«

»

Aug 01 2008

What a coincidence. SFGate corroborates girly math skillz

It must be true if it’s in SFGate:

Sixteen years after Barbie dolls declared, “Math class is tough!” girls are proving that when it comes to math they are just as tough as boys.

Because even after a sexist toy maker fails to successfully market imbecility, the onus is on girls to “prove” they’re human. In terms of “toughness,” of course, a virtue prized by the dominant class.

The headline of the story says “girls are just as good as boys” [italics mine]. Which novel idea, if it weren’t for the vast study reported on here, might have died of loneliness in some hysterical feminist’s humorless brain.

Read the comments to this story only if you want your obstreperal lobe to eject itself through your eyeball and adhere, quivering, to the chandelier.

Via The Apostate

30 comments

  1. Orange

    My eye is twitching with that obstreperal lobe poking it from behind, wanting me to read the comments on that article. I won’t do it!

  2. Gender Blank

    Thinking of girls and women as actual human beings is tough!

  3. Anastasia

    The comments hurt. Oh, how they hurt.

  4. mir

    Oh sure, Captain F, send us directly to overturn the rock of the comments where these douchbags scuttle:

    orig_truthiness7/24/2008 11:26:54 AM

    does that mean girls are better at math now than they were yrs ago, or are boys worse in math than they used to be?

    friction_jack7/24/2008 11:31:59 AM

    It must be all that shopping.

    sean3137/24/2008 11:32:12 AM

    So we better break that news right out there headline, breaking news! Oh, and if boys were better than girls, let’s just not report that.

    Can you just see them shaking their angry little 6 year old fists at the Bad Mean Stoopid Girls? I forget sometimes that along with privilege, the P imparts in the menz a pouting, petulant rotten-child hatefulness that makes a thinking person want to knock their spoiled pumpkin heads together. Maybe privilege is hateful petulance.

    My obstreperal lobe does hurt now.

  5. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    The comments that set my obstreperal lobe throbbing were the “Wah, wah, boo-hoo-hoo, it’s because the deck is stacked in favor of the girls at the boys’ expense” ones.

  6. Sylvanite

    The primary benefit that most men seem to derive from the patriarchy is the idea that no matter how lacking they are as individuals, they can still feel good about themselves be4cause at least they aren’t women. Years of enforced noncompetition with women made them think the patriarchy’s lies were true. Now they have to actually compete with girls, and their feelings are oh so hurt. They actually may have to work to be good at stuff!

  7. octopod

    I’ve been thinking about this “boys being academically disadvantaged” thing, and I suspect it’s because of this fashionable flavour of privileged anti-intellectualism which pitches studying (and, indeed, anything else requiring any effort) as For Gurlz. Anyone else smell this?

  8. Intransigentia

    Octopod – I think you have that exactly right.

  9. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Octopod, it’s not the only thing I smell, but yes, it’s predominant in the mix.

  10. chingona

    It’s interesting (by which I mean, infuriating) that they seem to think math skills are some sort of zero sum game, in which “gains” by girls, which really aren’t gains so much as accurate reporting, but I digress, must come at the expense of boys. Apparently there can be no net increase in math skills.

  11. octopod

    The interesting thing about it is that it’s going to have the net effect of devaluing and “pink-ghetto-izing” pretty much all of human intellectual endeavor. I wonder if masculinity is going to run in ever-decreasing circles until it vanishes.

  12. Mel

    “I wonder if masculinity is going to run in ever-decreasing circles until it vanishes.”

    Wouldn’t THAT be a neat trick, Octopod!

  13. rootlesscosmo

    @Sylvanite:
    The primary benefit that most men seem to derive from the patriarchy is the idea that no matter how lacking they are as individuals, they can still feel good about themselves because at least they aren’t women.

    Definitely a major benefit of patriarchy, and of other structural injustices too; W.E.B. DuBois argued that whites receive a “psychic wage” from the fact of not being Black, which is a large part of why they defend racism. The hollering about how same-sex marriage will “destroy” or “devalue” straight marriage has the same source, I think; obviously straight marriage as such won’t be affected, but the psychic wage of excluding same-sex couples will be lost. I believe this concept explains a lot of what otherwise seem like completely irrational actions and attitudes of the privileged, because, though the psychic wage isn’t palpable, it’s real, and really tied into material privileges, so weakening one element in the structure threatens to bring the whole thing crashing down.

  14. Sylvanite

    I think you’ve nailed the weakness inherent in “masculinity”, Octopod. It’s not defined as being what men are, but rather by what they are not, namely, women. I just had a baby boy this year, and thoughts of how I’m going to deal with this sort of idiocy are consuming me.

    Yes, if academic achievement becomes feminized, jeebus knows what’s going to happen. I suspect that men will still be able to hold onto the political and economic power they currently enjoy, even as they devolve even further as a group into being mouth-breathing ignoramuses. Gah!

  15. Joolya

    Oh, I wish I hadn’t read the comments section. And this with a number of comments deleted because posters were blocked, presumably for rude and vicious comments (which would have made the o-lobe burst and dribble out my ear).
    It is true, that to many of the commentors, that a tie is as good as a loss. I hate the phrase “zero sum game” (which is always invoked by posters on blogs like the evil VoxDay and similar) but this is a case in point.
    We’re not grading on a curve, people.
    Or, wait, maybe we are. After all, the pie is only so big and if the chicas get a slice, there’s less for the hombres.
    Oh, right.
    Duh.

  16. lawbitch

    There are comments about the alleged “feminization” of education. The men blame the women for the poor education system in general and specifically for boys. So, why don’t the men become more responsible and involved in the education of all children?

    It’s true that more women teach than men. Teaching is a pink collar job. If the men are so concerned about mostly female teachers, they can raise the salaries for teachers so that more men will teach. Then, more men will be in the classroom as a models for boys. It would also bring more talented teachers of all genders into the classroom and that would be a good thing.

    Men need to be more involved in the rearing of their children. It’s male privilege that allows men to sit back and let the women bear all of the responsibilities of rearing the children, then blame the women when the children don’t live up to their expectations. We need to put the responsibility for rearing children directly on men and force them to be accountable. Interestingly, a divorce forces a man to do so, at least in the determination of custody and during his possession periods.

    Finally, it is male culture that perpetuates and enforces anti-intellectualism. How can one expect any of the children to suceed if studying is only for nerds? I don’t see a lot of men modeling good reading habits for their childen either.

    NOTE: I’m a former teacher certified to teach secondary math.

  17. Virago

    “We need to put the responsibility for rearing children directly on men and force them to be accountable. Interestingly, a divorce forces a man to do so, at least in the determination of custody and during his possession periods.”

    A lot of men also dump the primary childcare responsibilities on their mothers, girlfriends, and stepmothers when they have custody or during their “possession periods.”

  18. lawbitch

    Virago, you’re right that many women step in to take care of children during possession periods. I’m suggesting that women refuse to do it. It’s better for the women not to have that burden and for the children to have their father’s attention. I’ve been practicing in family law lately. I’m perplexed by women’s willingness to cover for men. I know of one case where the new girl friend is paying the boy friend’s child support for him. Of course, IBTP.

  19. Megan

    Octopod, I would give both your comments big gold stars if I could. ‘the net effect of devaluing and “pink-ghetto-izing” pretty much all of human intellectual endeavor’ sums up the horrible reality that the feminists are going to bring about. Gahd, if girls get included in everything, then everything will be pink and rotten.

    Quite aside from the masculine freak-out that it implies, there’s a kind of truth there that reminds me of the Sisters Ordainin’ it for Themselves post. Trying to get ourselves included in their games doesn’t elevate us, it just leads them to denigrate any field where women are allowed to compete (and might succeed).

  20. Twisty

    Rootless, I’m diggin that “psychic wage” dealio. It’s a pip! Thanks.

  21. Mezosub

    Dubois had a whole lot of good ideas about oppression of exploited groups and is one of my very favorite social theorists, so thanks for bringing him up.

    Megan’s point, depressing as it is, has been bothering me recently, however. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve been looking around at all the female law school graduates and bar examinees. Then I look at the hours first year associates are expected to work and their compensation and pressures to demonstrate profitability, especially in big firms, and I just feel sorry for them.

    We have a whole generation of young women (mid-20′s) coming out of law school with a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of loans, being told that they have to work 80 hours per week to earn about a hundred thousand dollars per year. Then, they’re humiliated in front of the partners and sometimes their clients when more experienced paralegals (usually women in their 30s-40s) can do their jobs faster and cheaper than they can.

    IBTP.

  22. Orange

    Chingona, yeah. It’s all about who’s on top. If men cannot demonstrate statistical advantages over women, their fragile egos might crumble. Women and girls can’t gain unless men and boys gain more.

  23. Jen

    Octopod, you have given me hope for an increasingly bleak future. This silly anti-intellectualism of the male gender will indeed hopefully inspire all men to even more idiotic stunts until the day they are all brain-dead vegetables in some hospital, we harvest their genetic material, and carry on living without them.

  24. the Omphaloskeptic

    I think we should be wary of conflating patriarchy and anti-intellectualism. In the US today the latter certainly aids and abets the former, but it is not a necessary feature.

    The constant is the oppression, not its manifestations.

  25. kate

    I am not sure that anti-intellectualism is an outgrowth of patriarchy or more an outgrowth of the American culture. Anti-intellectualism has always more or less been part of the resistance to class oppression as obviously the economically disadvantaged have less access to good education which leads to less access to more powerful social positioning.

    Dubois’ theory blends well with the zero-sum game point of view, or the belief of “scarce resources”.

    Similar to the class/patriarchy war that welfare reform legislation sailed in on. By utilizing the rage of oppression, congress was able to justify further oppression and give back more funds to those who felt they deserve it more; the most wealthy. The poor want to identify with the wealthy as if somehow their good fortune will rub off on them overnight and thus dilude themselves into thinking they really aren’t oppressed, but that poverty and childcare/employment issues are really “personal issues” that must be regulated and brought under control lest they pollute all of society.

    And so it is with the progression of women and girls. They refuse to stay in their place and thus, because of this impending social shift, threaten the power on which men stand. This is true to some extent, just as it is true that when the rich man pays more in taxes and the welfare mother gets a clean apartment thanks to the state, someone loses something. But something is gained as well.

    Fact is, the men don’t see that girls gaining in math is really as important as the possibility that their power base may be shrinking.

    I also believe that people who fear gay marriage do so because they truly do fear the inevitable break-down of the “family” unit as they know it. They know that in order for their strict social order to exist, a set of thick boundary lines must exist and fear and loathing must remain to keep all in order. Marriage just might break down, gender roles just might be sinking.

    Those of us who don’t depend on identification with an oppressive system can’t wait for the day. We are understandably loathed. Captain Bly is furious and wants his ship back.

    Ain’t happenin’ cappy.

  26. bluedancer

    The interesting thing about it is that it’s going to have the net effect of devaluing and “pink-ghetto-izing” pretty much all of human intellectual endeavor. I wonder if masculinity is going to run in ever-decreasing circles until it vanishes.

    Is it a wonder men are always going on about how women will tear the fabric of society apart by flooding the workplace and intellectual marketplace with our incompetent selves (I am thinking in particular of the claims that science, as an endeavor, will be ruined, ruined I tell you, if gender parity is encouraged and worked toward)? When the inferiority of women (girls) is taken as a given, the only ways to explain how women (girls) can succeed in a field (subject) formerly considered difficult are that the women are getting an unfair amount of help OR that the field wasn’t worthy of esteem in the first place. Under this worldview, in which nothing is worthwhile if a woman can accomplish it, it is actually women’s competence that is so threatening, contrary to the whiny justifications for the bigotry. Nothing will induce them to even consider the great gaping blind spot in their “logic”.

  27. AngryJules

    I made the grave mistake of reading comments. My favorite suggested that women ought not vote and that the country was tremendously better when run by men. (This gentleman seems to think it’s run by someone else these days…?) And no, I don’t understand how that comment relates to the research topic either.

    Days like this, I feel hopeless. Thank goodness for feminist blogs.

  28. Kelsey

    I made the mistake of reading some of the comments, too. I was especially amused by the notion that when girls do poorly, it’s because they biologically have a lower aptitude for learning, but when boys do poorly, it’s because they’re maverick individualists who can’t be fenced in by trifling classroom rules and curriculums. What a crock of crap. IBTP.

  29. Ron Sullivan

    It must be true if it’s in SFGate:

    Only on Wednesdays in the Home & Garden section. (And Nigel and I don’t know how much longer that ride’s going to be. Dammit. They’re doing another buyout-and-layoff round, and we’re freelancers with no security beyond our editor’s indulgence.)

    There’s a reason I stick mostly to the ever-waning paper version. letters-to-the-editor are bad enough; comments on newspaper sites tend to be real barrel scrapings, IME.

    Sometimes we have to venture outside the Bay Area, and I’m forced to remember how most of the world sees me. It ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s a bit like going from here to the average goon-site’s comment strings.

  30. Judith Jewcakes

    “does that mean girls are better at math now than they were yrs ago, or are boys worse in math than they used to be?”

    Why on earth is one of the three “recommended” comments written by someone who is obviously too stupid to have grasped the SUBJECT of the article?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>