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Jul 31 2008

How bigotry works

It will come as no surprise to you that one of the most requested articles at the website How Stuff Works is — you guessed it — “How Women Work.”

How Stuff Works, which purports to expose the intricacies of such eternal mysteries as How Restaurant Pagers Work, How Becoming a Roadie Works, and How to Use Vinegar in Your Laundry, at last reveals the simple but hitherto unknowable truth of that mystifying sex machine, women.

“But Twisty,” you say, having thumbed through the article and noticed that it actually sort of debunks some popular myths about the weaker sex. Possibly you have even noticed that there is also an article entitled “How Men Work,” showing that the website doesn’t even single women out as explicable ‘stuff’. “What’s the beef?”

I’ll tell you. It isn’t just this one article. What chaps the Twisty hide is that men and women are always cast as separate, opposing entities, and that nobody thinks this is weird at all. That this is the case is the direct result of enduring, but bogus, patriarchal constructs. Such as the one that goes “biology is destiny.”

Like all articles “explaining” women, “How Women Work” mostly just enumerates the physiological differences between men and women. Compared to men, women are different. Different chromosomes. Different hormones. Different stature. Different naughty bits. That’s because women may only be understood in terms of deviation from the recognized absolute: men. Even as they refute a stereotype or two, articles such as “How Women Work” only emphasize these minute and essentially irrelevant differences. The tired old focus on reproduction, with the little chromosome diagrams and cutesy animated fallopian tube cartoons, seems to put scientific weight behind the idea that sex bias is a legitimate bias.

When it’s not sex, it’s brains.

The section “Women: Brains, Bodies and Barbies,” I’m not even kidding, sums up in a couple of paragraphs all of female experience (as it relates to how women “work” in terms of men), which is apparently limited to the gripping question of whether or not we are genetically indisposed toward math.

Ah, math, the traditional purview of dudes, they of the 6.5 times more math-o-centric gray matter [see below]; the “hard” subject the apprehension of which determines whether a person may be taken seriously in a man’s world. I’m so sick of this math thing. Math! Who sits around doing math? Men? Come on. Men sit around looking at porn.

But still: can women really do math? The world awaits the mind-blowing answer:

“A large-scale analysis of data [...] suggests that there’s very little difference between men and women’s abilities in math.”

Apparently there is this thing called “stereotype threat” which just might play a part in standardized test scores when women are tested on math in the presence of dudes. The article does not discuss possible origins of the stereotype threat. We are left to draw our own conclusions concerning the deleterious effects of a dominant class on an oppressed one.

How Stuff Works throws women another bone with this stunning revelation:

Sex hormones can affect a woman’s emotions and physiology throughout most of her life. But contrary to some people’s perceptions, they’re not responsible for every facet of her behavior.

No shit? Women aren’t insensate slaves to their primordial ladyparts, tearing through their lives on menses-stained runaway hormone roller coasters? Who would’ve thought that so many “people’s perceptions” could have gone so far awry? What in the world could have contributed to the pervasive idea that women are gossipy shoe-obsessed flakes whereas men are large and in charge, when clearly the facts show otherwise?

The only real, appreciable “difference” between men and women is the fact that one group is privileged over the other. Physiology, biology, chemistry — none of these things is as absolute as women’s oppression. Take me for example. As a result of primitive cancer treatments, I possess very few of the most popular woman-specific attributes. No boobs. No estrogen. No uterus. No ovaries. My “difference” from men has been drastically reduced. I fucking look like a dude. That I am still considered a woman has nothing to do with “How Women Work.” It has to do with how patriarchy works.

Incidentally, I found this “How Women Work” article through this dude’s blog. He is ecstatic to have discovered it. “It’s like,” he pants, “a combination of Women for Dummies, Everything You Wanted to Know About Women But Was Afraid to ask [sic], and Women, The Missing Manual.” Blogger dude’s “favorite factoid”?

Men have 6.5 times more gray matter in their brains than women do. Women have 10 times more white matter. Gray matter creates processing centers in the brain, and white matter creates the connections between them. In other words, men have lots of areas for processing concrete data — like mathematical equations — and women have lots of connections that allow them to see and process patterns.

“Everyone,” opines blogger dude, “who wants to stay married or market stuff to women should read this.”

Blogger dudes sure like it when internet “science” articles “prove” that misogynist bigotry is reasonable. And profitable.

46 comments

5 pings

  1. Narya

    Have you seen/read Thomas Lacquer’s (sp?) “Making Sex”? He writes about how the notion of the sexes as opposed is a late-Victorian concept, that earlier notions of hierarchy (in which women were still below men, of course, and people of color below white people, and so on), posited that human bodies used to be considered to be a single kind of thing–early anatomists having noted that we have the same number of limbs and kidneys and the like. Women were, in general, a “lesser” version, but the same-type-of-thing continuum means that some women will be “higher” or “better” than some or many men. (Please excuse all the scare quotes.) If you categorize men and women as different types of things, then you can get a whole different kind of opposition going on there, and it both normalizes men (and abnormalizes or otherizes women) in a different way and engenders an opposite sex in a way a same-type-of-thing continuum can’t quite manage.

  2. Odrade

    I’ve encountered that idea Narya, but never considered the implications in terms of its utility in cementing the idea of women as an entirely separate, and entirely inferior, form of human. Very interesting.
    I know that in the medieval ages there was basically an idea of the human body as one thing, with varying physiological traits. There’s a report in the writings of some monk or other about a woman who managed to jump across a lake, and as she did so, her latent set of penis and balls suddenly ‘dropped’ down as a result of the raw masculinity of the feat. At least medieval sexism was a bit whacky.

  3. PhysioProf

    Irritatingly, Guy “Pathetic Douchecornet” Kawasaki is considered some sort of “INTERNET BIZNESS GURU!!1!”.

  4. other orange

    I don’t think I will ever recover from the youthful discovery that the world I live in, my own world, considers men to be the standard and women the deviation.

    It’s kept me kicking and hollering all these years, though, so that’s something.

  5. Shaina

    Wow, I’m so glad that “scientists” have unraveled the “mystery” that is the female mind. Now we can effectively take advantage of it by convincing it to buy a bunch of consumerist crap! Awesome dude!

  6. Helen

    And of course, because this is part of how bigotry works, no actual scientific citation is given for the assertion about proportions of types of brain matter.

    The only citation given is to a popular magazine article.

  7. Narya

    Odrade, a bunch of things really fall into place when you look at that change. (I did some work on this awhile ago, for my dissertation.) The opposition thing really does make it easier to just exclude women, always and at all times–othering at its finest.

    Lacquer’s book is quite nice (or was; haven’t read it in years, and loaned my copy and never got it back), not least because he’s not without a sense of the absurd about the whole thing. Another good one is Cynthia Russett’s “Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood.” I found both to be invaluable.

  8. Jonathan

    The Dude math thing is as insane as manly medieval lake jumping. The idea is so stupid that Harvard’s president got fired for repeating it. It also completely falls apart in the face of the cronology of women in mathematicians.

    And Twisty is right that math Dudes are looking at porn instead of dutifully burying themselves in research. Need proof? How about the, “Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contributions to Research.”

    Yes, they are that blatant, and that clueless.

  9. Shira

    Assuming that statistic is true, all that would show is that men and women are treated differently, and, thanks to the incredible neuroplasticity of the human brain, develop differing brain structures to cope with the differing demands and consequence schedules that patriarchy imposes on women vis a vis men. Men simply don’t have to be able to process social interactions at the same level or type of complexity that women do just to stay alive. It’s no surprise to me that their brains end up incredibly underdeveloped to the extent that they need to devote headspace to these larger structures to process the same amount of data women do, only inefficiently and therefore ineffectively, because of the lack of communication between parts of their brain.

    Reframing is fun and effective, especially when you have the facts on your side.

    I love his implication that noticing patterns doesn’t require processing any “concrete data,” or, conversely, that creating a mathematical equation isn’t at core an exercise in pattern recognition and processing. Poor menz and their bulky, poorly connected brains.

  10. Alex

    My favorite bit is: “But contrary to some people’s perceptions, they’re not responsible for every facet of her behavior.” “Some people” obviously means, “some dudes” because every woman already fucking knows that. From now on, I’m going to replace “some people” with “some dudes” in everything I read. I imagine it won’t change the meaning one bit.

  11. octopod

    “Men simply don’t have to be able to process social interactions at the same level or type of complexity that women do just to stay alive.”

    I just had a lightbulb moment. Thanks, Shira!

    Also, gender construction from the Middle Ages was inherited roughly from Greece, wasn’t it? The frame you describe above sounds awfully ancient Greek. Which leaves me with the following question: how was gender constructed in ancient Egypt?

  12. Narya

    Lacquer does, in fact, go back to Greece, IIRC, with his analyses.

    Some of the studies on social connections/interactions from a zillion years ago (1960s & 1970s, I think) showed basically that subordination increases behaviors that the larger culture labeled as “(women’s)intuition.” What is really was, apparently, was awareness of what constitutes a threat. Thus, any subordinate(d) population develops that particular kind of radar and, presumably, brain ability to do that. I’d be interested to see how that worked in the brain.

    Then again, I, too, always go back to the plasticity of the human brain, and therefore regard the so-called differences between adult men’s and women’s brains to be something other than biologically determined. Patriarchally determined, more like.

  13. Sylvanite

    Shira, I’ve had a number of encounters with men who clearly were working from the idea that all men are superior to all women at all things. This is especially fun coming from my functionally illiterate father-in-law.

    If you want to see how gender patterning turns little boys into “real men” (in other words, functional sociopaths)read Raising Cain. It’s the blueprint for maintaining the patriarchy (though the authors are actually trying keep boys from turning into emotionally constipated tools of the patriarchy).

    Alex, it’s always astounded me how women’s hormonal cycles are held against them, while men’s hormonal cycles are not held against them.

  14. CoolAunt

    Shira, I love you.ew

  15. CoolAunt

    ETA the “ew” at the end of that comment was a typo.

  16. lawbitch

    Great comments here. Made my day. Keep on blaming!

  17. WendyAnn

    The whole dividing the world into men and women thing has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m writing a Science Fiction short story where the non-humans do not understand human preoccupation with gender. It’s incomprehensible to them to divide beings that way, since their society does not.

    What’s the first thing most people think when they see a person? Gender first and foremost. Before skin color, before class. How do you describe a person? Always gender first. Not as a person, but as a man or a woman.

    The reactions to a person of indeterminate gender (as I sometimes am) range from confused to hostile. Of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, Twisty.

    I’ve been tossing ideas around in my head, trying to get out of the mindset of binary humans. It’s damn hard, even when I try to do it; we’ve been culturally programmed since birth to divide humans into two sexes and those two sexes leave little room for just *being*.

    Fascinating subject – I wish my writing skills were strong enough to say what’s in my head. Funny that you’ve posted about this today, when it’s all that’s been in my head the past few days.

  18. Dr. Steph

    Twisty–nice, simply put, explanation that biological differences aren’t the problem.

    And I hope to use this sentence more in conversation:
    “Women aren’t insensate slaves to their primordial ladyparts, tearing through their lives on menses-stained runaway hormone roller coasters?”

  19. WendyAnn

    New post since it’s a different topic:

    The Myth Of The Math Gender Gap

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1826399,00.html

  20. Lar

    “I’m so sick of this math thing. Math! Who sits around doing math? Men? Come on. Men sit around looking at porn.”

    YES! I love you, Twisty.

    Whenever guys like that marketing blogger like to point out scientific research to support their twisted logic, I like to remind them that scientific research was also used to support slavery, the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust and other cases of bigotry, oppression and mass genocide. Of course they usually still don’t get it – they think that our “progressive” society has already banished slavery and oppression. Still, it shuts a few of them up.
    Really? Science can be biased? I shouldn’t believe everything the dudes in the big white lab coats tell me?

  21. slythwolf

    Today Nigel was watching some thing or other on some news channel and I heard what was being said. Some dude was patiently explaining to some other dude how it isn’t actually okay to think of Black People as a single monolithic entity whose members are all alike. He was even talking about studies and junk.

    What would have to happen for a mainstream news purveyor to say something similar about women? It’s not really possible now; I mean, nobody would listen to that. “No, dude, seriously, we’ve got scientific proof that women are a diverse group of people. They’re not all the same! So your How Women Work articles are fundamentally flawed right from the beginning.”

    “Bullshit!” dude #2 would obviously reply. “Sure, women may have a few differences between them, but the most important thing is how freakin’ weird they are, amirite? It’s like they’re a completely different species. We need those articles or how the hell are we supposed to keep from pissing them off when they’re on their rags?”

  22. Mary Tracy9

    “Math! Who sits around doing math? Men? Come on. Men sit around looking at porn.”

    LOL! Twisty rocks.

  23. Chai Latte

    See, this is all I want–just to BE, dammit. I want to use my talents and abilities, and not have to worry about losing myself in the process.

  24. pisaquari

    “allow them to see and process patterns.”

    Yeah, this. It’s my girlie-brain memory that tells me there’s some factoid out there about a pattern-recognition-and-intelligence-correlation theory.
    If this blogger dude knows what’s good for him he will *avoid* wimmin who recognize the patterns.

  25. Jen

    I want my twenty minutes back after reading that article. I propose a rewrite:

    “Women are what happens when God removes a rib from a man and fashions a strange creature that might be human but lacks a penis and testicles, mathematical ability, emotional stability, physical prowess, and in return gets titties and the benefit of enslaving the better sex with their awfully tempting vaginas.”

    See? I fixed it.

    Dude blogger needs to shut his fucking hole and learn basic anatomy. Brain matter continues to be formed and grow until a human is in their early twenties. Perhaps why men’s brains are found then to have more gray matter and women’s brains have more white matter is because the functions requiring those parts of the brain were stressed more in one gender than the other.

    It’s a lot more important though to find the differences between the genders and blow them out of proportion so you can use them to justify all sorts of nasty bullshit. Who the fuck cares that out of our 46 chromosomes (or 23 pairs) only 1 is different? Apparently that tiny difference that makes you have a penis and not a vagina can determine your social standing, whereas eye color (which is also genetic) cannot.

    On a related note, I was telling my younger brother off the other day for making fun of a larger girl at his summer camp, whose only crime was to have a vagina and non-patriarchy approved body in a public space, and then dare to eat a cookie with her lunch. I asked him, “why do you think it’s okay to treat another human being like that?”

    He responded, “well, she’s a woman”.

    And then I make the conclusion that there’s an awful lot of people out there that genuinely think that our lady bits make us some inferior subspecies of human. Kind of like a dog born with three legs instead of two.

  26. Jezebella

    Jen, as a member of the Big Sister class, I am pleased to inform you that it is entirely okay to smack the crap out of your Little Brother when he says shit like that. (Even if he is bigger than you.)

  27. Tanya Derbowka

    I used to recommend How Stuff Works to people that wish to know how simple machines and things work. I will not be able to do that again, in good conscience. IBTP.

  28. SoJo

    Sounds like a great book WendyAnn, tell us when you get published yeah? I’d love to read it.

    Also, whenever I think of these women vs men things I always think about Cartesian Dualism and it makes me feel 100% better.

  29. Cassie

    Actually, I know one dude who does math all the time. My brother. But you know what? So do I. I have little math scripts running in my head all the time. I can’t be in rooms with wallpaper or have cloths or clothes with repeating prints, because I keep trying to find out how many ways one could define the smallest repeat unit. I can’t fookin turn it off. When I was in first grade, we had an awesome math book with lots of problems and I went home the first night and FINISHED the book because I couldn’t stop myself. I love-love-love math and I’m damn good at it. So is my mom.

    I turned into a physicist, where my awesome math skills came in handy, thank you very much. So much so that once one twerpy dude, in a graduate class in quantum mechanics asked me if I could just “check his math for him” because, you know, like, he totally understood the basic concepts, but could not figure out the math so well. My answer? “Do you want me to change your diapers as well?” I recommend that answer when dudes ask for favors which are beneath the patriarchy class and/or because they’re just too dumb.

    The argument that women can’t do math is so stupid it makes me laugh. It also violates the elegant null hypothesis, which in gender terms means you should go into the problem assuming no inherent difference, and the burden of proof is then on demonstrating that there exists one. Good luck with that!

    PS: I understand that in an ideal world, diaper changing would be a gender neutral activity with no connotations of being an unpaid servant.

  30. keres

    I could write about Cartesian dualism, or, I could just post this link to a windows media video (wvm) entitled “Why Women Stay Single”. It takes a few seconds to download, runs on Windows Media Player, and is not pretty, but it is funny.

  31. orlando

    The pattern recognition thing is THE single major determinant that separates chess grandmasters from other players, and yet chess is supposed to be a boy thing. These guys can’t even construct an internally consistent argument.

    Is there a special term for when a statement disproves itself? As in “men are the more logical sex” being an assertion unsupportable by logic.

  32. Citizen Jane

    I absolutely cannot believe that in 2008, people are still spouting this “women have more connections” nonsense. I hope they also have:

    -How dreams work: If you die in your dreams, you’ll die in real life!
    -How elephants work: They never forget anything at all and they’re scared of mice.
    -How mental illness works: It increases when there’s a full moon.
    -How the second law of thermodynamics works: It proves evolution wrong.
    -How pop rocks work: If you combine them with Coke, you’ll die!
    -How the brain works: It has a left side which does all the logic and a right side which does all the touchy-feely stuff.
    -How toilets work: They flush in one direction in the Northern hemisphere and the opposite direction in the Southern hemisphere.
    -How make up works: Sleeping in it ages your face ten days.
    -How cabbage works: It burns through fat.

    For heaven’s sake, people will believe anything.

  33. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Citizen Jane:

    -How elephants work: They never forget anything at all and they’re scared of mice.

    Yeah, and their sex organs are located in their feet, because if one steps on you, you’re f&cked.

    I guess it isn’t so much the endless human propensity to classification that bugs me so much as the hierarchy-fication. Why do we have to think of one thing as being Better Than the Other Thing?

  34. Virago

    http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/faculty/josephs/pdf_documents/Josephs_et_al.pdf

    This article helps explain the impact of gender stereotype threat and testerone in math performance. It helps explain why there are differences between men and women on math tests.

  35. slythwolf

    -How the brain works: It has a left side which does all the logic and a right side which does all the touchy-feely stuff.

    And this means all women are left-handed, and therefore right-brained, because women don’t understand logic and can only think with their emotions!

  36. Catie

    WendyAnn,

    Ursula Le Guin wrote a book on that subject titled The Left Hand of Darkness. She won both the Hugo and Nebula award for it. I love science fiction but she’s one of the few authors that doesn’t constantly set my eyes rolling with all the dudecentric storylines.

  37. nihilistlady

    “Physiology, biology, chemistry — none of these things is as absolute as ________” no matter how you fill in the blank, this is creationist territory.

  38. Twisty

    ““Physiology, biology, chemistry — none of these things is as absolute as ________” no matter how you fill in the blank, this is creationist territory.”

    At last, nihilistlady, the truth comes out. I am a creationist. Praise jaysus.

  39. bluedancer

    “Physiology, biology, chemistry — none of these things is as absolute as ________” no matter how you fill in the blank, this is creationist territory.

    Yeah, if you completely ignore the surrounding context. Those with a tad bit of reading comprehension might consider the example that follows and notice that Twisty alludes to the argument that the sexes are physiologically, biologically, chemically a binary and juxtaposes this with the quick and cheerful classification of her as female despite lacking most physiological, biological, and chemical sex markers. Gee, it’s almost as though she pointed out that in practice, the reason any given person is marked as a man or woman has less to do with physiology, biology, or chemistry than with patriarchal society!


    Also: “Women: The Missing Manual”? Seriously? Like, I’m just some trendy inanimate object? I mean, I’m sure he’d like it if we were all just varieties of iSex/iSlave/iSuckUp, but way to other and objectify there.

  40. denelian

    this meme has been bugging me. i graduated in 93. at the time i was in high school, GIRLS were better at math and were EXPECTED to be better at math – my AP calculus had 15 students, 11 of whom were girls.

    da fuck? or did i just go to a strange school?

  41. ElleR

    I am a feminist, but I have some problems with the feminist argument that there are no essential differences between men and women– just culturally constructed ones, although I readily agree that our ideas of male and female are largely the result of patriarchal construction — especially the differing values assigned to male and female roles. First, it seems like in protesting against the “men and women are different” perspective, feminists seem to be wanting to join the male club, i.e., in a patriarchal culture, the logical conclusion to the argument “there are no differences between men and women,” is women are just like men. (If this is not the logical conclusion, please set me straight.) Anyway, no one ever makes the argument that men are just like women. Men don’t want to be just like women — even liberal feminist men never (rarely) argue that they are just like women, although they are willing to concede that women are no different from men. This may be a small point, but it seems important to me.

    Since patriarchy was created by men for men and since patriarchy not only sucks, its continuance represents a threat to the human species, if women are no different in our mental processes, does that mean that, if women had the power, women would also create a patriarchy-like social structure based on the concentration of power in the few for the exploitation of the many? I hope not.

    (The July 19-25 issue of “New Scientist” has an interesting article on male and female brains — cover story, in fact.)

    There is no doubt that patriarchy has constructed both what it means to be masculine and what it means to be feminine and has set up the human male as the standard for what it means to be fully human. But do we women have to buy the argument that the human male is the standard and therefore that the only way to be fully human is to strive to emulate male behavior as constructed by our society?

    I, for one, devoutly hope that women are different from men so that as we get more and more power we can offer a different way of being in the world and a different value system which might promote the survival of the human species. If we are no different from men, then I don’t hold out much hope.

    Men have no problem with the “biology is destiny” idea as patriarchy constructs male biology as essentially superior to female biology. Women need not fight against the biology is destiny point of view; we just need to reevaluate that destiny and not accept the patriarchal judgment that female biology is innately inferior.

    Men are very happy with their biology. They celebrate it. I would like to see women celebrating their own biology instead of trying to deny it. Which is not to deny that ideas of male and female are so heavily constructed that it is hard to sort out what is biology and what is culture. I want to deny the negative cultural constructs associated with being female, while celebrating my essential femaleness — whatever that may be.

    Although the discussion has moved on to other things, this has been bothering me so I thought I would get it off my chest. This is also posted on Apostate’s site — as well as my own.

  42. Kali

    Men have 6.5 times more gray matter in their brains than women do. Women have 10 times more white matter.

    That is the theory from 1970s. The current theory is that women have more gray matter and men have more white matter. And lo, behold, it is white matter that creates a math genius.

    It’s simple. Whatever men allegedly have more of is what makes them better. We *have* to believe men are better. Or women might wake up and realize that our lives are better without men.

  43. Boreoboreo

    No denelian, you didn’t go to a strange school. The fact is, with the event of 30 years of feminism, we now have women really speeding by men now. Women are surpassing men in getting graduate degrees and undergraduate degrees, they are starting to seriously break into the ranks of middle management, and boys are falling behind in school.

    Boys are actually quite dumb, and need to be coddled and given special privileges because the truth is they stink in school. It’s why I think girls would zoom even farther ahead if we had all girls schools. Boys HOLD WOMEN BACK!

    Recently, a new graduating class at Harvard for the first time since women were admitted, had more women in it than men. Everytime I teach seminars, women far outnumber men, and they ask better questions. Medical school now has half of its graduating class women, same with most top law schools. Occasionally, I read anti-feminists like Hoff-Sommers complaining and bo hoing about this. But I just smile and say YES, put those dumb underachieving boys out in the fields to pick tomatoes or oranges, or better yet, have them do all the housekeeping nationwide.

    We think things haven’t changed much, but they really have.
    My theory is that women were always far superior to men, but were held back by patriarchy. Why else would these “pretend to be dumber than the guys or they won’t like you” advice to girls? Because if the girls really went for it, the boys would just look like dolts in the advanced math class, that’s why.

    The thing about patriarchy, is that the less experienced man will be hired anyway. The thing about science is that the best minds eventually win.

    So women and girls who went to school in the 90s are reaping the benefits of the feminist revolution, only the news media doesn’t want women to know they are winning this one. This would hurt the shallow dumb pathetic egos of men and boys! And I say BASH those egos often!! Bash, not blame!

  44. wiggles

    Boreoboreo – I disagree that male people are inherently less intelligent than female people. I think the problem is entitlement. Boys are told that they’re smart and will be great successes in life even when their greatest talent is burping the alphabet. For a girl to get that kind of balm she actually has to, you know, DO something intelligent. The result is boys who grow up to be men who think they’re entitled to more medical, law, and Ivy League degrees than women, despite the fact that they’re not enrolling or not working hard enough to qualify for these programs.
    In summary: It’s not that they’re inherently stupid. It’s that entitlement makes them stupid. And lazy.
    I do agree that they hold women back though.

  45. mearl

    A good friend of mine is doing her PhD in math, the aptitude for which she seems to have inherited from her mother. Tell that one to the menz. These misinformed dudes should have a look at a book called “The Brain That Changes Itself,” by Norman Doidge. The more you use your brain in one area, the more that part of the brain develops. Given that men and women are socialised to behave in gendered ways from birth, it would lead me to believe that this little eons-long, massively ingrained social system might account for the differences in some aspects of male/female brains. Didn’t Greer say as much? I have a sneaking suspicion that if women weren’t getting our heads bombarded with orders about the pink and frilly girly way we are supposed to be, our brains just might develop a tad differently. We should volunteer up some of our feminist brains for study and see if the white areas are as massive as they are supposed to be.

  46. BeccaH

    “I don’t think I will ever recover from the youthful discovery that the world I live in, my own world, considers men to be the standard and women the deviation.”
    i find this theory to be increasingly disturbing, since in the womb, fetuses are female, until hormons are introduced to make them male. The female chromosome is XX and the male is XY, meaning that the male chromosome somehow broke/and or mutated into what it is today.

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    [...] “How Bigotry Works” by Twisty (I Blame the Patriarchy) Oh, getting back to privilege (aren’t we always?), in this piece, everyone’s favorite Internet spinster aunt Twisty bravely reads the How Stuff Works (.com) article entitled “How Women Work” and comes to this conclusion: The only real, appreciable “difference” between men and women is the fact that one group is privileged over the other. Physiology, biology, chemistry — none of these things is as absolute as women’s oppression. Take me for example. As a result of primitive cancer treatments, I possess very few of the most popular woman-specific attributes. No boobs. No estrogen. No uterus. No ovaries. My “difference” from men has been drastically reduced. I fucking look like a dude. That I am still considered a woman has nothing to do with “How Women Work.” It has to do with how patriarchy works. [...]

  5. An Introduction to Great Internet Feminists | Canonball

    [...] “How Bigotry Works” by Twisty (I Blame the Patriarchy) Oh, getting back to privilege (aren’t we always?), in this piece, everyone’s favorite Internet spinster aunt Twisty bravely reads the How Stuff Works (.com) article entitled “How Women Work” and comes to this conclusion: The only real, appreciable “difference” between men and women is the fact that one group is privileged over the other. Physiology, biology, chemistry — none of these things is as absolute as women’s oppression. Take me for example. As a result of primitive cancer treatments, I possess very few of the most popular woman-specific attributes. No boobs. No estrogen. No uterus. No ovaries. My “difference” from men has been drastically reduced. I fucking look like a dude. That I am still considered a woman has nothing to do with “How Women Work.” It has to do with how patriarchy works. [...]

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