Big Argument with Stacy Over the Phone Today.

by Little Miss Attila on March 10, 2011

We will never see eye-to-eye on the word “feminist,” and it may be, as Roxeanne pointed out in World Thread Three, that this is because Stacy looks upon equality of the sexes as sameness of the sexes–a denial of real gender differences.

But those differences have been–and still are–used to squish high-octane girls and women into careers and lives and choices that aren’t a good match for them, and we really need to respect those who don’t hang out in the middle of the bell curve. Hence, the need to keep the egalitarian ideal alive while fighting political correctness.

I have told Stacy that I will re-examine whether some of the premises of the left have insinuated themselves in my brain; I rather doubt it, but one can never do too much soul-searching. And he’s warned me not to think I’ll be making–or keeping–many friends by retaining the “feminist” label. “Don’t worry,” I explained. “Most of the lefties are already gone; it’s just the way of things.”

“Well, then,” he asked, “what are you going to do when your remaining feminist friends start disagreeing with you about socialism?”

“I’ll deal with it,” I told him. “Have you ever seen A History of Violence?”

“No.”

“Do so.”

* * *

I made you a sammich, Stacy. Here it is:


That’s “dealing with it.”

UPDATE, Friday morning: Bloody, unbowed, and still wrong. But he continues to swing at us, and one has to admire that.

I do understand that it would make me more popular on the right to engage in mindless feminist-bashing, or be seduced by the tempting morsels of guilt-by-association Stacy serves up–or perhaps to be shocked, shocked! at the imputations of religious unorthodoxy among suffragist activists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her close collaborator, Susan B. Anthony. And there were, Stacy informs us, Quakers invoved in the suffragists! You know–people from the religious tradition most closely tied in this country with abolitionism. Heaven preserve us from the heathen slave-freers! (I’m making the sign of the cross, but doing it in a kind of Southern Baptist way.)

Seriously. My loyalty is not to any particular word, here–nor to my family’s leftist ties. My loyalty is to the truth. It’s what has led me to defend Stacy in the past from those who wanted to tar him with a guilt-by-association, and it’s what leads me to very lovingly tell him he’s wrong once more in this matter–on the merits.

{ 6 trackbacks }

“The Day Sarah Palin Kneecapped Feminism”
March 11, 2011 at 7:01 am
‘Stacy’s Insult Against Governor Palin’? : The Other McCain
March 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm
Stacy Would Like Me To Kick Him When He’s Down.
March 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Stacy Explains that He Agrees with Me, Conceptually, and So Does a Reader/Colleague of His.
March 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm
Wolcott Phones It in for the Condie Nasties.
March 13, 2011 at 11:46 am
Remember: Saturday Morning, Attila on the Radio with Robert Stacy McCain
April 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

datechguy March 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I need to schedule you and Stacy together on the show and let the two of you just have it out. it would be great radio

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Roxeanne de Luca March 11, 2011 at 7:11 am

That would be great radio, but you would need some internet aspect to it so that someone could put up graphs of a bimodal distribution to show how even if you assume a certain discrepancy in standard deviation, you still get a tremendous amount of overlap. (Maybe I’ll do that!)

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Little Miss Attila March 11, 2011 at 8:04 am

Yay!

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Darleen Click March 11, 2011 at 7:19 am

You know where I stand on this, Joy, but I have to ask you about this

But those differences have been–and still are–used to squish high-octane girls and women into careers and lives and choices that aren’t a good match for them

Excuse me? Who is being “squished”? Are you talking about USA or elsewhere?

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Darleen Click March 11, 2011 at 7:21 am

Oh, and totally OT — Joy aren’t we overdue to a get-together over margaritas???!!

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Little Miss Attila March 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

“But those differences have been–and still are–used to squish high-octane girls and women into careers and lives and choices that aren’t a good match for them”

Excuse me? Who is being “squished”? Are you talking about USA or elsewhere?

Well, my mother got squished, big-time. She just wasn’t strong enough to keep fighting to stay in science–her professor boyfriend just kept pressuring her to quit graduate school, until she finally did. That’s why although I recognize that a lot of women don’t go into math, engineering or the sciences because of uninterest, I suspect there are still exceptional cases in which someone had a man in her life who got threatened, and talked her out of it.

I don’t think it happens often. But I think it still happens.

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Beth Donovan March 12, 2011 at 4:24 am

I’m old (58) but I was squished right out of the path I wanted to follow when I was in college. I wanted to take pre-veterinarian courses and then hopefully get into the school of veterinary medicine in my home state. At that time, there were only 18 schools of veterinary medicine in the entire USA, and they took very few women. I was told that I’d be wasting my time if I wanted to do that because, though I was pretty smart, I was not smart enough for a school to accept me, train me and graduate me when I would likely quit once I decided to have children. Now, of course, more women than men graduate from Schools of Veterinary Medicine,and we have a shortage of large animal vets, because very few women want to wrestle with bulls, stallions, rams and bucks to treat them.

So yes, women

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Beth Donovan March 12, 2011 at 4:31 am

Lost that last sentence – meant to say, So yes, women in the USA were squished out of careers for a long time. And most women in the world are still kept from earning a living the way they want to.

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Texan99 March 12, 2011 at 6:15 am

I interviewed with some guys once who turned me down in almost exactly those words: “Why should we take a chance on you, when you’re just going to get pregnant and leave?” They didn’t prevent me from working, of course; they just opened my eyes to the need to fight harder. Today, if they needed capital, I’d ask, “Why should I take a chance on you, when it’s clear that you’ll walk right by a good opportunity out of sheer ignorance and prejudice?” But at least my objection would be based on their behavior, not my assumption that their penises made them bad at their jobs.

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Cassandra March 11, 2011 at 7:48 am

I do understand that it would make me more popular on the right to engage in mindless feminist-bashing, or be seduced by the tempting morsels of guilt-by-association Stacy serves up…

Blogging, if one has any integrity whatsoever, isn’t supposed to be a popularity contest. Which is why you’re one of the few bloggers I read these days. You do what you think is right, not what is easy or what will make people like you.

Don’t change.

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Darleen Click March 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

She just wasn’t strong enough to keep fighting to stay in science–her professor boyfriend just kept pressuring her to quit graduate school, until she finally did.

Ok, I understand. Though, I usually separate macro from micro, de jure from de facto. It is unfortunate that we sometimes pick the wrong partner in our lives that want to mold us to their ideal instead of supporting us to reach our potential.

IMHO, I don’t think what happened to your mom, certainly unjust, has much to do with feminism one way or another (unless I’m missing an element that he was in a position of authority as a professor over her?? Then I’d like to go back in time and see him fired)

For me, “Feminism” is about choice and opportunity (pursuit of happiness!) where the Government/Law is entirely neutral. God save us from legislation done for “our own good.”

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Little Miss Attila March 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

I need to add that I am against any kind of social engineering by public agencies to get women into tech fields. I’m with Thomas Sowell, who pointed out that in New York City, when both the Italian and the Jewish community had a lot of fresh arrivals, the Italians were going into textiles/tailoring, and the Jews were more likely to work in food-related industries. And that was okay.

We don’t need to socially engineer who does what (beyond possibly getting more people, period, into the applied sciences from time to time, whenever there’s a Soviet Sputnik, or we need to build more nuclear plants, or whatever we’re fretting about).

But that should help to explain why it grinds my gears when people go on too much about women being so unsuited to math and science, anyway. Yes, and no. But aside from the fact that women are often the teachers and tutors of the young, at this moment in time we shouldn’t be cheerleading a brain drain from any demographic.

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Roxeanne de Luca March 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

But that should help to explain why it grinds my gears when people go on too much about women being so unsuited to math and science, anyway.

But that, LMA, is its own form of social engineering – to increase the proportion of men in math and science.

Now, I’m not sure what you mean by “social engineering”, but I’m a fan of traditional affirmative action – i.e. deliberately reaching out to people who don’t traditionally go to college, into the sciences, whatever, and encouraging those who have talent. It’s not about the standards to get in, but about getting people to even try. I had people say to me, “You love chemistry and physics; why not try engineering?”. I’ve been on high school science teams (which are all about drumming up interest in science), and volunteered at after-school science programmes for girls. In the literal meaning of affirmative action, a math teacher could make an effort to seek out talented women and ask them to be on the math team. It could be a professor who reaches out to a talented but un-confident woman student and steers her in the right direction. (Women don’t always ask for career help as often as men do.)

Of course, that’s an entirely different thing than the common meaning of affirmative action (i.e. lowering standards for admission), or of deciding that a class or a workplace ought to look a certain way and then suing to make that happen.

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Little Miss Attila March 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I’m late in getting back to this. Roxeanne, I absolutely agree with you that it should be done as outreach, rather than as heavy-handed government programs and overwrought laws/litigation.

And I really think this country needs all the math and science people it can get, without mugging girls into majoring in things that they have the aptitude for, but still don’t enjoy. There are some girls and women like that–the “hardware” is there, but they still don’t get the intellectual payoff. And that’s okay.

But I agree with you that when we say over and over “no aptitude,” or “generally not interested,” we create these self-fulfilling prophecies.

So there has to be the openness and the encouragement–without the forcing-it-on-people.

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Roxeanne de Luca March 12, 2011 at 10:08 am

Agree.

Also, I tend to think that some math/science education is beneficial in non-math/science industries. Sociology? If you rock at stats and economics, you’ll be better at it. Psychologists and psychiatrists need to understand chemistry and physics. The training helps with other fields.

Not that we should (as you put aptly put it) mug girls into being computer engineers, but the encouragement is good. Take an English major and a math or econ minor. Take a few extra chemistry courses. Take the science APs in high school. Et cetera.

Cassandra March 11, 2011 at 9:15 am

I think whenever the subject of feminism comes up, there are a lot of knee jerk reactions and things get conflated that shouldn’t be.

For instance, “everybody knows” that correlation doesn’t prove causation but that never seems to stop people from using unsupported post hoc arguments. And they’re accepted b/c who questions an argument they really want to believe?

The idea that feminism is solely (or even primarily) responsible for every social ill that plagues modern society is comforting because it’s simple and it puts up a convenient scapegoat we all dislike. But there have been many, many groups and powerful people have worked hard to create the world we live in today. Among them is Hugh Hefner, who brags about filing amicus briefs in support of Roe v.Wade and supporting the very social changes conservatives blame feminism for all the time.

Civil rights laws and the civil rights movement also contributed mightily to our present difficulties. And so has our rising affluence and the corrupting effects of consumerism. But it’s easier to blame feminism than to accept that history doesn’t conform to a simplistic narrative.

The fact of the matter is that feminism has helped effect both positive and negative changes to society. Both men and women are freer than they were in our parents’ day in many, many ways. We have more options, and many of us have made bad choices as a result. So whose fault is that? Is anyone forced to make bad choices, or does the responsibility lie with us to be moral and prudent?

A lot of conservatives these days argue that freedom is an unalloyed good… except when someone is using it in a way they dislike, in which case it’s bad. Maybe – just maybe – the world isn’t a simple place.

Maybe – just maybe – centuries of human experience with human nature produced a world and a society that did a hell of a lot better job of balancing freedom with responsibility than we do with our silly talk of maximum freedom. That’s the rub – you have to take the good with the bad. And we don’t want to – we want the security and predictability of our parents’ world without all those horrid rules.

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Roxeanne de Luca March 11, 2011 at 9:32 am

Joy, that describes most of the men I dated throughout engineering school and some of the men I dated in law school. (I have my vindication, now: when the economy is as horrible as it is, and you’re a young person with degrees but little experience, only outsize ambition gets you far enough to even run in place.)

I had some rock-solid support, from bosses at my old firm (whom I keep in touch with to this day), to people I met at conferences who wanted me in their graduate labs, to my parents and grandparents, who thought that engineering was a perfect fit for me. But there was also enough opposition that it wasn’t really worth it to go on for a PhD – the forces on me might have been a net zero, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a bit crushing to be between them.

(For a time frame, I started college in the ’90s and law school in the middle of this past decade.)

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Mike March 11, 2011 at 11:10 am

The video was awesome. Got to get that movie. Good comments and gives me something to think about.

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Texan99 March 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I’d forgotten how much I liked it, too.

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Little Miss Attila March 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Wasn’t that the bomb?

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