are a lot of things men are known to be better at anyway BUT they are things that actually get the human race somewhere. Things that women are GENERALLY supposed to be good at is often stuff that is supportive and takes a back seat because it doesn´t move mountans, it just quietly keeps the world ticking over. Men basically excel at the glory-inspiring stuff and so will they not ALWAYS be seen as superior ?

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 18:00:34

Oh oops...took so long to write reply to 1st poster, didn´t see all the rest...gotta drive home but will get back to you asap :-))

They have traditionally also been very good at killing large numbers of each other, and women and children, making agriculture impossible, rendering large areas uninhabitable. Is this part of your consideration that they are "better" at things than us?

Being seen as superior does not equal actually being superior. They are seen as superior through a world-view that they have controlled for most of human history.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 18:07:50

My DH and I are equally bad at parking our cars....except that I had the sense to get parking sensors on mine. Mere physical limitations are increasingly able to be overcome by technology.

Women are (statistically) better drivers than men - as shown by the insurance industry have (until recent ban) charging lower premiums. Men are far more likely to die in traffic accidents.

grimbletart Wed 02-Jan-13 18:12:52

Pinkypoops: when you get a moment google all the inventions made by females, including the ones in history patented in their husband's name because women were banned from patenting. You might get a surprise.

Then work out how long there has been anything even approaching a level playing field when it comes to education, jobs, politics etc. and see what has been achieved in what is really only a blink of a gnat's eye in historical terms.
Then factor in "the pram in the hall" effect.

If you are going to provide any serious evidence, as I said, you have to account for bias and confounding factors. Without that any assertion is pretty meaningless.

But since you are being anecdotal, here's an anecdote for you..I took my 11+ exam in 1953 (yes I'm pretty ancient)grin. Did you know that in order to have a 50/50 intake into grammar schools girls had to obtain a higher pass mark in the exam than boys then? This was to avoid having more girls than boys in grammar schools because they passed the 11+ in greater numbers even though the 11+ involved no course work but simply a sudden death exam, which these days people say favour boys.

PretzelTime Wed 02-Jan-13 18:14:02

People aren't born with excellent computer and cooking skills. You have to learn, and be allowed and encouraged to learn. And to be a pro there has to be an ok environment for you to be one, otherwises it's almost impossible. I'm actually amazed by how amazing women are. During periods of extreme patrarchal oppression such as the victorian age, women wrote great novels, became journalists and travelled around the world, and fought for our right to vote.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 18:46:57

Thanks for all the response everyone...*LapsusLinguae*...I really must get back in the loop and read some more...kids eh?...thanks for the book suggestions :-)
Yes OK, it IS a man´s world and therefore yes, the bias is going to be towards them....but it´s been a man´s world from the beginning of civilisation as we know it and only in this last TINY...what was it, Grimbletart? "blink of a gnat´s eye" hee hee...that women have actually been allowed any degree of empowerment really. Doesn´t that tell you something? Is it really purely the fact that we are physically weaker that has held us back?
Do you think in a female-dominated world that civisation and technology would be as advanced?
Sadly (and this is my worst topic of all), women will very often backstab each other rather than stick together in the moments that count, so I often wonder if we would have made a better job of it at all.
Please don´t get me wrong: I LOVE women and I too am often amazed at how wonderful we all are! It´s just that I am often disappinted at frustrated at the way things are and how, after our mums and grannies fought so hard to get us where we are now, there are many of us who just hand it all back to the remaining male chauvinist brigade on a plate (with accompanying ice cold beer and TV remote)
And Grimbletart...I had to get a straight A qualifications at school to get into my university course, whereas my male colleagues could get in with a few B grades too, since we also had sex ratios and that was in 1991...yikes! (Not in the UK, I must add)

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 19:05:14

Oh PS pretzelTime....have you honestly met a woman who is really good at computer- games...hand-eye coordination, etc ?
And the amazing women who did those things despite the oppression....fantastic yes, but how many really? Most were just at home following the status quo :-(
And AMIS ...good point at how good men have been at wiping each other out too! I wonder if there would be wars as such in a "female" world...??

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 19:08:25

So logically we deserve to be oppressed?

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 19:08:47

And just to confirm, by extension all oppression is justified?

AbigailAdams Wed 02-Jan-13 19:20:48

OK lots of people have made some very good points here and you seem to be dismissing them out of hand and not really thinking about the problems that they are presenting. I dispute the statement that you like women. You have done nothing but put us down on this thread as just not being up to scratch. You are certainly measuring women by a man's (and patriarchal) yard stick.

You also seem to be dismissing the oppressive element between men and women, as if it weren't there and in fact all women have to do is be more confident. Oppression has a knack of making those oppressed less confident (amongst other things). Do you believe women are oppressed?

We get the old line that men are stronger/faster/better so often that we can start to believe it's true. But you know what? For the most part, they're really not. In sports, we're told men and women can't compete because men are better and would always win. But it's not true that every man would always beat every woman. I'm a runner, and in the races I run, there are lots of men and lots of women. Men may take the first, say, 3-5 places out of the hundreds or even thousands of runners. But there is always a woman in the top 10, often coming as high up as 4th, 5th or 6th place. And then the pack is pretty mixed right the way down to last place often being a man.

And you know what that tells me? That perhaps 1% of men are better than all women, be it in business or sports. But after that, the field is very evenly mixed. So even if men are as intrinsically better in business etc in the same way as they are in physically activity, that doesn't mean for one minute that all men are better than all women. Just that perhaps that 1% top spot might always be occupied by a man. After that, every other position is up for grabs and you stand just as much chance as a man does if you work for it. And you know what else? The gap between women and men in sports is closing all the time, despite men getting more time/funding invested in their training. Same goes for the workplace.

sleepyhead Wed 02-Jan-13 19:43:34

Why are you using exceptional men as your examples (successful inventors, sportsmen etc) but dismissing examples of exceptional women?

Most men aren't fabulous at all the things you cite. You would need to take the differences between Mr & Ms Average, obviously taking into account the many, many confounding factors. Going by the people I know in real life, there aren't many differences between things like technical skill, success in the workplace, driving etc.

I had a friend who used examples such as you cite to justify his mindboggling racism (obviously black people were inferior because of mud huts in Africa and Live Aid hmm angry I wish I was joking). Why is it that we can see through this sort of shite but still swallow sexist stereotypes hook, line and sinker?

Trekkie Wed 02-Jan-13 19:44:46

"No matter how much we like to think otherwise, we are sabotaged by our hormones! They make us focus on having babies, being submissive, under-confident and lacking in ambition in our otherwise most productive years."

Speak for yourself!!!

Trekkie Wed 02-Jan-13 19:46:54

Incidentally I saw a prog recently about the disparity in male/female surgeons and it touched on lots of reasons, and none of them were that women are not as good.

PretzelTime Wed 02-Jan-13 20:11:02

OK I'm not sure how ahem serious OP is but this was too ironic not too reply to...
Oh PS pretzelTime....have you honestly met a woman who is really good at computer- games...hand-eye coordination, etc ?
Yes. Me. I used to be amazing at classic difficult sidescrollers back in the days - simply because I was interested in them and played a lot, like the other male and female gamers who were good at them.
And if women were all worse than men at playing electronic games for fun, would that justify the sexism and discrimination in society...?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 20:14:22

>Is it really purely the fact that we are physically weaker that has held us back?

No - though I think our infinitely better ability than men to bear children all too often has impacted our chances in other fields.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 20:17:09

Thanks again for posting....I have to admit, I am sort of playing devil´s advocate here. I do not necessarily completely believe all the things I have posted regarding male superiority...it´s just thoughts that have crossed my mind or attitudes that often get transmitted.
I am being necessarily hard on the female sex in order to hear the other side from people who have strong points of view. And yes, AbigailAdams I am measuring everything by a man´s yardstick becausse that is very much the way the patriarchal world as it presently exists, still views things.
And regarding comparisons to racism sleepyhead and tribpot that´s another thing I find quite prevalant...the attitude that it´s totally taboo to be racist in polite society yet it´s OK to belittle women and make sexist jokes....I see very little difference in the two types of discrimination personally...but that´s a whole other debate, isn´t it!?

FamilyGuy22 Wed 02-Jan-13 20:18:35

grimbletart

There are lots of men that are completely useless at lots of things (myself included). It has nothing to do with entitlement. My world doesn't collapse just because my wife is miles better at some things than I am. Believe it or not, many male ego's just aren't that fragile (although I readily admit that my ego is bigger than it should be lol).

One of my most respected people is Penny Furguson. Abandoned as a child, bullied and repeatedly abused by husbands/partners. At 50 she completely turned her life around. An amazing woman and more so than many of my male icons. That she's a woman makes no difference to me though. It's about her achievements.

I think GrimmaTheNome has hit the nail on the head. It isn't about us/them but individuals. The sooner we can get rid of this (along with race, colour and sexual orientation the better).

On a general note I find it interesting how we recognise that there are inequalities in the workplace etc. but often neglect that our CV's are vetted by HR departments that are dominated by women. These are the same women that oversee promotions or equality issues in the workplace. The wheels turn slowly I guess.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 02-Jan-13 20:20:38

Are men better than women? Yes of course they are if you judge them by male criteria!

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 02-Jan-13 20:21:06

Quite apart of anything else, I am the only woman in the house and the fucking best at computer games. grin

LeavingNewYork Wed 02-Jan-13 20:21:30

You don't think men are more "acclaimed" at these things because they are being "acclaimed" by a patriarchal system that puts men first?

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 20:23:31

Haha, trekkie, Ok I speak for myself then....I was totally USELESS at anything other than nappy changes during those very foggy, hazy years when having babies....I guess not everyone is as befuddled by mummy-brain as I was....I went from being a pretty intelligent trilingual professional to barely being able to string a coherent sentence together....I got seriously hormonally sabotaged in the name of childrearing! I guess that experience affected me a lot and possibly started me thinking along these lines.

Men are better at being men and achieving things important to men. Because that's the default position. I certainly don't consider myself to be in that competition. It isn't a level playing field, so comparison is meaningless. Oh, and DH works in the games industry. There are now loads of woman involved in the production and testing of computer games. DH regularly has his arse kicked.

PretzelTime Wed 02-Jan-13 20:31:03

Having a major life-change, having to make sure that the life you just created stays alive, and not being able to sleep properly can make someone slightly foggy and uninterested in other things, yes. A new, involved father is also affected.

OP you really want men to be superior don't you? You keep coming up with new things to "prove" it.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 20:31:22

Yes FamilyGuy22 Totally agree....the them and us thing is a huge part of the problem! And I recognise the whole nature of this post is very much THAT! eek...But it´s purely for the sake of hashing out this debate, I promise!
I´ve always hated being pigeon-holed as I, like PretzelTime do not fit into the classic stereotypical "Can´t read maps and is scared shitless of spiders" female mold! I know a good number of men who frequently get lost and ask ME to kindly remove the offending arachnid visitor!
It´s really sad how my sons already stereotype everything. Ask them to list their friends and they are all boys. When I see one of them laughing with a female classmate I ask, "So, is that one of your friends?" and I get, "No, that´s a girl and she DEFINITELY isn´t my girlfriend" Makes me want to cry.....girls are female 1st, humans second to them. sad

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 02-Jan-13 20:37:44

I tell my sons (6 & 8) about the past and present injustices to women. They understand. Tell them.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 20:38:39

And really glad to hear how so many of you kick ass at computer games....perhaps I have a very biased view there...I am really useless and DH and two DS´s are whizzes....then again, I really am not at all interested! Sorry, possibly a very bad generalisation. I shall go off and self-flagellate wink And no, I don´t "want men to be superior" !It would really be extremely nice to all just be human beings and not always lumped into little groups...but unfortunately, it seems to be a human thing to classify and pigeon-hole on the basis of all manner of physical differences....

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 02-Jan-13 20:39:20

(Clearly I don't stop at feminist issues. We rant against all injustices. Arguably children have the strongest sense of injustice. How many times have you heard them say "but it's so unfair"? grin They understand.)

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 20:41:01

I've been writing software for over 25 years - not games but serious scientific stuff. Including during pregnancy and when I returned as the very sleep deprived mother of an insomniac 6 mo old. I felt befuddled but turned out I could still do it.

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 20:57:34

So you're comparing yourself unfavourably about something you don't even enjoy doing? In that case, the men in my house are bloody useless at knitting! Going to show that my oppression of them by going out to work and earning money to keep them (money I earn in the IT industry I am apparently not very good at) is fully justified.

You don't have to put up with any kind of shit off your kids. My ds will very occasionally make comments about 'that's for girls' (I would also say his ambition in life is either to be a scientist or a SAHD!) but I question it - nicely - every time.

We talk about people being affected by hormones - of which of course testosterone is one. Yet we tend only to talk about women as being 'hormonal'. When a man is being all macho or otherwise in the grip of testosterone, is he not also being 'hormonal'? Both genders having their rational thinking challenged by their hormones, it seems.

Some of the men I work with are pretty emotional decision-makers as well, and will often speak in quite dramatic tones. We've had an issue about data sharing with the MOD and there's been a lot of 'so we trust these people with GUNS but we won't do [x, y, z]' which is totally irrelevant but mentioned quite frequently. Does this mean stereotyping has things backwards and women are more rational than men? No, it just means people are different. The guys I work with are a couple of years younger than me, I think it shows in some of their more panicky reactions to difficult situations. Also weirdly less likely to confront people with whom they have a problem - I've had to ask several of them recently just to SAY something to the person who's been bugging them. In other words doing what in women we would classify as being bitchy about a co-worker.

It's certainly worth looking at behaviour to see if it really falls into 'typical' or whether we use language to classify the same things or traits differently to create 'clear' gender differences. There are lots of differences between people - of all kinds.

FamilyGuy22 Wed 02-Jan-13 21:03:04

Lol @ pinkypoops. Don't worry, the us/them thing isn't an issue.

The way I see it we have two extremes with the stereotypical attributes. Then there are the various shades in between.

IMHO I don't buy the patriarch thing and that we are making comparisons on male terms. This is a poor excuse and does women an injustice. There are plenty of things where women set the standard and I'm not talking about washing up. To say that it's not possible to compete is a bit of a cop out.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:12:55

Interesting, tribpot Yes, I do always question my sons´ attitudes but already it seems the stuff they get fed by friends at school seems to hold more truth for them than what I say :-/ Will just keep on plugging away at it!
As for workplace stereotypes, I´ve nearly always worked in predominently female environments. Sometimes all-female teams. So often I have had people say things like, "Ooo, that must have been tricky" or, "Yikes, was it really bitchy all the time? All that oestrogen..ho ho" Never once have I fallen out with a colleague or had any big "issues" or scenes and I actually find it very comfortable to work in a team of women. I found the few colleagues who were moody, competitive and not team-players were all male, but there again, I don´t want to then generalise and say that ALL men are difficult to work with, do I?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 21:14:04

>There are plenty of things where women set the standard and I'm not talking about washing up.

Can you tell us what you are thinking of please?

>To say that it's not possible to compete is a bit of a cop out.
I don't think many of the posters here would say that - but in some areas the playing field really isn't level.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 21:15:56

Maybe men are generally (by no means always!) better at computer games because practice makes perfect. Far more men and boys are sat on their arses clicking away at a game while the Little Woman does all the freakin' work. If she gets time to sit down with a cup of tea and the laptop someone's always interrupting.

I used to play WoW with quite a few other female players and some of them were pretty good. There were a few hopeless ones, to be fair; but then again there were many more hopeless male players, simply because there are more male players.

Meanwhile, are you aware that the first ever computer programmer was a woman?

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:18:41

But FamilyGuy22, don´t you think that a lot of the stuff that women are given credit for, for being better at are often things that society sees as of lesser importance? (we´ll exclude childbirth here...haha)

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 21:18:51

Dammit, cross posted with a whole pageful.

BertieBotts Wed 02-Jan-13 21:22:14

I think it's more that men are more likely to get recognition for things.

Yes, men are more confident in general - but how is this not conditioning? Also confidence is rewarded in men and often chastised in women so that doesn't help the confidence issues.

Plus the defining factor that we live in a capitalist society and the values of capitalism are more traditionally "male" things, plus women are disadvantaged by capitalism anyway because of pregnancy and childbearing, a capitalist mindset does not slow down because of these things, but we have to - the survival of the species depends on it! Of course, men could take over childcare etc but we still have to go through the birth and recover from that and it is optimal for babies to be breastfed, so if you're looking purely in terms of strength/weakness then women do have a disadvantage here.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:22:53

Hey Annieg.. I saw that list of female inventors which was pretty cool and computer programmer was listed but back in the 1800´s.......eh?? Queen Vic had a laptop? Was that a mistake or are we talking some very rudimentary type? Lol

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:23:08

Here it is: http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0768070.html

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 21:25:39

Computer programming / computation has its origins in the dim and distant past. They didn't tend to use it for Tweeting and watching the iPlayer, mind you. (More fool them).

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 21:26:46

What women are given credit for being better at, and what they're actually better at, aren't necessarily the same things.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 21:27:17

The 'first computer programmer' unfortunately didn't have an actual computer to work on.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:30:31

I base my hormone argument (loosely) on a documentary I saw regarding male/female brains and the effects of hormones and especially testosterone.....it is undeniable that it plays a big role in competitiveness, drive, ambition and ruthlessness which, yes in today´s capitalist world, is what gets us ahead. A women´s testosterone stays pretty low during her main fertile tears but starts to rise around menopause....*Hello facial hair, me old friend!*...and THAT is when many women, freed of child rearing responsibilities, etc find a new drive and will even become entrepeneural, etc etc

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:31:35

Oops...fertile years that is grin

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 21:33:05

Lol....*Grimma*...so what was she programming? An abacus?

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 21:36:29

Babbage's Difference Engine, an automated calculating machine. I believe it resides in the Science Museum to this day.

AbigailAdams Wed 02-Jan-13 21:36:48

OP do you believe women are oppressed? And where does male violence fit into your neat little view of how women bring inequality upon themselves and if only we didn't make it "them and us" men would graciously allow us to be equal and give up their privilege?

Oh and being "befuddled" had f all to do with hormones and everything to do with sleep deprivation and tiredness.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 21:38:12

Ada Lovelace wrote what might have been the first 'computer algorithm' but Babbage never finished building his mechanical 'computer'.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 21:41:51

A woman also wrote (the basis of) COBOL, a computing language used extremely widely in business applications (I learned it for a government system I worked on in the 1980s). And I think another one co-wrote FORTRAN. A lot of the code-breakers at Bletchley Park during WW2 were also women. Women are good at this analytical brain stuff.

PurityBrown Wed 02-Jan-13 21:48:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HandbagCrab Wed 02-Jan-13 21:56:18

Do you honestly think women aren't very good at computer games because of hormones and pregnancy? Have men been the dominant sex in society for many years because some women are frightened of spiders? Your stream of conciousness rants are hard to follow, what are you trying to say? Who are you trying to be devils advocate for?

I think you have been very fortunate with your responses here and that people are being very kind and patient to explain things to you. I hope that you are taking some of this on board.

AbigailAdams Wed 02-Jan-13 22:00:13

I agree HandbagCrab. I thought you were taking the piss Pinky tbh.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 22:04:39

My brother's frightened of spiders. His wife has to put them outside for him.

FamilyGuy22 Wed 02-Jan-13 22:21:22

Pinkypoops

But FamilyGuy22, don´t you think that a lot of the stuff that women are given credit for, for being better at are often things that society sees as of lesser importance? (we´ll exclude childbirth here...haha)

LOL @ childbirth grin

I don't know. Off the top of my head (and also to loosely answer GrimmaTheNome's question) I have the following:

HR/recruitment/employment
PR
Healthcare
Education
Social care

These are definitely not jobs of lesser importance. Last time I checked my dentist was female, as was my solicitor, recruitment consultant, hairdresser (salon owner), mortgage adviser and GP. The head of my daughters school is a woman and has led the school to consistent outstanding status by Ofsted. The manager of my gym is also female, as was the VC of my uni. These are real women in decent jobs that have all had a positive impact on my life and deserve credit.

blueshoes Wed 02-Jan-13 22:30:51

Men generally have the advantage of an uninterrupted career. Women often have to make stark choices around the time they have children whether to continue to work ft, pt or drop out completely. It is the latter 2 choices which sabotage women's visible success in the capitalist economy IMO.

That and confidence which means a ft time working woman may end up not achieving as much as a ft working man, particularly since she is outnumbered and does not have the support networks that men do. I do believe testosterone has a role to play in men's success.

qumquat Wed 02-Jan-13 22:41:09

Family guy - not jobs of lower importance but definitely jobs of lower status and pay to male dominated professions.

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 22:42:14

Actually, AbigailA it has a WHOLE lot to do with hormones, prolactin in particular to name one, but yes, sleep depro too.
And is it really necessary to adopt an aggressive tone here? Just because I may express some ideas that may not sit comfortably with you, doesn´t mean you have to go on the attack shock
And of course I most certainly do not feel that ANY behaviour on the part of women justifies male violence (again- a whole other subject)....however when one of the world´s biggest female role-models is beaten black and blue by her partner and then is seen to be possibly reconciling with him along with singing lyrics that could possibly be seen to be inviting more violence against herself, one does kind of despair of the message that sends out to would-be abusers.
I´m just saying that women must also assume some responsibility for being in a position of weakness in some cases. Those of us who try to take a stand and prove that we are equal members of the species are quite often let down by others who seem to want to stay in a position of weakness and powerlessness.
And Handbag, it´s a huge subject, so if I seem to be jumping about from one example to the next, it´s that I am trying to respond to various people´s ideas and comments all at once. Sorry if it doesn´t make sense to you but if you honestly understand from my posts that I think it´s all down to a feminine fear of spiders then ...well... perhaps read no further- you´ll just get more annoyed, I fear!

blueshoes Wed 02-Jan-13 22:48:18

Handbagcrab, what a patronising post to the OP. Is that how you win people over to your views?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 22:51:52

I think if we were to judge the sexes by the examples set by rock/pop stars the blokes wouldn't be doing too well either. Is Rhianna really a 'role model' to many women? confused

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 22:54:04

Good point. Grimma....sadly I fear she is to some...eeek....and to teenage girls shudder

Pinkypoops Wed 02-Jan-13 22:55:25

Ta, Blueshoes smile

kim147 Wed 02-Jan-13 23:02:54

I'll just say at this point that my highly successful, confident, outgoing sister told me "that feminism has gone too far with this equality thing" and she still likes being treated like a lady and having men buy her meals and open doors for her.

DrRanj Wed 02-Jan-13 23:08:55

There's a lot of misogyny in your post. Why do you hate a certain type of woman so much? There are lots of make pop stars out there who are happy to be famous for nothing more than their looks too. Equally there are lots of very intelligent and academic women who just don't happen to be famous for it, probably due to patriarchy, not due to women letting the side down.

DrRanj Wed 02-Jan-13 23:09:54

And ftr, I don't consider Rhianna to be a role model that I aspire to.

DrRanj Wed 02-Jan-13 23:10:21

MALE pop stars...

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Jan-13 23:12:52

>I'll just say at this point that my highly successful, confident, outgoing sister told me "that feminism has gone too far with this equality thing"

Yeah, right. What does she think of this sort of thing? And all the shades of discrimination between that and the near-equality some women such as ourselves in western societies enjoy.

DrRanj Wed 02-Jan-13 23:14:30

And no I don't think we are second best. I am in a traditionally male dominated industry, where female applicants to the degree now outnumber men and perform equally as well, if not better. Women will probably still continue to not progress as far or earn as much, but that is because society still expects them to stay at home and look after the children while their husbands career continue unaffected. angry

kim147 Wed 02-Jan-13 23:16:15

grimma I totally agree - awful story but she seems more concerned with her life.

HandbagCrab Wed 02-Jan-13 23:40:35

Op according to your posts you are a qualified professional with two dc and a dh. You are a fully grown adult woman and a mother. You should be able to put together a coherent argument and then responses that articulate what you really think and what the real issues are that made you post here. It is very contentious to post how men are better than women on a site mainly for women and to do so with no rationale behind what you are saying comes across (to me anyway) as saying things to simply provoke a response.

If I were to summarise your thoughts it seems to be: men are better at things than women such as parking cars and playing computer games and running the world. This is because of hormones and women have the wrong ones until they are older. Also women are bitchy in the workplace and rhianna dresses provocatively and hasn't coped well with being an incredibly public victim of domestic violence whilst her abuser has resurrected his very successful career so it is women's own fault that they are not equal with men. I am being a bit facetious but it's hard to tell what you mean and what you want to get from this discussion. Rather than being patronising I expect better of a woman than this ill thought out claptrap.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 02-Jan-13 23:45:21

OP, I do know what you mean a little bit when you talk about Rihanna eat al. I despair when I see women willingly objectify themselves. But what you have to remember is that we currently live in a world where a woman is rewarded more for being hot than for being clever or for having integrity.

In a variety of ways women are reminded of the fact that they can be as intelligent as they want but what they will ultimately be judged on is their looks. I am watching set of Youtube lectures at the mo by a fantastic female prof yet the main topic of discussion in the comment section is how hot she is.

More than that women and girls get the message that their intelligence might even hinder them getting a mate, because no one wants to make a man feel emasculated right?

Sometimes I wonder why girls even bother. They've worked so hard to get so far in education yet what do the media and politicians focus on? Boys and their underachievement and how we need to increase quotas for boys entering university. Did those people give a flying shit when it was girls being discriminated against? Does anyone care that these hard working girls will earn less than their male counterparts? No, instead they pee around their ever diminishing territory which basically now consists of science and technology making up new reasons why girls' brains aren't suited to science. It used to be the shape of the pelvis, now it's to do with brain types. Seriously the assault on female self-esteem is constant. It's a bloody wonder we've achieved anything.

Oh dear, I'm late to this, but OP:

No.

HTH.

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 00:44:17

I work in male dominated industry and it saddens me to see the amount of women who cone and go simply because they cannot cope with the job or cant hack the pace. At redundancy time it is always m women who go f

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 00:47:17

Oops posted too soon.

It's always the women who are the majority of the people redundant.

I always wonder why then men dominate in more female type industries such as hair dressing, cooking and fashion design. It seems men are usually the best in both female and male dominated industries.

GiveMeSomeSpace Thu 03-Jan-13 05:36:11

"female type industries such as hair dressing, cooking and fashion design"

Not sure I see any of those as female type industries actually. Society often tells us it's the case, but I'm not sure it's true or that we should hold them out to be such

WidowWadman Thu 03-Jan-13 07:01:58

"Men generally have the advantage of an uninterrupted career. Women often have to make stark choices around the time they have children whether to continue to work ft, pt or drop out completely. It is the latter 2 choices which sabotage women's visible success in the capitalist economy IMO."

That's the kind of thinking we need to get away from. Men are making choices as much as women do. By continuing the myth that it's normal/their godgiven right for men to continue their career uninterrupted, while it's down to women to make a choice, it's only women who are being pressurised into making that choice, and only women who'll be made feel inadequate whatever choice they make. Yes, maternity/paternity leave provision is still not entirely fairly split, but a step in the right direction has been made recently enabling some sharing. Now it's down to men and women to use it to break down the stereotypical roles.

FWIW, I chose to work full time and had taken 39 weeks mat leave for each child - that was before the split thing came in, and also my employer offered enhanced SMP, so no brainer. In the space of 4 years I had two lots of mat leave, but also doubled my income through changing jobs and being promoted. The house work is evenly split, as we both work out of the house as much as the other. The financial burden is shared evenly (and there's less pressure than a sole earner would have) Had we bought into the myth that a good mum can't work full time, that probably wouldn't have worked out.

My husband chose to work just as much as I did. He gets asked much less often why though, as it's assumed that's what men do and that's what needs to be changed.

Himalaya Thu 03-Jan-13 08:21:36

OP -

I don't agree with you that "women are second best", but I do agree that "equality isn´t that straight forward".

Certainly there is lots of unhelpful learned behaviour for both males and females, and there are sexist attitudes and discriminatory practices still at work. If these were removed I think there would be more equality - more women in traditionally male leadership roles and more men playing an equal role in raising their kids, caring for elderly parents etc...

But I don't think we will ever live in a perfectly gender neutral world where women are equally likely to be captains of industry, chess champions, revolutionaries etc... and men and women approach their careers, public and private lives in exactly the same way, or where people (both men and women) don't undermine their own best interests by going with their hormones at times.

This is not because women are "second best" (there is no such scale) but because we humans are not perrfectly rational, and because of the different evolutionary pressures have shaped male and female tendencies to risk taking, status seeking and caring.

In practice differences between men and women can be marginal (e.g. The running example someone gave upthread), but when men and women form partnerships to raise children the differences tend to be amplified.

I don't think it is antithetical to feminism to recognise how biology shapes society, and it should not be used as an excuse to keep women down, or excuse injustice. But at the same time it can't be wished away.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 03-Jan-13 09:36:09

Willowme , what do you mean they can't hack the pace? Are you saying women leave the job sooner because they aren't capable of working so hard? That seems very unlikely. Do you think it may be because they have to go home earlier to pick up the children, deal with homework and bedtime, do all the domestic stuff and take days off for school events/hospital appointments as well as a full day's work? Or do you just think women really are weaker all round?

FamilyGuy22 Thu 03-Jan-13 09:38:32

Come on, let's not shoot the OP down for airing her POV or playing devil's advocate. It's as important to challenge beliefs just as it is for me (a man) to come on here and see the other side. I may not agree with many feminist theories but that's not to say that I should be disrespectful and shoot people down for their POV.

TBH I struggle with the interupted career thing and women being objects too. Much of this is due to our biological make up. To some extent we cannot change what evolution has given us so don't think it's fair to lay the blame solely at the male species. It's an old argument but if men had breasts and a womb then we would undoubtedly stay at home more than the woman and the entire salary/equality thing reversed.

I think we often forget that until the industrial revolution (and the invention of the combine harvester etc.) roughly 80% of the population worked on farms doing a range of tasks but mostly hard physical labour. This has been happening since the dawn of time and possibly why man is physically why he is.

I've no doubt sexism reigned supreme throughout history but you cannot argue that posessing greater physical strength leads naturally to certain decisions when gathering enough food meant the difference between life/death. It's only since the 2nd world war that we've not had to worry about food - hence the obesity problem in modern times.

Speaking of obesity I'm also guilty of adjusting my nutrition and working out in a bid to fight against nature. I often despair at these threads as it all seems like doom/gloom dispite the west making great strides to work toward equality. Me being a metrosexual is one of these changes and is a futher development of man as he comes to terms with the fact that he cannot get by on being the breadwinner any more. Hence men are now having to beautify/groom etc. to be attractive to the opposite sex. Ok so I'm already married but guess I am just plain vain blush

bigkidsdidit Thu 03-Jan-13 09:41:36

I agree with handbag crab. These posts are so ill thought out. You're judging men by what they are best at and not judging women by what we are best at.

You say 'men are better at computer games' therefore women are second best. Why not 'men aren't as good at knitting therefore women are better'?

Why judge all women by Rihanna and not all men by Chris Brown?

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 09:44:31

I see it all too often in my job, women are hindered but a lot of it is their own doing. Most women I come across professionsly have cried at work over something stupid, been openly bitchy to other female colleagues, or had affairs.
This type of thing undermines their professional position and can be the reason women never make it to top in their careers.

I would far rather work with men and that's part if the reason I choose my career, there is less bitching and irrational behaviour. At times I'm
Embarrassed to be a woman when the type of thing I've described above goes on. I'm not against women I just wish they could see they are not helping themselves to get ahead with this behaviour.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 03-Jan-13 09:46:23

Sorry about spamming, but I would like to discuss Himalaya's point about the potential for true equality.

I agree that if the playing field were absolutely level, you probably would still see a majority of one sex behaving like this while another is more likely to go that way. However, there will also be men who are fabulous at the nurturing side but not so good with risks, and women who are daring and assertive. It's the assumption that because you are male you will naturally be better at x whilst a female has the natural lead on y that is wrong. You need to examine the individual and give each one due credit for what that person can do, not what someone else with the same genital arrangement might be able to do. If the best man for the job is a woman, give it to her. It's irrelevant whether the world's strongest weightlifter is male; if this young, healthy woman in front of you can lift more weight than the little old man with a bad back, let her lift, and let him type if he's good at it. And for God's sake don't give him the job because you assume he's got a wife and family to keep while she's only working for extra dresses angry angry angry

Anniegetyourgun Thu 03-Jan-13 09:47:36

Think I got a couple of sentences jumbled around at the end there, but I hope you catch my drift.

ninjasquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 09:51:43

I typed this post half an hour ago and the conversation's moved on but hey... About men having more confidence, I remember reading about research that showed there was a reason why women weren't as assertive in the workplace as men - they got much more harshly judged for e.g. asking for more money.

As well as general views about proper behaviour for women, it also depends on context - how much women are seen as outsiders. Another study I read about found women MSPs were more assertive in the Scottish Parliament than female MPs in Westminster - presumably because women had been included from the very beginning and so were more accepted.

ninjasquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 09:53:49

As for this 'bitching and irrational behaviour' by women, all I can say is that I've not seen it. And who are these women having affairs with? Or does it not count as unprofessional on the part of the men?

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 03-Jan-13 10:07:55

The sample chapter is all I can say without going in a rage about some of these generalisations about bitchy women and all that.

AbigailAdams Thu 03-Jan-13 10:13:34

"And of course I most certainly do not feel that ANY behaviour on the part of women justifies male violence (again- a whole other subject)....however when one of the world´s biggest female role-models is beaten black and blue by her partner and then is seen to be possibly reconciling with him along with singing lyrics that could possibly be seen to be inviting more violence against herself, one does kind of despair of the message that sends out to would-be abusers."

hmm

It isn't Rihanna's job (or any other abused woman) to stop men abusing women. That is a job for men. And the whole music industry is also stacked against her. It is male-dominated and very misogynistic. There are many many male artists writing and singing equally, if not worse lyrics. Rihanna is merely a product (as horrible as that sounds) and quite frankly deserves our sympathy and empathy not our wrath/judgement/scorn.

And male violence isn't a whole other subject - it is at the root of inequality between men and women. One that you conveniently forgot to mention whilst discussing who parks cars better and who is good at playing computer games - as if that is why we have inequality confused.

You seem to be quite happy attacking women who are just trying to get by in a world stacked against them. As HandbagCrab said you have been let off pretty lightly on this thread for basically coming on and putting women down. It makes me angry that you feel it is OK to do that.

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 10:27:16

Going I read that when I get a chance Uptoapoint .

Ninja for example I work with 10 women and about 100 men 7 of the women are having affairs or slept with male colleagues at some point, that makes 70% of the women at it and only 7% of the men. Maybe some women will benefit from their affairs but I would say the majority won't as I have seen it happen all too often before. It's this kind of behaviour that makes us women look unprofessional or that we can get anywhere on our own merits, instead we think we have to sleep our way to the top.

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 10:27:44

*can't get anywhere on our own merits

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 10:33:02

Annie that's exactly what I'm saying, the women I work with dont put in the same hours as the men, and the ones I'm talking about dont have children and are mostly single. I totally understand when a woman has kids things change, I have one myself, I probably don't put in the same hours as I did before but I still do as much if not more than my equivalent male counterparts.

Maybe it's just my company but this is what I see.

BoffinMum Thu 03-Jan-13 10:37:52

Right, time for a joke. Parable of the Willies, as it were.

God was making people and had a couple of pieces left over in the box, so called the man and woman over.

Right, said God, right here I have the ability to wee standing up.

Adam pushed to the front. Me, me, me, I'll have that, he said.

Eve waited a minute. What's the other piece? she asked.

God grinned. Multiple orgasms, she replied.

wink

Anniegetyourgun Thu 03-Jan-13 10:44:36

Yes, exactly. Who are these women having affairs with? Er, men? Or is it only lesbian affairs that are seen to be unprofessional? It's the old "if a woman has an affair she's a whore, if a man has an affair he's a lad about town" dichotomy innit. Women are allowed to be sex objects (ie judged in accordance with their attractiveness rather than their efficiency) but not to be sex subjects (ie willing participants). Weird stuff, and says a lot more about office politics than it does about women in the workplace.

KRITIQ Thu 03-Jan-13 11:22:13

Perhaps I'm just not nosy enough, but I have no clue whether professional colleagues have or are sleeping together and don't give a flying fig whether or not they are. I only care whether they are doing the job they're paid for.

This seems a very odd thread. Unless the OP is brand new to MN, or in fact to internet message boards completely, she surely would have realised that an opening post filled with quite wild generalisations would be experienced as pretty provocative by other members here. The wild generalisations have continued, even though many folks have provided evidence and patient explanations about why such generalisations are rarely helpful, the dangers of "self-fulfilling prophecies," etc. But, I'm not convinced that the OP really is inclined to engage with these. There's always a "Yes, but . . . " response, followed by more generalisations.

I was trying to imagine what it would be like if the thread made the same sort of generalisations about people of different ethnic backgrounds, or class backgrounds, or people with disabilities. Whether the op was from a minority ethnic group, or a less privileged socio-economic class or had a disability herself wouldn't really make a difference, just as the OP being a woman doesn't give one carte blanche to make pronouncements about all women.

There's also this phenomenon sometimes referred to as "internal oppression." That's where because you hear constant messages saying you are inferior, you believe these to be true at some level, and often "act the part," you're told you are supposed to play.

Willowme Thu 03-Jan-13 11:33:32

No but it's 70% of the women and only 7% of the men so what does that say.

Its nothing to do with nosy, when it's in my face both on a working day and on nights out.

Anyways I'm just putting my point of view across this is what happens in my company it may not happen everywhere but I can only talk about my experiences.

BoffinMum Thu 03-Jan-13 11:45:30

It says the men are shagging 10 women each. Maffs, innit.

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 11:50:37

First the car-parking thing: firstly, how often have you noticed men having to try 3 times to park their car? Probably never, because we don't notice when men are incompetent about it, whereas as soon as a woman fulfills stereotypes, we seize on it. As a side issue, so what if women were not in fact, good at parking cars? Why would that be an indicator of inferiority? Why isn't an inability to turn on the dishwasher or washing machine an indicator of inferiority?

Sexy stuff - look at how rewarded women are for jumping through patriarchal beauty indicators. If people are rewarded for behaving in a certain way, they will behave in a certain way. It is rare for a woman to be rewarded, for looking like herself and being herself. If it weren't rare, more women would do that. I think you need to look at structures there, rather than blame the women who operate within the structures.

Viz testosterone, why aren't you saying that testosterone makes men more likely to murder, be violent and take risks than women, therefore we ought to place some reasonable restrictions on their behaviour? If we lived in the oppressive matriarchal society which were a mirror image of the oppressive patriarchal society we actually live in, then that is how the question of hormones would be phrased, rather than seeing testosterone as a positive thing.

Secondly with regard to hormones, even if it were true that our oestrogen controlled us into needing to make babies, why would that be framed as a negative? Creating the next generation would be considered a worthwhile and valuable thing to do, if we didn't live in a society steeped in misogyny.

In conclusion, I'm getting the feeling that as we all do (for a while) you've imbibed the misogynist framing of our society and want some reassurance that we are not actually, as shit as our society tells us. I think the only way you can rid yourself of that self-doubt (which was put there by a society which told you and me right from day 1 that we're not as good as our brothers) is by reading. A few basic fem texts might be helpful, because it will help you see the patters of how society is structured to ensure tht women fail. Knowing how this is done, helps you rid yourself of the feeling that we just aren't good enough.

Will now read the rest of the thread. smile

kim147 Thu 03-Jan-13 11:52:18

Would love to know what kind of workplace you work in. Mind you, I've only ever worked in mainly female environments and the only male was the 50 year old Head. Pretty sure no affairs were going on there.

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 11:59:23

"one thing that seriously gets my goat is placing under-qualified people in positions because of their demographic (grrrr)"

Where does this happen?

IME, the only time this happens is when men get jobs because of their demographic and everyone calls it a meritocracy, not noticing that the man in question is surrounded by women of a lower level who are infinitely more qualified than him.

"Men are often more outspoken and stronger in meetings and debates- ipso facto, better at getting their point across and getting heard."

When women are as outspoken and as strong in meetings as men are, they are seen as aggressive, scary bitches. When women talk 30% of the time, they are perceived to have dominated the meeting.

Men being better at stuff - you need to remember that men have deliberately excluded women from all the stuff you mention - you go into a gym, and all the equipment there is made for an average male - women are smaller and lighter and are on average going to find that some of the equipment doesn't meet their needs. Because they're expected to slot into a world designed for men, rather than one designed for both men and women. All the other stuff you mention, women have been excluded from until recently and their efforts are recieved far more critically than those of men - when men screw up, it's their screw up and a chance to learn from it, when women screw up, it's received as further proof that all women are shit.

Back to the next bit of thread.

grimbletart Thu 03-Jan-13 12:01:39

No but it's 70% of the women and only 7% of the men so what does that say

Frankly, the square root of sweet fanny adams. I think the fact that there are 100 men and only 10 women for them to have affairs with should give you a clue.....

On another tack..

This thing about women not being fitted to do certain things e.g. rule the universe, because they are emotional due to their hormones and nature.

Testosterone is a hormone - anger is an emotion and we know what that can do - or do emotions and hormones only count negatively when they are female?

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 12:22:08

It's telling that you focus on the bad message that Rihanna sends out, while completely ignoring the bad message Chris Brown sends out. He's the perpetrator remember? He's the one we should be focusing on. Patriarchy ensures that women turn their ire on her instead of him.

What's wrong with crying at work? Why is that worse than swearing at work, or shouting at work, something lots of men I have worked with have done, but it never gets the criticism crying at work does. Because men tend to do the shouting or swearing and men are better than women, obv., so behaviour associated with them - anger, grandstanding, bullying, is OK, while crying - nasty icky female stuff - is shit, because women are shit.

I totally disagree that there is less bitching and irrational behaviour when working with men. For the first time in years I'm in a male dominated team and the muddled thinking, irrational decisions, grand-standing, bitching and sheer fear is extraordinary to behold after years of being in a co-operative, constructive environment. It's very entertaining, but there's no way it's as efficient as the female-dominated environments I've worked in for the previous five years. They're higher paid though. Because they're better than women, obv, because women are shit.

hmm

AbigailAdams Thu 03-Jan-13 12:33:07

Excellent post Festivia.

I've often wondered what is wrong with showing people you are upset as well. Do you think it might make them uncomfortable to know that they have upset you? Well quite frankly it should. Or do you think it is a sign of weakness? Well it isn't. And in fact to even put it on the same level as aggression, sexual harrassment and violence that I have seen from men in my workplace is really really insulting and mimising. I had one guy at the Xmas party try and justify why another member of staff had held a woman in my office up against the wall by her throat, because she was annoying and would try the patience of a saint. There is still that underlying belief that women's behaviour deserves violence. That man didn't get sacked btw, he was moved to another office. I wonder why women aren't more confident in the workplace. Remind me again why that would be?

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 03-Jan-13 12:33:52

YY to last three posts of FestiviaBlueberry smile

blueshoes Thu 03-Jan-13 12:57:05

I am not recognising in my largely evenly balanced male/female workplace (with more men in senior positions) the crying, affairs, shouting, swearing, bitching, irrational thinking or sexual harassment that is being described.

And I have worked in 4 different organisations.

Himalaya Thu 03-Jan-13 12:58:58

Anniegetyourgun - I agree with you. I guess the challenge is to be able to judge individuals on their merits and not rely on stereotypes, even while admitting that there may be some gender related tendencies at a population level.

I guess technology may help - things like the move from women getting cheaper insurance as a group to "black box" insurance that monitors how well people drive. Could be applied in other areas of life. Similarly with work if we can get better at measuring results rather than assuming that performance on the basis of appearance/presenteeism.

Pinkypoops Thu 03-Jan-13 13:50:25

In reply to those criticising my "ill-thought-out" argument...this is NOT a pre-planned posting in any way...hence I haven´t sat and planned what amazing argument I should type to back up my perceived mysogyny! This is me trying to make sense of perceptions I come across on a daily basis that perhaps have had an effect on the way I see things. I am not some politician or professional feminist debator! (or anti-feminist as some of you see it!)
Just an ordinary woman who likes to look at ALL sides of an argument with a very open mind. I do not in fact BELIEVE that women ARE second best. What I do see however, is that we are often not as good at certain things as men are and it adds fuel to the argument that we are the "weaker sex". Yes, thanks for pointing out, many of you....we are in a man´s world and therefore judged by masculine criteria. (That´s been a very helpful point, thanks)
And ´scuse me for randomly picking out examples as they came off the top of my head....parking/computer skills/etc are just the trees in the wood. I´m looking at the bigger picture.
And what is wrong with criticising women? When did we all become untouchable?? I AM actually one too, you realise, so feel I should be able to look at my own kind critically and honestly.
The whole point of this is that I do love women and love being one. I just feel genuinely frustrated that, within our ranks are those who self-sabotage and set us all back! And being blindly, militantly feminist without being able to stop and consider another person´s honest observations is almost as bad as being a simpering little sex kitten, if I may be so bold.(eek) Neither extreme is helpful, I don´t think.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 03-Jan-13 14:09:52

I hope you're right, Himalaya. That would make sense. However, the effect of measuring results in education, as Lessthanaballpark pointed out earlier, is instant panic because it appears more girls than boys are good at it. It's believed there must be something wrong with the education, or the measure, or something. Not acceptance that girls may just be better at this education lark (at least at this stage of their lives). They can't just suck it up, they have to pick at it and find some way of making it not true. At least with the removal of cheaper insurance for female drivers, which I agree was unfair based as it was on averages rather than individuals, they've stopped the difference mattering.

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 14:33:46

Pinkypoops I think you're missing the point.

It's not a brave, open-minded observation to say women might just be shit. It's the default position of a misogynist society. Lots of people deep down inside, without realising it, think that women are just shit really and that's why they don't get anywhere. Most don't realise that, it's only when the chips are down that it gets expressed and they don't even realise they're expressing that idea.

Refuting that proposition, isn't "being blindly, militantly feminist", it's just applying critical feminist analysis to an age old misogynist "common sense fact". Critical feminist analysis is the opposite of blind. It's blind to not be able to critique the stereotypical observations you see all around you on a daily basis. But when feminists do critique them, we're called blindly militant. The breath-takingly thorough research and analysis and lifting of the veil that feminist scholarship did - and is doing - on so many of the topics that you've raised, is actually incredible and amazing and if men had done it, would be considered one of the cultural triumphs of the twentieth century. Instead, it's called "blind". Sad.

Pinkypoops Thu 03-Jan-13 15:04:47

FestiviaB I´m loving your posts and despite criticising me, you have managed to shout me down without causing offence, so thanks. grin I do think that you are slightly missing MY point too, though! Ostensibly yes, I have posted some pretty harsh things which clearly offend those of you on here who have probably read a lot and know one heck of a lot more about feminist theory and history than most. And THAT is my point!
It´s time to preach (nicely please) to the UNconverted!
I want people like you to tell me these things- the way you see it or know it to be. Rather than attacking me for being such an ignorant product of a male-dominated society, continue to convince me otherwise...please! :-)
I assure you that articulate, highly educated and well-read women such as you who have read so extensively about feminism are VERY SADLY in the minority! Most people-male and female- just tootle along in their day to day lives without giving any of this much thought as long as it doesn´t seem to affect them. I readily admit to being guilty of not reading enough and not being conscious of all that goes on around me- something I hope very soon to remedy. Again...THAT is my whole point. Am I still being unclear??

grimbletart Thu 03-Jan-13 15:08:45

So right Annie: that's why I made the point about girls having to achieve higher marks in the old 11+ exam than boys to prevent them outnumbering boys at grammar school. It was patently and obviously unfair to deny entrance to girls because they achieved more but no one gave a flying raspberry at the time because it was only girls being disadvantaged Now there is more coursework and girls are still achieving better marks there is this idea/myth that they are doing better because education has become 'feminised' - whatever that means and lots of hands held up in horror because it is perceived that boys are disadvantaged.

I don't want either sex to be disadvantaged. I don't want positive discrimination (even though males enjoyed positive discrimination in education, jobs, politics etc. right up to recent times). I just want individuals to be judged on their merit - not by their sex.

KRITIQ Thu 03-Jan-13 15:27:46

Festivia, your last post sums things up brilliantly.

Pinkypops, I know you say you want to learn, want to be convinced. However, I'm honestly not getting the sense that you genuinely want to engage with those who are giving up their time, thoughts and energy to patiently explain alternative perspectives.

Discussions like this crop up frequently here, and in feminist discussion boards all over the web. Sometimes, they are started by people who honestly want to learn, who are willing to listen, who do their own research without expecting people to hand them all the answers on a plate. Much of the time, however, it's not like that. Sometimes they are wind ups. Sometimes, they are started by folks "looking for an excuse to get off the bus," (i.e. saying provocative things in hopes of getting flamed so they can say they were "driven away" from feminism.) I'm not saying that you are either of the last two, but I'm not yet getting the message that you're clearly the first, either. Really, it's up to you though to get that message across.

It's not always possible to be "nice" about systemic oppression, whether that's racism, sexism, homophobia, class prejudice or disability discrimination. It doesn't mean one has to be rude and personalise everything, but it does mean that often you have to say things that WILL make others squirm. If everything is presented in sugar coating, there's a huge risk the whole point will get lost in a bland message of, "well, we should all just be nice to one another and it will be okay." You need the grain of sand to make a pearl. You have to prune a tree to make it grow. If a person isn't receptive to some discomfort, to having their preconceived ideas challenged a bit, to considering alternative perspectives, then they're hardly likely to change their views, no matter how gently you try to persuade them.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-Jan-13 15:52:06

The recurring mention of computer games in this particular thread has made me wonder what would happen if someone was to write a simulation with two separate worlds - one 'male' the other 'female' but capable of parthenogenesis. Of course defining m/f 'characteristics' without being merely stereotypical would be difficult but I wouldn't bet that Planet Testostero would be a happier place than Planet Oestro.

Pinkypoops Thu 03-Jan-13 16:04:17

Thanks, Kritiq...but who says I´m not taking everything on board and listening? I´m here to listen to ideas and be pointed in the right direction...sure, I could go to Google or Amazon and type in "popular feminist books" but I´d rather have people chat to me about certain points of view 1st and get some recommendations rather than just blindly picking the current bestseller at Feminists R us!
Also, I think it´s crazy how easily people at Mumsnet (and I am new here, so naive I now most certainly realise :-/ ) get riled up and have a go at a poster, often getting very personal. (not here, but others I´ve seen and been frankly shocked by) This shouldn´t be about ME personally. I haven´t come on here as a troll to argue some bigotted agenda and stir things up. It´s about ideas and theories. I am genuinely interested in what people think and how they respond to these issues and questions, so don´t attack my motives. If you don´t like the thread just ignore it!
As for "an excuse to get off the bus"...haha...I am looking for encouragement to get ON the bus, actually, but it helps when the conductor greets you with a friendly and welcoming hello...rather than a "Well your views are all totally misguided, your arguments flawed and you are clearly ignorant, so you´re not allowed on the backseat with the cool chicks" Sorry, now I´m being facetious too, but come on...I can do without the grain of sand...I am well acquainted with discomfort in everyday life...comes with the territory as a female, doesn´t it?

AbigailAdams Thu 03-Jan-13 16:07:48

People were chatting to you at the beginning of the thread Pinky, but you didn't engage with them, choosing instead to cite more examples of how you thought women were just inadequate.

Nobody has got personal on here, Pinky. They have told you that you are wrong. They have asked uncomfortable questions. But no-one has been personal.

Pinkypoops Thu 03-Jan-13 16:12:20

Oh dear, Grimma...so wishing I had never mentioned the damned computer games! blush But I like your idea! Willing to bet both planets would be pretty miserable and useless really! The truth is that we probably compliment and need each other so much more than we like to admit. Would LOVE to look into a parallel universe of sorts and see how a female-dominated world would be though. I´m inclined to think it would be rather nicer...but that´s probably a sexist view too, right there! Yikes this is a minefield...little did I know it would be so...um...mine-y, this whole debate :-/

Pinkypoops Thu 03-Jan-13 16:20:19

No, I know they haven´t (as I said)- I was referring to other threads, Abigail. If I haven´t engaged with everyone it´s because it´s moved very fast so I haven´t been able to respond to each and every poster which doesn´t mean I haven´t read and valued what people have said. I appreciate ALL the input but I didn´t come on here to have a fight. Prefer to keep things civil. Despite the sensitive subject, I´m not the enemy here. sad

Himalaya Thu 03-Jan-13 16:38:42

Grimma "....what would happen if someone was to write a simulation with two separate worlds - one 'male' the other 'female' but capable of parthenogenesis. Of course defining m/f 'characteristics' without being merely stereotypical would be difficult but I wouldn't bet that Planet Testostero would be a happier place than Planet Oestro."

Eh? By defining 'male' and 'female' characters but then making them capable of of parthenogenesis you would be writing out the very thing that has shaped maleness and femaleness (sexual reproduction) and instead have to rely on sterotypes to tell your pink/girly characters from your blue/macho characters.

I would like to do the opposite simulation. Two populations living together to all extents and purposes identical but with different reproductive odds - one can have one child a year maximum, the other can have as many children as they are able fertilise (but are unable to reliably identify their own children). Children need 3 years of intensive care for survival and 10 more years of less intensive care.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-Jan-13 17:06:20

>you would be writing out the very thing that has shaped maleness and femaleness (sexual reproduction)

Yes, that would be the point. To make the 'male' have to childbear/childrear if the 'male' society was to survive. As I said, defining the 'M/F' characteristics wouldn't be easy without mere stereotyping (which IRL I reject...scientist with a grandfather who was a champion knitter that I amgrin) - but its only a simulation - would in fact stereotypical males actually turn out 'better' than stereotypical females?

I'd like to see your simulation too - and I'm sure there are others that could be dreamed up to explore the dynamics. How about a simulation in which the individuals with otherwise 'male' characteristics were the childbearers and BFers (so had the interrupted careers)

runningforthebusinheels Thu 03-Jan-13 17:27:23

"one thing that seriously gets my goat is placing under-qualified people in positions because of their demographic (grrrr)"

Yes, me too. The Old Boy's Network and nepotism really gets my goat.

Lessthanaballpark Thu 03-Jan-13 17:50:00

It amazes me that men as a collective are responsible for waaaaay more violence than women yet you think it is women that are inferior.

FamilyGuy22 Thu 03-Jan-13 18:13:57

Just to throw in a counter, I found this very interesting on youtube. I would say that the sentiments voiced by the women are spot on and no different in my industry

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgjaWq0d7I8

also interesting reading

www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/9444289/Women-in-UK-engineering-jobs-worryingly-low.html#disqus_thread

FWIW a friend and manager at my last company actively recruited female engineers and I think they found that, ironically, although massively under-represented by women engineering is probably one the most open and equal environments you could work in.

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 19:19:07

I think book recommendation-wise, I'd recommend Kat Banyard's the Equality Illusion and Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender, as you seem to have been exposed to a lot of shite evo-bollocks stuff, which Fine debunks brilliantly and comprehensibly - I know nowt about science but I managed to follow her arguments.

I also think in terms of consciousness, psychology etc., and how living in a hostile misogynist society affects women, Mary Daly is pretty hard to beat. I haven't actually read that much feminist theory at all, just plucking stuff I know.

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 19:24:02

Also it's worth looking out for feminist blogs. I read one the other day which posited the idea that if women had been allowed to participate in the building of society and the pursuit of knowledge, we'd be able to talk to the animals by now. It's a bit tongue in cheek, but what the writer was saying, was that maybe women would not have allowed environmentally unfriendly solutions to economic growth - with their input, men and women together might have reached different solutions which wouldn't have resulted in the decimation of species, mass murder, desecration of land and environment. It is no co-incidence that the rise of environmentalism, co-incided with the rise of women's rights. For example, vivisection was first challenged as a necessary and ethical procedure, by women scientists. I can't find that blog now, but here's another one which asks "where were the witches?" which touches on that question, among other stuff.

feministninja.tumblr.com/post/39564998138/patriarchy-killed-my-little-sister

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:26:41

Has anyone read Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness? Where people have no fixed gender and only have gender identities once a month? It's on my list ... Should be interesting.

xkittyx Thu 03-Jan-13 19:33:17

I'd like to challenge Willowme's assertian about women's behaviour in the workplace. I don't at recognise myself or any of my female colleagues in that description, and I've been working for 18 years. I've known of two people to have an affair - with each other, so 50/50. I've never encountered the so called female bitchiness - somehting I think men are equally guilty of, btw, it just gets called "bitchiness" when women do it but not when men do it.
Most of the people I've worked with have been pleasant and professional, any that haven't haven't really stood out as being one gender or another.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-Jan-13 19:44:36

xkitty - yes, ITA - I've been working for over 25 years in an industry which has more men than women but the teams I've been with have not been too unbalanced. I can't ever remember any bitchiness or people having affairs (there was one pair who became quite a serious couple but they were blokes).

If I listen to DH, who worked for a less pleasant company for many years, there was some extremely nasty behaviour - not mere bitchiness but real bullying and schemeing - from various males.

AbigailAdams Thu 03-Jan-13 19:51:58

Apologies Pinky you did say that we hadn't been personal. I missed that. However, coming out with statements such as "you might say it is down to conditioning blah blah..." is pretty dismissive of an alternative viewpoint (which you had clearly thought about despite protestations to the contrary). It isn't really conducive to building a constructive conversation if you are going to dismiss the alternative debating points with a "whatever" even before the conversation begins. That is more conducive to starting a fight.

And tbh honest most people read a bit in a section or on a forum before jumping in with both feet with a topic likely to upset others.

Anyway Festivia has been a lot more constructive than me, as have others so hopefully you have some food for thought at least.

Can I jump in and say that I think some of you are being a little harsh on the OP. She has raised a valid point, which, though it may not actually be true, many people believe. And so it is a very valid discussion to have, both to share our views with the OP, and also to help us sharpen our opinions and arguments on the subject for future debate.

Himalaya Thu 03-Jan-13 20:45:54

Another book recommendation Pinky - the Blank Slate by Steven Pinker

ThorinOakenshield Thu 03-Jan-13 21:15:04

No idea if we are second best, but no-one on here can say for sure either AFAIK. All we have seen is anecdotal stuff (either way) and talk about conditioning and reading lists.

Maybe we are oppressed and socially conditioned not to succeed, and are ALSO, generally speaking, not as good at certain things? One thing doesn't necessarily cause the other not to be true.

HandbagCrab Thu 03-Jan-13 21:36:18

I have yet as an average everyday person found any activity that I can say categorically women are better than men at or vice versa.

I've never read a feminist book either op, doesn't mean I therefore make sexist generalisations.

In practical terms perhaps you could get a computer game where you sing, dance, wave your arms about etc so you can engage more with your dc and dh if they spend a lot of time playing games. It would do them (and you) good to see that women can play computer games too.

FestiviaBlueberry Thu 03-Jan-13 22:50:29

Pinkypoops here's a post I just came across relating to that thing about women speaking in meetings:

www.smh.com.au/executive-style/management/want-to-get-ahead-in-business-shut-your-mouth-20120607-1zxjy.html

devilinside Thu 03-Jan-13 23:24:36

Apologies, butting in without reading the entire thread, I was informed at 18 by my male driving instructor that women couldn't reverse because of a brain deficiency. Hardly surprising we grow up lacking in confidence then.. Many older women have been subjected to comments such as this (little wonder some of us start to believe them).

FamilyGuy22 Fri 04-Jan-13 10:32:53

devilinside

That is pretty sad and whilst he was a complete baboon there is some truth to our brains being different. This is a pretty basic test but scientifically there is (allegedly) rationale behind our differences. The quiz takes a few moments but is a bit of light fun.

www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/add_user.shtml

For info I scored 10/10 for the eye/emotion test so higher than most women who took the test.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 04-Jan-13 11:04:39

Haha! Did the test. My brain is neither female nor male, useless at reading emotions from eyes, but I can find things!

DrRanj Fri 04-Jan-13 11:23:38

Can't do that test as I am on an iPad, but I suspect if I did I'd be very much a bloke (I am female). I have a better sense of direction than dp, can park just fine, and I am no good at cleaning and shit.

Oh and I am highly educated on a demanding degree course and I am female! Who'd have thought? But then again more then half of my year group are. But then that's not important, as I am rubbish at computer games (or perhaps I have no interested in being good at them because thy are pointless?)

LeavingNewYork Fri 04-Jan-13 11:29:12

I have a very male brain, apparently!

snowshapes Fri 04-Jan-13 14:21:36

I came out as more female.

I have to say that I found the bit where you looked at (in my case, male) faces really uncomfortable and in a way, threatening. I clicked through it as fast as I could.

as for the OP, it kind of made me realise why I should call myself a feminist and not just accept the crap in my life. I do the same job as DH, but with two children to look after during the week and no familial support, whilst he is away and can concentrate on his work. We earn the same. Enough said.

Pinkypoops Fri 04-Jan-13 15:03:38

Hello all!! Well haven´t you all been busy while I got dragged away? grin Thanks for all that fodder, Festivia and co....will jot it all down and go a-researching forthwith!
Sorry if I got a bit uppity back there,but I hate fighting or conflict and was just a bit shocked at the..erm..forceful nature of some of the responses. No harm done though smile
Thanks too for the cool links, Familyguy...I now see why I am so confused! Haha...I am smack bang in the middle of "male" and "female"- I got 12/12 for that rotating stuff in the air bit, but can make no sense whatsoever of betting odds and am crap at chess :-/
Just to give some background to those of you still baffled by my posts:
I grew up in Apartheid SA. I was told my career choice was unsuited to girls (and they limited our intake so there could never be more than 50% female students). I was frequently laughed at or shouted down at family gatherings or nights out with friends when I stood up for my beliefs in equality and fairness. Most of my friends think feminism is a filthy word and none of them are interested in discussing it with me sad
My driving instructor, devilinside spent the hour long sessions groping my thigh in the interests of "controlling my driving" angry and I was too polite to tell him not to! And I could go on.....oh dear, have I been random again in my choice of examples?? Sorry!
So I suspect growing up in the UK was a different experience and we are all products of our experiences, aren´t we? Hope that sheds some light....Keep in mind too, that we females who enjoy relative freedom and equality are very much a tiny minority on a world scale....sad, innit?

SamuraiCindy Fri 04-Jan-13 15:17:16

I can do everything better than my husband...apart from engineering but that is his job haha. As for Willowme's ridiculous comments about women bein bitchy at work...my second to last boss was male who brought the men into his office for a big old smoke and gossip each morning - the boys' club as I called it. He also made subtle threats against his staff if they spoke out against him, and was a pervert to boot. So when I hear anyone saying that WOMEN are bitchy at work, well... He left and a woman took over - easily the best, most stable and supportive manager I have EVER had.

I think as well another poster mentioned male violence...I could never EVER think of men as in any way better than women just because, even if you took out all their achievements, they as a group are so much more violent and have caused so much more suffering than any other living species. To be honest, because of this, there are times I think women are the better ones.

FestiviaBlueberry Fri 04-Jan-13 15:31:21

Just to reassure you about that BBC link Pinkypoops, I noticed that one of the tests was one done by Simon Baron-Cohen - whose work Cordelia Fine has very interesting (de-bunking) stuff to say about in Delusions of Gender.

I was exactly 50 50 male female btw. So a perfectly balanced human being then. grin

Pinkypoops Fri 04-Jan-13 15:50:57

As far as workplace gender conflict goes, as I said earlier, I have always found women easier to work with, but have also heard people talk about the kind of behaviour that Willowme mentioned. Don´t shout her down! If that´s her experience then perhaps she is just unfortunate to have worked with a crap bunch of people who happen to be women. Equally I like to keep an open mind and think that any future male colleagues I may have will be easier than the lot in the past!
Hey, Festivia I read those links...interesting about those skewed perceptions- I´m very glad I´m not in a corporate environment and have to put up with that shit really! Annoying! Not sure about the Ninja blogger though...some interesting points definitely about the history of medicine, but I think a fair amount of her argument is clouded by her emotion and anger at the loss of a loved one and not entirely realistic. Nevertheless....very sad that the poor child´s major concern was her appearance. That sucks!
And woop woop for being a 50/50 too wink

Pinkypoops Fri 04-Jan-13 16:19:21

...and another thing.....(here I go again)....
I´ve found it fascinating becoming a mother and having 2 boys. I am CONSTANTLY hearing parents around me go, "Oh and girls are like this...but boys are like that....my daughter likes x because she´s a girl", "boys are easy, girls are a nightmare or vice versa" etc etc.
I honestly believed babies came out like a blank slate and their personality, gender tendencies, etc were about 80% environmentally influenced.
WRONG!!
In my experience, they come out with a lot of their tendencies right there from word GO. My 1st is stereotypically "male" in so many ways...I can guarantee he would have scored at the extreme male end of the scale of that there lil´BBC test-icle. But my 2nd is a lot softer, more affectionate, likes to play in the mini kitchen at Ikea, etc, whilst still being a hooligan in the playground. I am certain that, had he been born a girl, we would so easily have joined the generalisation-brigade and said, "Oh look- she is like this because she is a girl and her brother is like that because he is a boy". If we don´t think about these things and question, we just keep perpetuating all the misconceptions. Again, it comes down to being HUMAN 1st and male/female 2nd.....and I´m just babbling really....but constantly frustrated that other parents are NOT thinking, are conditioning THEIR kids which is in turn rubbing off on MINE!! Grrrrrrr

GrimmaTheNome Fri 04-Jan-13 17:09:31

I came out as male on that test. 20/20 on the line angle matching thing...seemed trivially easy to spot which were parallel. I didn't do as well on the shape rotation as I'd expected - its something I do IRL a lot easily.

> If we don´t think about these things and question, we just keep perpetuating all the misconceptions. Again, it comes down to being HUMAN 1st and male/female 2nd.....and I´m just babbling really....but constantly frustrated that other parents are NOT thinking, are conditioning THEIR kids which is in turn rubbing off on MINE!!

ITA - though fortunately my DD is a goat rather than a sheep and doesn't mind if what she wants to do doesn't fit stereotypes.

tribpot Fri 04-Jan-13 17:35:21

Pinkypoops - I've certainly heard the same kind of gender reinforcement that you describe (I'm sure we all have). The guy who sits next to me at work was comparing his own son ('a proper boy') with one of his mates ('who's like a girl, always whining and not wanting to join in'). When I said 'so that's your view of women, is it?' he was like 'errr, no OF COURSE not'. And actually I don't think with his conscious mind it is, but he 'just says' things, the way 'people do'. Like how people used to be casually racist without necessarily 'meaning' things or intending to be disparaging. Look how well that turned out.

So generalised statements about gender will always be challenged on this board. They're not helpful.

Btw, in terms of computer games - it's worth noting that because most of them are written by men, many of them don't appeal to lots of women. For example, I like the Lego games for the Wii/DS and so on because they are totally non-violent (unless you count Lego characters falling apart and then putting their own legs back on), focus about equally on problem solving and general bashing stuff up and fighting, and are hilarious piss-takes of whatever film or book they're based on (Lord of the Rings is great). But when I was looking for a game to play on my laptop recently most of the 'adult' games didn't appeal because they tend to involve fighting, conquering stuff or playing as a [male] thief, or whatever (depressingly, some friends of mine who were playing the big online Star Wars game before Xmas would deliberately play as a female character in order to watch her arse as she walked around the online world). I could have played as Nancy Drew, though smile

So I think we would see a different landscape if more computer games were written by women - not necessarily aimed specifically at women but less pigeon-holed in the traditional storylines. This is beginning to happen but it takes time.

bigkidsdidit Fri 04-Jan-13 17:47:44

Pinkypoops you really should read Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. I think you would find it fascinating

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 04-Jan-13 17:55:21

I have many shouty arguments with one of my very good friends about "girls are like this" and "boys are like that". blush She's lovely (even though wrong) and is still talking to me.

MiraWard Fri 04-Jan-13 18:10:02

The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard was a defining thing for me. It really did open my eyes to things I would previously have put down to biology. And it is not heavy going as a read either. I would recommend it for the compulsory school reading list.

Pinkypoops Fri 04-Jan-13 18:18:28

Glad the same book titles keep coming up! That means I don´t have an endless list of 100 books thrown at me to start off with. Cordelia and Kat appear to be the sisters I need to be reading to start me on the road to enlightenment grin
Thanks

Pinkypoops Fri 04-Jan-13 18:23:10

Is Naomi Woolf worth reading? That may well also be spelt Wolf Woolfe or Woof confused Apologies if I got it wrong

FestiviaBlueberry Fri 04-Jan-13 18:42:46

Beauty Myth was very good, but she's gone downhill since then ...

Beauty Myth readable and informative though.

Lessthanaballpark Fri 04-Jan-13 19:02:27

Oooo I just took the test and I'm smack bang in the middle of male and female brain although I scored much higher on spatial/rotational and I can't read faces.

Some of the questions were a bit loaded though, especially the questions where it tried to ascertain how much cared re. other's feelings, cos a lot of that stuff is learned through guilt for women.

Plus, the end money bit, where they assume that if you gave an equal amount to the other person it meant you liked to take risks (and must therefore be more "male"). It could just be that you have a sense of fairness which is kind of logical.

Interesting though.

Re. the books - I'd recommending reading some Jessica Valenti - she is American so some of it a bit more focused on reproductive rights but really interesting NTL...

DrRanj Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:51

I scored right slap bang in the middle too!

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 04-Jan-13 20:29:53

One of the things pointed out by one of those books linked in one of those posts confused is that profiling often makes you choose between two things that are both "you", so to speak. Then some people will start to think "if I choose this they will think I'm not suitable for the job" or some such. So it often doesn't reflect the "truth", if there is such a thing.

I said half the money and am shocked at what other people apparently do!

Pinkypoops Fri 04-Jan-13 20:40:48

Yes, exactly! I just assumed fairness and said 50/50...didn´t occur to me to try and get more than that....clearly I would be crap in the business world...haha
And isn´t that what ALL of this boils down to? Fairness? I don´t want MORE than my fair share....I just don´t want less either. Not so much to ask, surely? Why can´t EVERYONE win?

snowshapes Fri 04-Jan-13 21:05:46

Yes, I said half the money too, but I am guessing if everyone said that, we wouldn't have inequality in society!

Lessthanaballpark Sat 05-Jan-13 01:23:32

"Yes, exactly! I just assumed fairness and said 50/50...didn´t occur to me to try and get more than that....clearly I would be crap in the business world...haha"

OP, I think a belief in fairness would be an excellent principle upon which to run the business world. The current model clearly isn't working.

inde Sat 05-Jan-13 13:13:48

Just to reassure you about that BBC link Pinkypoops, I noticed that one of the tests was one done by Simon Baron-Cohen - whose work Cordelia Fine has very interesting (de-bunking) stuff to say about in Delusions of Gender.

In fairness to Baron-Cohen he did reply to her criticism in his review of her book in the psychologist.

issuu.com/thepsychologist/docs/psy1110?mode=window&pageNumber=14

As for "are women second best", I can't believe any woman would seriously ask that. I'm male and I find the idea offensive.
I do think there are differences between males and females though (other than obvious physical differences) and Baron-Cohen explains it well in his review.

runningforthebusinheels Sat 05-Jan-13 13:38:49

^"I just assumed fairness and said 50/50...didn´t occur to me to try and get more than that....clearly I would be crap in the business world...haha
And isn´t that what ALL of this boils down to? Fairness? I don´t want MORE than my fair share....I just don´t want less either. Not so much to ask, surely? Why can´t EVERYONE win?"^

Yes, I also said 50/50 - an innate sense of fairness I suppose.

Another poster on here often quotes these figures:

Men own 99% of the world's wealth and earn 70% of the world's income. In the UK, girls continue to out-perform boys at GCSE level, and yet, 4 in 5 men earn more than their wives. Men have about 80% of positions on most boards, the cabinet and just about any institution you care to mention.

Food for thought.

runningforthebusinheels Sat 05-Jan-13 13:39:56

Oops. c&p / italics fail there.

GrimmaTheNome Sat 05-Jan-13 16:50:27

I put 50:50 on that thing too...sounds like most of us did (or maybe those who didn't don't want to admit it). Maybe people interested in the sort of questions raised in this thread are a self-selecting group disposed to fairness and equality.

superstarheartbreaker Sat 05-Jan-13 20:40:50

Well I think men ARE better at certain things than we are liek spacial awareness and therefore ball games/driving etc but then women are better at other things such as empathy, breastfeeding and multi tasking. It's what society values the most that we have a problem with.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 05-Jan-13 20:54:42

You're giving us breastfeeding ?! grin shock

I would hope we are better than men at that!

tribpot Sat 05-Jan-13 21:35:27

You know men are better at peeing standing up.

UptoapointLordCopper Sat 05-Jan-13 21:44:00

Well, according to that test I (a woman) am better at spacial awareness than A LOT of men. Which man is better that which woman at what? The only things I know for sure are:

1) Men are better at peeing standing up, as others have said.

2) Women are better (in fact, exclusively so) at having babies and breastfeeding.

Hang on. That's two things women are better at. confused

inde Sat 05-Jan-13 22:11:39

Actually women can pee standing up although it's probably not advisable but we men will never breast feed or give birth thank goodness.

I have been practising peeing standing up since I heard that it can be done. And it can too! I haven't been brave enough to try outside the shower yet, but I can aim it right down the plug hole!

<shamelessly reduces tone of thread>

Lessthanaballpark Sat 05-Jan-13 22:48:52

I really just don't believe that crap about spatial awareness. I got 15/20 on that bit which is what men on average get. I NEVER use spatial awareness skills in my everyday life and never have done.

I'm sure if I'd been a boy and been encouraged to play with lego, taken Tech drawing or woodwork (us girls weren't allowed), played lots of videogames (which are offputting to many girls because they're clearly not aimed at them) then my spatial awareness would be even higher and SBC et al would be declaring that I have an extreme male brain and am an anomaly for my sex.

I mean, seriously, isn't it obvious that upbringing has an effect on people? It's so basic. It's so John Stuart Mill. It's so last season!

And while we're at it why do the "innate differencers" have this idea that if you're good at one thing you can't be good at another? Loads of the great philosophers / thinkers / inventors were a mixture of different interests and skills that employed both parts of the brain. It's entirely possible that girls are good at both. Why the need to limit us, to say oh men are good at spatial stuff, so women can't be, let's give men engineering and women empathy? It's all a bit stupid and illogical.

Just did the test. I failed the spot the difference, which surprised me, I'm usually good at differenced. I also got 1/12 for empathy, which I guess means I'm a bitch hmm. I got 50/50 male/female though, so I don't know what I am!

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 23:42:57

Tell you what, Annie: try applying for a job as a Bishop and see how far you get. That'll soon tell you.

Snort! Hey, despite often being on the same thread, I think this is the first time we've actually talked! Hello, fellow Annie. Anyway, I suspect that being a Jewish atheist may scupper my Bishop ambitions, regardless of whether or not I own a penis.

I am a man on Facebook. I found it stopped all the "Learn how Kate Middleton lost a gazillion pounds in 20 minutes" adverts. Now I get adverts for catheters and laser flashlights instead grin .

Anniegetyourgun Sun 06-Jan-13 00:08:09

Hello y'self! Sometimes I've been going to post on threads but you got there first and put it better, that's probably why we haven't "met".

I don't think believing in Jesus or even, for that matter, in God is a prerequisite to being a Bishop nowadays, don't let that stop you. But the shortage in the trouser department could be a definite obstacle. Maybe you ought to follow up one of those penis enlarger adverts. Or stick a laser flashlight in yer underwear.

To drag this conversation back on topic: Men are supposed to be better at preaching. Do we believe this? I don't, although there is some research that indicates deeper voices are generally perceived as more authoritative. Occasionally I accidentally catch the end of the Sunday service on Radio 4 (can't stand canned religion) which sometimes has a female priest, and it sounds fine to me. Dr Johnson eat your heart out.

My entire synagogue is wonderfully matriarchal, from rabbi to warden to chairperson to head teacher. The environment is so nurturing, welcoming and accepting. And our rabbi can preach it with the best of them. She's been on Thought for the Day and everything!

And what is this nonsense about me saying things better? I'll often go back to a thread I'm on, see someone saying "I agree with Annie" and feel all smug until I see you've been on after me and they're agreeing with you! [tries not to be bitter] grin

Anniegetyourgun Sun 06-Jan-13 00:25:35

Ah, no bitterness, please. We Annies have to stick together. We rock.

Hmm, I was brought up Church of England, but I feel a conversion coming on. I have heard various rabbis on the Today programme and they normally talk a whole load of sense. It's supposed to be the same God anyway.

Same god but without the whole eternal damnation or heaven stick to beat you with! And belief in god is optional. I love Judaism!

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 06-Jan-13 11:16:23

"And while we're at it why do the "innate differencers" have this idea that if you're good at one thing you can't be good at another?"

Exactly. I am good at everything. Apart from cleaning. And empathy. And "ambition" (ie trying to get promoted etc but pretty ambitious when it comes to getting what I want for myself). And peeing standing up. (Bows to AnnieLobeseder grin). And no doubt all kinds of things that don't matter. And I'm modest. blush

Uptoapoint - me too! I suck at empathy and cleaning. I have ambition and am good at everything but I usually get shot down as arrogant. How very dare they!?!

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 06-Jan-13 11:45:19

Women are arrogant. Men are confident. wink

'Tis true. Though I think I do often cross the line from confident to arrogant, I'm afraid. Often when I have no to reason to!! blush

TheSmallClanger Sun 06-Jan-13 15:11:15

I got 50% on that thing too - I scored 19/20 on the angled-line task, and got all of my rotated shapes right, although I was too slow to do them all.

I had difficulties with the "attractive face" task because I didn't find any of them particularly attractive.

Pinkypoops Mon 07-Jan-13 11:28:45

Thank you so much all you clever and interesting peeps. I shall go and read those books (don´t hold your collective breath as it could take me a while yet) and then come back and tell you what I´ve discovered and we can have a good old discussion - in friendly fashion, mind you, over a mug of hot choccie/vino/vodka and red bull/pangalactic gargleblaster/*fill in tipple of choice here* grin

FestiviaBlueberry Mon 07-Jan-13 18:48:12

I thought they were all repulsive smallclanger.

We must be deviant.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 07-Jan-13 19:35:37

Yes... 'slightly prefer' on the less undesirable of each pair.

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