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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" 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´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!

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´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


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.

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