Special bonus points: female

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

kroner
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by kroner » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:14 am

I have to take issue with a couple things. First off, there's a misconception that the only type of sexism and racism is the overt kind. The idea is that there are a handful of bad actors who work to stand in the way of everyone else achieving racial and gender harmony. This is not primarily the issue. In this modern day, overt racism/sexism has largely been marginalized, especially in an area like physics or academia generally, which tends to be occupied by a fairly progressive set of people. That's not to say such racists/sexists don't still exist, but overt racism or sexism is just not tolerated.

But that doesn't mean our troubles are over. Every human naturally generalizes. You do. I do. Everyone does. That's just the way our brains work. Even if this is something you actively try to stop yourself from doing, it's a continuous battle. And the thing is, this behavior isn't strictly irrational either. For example, if you saw a 40 year old woman you didn't know in the physics building at some school you were visiting, Bayesian inference tells us that she's probably not a physics professor. However that doesn't make these kinds of generalizations any less harmful. Our tendency to generalize, even when justified in doing so, has the potential to entrench biases and stereotypes. We can't just close our eyes and pretend the biases don't exist or that they'll go away, because they won't. They're self perpetuating. The only way to get rid of them is by taking some sort of affirmative action (hence the name).

Second it's impossible to ever fully remove factors like gender and race from the equation when dealing with people. It may come as a surprise, but sometimes you actually have to interact face to face. It's not enough for admissions committees to blind themselves to these factors when considering applications because the applicants have already lived over 20 years with the reality of their race and gender affecting how they've developed as people and the opportunities available to them. These things have a real impact.

Yes, the road is tough at times for pretty much everyone, but that's no excuse for us to continue allowing it to be tougher for some people than others based on frivolous criteria like gender.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:21 am

kroner wrote:I have to take issue with a couple things. First off, there's a misconception that the only type of sexism and racism is the overt kind. The idea is that there are a handful of bad actors who work to stand in the way of everyone else achieving racial and gender harmony. This is not primarily the issue. In this modern day, overt racism/sexism has largely been marginalized, especially in an area like physics or academia generally, which tends to be occupied by a fairly progressive set of people. That's not to say such racists/sexists don't still exist, but overt racism or sexism is just not tolerated.

But that doesn't mean our troubles are over. Every human naturally generalizes. You do. I do. Everyone does. That's just the way our brains work. Even if this is something you actively try to stop yourself from doing, it's a continuous battle. And the thing is, this behavior isn't strictly irrational either. For example, if you saw a 40 year old woman you didn't know in the physics building at some school you were visiting, Bayesian inference tells us that she's probably not a physics professor. However that doesn't make these kinds of generalizations any less harmful. Our tendency to generalize, even when justified in doing so, has the potential to entrench biases and stereotypes. We can't just close our eyes and pretend the biases don't exist or that they'll go away, because they won't. They're self perpetuating. The only way to get rid of them is by taking some sort of affirmative action (hence the name).

Second it's impossible to ever fully remove factors like gender and race from the equation when dealing with people. It may come as a surprise, but sometimes you actually have to interact face to face. It's not enough for admissions committees to blind themselves to these factors when considering applications because the applicants have already lived over 20 years with the reality of their race and gender affecting how they've developed as people and the opportunities available to them. These things have a real impact.

Yes, the road is tough at times for pretty much everyone, but that's no excuse for us to continue allowing it to be tougher for some people than others based on frivolous criteria like gender.
Kroner, you are absolutely right that everyone is at least slightly biased, we tend to prefer commonality if the choice is presented to us. This is inevitable because it is essentially a part of our primitive nature, for instance whether we like to admit it or not it plays a large part in to how we choose mates. I don’t pretend to believe that the world is black and white as you seem to suspect I’ve stated. Also, I agree that our field is relatively progressive, it comes with the territory. Still my point is valid.

As you have stated face to face interaction is unavoidable, and it would be ridiculous to disagree with that. However, our initial impression of a person through an application process such as grad school is not face to face. Your profile is weighed and measured before the idea of meeting is ever brought into consideration. That “initial” measurement should not include race or gender, much to peoples chagrin it has no bearing on whether you are capable of successfully contributing to the field. Besides, people tend to judge things more fairly when only facts are presented to them first, and then the innate social factors. Secondly, I understand that you believe that someone’s 20+ years as a specific race and gender has molded them as a person, that is true, but it was their education and more importantly their drive to educate themselves that molded them as a potential physicist. The affirmative action that you talk about is exactly what I have suggested. I am not suggesting you plug your ears, close your eyes, think happy thoughts, and pretend it doesn’t matter. I am saying let’s take actual steps to where it won’t matter, because it will no longer be a measurable and perceivable factor at the most crucial of point during the admissions process, that initial evaluation. Your belief that because someone’s road was harder, that they should be given a pass for not achieving as much as someone whose road was a bit easier is insane to me. My road was very difficult, but I don’t feel that because I didn’t do as good as some privileged rich white male who went to Harvard, who had all the breaks, that I should be given a boost to his level. That belief is ridiculous, you’re not asking people to stop making it harder, you‘re asking people to make it easier, there is a difference.

Still, I’m not trying to start a fight, I do understand your points and as I said it is a difficult problem to fix. Still, I would like for you and others to at least listen what I’m about to say and let it sink in before you reply. Affirmative action in the long run works in the favor of domestic white men. Not from the social stand point of evening things out, creating what I agree is a mutually beneficial society. Rather it forces this population of white males to excel farther than the other gender and the other races. White males realize this and rationalize this, however unhappy to do so. They perceive, whether true or not, that when applying to a school, that if they go against a minority race and/or gender that their chances are not equal. They think along these lines, that if say they go against a female and an African American, all three of which have relatively equal resumes that they are not on equal ground with them. So in order to gain an edge, before they get to this point they make sure that their GPA is as high as possible, that their GRE is near perfect, that their letters and research are exceptional. They feel the need to be the best, because they feel, whether justified or not, that they must be the outright better choice to win the position. This is an imbalance, which will work against the other gender and races. Think about it, MLK, Frederick Douglas, Susan B Anthony, they all had to be smarter, more prepared than their white male counterparts in order to stand toe to toe with them. Because of this they did exceptional things when they finally won their chance to act. What differs from their situation to the current one is that white men are not at their extreme of being down and out; the world is still very much in their hands. So, if they suddenly get the bug to outdo everyone else, the results of that drive would and will impact the world exponentially in comparison to those in the cases I mentioned previously. The gap will only widen if we keep to this track, this disconnect will grow. I personally don’t want to see that, I hope one day we can just admit it doesn’t matter. When we do, it will stop mattering, because our roads won’t be harder because of gender or race, but rather because of individuals. Still, for some reason I feel that still won’t change our perspectives as a whole. We will never all have equal footing, some roads are harder, and I am disgusted that someone might deny another opportunity because they are unlike themselves. Still, it disgusts me more to punish someone because they’re not disadvantaged. That is essentially what you said we shouldn’t do, make someone’s road harder because of a frivolous thing such as gender or race.

idontknow
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by idontknow » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:03 am

White males realize this and rationalize this, however unhappy to do so. They perceive, whether true or not, that when applying to a school, that if they go against a minority race and/or gender that their chances are not equal. They think along these lines, that if say they go against a female and an African American, all three of which have relatively equal resumes that they are not on equal ground with them. So in order to gain an edge, before they get to this point they make sure that their GPA is as high as possible, that their GRE is near perfect, that their letters and research are exceptional. They feel the need to be the best, because they feel, whether justified or not, that they must be the outright better choice to win the position.
Dear midwestphysics, I think that your argument in the case of White Men vs. The Unfair World is unconvincing for someone who is trying to be a physicist:

1. The number of non-minority males applying to PhD programs in physics is far greater then the number of women and minorities that apply combined, so each of the said males runs a very small chance of encountering the tragic situation you described above. Furthermore, it has been mentioned numerously on this forum that women usually do not do as well on the PGRE as men with similar GPAs, so, the probability that a man's application will be compared to a woman's with an equal resume is also very low - if her PGRE is similar to his then her GPA is likely to be higher than his.

2. I certainly hope that you did not really mean "White Males" - all American non-minority males are in the same sorry oppressed condition you described.

3. Do you know who really does have to be
"best, because they feel, whether justified or not, that they must be the outright better choice to win the position"
Foreign students. Foreign students have to be the best. No matter what school you apply to, a foreign student with a better application than yours is sure to be rejected to make space for you, midwestphysics.

vesperlynd
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by vesperlynd » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:38 am

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:49 pm

idontknow wrote:
White males realize this and rationalize this, however unhappy to do so. They perceive, whether true or not, that when applying to a school, that if they go against a minority race and/or gender that their chances are not equal. They think along these lines, that if say they go against a female and an African American, all three of which have relatively equal resumes that they are not on equal ground with them. So in order to gain an edge, before they get to this point they make sure that their GPA is as high as possible, that their GRE is near perfect, that their letters and research are exceptional. They feel the need to be the best, because they feel, whether justified or not, that they must be the outright better choice to win the position.
Dear midwestphysics, I think that your argument in the case of White Men vs. The Unfair World is unconvincing for someone who is trying to be a physicist:

1. The number of non-minority males applying to PhD programs in physics is far greater then the number of women and minorities that apply combined, so each of the said males runs a very small chance of encountering the tragic situation you described above. Furthermore, it has been mentioned numerously on this forum that women usually do not do as well on the PGRE as men with similar GPAs, so, the probability that a man's application will be compared to a woman's with an equal resume is also very low - if her PGRE is similar to his then her GPA is likely to be higher than his.

2. I certainly hope that you did not really mean "White Males" - all American non-minority males are in the same sorry oppressed condition you described.

3. Do you know who really does have to be
"best, because they feel, whether justified or not, that they must be the outright better choice to win the position"
Foreign students. Foreign students have to be the best. No matter what school you apply to, a foreign student with a better application than yours is sure to be rejected to make space for you, midwestphysics.
Idontknow: that final paragraph was more generalized than directed toward a specific field, we also know that we compete against each other. Secondly, perhaps I should have worded the example of the majority better; of course I don’t reserve those difficulties for white males only. Lastly, I wasn’t taking foreign students into consideration, as I see the issues with their admissions based more off of the fact their foreign not gender or race. That also takes into consideration taxes. For instance say I apply to a state school, the applicant from that state is given higher priority. That is because the school receives funds from those citizens, their original purpose is to provide education for the citizens who supply their funds, and if they do not give priority to those people it would defeat that purpose. Those people have paid for that department and that opportunity to exist, it belongs to them first. It is private universities where that mentality is a little less reliable. As for differences in scores and number of applicants, of course they won’t be exactly the same resume but similar. Like you said, difference in GPA and GRE, if they’re close they balance out. As for the number of applicants, say 100 people apply. 75 are within the majority, 12 are female, and 13 are a minority race. (Just random numbers so don’t nitpick). The program admits say 10 students per period. If the ten best applicants are in ANY of those groups, it would be ridiculous to make room for any of the others simply because of their status as humans. We could go on for days, so let’s just admit that the issue is complicated, but at least we’re discussing it.

Vesperlynd: That view on the GRE and regular exams varies from professor to professor; I’ve heard both sides quite frequently. As for the test, it doesn’t measure your research ability directly; it measures your command of the subject which is needed to conduct research. If you don’t how to do a simple one step physics problem, how are you going to tackle hard multistep one? Secondly, I know for a fact that some profs are dirty sexist pig, I’ve watched them first hand myself too, but that goes back to eliminating their knowledge of your sex in order to judge applications equally. But I am actually interested in the specific example you gave. This girl that you consider brilliant, how are her social skills? There are many factors that play into these situations. It’s like business; it’s not always what you know but who you know. We’re a species built around our communication skills; if you're lacking there so too will be your opportunities. I can’t expect my professor to see how great I am simply by test scores and the occasional conversation. I need to build a relationship with him or her. I’ve got onto research projects with professors who I either didn’t stand out in their class academically, or didn’t even have their class, because I actively engaged them and impressed them. That is an individual thing, you either are person who is socially confident enough or you’re not.

I could go on for days, and I’ve left a lot unfinished above, but I think this back and forth we've got going is good so I’ll stop here. The hardest part about writing on this subject is that no matter what we sound insensitive to the issue. Personally I enjoy the discussion because we’re the people who hopefully one day will handle this issue personally. I also like hearing opposing opinions to my own, I admit there is a strong argument and very valid points that can’t be dismissed.

vesperlynd
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by vesperlynd » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:21 pm

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:18 pm

vesperlynd wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:This girl that you consider brilliant, how are her social skills?
Since you asked, she happens to be very nice.
Not being privy to the details, I can't really make an informed guess on the situation. In truth, only she can. What about this girl and this raved about guy differs? Is it strictly gender? No doubt they both likely put forth a great effort in what they do, the difference in success though may be due to the focus of their efforts. You said that she is brilliant when it comes to physics, but does she also exert the same effort toward building relationships with her professors, in fighting to obtain research opportunities, in debating her position and qualities. He may not be as good at the subject as she is, but he may be better at opening doors through communication. These are real factors that we need to take into consideration when judging the reason for certain outcomes. For example, Carl Sagan was very intelligent no doubt, but I don't consider him to be on the same level as Newton, Einstein, Planck, etc when it comes to that profound understanding of science. He was amazing, but they were unbelievable. Carl Sagan however, will still be remembered as a great scientist and rightfully so, his best ability was his communication skills if you ask me. He didn't need to be the smartest astrophysicist of all time to impact the field immensely. He taught and inspired countless people, all because he was able to connect with them. This is not the only reason he was successful, as I said he was also very smart, but it was a big reason as to why he was so successful. He was confident and comfortable when interacting with people, and in doing so they connected with him which opened doors.

idontknow
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by idontknow » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:23 pm

These are real factors that we need to take into consideration when judging the reason for certain outcomes. For example, Carl Sagan was very intelligent no doubt, but I don't consider him to be on the same level as Newton, Einstein, Planck, etc when it comes to that profound understanding of science. He was amazing, but they were unbelievable. Carl Sagan however, will still be remembered as a great scientist and rightfully so, his best ability was his communication skills if you ask me. He didn't need to be the smartest astrophysicist of all time to impact the field immensely. He taught and inspired countless people, all because he was able to connect with them. This is not the only reason he was successful, as I said he was also very smart, but it was a big reason as to why he was so successful. He was confident and comfortable when interacting with people, and in doing so they connected with him which opened doors.
So, you accept that science needs people with different sets of abilities and skills. No weak applicants, but a collection of humans with their main strengths in various areas, right?

Because if you do, then you are in agreement with the physics departments which may occasionally (check applications profiles for confirmation) choose a woman/minority among otherwise very similar applications. True, women notoriously do not score as high as equally well prepared men of the PGRE, hence some schools may accept a slightly (emphasis on "slightly") lower PGRE from female applicants. My understanding is that school do so in order to obtain a group of talented students with optimally varied interests/ areas of strength as well as excellent preparation.

Furthermore, I think that American Universities' interest in diversity contributes for our country's prominence in the scientific world by making our scientific environment welcoming and attractive to all talented people on the planet.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:12 pm

idontknow wrote:
These are real factors that we need to take into consideration when judging the reason for certain outcomes. For example, Carl Sagan was very intelligent no doubt, but I don't consider him to be on the same level as Newton, Einstein, Planck, etc when it comes to that profound understanding of science. He was amazing, but they were unbelievable. Carl Sagan however, will still be remembered as a great scientist and rightfully so, his best ability was his communication skills if you ask me. He didn't need to be the smartest astrophysicist of all time to impact the field immensely. He taught and inspired countless people, all because he was able to connect with them. This is not the only reason he was successful, as I said he was also very smart, but it was a big reason as to why he was so successful. He was confident and comfortable when interacting with people, and in doing so they connected with him which opened doors.
So, you accept that science needs people with different sets of abilities and skills. No weak applicants, but a collection of humans with their main strengths in various areas, right?

Because if you do, then you are in agreement with the physics departments which may occasionally (check applications profiles for confirmation) choose a woman/minority among otherwise very similar applications. True, women notoriously do not score as high as equally well prepared men of the PGRE, hence some schools may accept a slightly (emphasis on "slightly") lower PGRE from female applicants. My understanding is that school do so in order to obtain a group of talented students with optimally varied interests/ areas of strength as well as excellent preparation.

Furthermore, I think that American Universities' interest in diversity contributes for our country's prominence in the scientific world by making our scientific environment welcoming and attractive to all talented people on the planet.
Of course, science thrives in variety. However there are weak applicants but those people are not so because of race or gender, and those weak applicants are not likely to pursue this field far anyway nor be real competition.

As for departments picking women/minorities as you said “among otherwise very similar applications”, I have no problem with that so long as the reason for picking them is not simply because they are women or minorities, or a majority. While I have said and agree that application materials can be relatively close, there will never be an instance in which people are so close that their only difference is gender or race. That may sound contradictory to what I’ve been saying but it’s not. Once you come to point where the application is too close to call, then the individual qualities decide the situation. While those qualities may have grown from our status, simply being born a certain way does not qualify or ban you from being the right choice. That is why I said that the initial interaction should be ambiguous, and then if after that the lines are still blurred we should be consider other factors. Upon that junction, it should come down to seeing how the individual will fit with the program, professors, and the current research. How do they see you interacting with the department, does your personality and attribute collaborate well with those who will be teaching and advising you? etc.. Those rely not on gender or race, but on the individual. I understand that prejudices exist, but for me being a minority or majority would never play into my decisions. Because these variations you speak of that they want are intellectual, not gender/sex based

As for the last part of your post, to reiterate my first statement here, science thrives on variety. But simply being a different sex or race or nationality is not necessarily diversity if you argue that the difference between these groups intellectually is not all that great. As for the case with international students, I stand by the lower acceptance rates. We do need collaboration, but we pay for these schools, and they exist to educate our people, and as such we do need to give priority to domestic applicants. I am not saying let everyone in from here, or deny everyone from outside. But I am saying that if we are going to limit the number of acceptances, then the number of spots for foreign applicants is and should rightfully be less.

Also, while different qualities are important, it is up to the individual to make these qualities stand out. They cannot simply hope to be seen out of the blue. So if you look similar on paper, emphasis these qualities so that they know. I however do not see gender or race as a differentiating quality.
Last edited by midwestphysics on Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

axiomofchoice
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by axiomofchoice » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:24 am

I earlier dismissed this thread as useless in purpose, but little do I know its contents were perfect inspirations for Berkeley's personal history statement. :lol: A round of applause to the debaters!!!! .....

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zxcv
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by zxcv » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:56 am

axiomofchoice wrote:I earlier dismissed this thread as useless in purpose, but little do I know its contents were perfect inspirations for Berkeley's personal history statement. :lol: A round of applause to the debaters!!!! .....
LOL!

More than for an extra essay that Berkeley's admission committee mostly ignores, it's even better inspiration for those NSF fellowship essays you'll be writing once you show up in grad school and realize it would be really nice to have external funding. That is, it's worthwhile inspiration if it actually gets you off your ass to work toward changing things so you can write about it! A moving essay without any deeds to back it up is no more impressive than smarts without the ability to apply them.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:43 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:I earlier dismissed this thread as useless in purpose, but little do I know its contents were perfect inspirations for Berkeley's personal history statement. :lol: A round of applause to the debaters!!!! .....
I had the same idea but, unfortunately, I accidentally copied and pasted all of negru's comments. My diversity essay ended up being

"Women are fragile whores who eat lots of chocolate and are only good for cooking, cleaning and sex. They whine incessantly when they don't get their way and have no right do so because their brains are small and dumb, unlike man brains......"

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:45 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
axiomofchoice wrote:I earlier dismissed this thread as useless in purpose, but little do I know its contents were perfect inspirations for Berkeley's personal history statement. :lol: A round of applause to the debaters!!!! .....
I had the same idea but, unfortunately, I accidentally copied and pasted all of negru's comments. My diversity essay ended up being

"Women are fragile whores who eat lots of chocolate and are only good for cooking, cleaning and sex. They whine incessantly when they don't get their way and have no right do so because their brains are small and dumb, unlike man brains......"
Lol!


You're always going to find thickheaded people, the only thing worse than their lack of rationality in the issue itself is that you can't even hold a real conversation with them let alone debate the problem. I for one respect any opinion, especially those opposing my own so long as it is presented logically and within a factual basis. I never understood people who enter into a conversation on a topic like this and don't leave their minds open to possible changes to their thought processes. These are the same people who believe that they're educated, and can conduct research. How is that possible when you enter into the situation with your opinion set in stone? Sure, have an initial stance, but be open changes in that. I can tell you I hadn’t really put a great deal of thought into this issue, a mixture of ideas but nothing extensive, until thinking about others comments, my own, and their rebuttals. You may call me a little behind the times for not delving deeply into it previously, but not being directly affected by it sometimes it takes simple conversations like this to gain a real stance. That’s why I said this was a good problem to talk about, not even taking into consideration essays, just the interpersonal impact from a self-fulfillment position.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by swestrings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:48 am

On a related note, there is a lot of talk in my country about women "coming in second", suffering "invisible discrimination" and "not being held to the same standard" or "having lower expectations placed upon them" and a sea of other remarks pointing towards cloaked daggers that supposedly strike woman down during applications, or wear them down slowly over the time even if they are accepted.

I can say that no such thing exists, the only thing I can imagine is that it "feels" kinda weird for girls to be in a line of work with few women. Women like being surrounded by other women too. It makes them feel as if they are where the party is at. I hear this a lot. For many women, everything related to perceived status is ESSENTIAL. I could jot down all the anecdotal evidence I have for this, but suffice to say that many really smart girls I know drop out of physics and maths after feeling "this feels outside of society's sphere of interest" and then go become top of the class in something more "communal" such as biomolecular science, statistics or economics. For women, 99% of roads lead to *useful* stuff such as research in medicine/biology/genetics, or perhaps entrepreneurial endeavours and economics. Perturbation expansions unfortunately only seem important for a fraction of highly intelligent women, although I am glad that there is a growing minority who differ.

In any case, there is absolutely no discrimination coming up on my radar. Girls and boys like different toys, even when they are older. If a girl is not playing with trains this is definitely not sufficient that discrimination exists, it may for example have been her own choice. In the end, the whole debate seems to treat women as children, as if they cannot know what should interest them the most. "They should be doing physics and math, not biology and medicine" to me just sounds like a man imposing his own priorities on other people. If such a man were born a woman, he would perhaps also rank genetics and medicine higher than math or physics. Just the way things are, and does not give evidence that anyone has forcibly kept anyone else out of any line of work.

EDIT: Oh I forgot the main point I was going to make: girls get tons of advantages. It is common knowledge among the men at my university that girls get all the attention from tutors. The tutors will help them solve lots of problems. And saying "getting help makes you weaker" is not a good counter-argument - as this would mean that 99% of universities (that organize tutor exercises) are "doing it wrong". Girls are also cut a lot of slack, I have seen it so many times. My ex girlfriend tells me all the time about how she gets extra attention, professors making sure she is up to speed on things, graduate students going really easy on her for hand-in exercises and laboratory reports. And as a general indication of the kind of favour you garner as a girl: she has been asked on dates by 2 PhDs and hit on by at least 2 professors. Of course, this is unprofessional but that still means she gets tons of favours and small perks. But surely, in my own class, I have seen many similar things. My friend studying a different degree (also math-heavy) said the same thing there - tutors always helping the pretty girls. Last but not least, course supervisors take the complaints and suggestions of girls MUCH more seriously (although this may simply be a result of the girls being more socially gifted in which case they truly deserve the extra influence).

Questions? Comments?

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:52 am

You could reverse that idea though, and say that men go into the hard sciences because that field is male dominated and avoid fields more dominated by women. Also, this idea you have that only women seek to find groups of each other is not correct, the military is a clear example, “brother’s in arms”. That philosophy of predetermination is cultural and varies even within cultures; we’re given toys as children to establish the gender roles our culture dictates we should have. That approach however is rather dated, especially in the emerging global super-culture, where certain aspects are starting to become universal. Speaking from a suburban American standpoint in a rather diverse area, these ideas are beginning to become more individualized from family to family. We are no longer, well at least in my area; separated into communities of ethnic/religious subgroups and instead are living intertwined with one another. As a result we have widened our views of many things, which in turn creates a new philosophy of questioning the standards of the past. Upon gaining this perspective we may also change our views on things that we may not feel as directly confronted with but are none the less socially important. Not long ago men and women truly had trouble understanding each other’s view points because we failed to challenge gender roles. That isn’t the case now, we do try and visualize one another’s stance within society, and recognize when those stances are not only illogical but adverse to society. There is no doubt that we do differ in ways, but it is not in our intellectual capabilities. Those differences, while they may affect us socially, from an education standpoint should be marginalized so that we can recognize true talent regardless of cultural deviations. The hardest part is figuring out how should we go about doing this, many people feel that emphasizing our different paths is the best approach, others like myself differ. Still, I don’t claim to know the perfect answer, we just have to keep trying until we find the right formula. We also need to recognize that as our approaches takes affect that it will in turn change the issues, and then we must again reevaluate and update our processes. This issue isn’t a one step fix; it will be gradual and evolving. I think what we need to do now is a reevaluation, because a great deal of our perceptions, good and bad, are outdated.

As for status, both men and women, especially in the status-oriented world we live in, care greatly about perceived status. I’ve seen it in the corporate world big time, where if given the offer of either title as director with more money or vice president with less people will choose the better title. We all fall prey to our outward appearances at the expense of our own wellbeing as least a little bit. In those cases though it comes down to the individuals self confidence and desired direction, they must decide if they are willing to overcome their own fears and continue on this path. I can imagine it being hard, but only because people tend to view the world as a picture preserved in time. This is not our parents world anymore, it is ours and in order to change it all we need to do is not carry on the legacy of discrimination. While gender may matter to some, I’m hoping that our generation will transcend it, and that the next will build on that. Especially in our field, the beauty of physics should be blind to race and gender. I think it has already started to become that way, and it has with me. This is why I value a lot of these opinions above because as someone who puts little value in our differences, I do have trouble understanding how discrimination persists. I also try and target when it is used without cause, because that can be the disease to bring down our efforts. I think we need to leave emotions out, address the issue rationally, identify where it really is an issue, and then change it.

:) Still I like my idea of removing gender or race from applications, though I’m open to discussion.

I just saw your edit, but maybe I'll cover that in another post.
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:56 am

swestrings wrote:EDIT: Oh I forgot the main point I was going to make: girls get tons of advantages. It is common knowledge among the men at my university that girls get all the attention from tutors. The tutors will help them solve lots of problems. And saying "getting help makes you weaker" is not a good counter-argument - as this would mean that 99% of universities (that organize tutor exercises) are "doing it wrong". Girls are also cut a lot of slack, I have seen it so many times. My ex girlfriend tells me all the time about how she gets extra attention, professors making sure she is up to speed on things, graduate students going really easy on her for hand-in exercises and laboratory reports. And as a general indication of the kind of favour you garner as a girl: she has been asked on dates by 2 PhDs and hit on by at least 2 professors. Of course, this is unprofessional but that still means she gets tons of favours and small perks. But surely, in my own class, I have seen many similar things. My friend studying a different degree (also math-heavy) said the same thing there - tutors always helping the pretty girls. Last but not least, course supervisors take the complaints and suggestions of girls MUCH more seriously (although this may simply be a result of the girls being more socially gifted in which case they truly deserve the extra influence).

Questions? Comments?
I guess I can’t help but comment on it now. Your last part is not really gender based. It’s a cold hard fact that is entirely biologically based that good looking people more breaks. That’s in our DNA and has a lot do with our desire to mate, it will be a lot harder to change that, especially since a lot people won’t want to. lol

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by zxcv » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:46 pm

swestrings wrote:On a related note, there is a lot of talk in my country about women "coming in second", suffering "invisible discrimination"...

I can say that no such thing exists, the only thing I can imagine is that it "feels" kinda weird for girls to be in a line of work with few women....

In any case, there is absolutely no discrimination coming up on my radar....

Girls get tons of advantages...

Questions? Comments?
There is no single global experience for women in physics. So we should be careful when generalizing from our own limited (second-hand) experience to the experience of women everyone. In particular, as men, our familiarity with the experience of women in physics is by necessity second-hand. That means that some humility is in order, least we engage in "mansplaining" (google it).

This is not to say men absolutely should not engage in these sorts of debates, but it is vitally important that we recognize our privilege and that the ultimate authorities on the female experience are (obviously) women themselves.

In fact, we already have had comments on this thread from women disagreeing with some of your conjectures about the female experience. For example:
Alice wrote:You can have no idea how humiliating it is to have someone in another research group come to me to ask about applications of my research to his field of interest, but upon seeing that I wear lipstick and high heels, he asks for a date instead of a paper.
I hope this makes clear the duplicate reasons why I'm not going to respond to your comments point-by-point.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:56 pm

swestrings wrote:In any case, there is absolutely no discrimination coming up on my radar. Girls and boys like different toys, even when they are older. If a girl is not playing with trains this is definitely not sufficient that discrimination exists, it may for example have been her own choice.
I don't think anyone here is arguing that physics should have has many women studying it as men, or that women who are interested in other areas should be pushed into physics. That would be ridiculous, and I think you grossly misidentify this as the issue under discussion. Girls and boys do, on average, like different toys and that's perfectly fine. The problem is the cultural biases that push women from an early age to play with the toys it thinks they should like regardless of their individual predispositions, and that make it more difficult for the ones that actually do want to play with the boy's toys.

This can be damaging for men too--"what, you want to be a ballet dancer?!"

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by vesperlynd » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:04 pm

.
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:13 pm

zxcv wrote:
swestrings wrote:On a related note, there is a lot of talk in my country about women "coming in second", suffering "invisible discrimination"...

I can say that no such thing exists, the only thing I can imagine is that it "feels" kinda weird for girls to be in a line of work with few women....

In any case, there is absolutely no discrimination coming up on my radar....

Girls get tons of advantages...

Questions? Comments?
There is no single global experience for women in physics. So we should be careful when generalizing from our own limited (second-hand) experience to the experience of women everyone. In particular, as men, our familiarity with the experience of women in physics is by necessity second-hand. That means that some humility is in order, least we engage in "mansplaining" (google it).

This is not to say men absolutely should not engage in these sorts of debates, but it is vitally important that we recognize our privilege and that the ultimate authorities on the female experience are (obviously) women themselves.

In fact, we already have had comments on this thread from women disagreeing with some of your conjectures about the female experience. For example:
Alice wrote:You can have no idea how humiliating it is to have someone in another research group come to me to ask about applications of my research to his field of interest, but upon seeing that I wear lipstick and high heels, he asks for a date instead of a paper.
I hope this makes clear the duplicate reasons why I'm not going to respond to your comments point-by-point.
I can agree with that in some ways, we may try to envision ourselves in some sort of proxy situation, but complete understanding cannot be garnered in that way. However, should we take the mentality that because we don’t have the entire experience within our grasp when debating a subject between those who do, that in turn the debate is incapable of shifting both side’s ideals, than there exist very few things of importance in this world that can be discussed with the goal of being universally useful. That would be a word in which we don’t really debate, but talk about things and then regardless of valid points are in the end told what is right. I imagine as an example a dictatorial society, where say the government tells you how they’ll run the country because you never have and thus have no ability to say. I don’t need to be the president to realize legislation is difficult, I don’t need to be a woman to know that sexism exists, and women don’t need to be men to relate to our difficulties too. Still, difference is the point of debating, bringing out differing views from differing viewpoints. Even so, this discussion is truthfully not just centered solely on the female gender. While it may seem so, it is not as rigid as simply solidifying the position of one gender, but rather trying to unify the plane of which both operate. That requires assessing the issue from all sides, which is difficult to gain without the input of all those affected. That is obviously an issue in itself, as we tend to assume things concerning our counterparts real position, but as you can see we clearly seem to disagree with how each side evaluates the others status and hardships. Still, going against your argument, I fail to believe that because someone is one gender it means that they cannot relate extensively to the other, even in something as polarizing as this. Sure we may never completely understand, but we can and need to get close to understanding our differing positions. If we do that we’ll be able to identify where issues exist but more importantly agree that they do. Things have obviously reached a head according to some, as your last quote pointed out. We need to find some middle ground so that situations like that can be identified, accepted as an issue by all of us as it should be, corrected, and then eliminated hopefully from reoccurrence. Like I said it is polarizing, that is the biggest problem. All I can suggest to move us forward is that we need to remove emotions and logically discuss the situation. From there we can identify real problems, and separate those who are crying wolf from those who actually have it one on their back.
I admit I had to look-up “mansplaining” which was totally worth it because it made me laugh.
Here ‘s the quote from the urban dictionary so you all don’t have to look it up. “To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether”
That’s a fine line, one side being total arrogance and the other simply having confidence in their position and trying to explain it as thoroughly as possible so as to eliminate misunderstandings. A clear example of where that can appear in a grey area is in my earlier post when I said “white males” and should have said majority, as in a greater majority than simply white males, because it was the incorrect phrasing and thus gave the wrong impression. But equally as important as not being a “mansplainer”, we need to also eliminate the occurrence of explaining a situation in a manner in which we assume someone is not just ignorant, but either separate or combined with that, believed to be “incapable” of understanding. Oh and you’re right about the international complications; different cultures seem to exacerbate our difficulty when trying to arrive at a solution.
Still, I would rather have people talk about stuff like this, instead of becoming placid and eventually indifferent.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by swestrings » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:21 pm

Well in fact I was just making a separate point, which is why I started with "On a related note..."

And yes, after conversing with lots of women on the topic I do feel that I have a good handle on exactly how it must feel, apart from any biological predispositions that they also might be subjected to.

The two main points I made are: women are predisposed to non-physics interests even at the biological stage, culture and nurture are upon this only an exacerbating perturbation. If we shove barbie into their face maybe the amount of women interested in physics decreases so that our classes will be 15% women instead of 30% women - but even in the absence of barbie I cannot unfortunately bring myself to believe that we will ever see more than 30% women in physics without some kind of discrimination. However, with the advent of certain cultural and social changes taking place, the total number of men proceeding to higher educations is declining - at least this is true in the US and in my home country. This means that the actual percentage of women in tertiary physics might go above 30% "by walkover". Either way, I would be delighted but surprised to see the numbers hit 50%.

Then of course there is always the issue of standard deviations on various intelligence tests. Already at IQ 150 there are seven men per woman, this will maybe affect the percentage of women taking physics and the percentage reaching faculty-level even in the absence of biological differences in innate interests.

The second point is that it really helps a lot to be a girl, it makes the education easier and you get more attention to your problems. There is definitely the occassional guy who makes a move on the girl and offends her, but this is like stepping on poo on the way to work .... its not nice but wont affect your affinity for physics or your ability to understand the material.

All in all, I think most researchers think it would be great to increase the number of women at their department and therefore it might even be possible to slip through with worse credentials if you are a girl. This can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it - personally I havent made my mind up.

These are mostly my observations, and are therefore different from opinions. Peace. I am sure everybody here wants the same thing, its just a difference in status-quo-analysis.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by schwiss » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:30 pm

swestrings wrote:I am sure everybody here wants the same thing
Am I correct in assuming you mean a physicist girlfriend by this?

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:39 pm

swestrings wrote:Then of course there is always the issue of standard deviations on various intelligence tests. Already at IQ 150 there are seven men per woman, this will maybe affect the percentage of women taking physics and the percentage reaching faculty-level even in the absence of biological differences in innate interests.

The second point is that it really helps a lot to be a girl, it makes the education easier and you get more attention to your problems. There is definitely the occassional guy who makes a move on the girl and offends her, but this is like stepping on poo on the way to work .... its not nice but wont affect your affinity for physics or your ability to understand the material.
I think that reading up on Prof. Lewis Terman, who was at Stanford a long long time ago will change a lot of views on IQ. Sure the difference between 70 and 120 is very noticeable, but beyond 130 there is no discernable difference and, if you read about his “Genetic studies of genius”, you see that the translatable success of higher scores plateaus. There is a point at which people become smart enough so to speak, where at a score of say 130-140 you are as capable as someone at any range higher of mastering any subject with equal intensity. This was actually contrary to Terman’s point, he believed the opposite but his study which lasted from childhood to well into adulthood for his many subjects proved that IQ meant little beyond a certain point. If anyone is looking for a fun read on like a plane trip or something, try Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” it has a lot of fun little facts like that. Still, the point is valid, if you read that book you’ll see exactly why.

As for having to be hit on, I as a man don’t like that happening to women or men. Both men and women need to learn to separate their personal lives from business, and being a student in school or a teacher is business. I’ve seen it go both ways, men who can’t keep their hands off of girls around the office or girls sleeping their way to the top. In either case I consider that to be unacceptable. I know a lot of people who have met their wife or husband at work, but places like school and work are not the dating game. Even physicists, though we think our physics work is our personal life, need to separate the two or end up in a lot of trouble. It can affect your ability and opportunities. So when that occurs and I know it does, both ways, we need to stop it. That is a point, and issue, that I completely agree with the women on this board about. There needs to be a seperation. Still, it is a different issue from graduate school acceptance.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by swestrings » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:32 am

No, not a physicist girlfriend, what I meant is that I think most people here want more equality in physics: both at education level and at research level. I mean is there anyone who prefers a class with 5% girls to a class with 50% girls?
midwestphysics wrote:I think that reading up on Prof. Lewis Terman, who was at Stanford a long long time ago will change a lot of views on IQ. Sure the difference between 70 and 120 is very noticeable, but beyond 130 there is no discernable difference and, if you read about his “Genetic studies of genius”, you see that the translatable success of higher scores plateaus. There is a point at which people become smart enough so to speak, where at a score of say 130-140 you are as capable as someone at any range higher of mastering any subject with equal intensity. This was actually contrary to Terman’s point, he believed the opposite but his study which lasted from childhood to well into adulthood for his many subjects proved that IQ meant little beyond a certain point. If anyone is looking for a fun read on like a plane trip or something, try Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” it has a lot of fun little facts like that. Still, the point is valid, if you read that book you’ll see exactly why.
I am familiar with Gladwells conclusions and I would imagine that they apply equally to both men and women.

As for there being little difference between IQ 140 and IQ 150, I would disagree, though my evidence for this is totally anecdotal. However, basically what the research shows is that men deviate more, so there may be more men than women who are interested in, and mentally predisposed to, physics. Also, that the best physicists will tend to be men will probably also affect young people choosing careers - as people often like role models. Even on tests where memory is measured there is an amazing result: women score on average better but the very best scorers are basically all men (if you choose a large sample size).

But as I pointed out, social and societal changes (summarized in the synopsis of this book: http://www.amazon.com/WAR-AGAINST-BOYS- ... 477&sr=1-1) may lead to an increase of women attending physics (as a percentage of the class) simply by virtue of fewer men reaching our universities generally. Don't know if this applies to all the physics crowd though...

So, in the event that I land up at a top 20 university in the US, anyone care to share what percentage of my graduate class will be girls?

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by zxcv » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:47 am

swestrings wrote:So, in the event that I land up at a top 20 university in the US, anyone care to share what percentage of my graduate class will be girls?
Most likely, between 0-50%. 10-15% is typical, 50% is Harvard.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:57 am

I am familiar with Gladwells conclusions and I would imagine that they apply equally to both men and women.

As for there being little difference between IQ 140 and IQ 150, I would disagree, though my evidence for this is totally anecdotal. However, basically what the research shows is that men deviate more, so there may be more men than women who are interested in, and mentally predisposed to, physics. Also, that the best physicists will tend to be men will probably also affect young people choosing careers - as people often like role models. Even on tests where memory is measured there is an amazing result: women score on average better but the very best scorers are basically all men (if you choose a large sample size).

But as I pointed out, social and societal changes (summarized in the synopsis of this book: http://www.amazon.com/WAR-AGAINST-BOYS- ... 477&sr=1-1) may lead to an increase of women attending physics (as a percentage of the class) simply by virtue of fewer men reaching our universities generally. Don't know if this applies to all the physics crowd though...

So, in the event that I land up at a top 20 university in the US, anyone care to share what percentage of my graduate class will be girls?
Yes, Terman’s termites as they were affectionately called were proportioned relatively equal over both genders. His particular work was only one of a couple studies that seemed to find these results, but his is the only I’m familiar with enough to really rely on for evidence. Still it’s strong evidence by itself for my earlier statement.

I haven’t done any research on the subject myself, so I would have to entirely rely on what I’ve read, but for the most part almost every professor I’ve run into, it may be different elsewhere, seems to agree and place little value in IQ results. I’ve always been told that if you can handle the math you can handle the physics, and if you can forget about the bleakness of the math every once in a while you might just be creative enough to contribute to it. :)

As for the proportionality of high scores, yes I have read that on average the best scores come from men, but luckily research isn’t a test of one’s current knowledge. I think we’re all in physics to be researchers at least fundamentally, and not to sound like a “mansplainer” lol, but that involves things that aren’t within our current knowledge, there is no test for those problems because we don’t have the answers yet. I tend to believe we’re all capable, well, those capable of understanding physics, equally disregarding gender to carryout research. I’ll have to look at that book, but just as reference, when I picked physics I never even thought of anyone who came before me or the male role models; it didn’t play into my decision. Maybe it did subconsciously; I can’t honestly rule it out given the definition. Still, I don’t think I’ve ever done anything of consequence because of gender expectations, at least knowingly.

Sorry I can help you on the last point, while it may hurt my clout here, I come from a pretty unknown school and I’m not getting into a top 10 or probably even top 20 grad school.
:oops:

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:01 am

swestrings wrote:Well in fact I was just making a separate point, which is why I started with "On a related note..."

And yes, after conversing with lots of women on the topic I do feel that I have a good handle on exactly how it must feel, apart from any biological predispositions that they also might be subjected to.

The two main points I made are: women are predisposed to non-physics interests even at the biological stage, culture and nurture are upon this only an exacerbating perturbation. If we shove barbie into their face maybe the amount of women interested in physics decreases so that our classes will be 15% women instead of 30% women - but even in the absence of barbie I cannot unfortunately bring myself to believe that we will ever see more than 30% women in physics without some kind of discrimination. However, with the advent of certain cultural and social changes taking place, the total number of men proceeding to higher educations is declining - at least this is true in the US and in my home country. This means that the actual percentage of women in tertiary physics might go above 30% "by walkover". Either way, I would be delighted but surprised to see the numbers hit 50%.

Then of course there is always the issue of standard deviations on various intelligence tests. Already at IQ 150 there are seven men per woman, this will maybe affect the percentage of women taking physics and the percentage reaching faculty-level even in the absence of biological differences in innate interests.

The second point is that it really helps a lot to be a girl, it makes the education easier and you get more attention to your problems. There is definitely the occassional guy who makes a move on the girl and offends her, but this is like stepping on poo on the way to work .... its not nice but wont affect your affinity for physics or your ability to understand the material.

All in all, I think most researchers think it would be great to increase the number of women at their department and therefore it might even be possible to slip through with worse credentials if you are a girl. This can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it - personally I havent made my mind up.

These are mostly my observations, and are therefore different from opinions. Peace. I am sure everybody here wants the same thing, its just a difference in status-quo-analysis.
Way to be extremely sexist. I especially love you how frame your lowly opinions as if they were elegant truths.

Referring to your first point, I do not think women are naturally predisposed to non-physics interests. The whole idea is absurd. In fact, most men I know are pre-disposed to non-physics interests.

About your second point, IQ is irrelevant. The person with the highest IQ in the world is a woman and she has produced really nothing of interest outside of a few books on being the person with the highest IQ. That's not to say you can teach a person with an IQ of 80 to be the next great investigator but rather that the correlation between success and IQ, after a certain point, isn't as strong as you might think.

And finally, if girls are getting more attention to their problems it is probably because most physicists are males who like to give girls attention. Also, if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that girls are more willing to ask for help because society decrees that it is emasculating for a man to ask for help.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:16 am

grae313 wrote:
swestrings wrote:In any case, there is absolutely no discrimination coming up on my radar. Girls and boys like different toys, even when they are older. If a girl is not playing with trains this is definitely not sufficient that discrimination exists, it may for example have been her own choice.
I don't think anyone here is arguing that physics should have has many women studying it as men, or that women who are interested in other areas should be pushed into physics. That would be ridiculous, and I think you grossly misidentify this as the issue under discussion. Girls and boys do, on average, like different toys and that's perfectly fine. The problem is the cultural biases that push women from an early age to play with the toys it thinks they should like regardless of their individual predispositions, and that make it more difficult for the ones that actually do want to play with the boy's toys.

This can be damaging for men too--"what, you want to be a ballet dancer?!"
Is it really that they like different toys or that we give them certain toys we expect them to like?

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:20 am

But as I pointed out, social and societal changes (summarized in the synopsis of this book: http://www.amazon.com/WAR-AGAINST-BOYS- ... 477&sr=1-1) may lead to an increase of women attending physics (as a percentage of the class) simply by virtue of fewer men reaching our universities generally. Don't know if this applies to all the physics crowd though...
lmfao @ book. Seriously? You're *** joking, right? That's very blatant misogyny -- the idea that women gaining rights somehow harms men -- *** get real.

I bet you're really pissed that grae is a moderator of this board.

And up until now I thought I was the biggest asshole on this forum...

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by Dreaded Anomaly » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:05 pm

twistor wrote:Is it really that they like different toys or that we give them certain toys we expect them to like?
Image

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:23 pm

twistor wrote:Is it really that they like different toys or that we give them certain toys we expect them to like?
I was trying to make the point that both of these factors exist, one is OK and the other isn't. Men and women are different. And that's perfectly OK. What I find disgusting is the whole process where we wrap our little girl babies in pink blankets and bring them home from the hospital to their pink rooms and give them dolls and easy-bake ovens to play with. That process is damaging. If you give a girl a doll and a remote control car and she likes playing with the doll better (assuming she isn't already corrupted by the tv commercials showing girls playing with dolls and boys playing with cars) that's perfectly fine and the idea that there is something wrong with that is just as damaging in my opinion as the idea that she should play with dolls in the first place.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to study English or biology even wanting to stay at home and raise a family. That's a difficult and important job. But if a woman wants to learn math and physics or if a man wants to learn to cook or wants to stay home and raise a family, I don't think there should be cultural barriers in their way.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:25 pm

grae313 wrote:
twistor wrote:Is it really that they like different toys or that we give them certain toys we expect them to like?
I was trying to make the point that both of these factors exist, one is OK and the other isn't. Men and women are different. And that's perfectly OK. What I find disgusting is the whole process where we wrap our little girl babies in pink blankets and bring them home from the hospital to their pink rooms and give them dolls and easy-bake ovens to play with. That process is damaging. If you give a girl a doll and a remote control car and she likes playing with the doll better (assuming she isn't already corrupted by the tv commercials showing girls playing with dolls and boys playing with cars) that's perfectly fine and the idea that there is something wrong with that is just as damaging in my opinion as the idea that she should play with dolls in the first place.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to study English or biology even wanting to stay at home and raise a family. That's a difficult and important job. But if a woman wants to learn math and physics or if a man wants to learn to cook or wants to stay home and raise a family, I don't think there should be cultural barriers in their way.
That’s anthropology 101, the toys we’re given are cultural and meant to mold gender expectations. The only issue with abolishing these early development systems is that the affect may not be what we predict. Even in those differing cultures from the western style, a hierarchy is established through childhood gender modeling, so it is new ground on which we have no data. We have to envision the outcomes both negative and positive, and weigh how detrimental they might be. While stopping these models will certainly stop preconditioning, will it also create gender confusion? Are we willing to risk any other possible negatives? Personally I think any changes would have to be gradual and completely on a controlled trial basis, so that we minimize any possible damage. I know that might sound hard to believe, that a negative could arise from it, but it would be foolish to disregard that possibility. Because, whether it is a patriarchal or a matriarchal society, as I said every culture establishes a gender hierarchy which puts not doing so on uncharted grounds. Even beyond mankind, as I’m sure you are aware of, this is not only a human trait, therefore we can assume that it is not only biologically instinctive but somehow biological beneficial to establish these roles. We need to be careful as to not upset some tipping point that could be more destructive than not. Again, I know it sounds strange to think that any negative could come of it, but we would still need to be cautious if we decided to change our development systems.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:44 pm

grae313 wrote:
twistor wrote:Is it really that they like different toys or that we give them certain toys we expect them to like?
I was trying to make the point that both of these factors exist, one is OK and the other isn't. Men and women are different. And that's perfectly OK. What I find disgusting is the whole process where we wrap our little girl babies in pink blankets and bring them home from the hospital to their pink rooms and give them dolls and easy-bake ovens to play with. That process is damaging. If you give a girl a doll and a remote control car and she likes playing with the doll better (assuming she isn't already corrupted by the tv commercials showing girls playing with dolls and boys playing with cars) that's perfectly fine and the idea that there is something wrong with that is just as damaging in my opinion as the idea that she should play with dolls in the first place.
I think you have to be careful when you make statements like "men and women" are different. The question is not whether or not they are different but rather whether or not they are different in any way significant to the question at hand. I don't think there's an answer to that yet.

Just out of curiosity, which toys did you play with?
There's nothing wrong with wanting to study English or biology even wanting to stay at home and raise a family. That's a difficult and important job. But if a woman wants to learn math and physics or if a man wants to learn to cook or wants to stay home and raise a family, I don't think there should be cultural barriers in their way.
I couldn't agree more.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:46 pm

The traditional gender roles (and I will use roles and not "hierarchy" because hierarchy is insulting) did serve an evolutionary purpose, but humanity has evolved past that impetus. What I mean is, yes they are somewhat universal and this is probably because they were once biologically beneficial, but I believe their presence today is purely vestigial.

I was given a few dolls as a very young child but only until my parents saw that I liked the science kits, airplane and boat models, remote control cars, nerf guns, video games, and sports equipment they got me better. You're wrong--this is not uncharted waters and is already gradually being put into place. It is becoming more and more common every day.

This route was not always easy for me -- I was depressed for a long time because I hated being female. Our society does not respect women and all of the human qualities I valued and respected seemed to be male traits. This physically hurt at times. But if you think a better solution would have been to take the six-year-old me out of the creek where I was catching frogs and stick me in a dress and give me a doll to play with, you can *** off.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:56 pm

twistor wrote:I think you have to be careful when you make statements like "men and women" are different. The question is not whether or not they are different but rather whether or not they are different in any way significant to the question at hand. I don't think there's an answer to that yet.
Perhaps it's just me succumbing to the popular prejudices, but I believe that on average women are inherently slightly less capable at math and science than men. The key is the on average part, and that means there are still plenty of women left who are extraordinarily capable at math and science. And I don't think that means that women are inferior to men in general. There's a lot more to life and being intelligent than being able to do math. However I'm willing to admit that the data that supports this idea could very well be a result of only cultural conditioning. At the moment, I believe the data is a result of both inherent differences and cultural conditioning, and the precise breakdown is still unknown.

My mom was given an IQ test when she was 14 and her math/spatial IQ was 172. Her verbal/language IQ was something in the 130's. The administrator of the test said it was the biggest discrepancy between the two intelligences he'd ever seen.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:00 pm

midwestphysics wrote:
grae313 wrote:
twistor wrote:Is it really that they like different toys or that we give them certain toys we expect them to like?
I was trying to make the point that both of these factors exist, one is OK and the other isn't. Men and women are different. And that's perfectly OK. What I find disgusting is the whole process where we wrap our little girl babies in pink blankets and bring them home from the hospital to their pink rooms and give them dolls and easy-bake ovens to play with. That process is damaging. If you give a girl a doll and a remote control car and she likes playing with the doll better (assuming she isn't already corrupted by the tv commercials showing girls playing with dolls and boys playing with cars) that's perfectly fine and the idea that there is something wrong with that is just as damaging in my opinion as the idea that she should play with dolls in the first place.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to study English or biology even wanting to stay at home and raise a family. That's a difficult and important job. But if a woman wants to learn math and physics or if a man wants to learn to cook or wants to stay home and raise a family, I don't think there should be cultural barriers in their way.
That’s anthropology 101, the toys we’re given are cultural and meant to mold gender expectations. The only issue with abolishing these early development systems is that the affect may not be what we predict. Even in those differing cultures from the western style, a hierarchy is established through childhood gender modeling, so it is new ground on which we have no data. We have to envision the outcomes both negative and positive, and weigh how detrimental they might be. While stopping these models will certainly stop preconditioning, will it also create gender confusion? Are we willing to risk any other possible negatives? Personally I think any changes would have to be gradual and completely on a controlled trial basis, so that we minimize any possible damage. I know that might sound hard to believe, that a negative could arise from it, but it would be foolish to disregard that possibility. Because, whether it is a patriarchal or a matriarchal society, as I said every culture establishes a gender hierarchy which puts not doing so on uncharted grounds. Even beyond mankind, as I’m sure you are aware of, this is not only a human trait, therefore we can assume that it is not only biologically instinctive but somehow biological beneficial to establish these roles. We need to be careful as to not upset some tipping point that could be more destructive than not. Again, I know it sounds strange to think that any negative could come of it, but we would still need to be cautious if we decided to change our development systems.
Gender confusion? You think girls won't know they're girls if they don't play with Barbie?

I don't think it' biologically instinctive either, and I'm not sure what evidence you're appealing to in order to come up with that conclusion. If you have some then please share it. And, supposing such evidence exists in other species, you are still hand-picking examples to prove your point. What about species which are asexual, or produce through parthenogensis, or change sexes over the course of their lifespans. Taking these species as examples would argue for human cloning or that every human should undergo multiple sex-changes over the courses of his/her lifetime. You cannot make a generalization about humans by appealing to evidence from other species; it simply doesn't hold.

And I don't think you can completely stop childhood gender modeling because if adults do not engage it in other children will. You cannot isolate children entirely from gender inculcation unless you remove them from society altogether, and that is self-defeating.

You don't have to go father than documented accounts of feral children to understand the affect environment has on the developing mind. For instance, there was a case as recently as 2009 of a girl named Natasha found living in Siberia. She was 5 years old and kept only in a room with dogs and cats, essentially being raised by them. She displayed many of the behavioral attributes of the dog she was living with and raised by, including barking at humans, refusing to eat with a spoon, and jumping on people. Clearly, this girl was not given toys of either sex to play with. And the fact that she doesn't display normal interests of a 5 year old girl (hair, make-up, Barbie, ponies, candy, pretty dresses, etc, etc) argues strongly that enjoyment of these things does not come from genetic predisposition.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:05 pm

grae313 wrote:The traditional gender roles (and I will use roles and not "hierarchy" because hierarchy is insulting) did serve an evolutionary purpose, but humanity has evolved past that impetus. What I mean is, yes they are somewhat universal and this is probably because they were once biologically beneficial, but I believe their presence today is purely vestigial.

I was given a few dolls as a very young child but only until my parents saw that I liked the science kits, airplane and boat models, remote control cars, nerf guns, video games, and sports equipment they got me better. You're wrong--this is not uncharted waters and is already gradually being put into place. It is becoming more and more common every day.

This route was not always easy for me -- I was depressed for a long time because I hated being female. Our society does not respect women and all of the human qualities I valued and respected seemed to be male traits. This physically hurt at times. But if you think a better solution would have been to take the six-year-old me out of the creek where I was catching frogs and stick me in a dress and give me a doll to play with, you can *** off.
I'm not convinced that traditional gender roles served an evolutionary purpose. Maybe they did, but maybe they were extraneous. You have to be careful, too, when you enter that debate because people can come up with all kinds of reasons to subjugate women based evolutionary theory -- enter social Darwinism. And I agree that the roles are largely vestigial.

I never said it was uncharted waters.

I don't know why you have such animosity towards me since we fundamentally agree. I never said you should be stuck in a dress. You are right that society values male traits highly. I never said it was right.

I think your comments should be directed towards midwestphysics.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:06 pm

grae313 wrote:The traditional gender roles (and I will use roles and not "hierarchy" because hierarchy is insulting) did serve an evolutionary purpose, but humanity has evolved past that impetus. What I mean is, yes they are somewhat universal and this is probably because they were once biologically beneficial, but I believe their presence today is purely vestigial.

I was given a few dolls as a very young child but only until my parents saw that I liked the science kits, airplane and boat models, remote control cars, nerf guns, video games, and sports equipment they got me better. You're wrong--this is not uncharted waters and is already gradually being put into place. It is becoming more and more common every day.

This route was not always easy for me -- I was depressed for a long time because I hated being female. Our society does not respect women and all of the human qualities I valued and respected seemed to be male traits. This physically hurt at times. But if you think a better solution would have been to take the six-year-old me out of the creek where I was catching frogs and stick me in a dress and give me a doll to play with, you can *** off.
Call it insulting but hierarchy is the correct word, patriarchal and matriarchal societies are such because they establish a gender “hierarchy”, read any anthropology book because I’m not making this up. Secondly, has mankind evolved past these roles, all the evidence points to the answer being no. This not a case of toe nails, because we actively engage in the process. As for being given what we like, yes at a certain age most of us are given our preference but initially we’re given the toys we are expected to have. This still however is uncharted ground because the after effects of such practices have not completely been felt, as I said not enough data points have been established to really see how the changes are effecting society. I’m also not saying that you should be pulled out of the creek, but I am saying that we do need to differentiate gender. I will be the first to admit that we are both equally capable in any area of study, but the manner in which approach study is different and established genetically. Neither is incapable, or more capable than the other, but we are still different in our processing mechanisms.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:07 pm

midwestphysics wrote: That’s anthropology 101, the toys we’re given are cultural and meant to mold gender expectations. The only issue with abolishing these early development systems is that the affect may not be what we predict. Even in those differing cultures from the western style, a hierarchy is established through childhood gender modeling, so it is new ground on which we have no data. We have to envision the outcomes both negative and positive, and weigh how detrimental they might be. While stopping these models will certainly stop preconditioning, will it also create gender confusion? Are we willing to risk any other possible negatives?
In the interest of fairness, I'll let you explain what kind of horribly detrimental effects we could expect out of allowing women to play with male or gender-neutral toys and why you think these negative scenarios are in any way likely to occur. Since I am sure that this is a crock of ***, I'll just sit back with a nice bucket of popcorn and watch the show.

midwestphysics wrote:Personally I think any changes would have to be gradual and completely on a controlled trial basis, so that we minimize any possible damage. I know that might sound hard to believe, that a negative could arise from it, but it would be foolish to disregard that possibility. Because, whether it is a patriarchal or a matriarchal society, as I said every culture establishes a gender hierarchy which puts not doing so on uncharted grounds.
Of course it's acceptable to ignore your concerns. I'm not sure if you have discovered/invented a time machine and currently reside in the year 1925 but here in 2010, a large percentage of the population is made up of progressive parents that actively encourage their little girls and boys to play with the toys they want to and not the ones that our more primitive aged societies feel are acceptable for them. With that in mind, why don't you visit us in our time and tell me how many breaking news stories you've found of a woman going on a horribly violent rampage which share a direct causal link to her being allowed to play with Tonka trucks in the sand box. You must be out of your mind to think that this kind of mild change in parenting style needs to accompanied by years of gradual assimilation and intensive testing.
midwestphysics wrote:Even beyond mankind, as I’m sure you are aware of, this is not only a human trait, therefore we can assume that it is not only biologically instinctive but somehow biological beneficial to establish these roles. We need to be careful as to not upset some tipping point that could be more destructive than not. Again, I know it sounds strange to think that any negative could come of it, but we would still need to be cautious if we decided to change our development systems.
It's probably true that at one point in our history, when cavewomen had no other responsibility than to be a babymaker and men had only the responsibility to make sure the babymaker was well-fed, that having a predisposition to care for a small living thing was a beneficial trait. However, I tend to think that we, as humans, have become sophisticated enough to ignore some of our unnecessary base instincts.

Please see the images below for justification on the previous point.

Image
Image

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:10 pm

grae313 wrote:
twistor wrote:I think you have to be careful when you make statements like "men and women" are different. The question is not whether or not they are different but rather whether or not they are different in any way significant to the question at hand. I don't think there's an answer to that yet.
Perhaps it's just me succumbing to the popular prejudices, but I believe that on average women are inherently slightly less capable at math and science than men. The key is the on average part, and that means there are still plenty of women left who are extraordinarily capable at math and science. And I don't think that means that women are inferior to men in general. There's a lot more to life and being intelligent than being able to do math. However I'm willing to admit that the data that supports this idea could very well be a result of only cultural conditioning. At the moment, I believe the data is a result of both inherent differences and cultural conditioning, and the precise breakdown is still unknown.

My mom was given an IQ test when she was 14 and her math/spatial IQ was 172. Her verbal/language IQ was something in the 130's. The administrator of the test said it was the biggest discrepancy between the two intelligences he'd ever seen.
I wouldn't even go so far as to say they are inherently less capable. I don't think it's true and I don't think the evidence is strong enough to support that. If it's true there could be tremendous social fallout -- why fund math and science programs for girls if they can't measure up? -- so we'd better make sure we know the absolute truth of the matter before we risk facing the social consequences.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:14 pm

midwestphysics wrote:
grae313 wrote:The traditional gender roles (and I will use roles and not "hierarchy" because hierarchy is insulting) did serve an evolutionary purpose, but humanity has evolved past that impetus. What I mean is, yes they are somewhat universal and this is probably because they were once biologically beneficial, but I believe their presence today is purely vestigial.

I was given a few dolls as a very young child but only until my parents saw that I liked the science kits, airplane and boat models, remote control cars, nerf guns, video games, and sports equipment they got me better. You're wrong--this is not uncharted waters and is already gradually being put into place. It is becoming more and more common every day.

This route was not always easy for me -- I was depressed for a long time because I hated being female. Our society does not respect women and all of the human qualities I valued and respected seemed to be male traits. This physically hurt at times. But if you think a better solution would have been to take the six-year-old me out of the creek where I was catching frogs and stick me in a dress and give me a doll to play with, you can *** off.
Call it insulting but hierarchy is the correct word, patriarchal and matriarchal societies are such because they establish a gender “hierarchy”, read any anthropology book because I’m not making this up. Secondly, has mankind evolved past these roles, all the evidence points to the answer being no. This not a case of toe nails, because we actively engage in the process. As for being given what we like, yes at a certain age most of us are given our preference but initially we’re given the toys we are expected to have. This still however is uncharted ground because the after effects of such practices have not completely been felt, as I said not enough data points have been established to really see how the changes are effecting society. I’m also not saying that you should be pulled out of the creek, but I am saying that we do need to differentiate gender. I will be the first to admit that we are both equally capable in any area of study, but the manner in which approach study is different and established genetically. Neither is incapable, or more capable than the other, but we are still different in our processing mechanisms.
Would these be the anthropology books from the 1950's. You know the ones where "scientists" went to exotic foreign lands and proceeded to guilt the native inhabitants with their Christian ideals, then proceed to write up a "scientific" paper on the excursion. Or would they be the modern ones that only reference such studies? Anthropology has its own biases and they're not completely worked out.

Being given toys doesn't dictate what you like, but it does tell you what other people expect you to like.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:17 pm

twistor wrote: Gender confusion? You think girls won't know they're girls if they don't play with Barbie?

I don't think it' biologically instinctive either, and I'm not sure what evidence you're appealing to in order to come up with that conclusion. If you have some then please share it. And, supposing such evidence exists in other species, you are still hand-picking examples to prove your point. What about species which are asexual, or produce through parthenogensis, or change sexes over the course of their lifespans. Taking these species as examples would argue for human cloning or that every human should undergo multiple sex-changes over the courses of his/her lifetime. You cannot make a generalization about humans by appealing to evidence from other species; it simply doesn't hold.

And I don't think you can completely stop childhood gender modeling because if adults do not engage it in other children will. You cannot isolate children entirely from gender inculcation unless you remove them from society altogether, and that is self-defeating.

You don't have to go father than documented accounts of feral children to understand the affect environment has on the developing mind. For instance, there was a case as recently as 2009 of a girl named Natasha found living in Siberia. She was 5 years old and kept only in a room with dogs and cats, essentially being raised by them. She displayed many of the behavioral attributes of the dog she was living with and raised by, including barking at humans, refusing to eat with a spoon, and jumping on people. Clearly, this girl was not given toys of either sex to play with. And the fact that she doesn't display normal interests of a 5 year old girl (hair, make-up, Barbie, ponies, candy, pretty dresses, etc, etc) argues strongly that enjoyment of these things does not come from genetic predisposition.
Gender confusion does not refer to not knowing if you have male or female reproductive organs.
As for evidence on the human front, read Conrad Phillip Kottak’s Cultural anthropology, chapter 11 is all on gender, start there and do some searching . Also I won’t take into account asexual species because we not one, nor are we capable of sexually transforming at will on a reproductive level, (not surgical, but actually changing and reproducing.)
In terms of the girl raised by dogs, she doesn’t just shun toys for girls, but all things human. That points to extenuating circumstances and environment.
Oh and by the way, the copyright is 2008

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:20 pm

twistor wrote:I never said it was uncharted waters.

I don't know why you have such animosity towards me since we fundamentally agree. I never said you should be stuck in a dress. You are right that society values male traits highly. I never said it was right.

I think your comments should be directed towards midwestphysics.
They were, that entire post was written as a response to midwestphysics and I had written it before you made your post.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:21 pm

I’m also not saying that you should be pulled out of the creek, but I am saying that we do need to differentiate gender. I will be the first to admit that we are both equally capable in any area of study, but the manner in which approach study is different and established genetically. Neither is incapable, or more capable than the other, but we are still different in our processing mechanisms.
No one is arguing that we should get rid of gender. What we're saying is that gender roles need to modified so that neither males nor females are socially or economically limited by them. That's not really a sweeping change.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:22 pm

midwestphysics wrote:Call it insulting but hierarchy is the correct word, patriarchal and matriarchal societies are such because they establish a gender “hierarchy”, read any anthropology book because I’m not making this up.
The word hierarchy necessary implies, by definition, that one gender is higher in status that the other. This was certainly true of past cultures but in modern culture it is not true and not remotely acceptable.

midwestphysics wrote:Secondly, has mankind evolved past these roles, all the evidence points to the answer being no.
What evidence? You haven't provided any, you just keep asserting that there exists evidence that we have't gotten to a point where gender roles are unnecessary anymore.
midwestphysics wrote:This not a case of toe nails, because we actively engage in the process. As for being given what we like, yes at a certain age most of us are given our preference but initially we’re given the toys we are expected to have. This still however is uncharted ground because the after effects of such practices have not completely been felt, as I said not enough data points have been established to really see how the changes are effecting society.
First of all, I still don't accept your premise that a change in the type of toys is even worth investigation at any level. Frankly this notion sounds like precisely the type of half-assed topic you would find on a high school science fair poster of a child who didn't care enough to pick a real topic. Second, as Grae and I have both pointed out, these sort of parental changes have been going on for at least the last 30-40 years and i'm unaware of a single instance in which a negative event occurred and any psychologist or child development specialist said, "Oh, this is definitely a result of somebody playing with too many nerf guns and not enough barbies."

midwestphysics wrote:I’m also not saying that you should be pulled out of the creek, but I am saying that we do need to differentiate gender.
Why? The only time anybody should care what gender you are is if they are trying to have sex with you. If I want to see a movie with friends, why does it matter whether I can identify them as male or female? If I need a lab partner or I'm tracking down a potential research advisor, why is it important that I discover whether or not the person is male or female? Give me one example of a modern situation in which it's necessary that I know a persons sex before interacting with them.
midwestphysics wrote:I will be the first to admit that we are both equally capable in any area of study, but the manner in which approach study is different and established genetically. Neither is incapable, or more capable than the other, but we are still different in our processing mechanisms.
As twistor pointed out, this is a completely meaningless statement. Of course women and men are different. Men have penises and no boobs (unless they are fatties) and women have vaginas and boobs. Other than that, how are women and men different and are the differences significant enough to really bother mentioning it.
Last edited by HappyQuark on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:22 pm

grae313 wrote:
twistor wrote:I never said it was uncharted waters.

I don't know why you have such animosity towards me since we fundamentally agree. I never said you should be stuck in a dress. You are right that society values male traits highly. I never said it was right.

I think your comments should be directed towards midwestphysics.
They were, that entire post was written as a response to midwestphysics and I had written it before you made your post.
Sorry, then. You specifically mentioned the toys you played with as a child and this threw me off because I thought that was a direct response to my having asked you what toys you played with as a child.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:30 pm

The word hierarchy necessary implies, by definition, that one gender is higher in status that the other. This was certainly true of past cultures but in modern culture it is not true and not remotely acceptable.
How is then we’re on a post that distinctly talks about the unfairness of the system in place in terms of gender?
What evidence? You haven't provided any, you just keep asserting that there exists evidence that we have't gotten to a point where gender roles are unnecessary anymore.
Pick a book an anthropology book, any book, I’m not going to go rummaging through my bookshelf to find evidence I know exist for an internet board filled with people capable of doing it for themselves.

As for the rest of your post it’s not even worth responding to, you’re just trying to start a fight.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by twistor » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:32 pm

midwestphysics wrote:
The word hierarchy necessary implies, by definition, that one gender is higher in status that the other. This was certainly true of past cultures but in modern culture it is not true and not remotely acceptable.
How is then we’re on a post that distinctly talks about the unfairness of the system in place in terms of gender?
What evidence? You haven't provided any, you just keep asserting that there exists evidence that we have't gotten to a point where gender roles are unnecessary anymore.
Pick a book an anthropology book, any book, I’m not going to go rummaging through my bookshelf to find evidence I know exist for an internet board filled with people capable of doing it for themselves.

As for the rest of your post it’s not even worth responding to, you’re just trying to start a fight.
lol....ragequit

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:41 pm

midwestphysics wrote: How is then we’re on a post that distinctly talks about the unfairness of the system in place in terms of gender?
I'm afraid I don't follow. I'm saying that in our modern society, it is generally seen as unacceptable and untrue that men are superior to women. The fact that there exists some implicit sexism in our society and how to counteract that has been the topic of this discussion since day one.
midwestphysics wrote:Pick a book an anthropology book, any book, I’m not going to go rummaging through my bookshelf to find evidence I know exist for an internet board filled with people capable of doing it for themselves.
Fortunately my girlfriend is an anthropology major, so I've got plenty of undergraduate and graduate texts on the subject. Here is an excerpt from

"Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology" by James Spradley and David W. McCurdy, Twleth Edition, pg 231

Many anthropologists claim that males hold formal authority over females in every society. Although the degree of masculine authority may vary from one group to the next, males always have more power. For some researchers, this unequal male-female relationship is the result of biological inheritance. As with other primates, they argue, male humans are naturally more aggressive, females more docile. Ernestine Friedl challenges this explanation in this selection. Comparing a variety of hunting and gathering groups, she concludes that relations between men and women are shaped by a culturally defined division of labor based on sex, not by inherited predisposition. Given access to resources that circulate publicly, women can attaint equal or dominant status in any society, including our own.

The abstract above in "Conformity and Conflict" comes from "Society and Sex Roles" by Ernestine Friedl which appeared in Human Nature magazine in April 1978

midwestphysics wrote:As for the rest of your post it’s not even worth responding to, you’re just trying to start a fight.
Since you botched the forum quotes, I don't know which specific section you think I am trying to start fights with but I assure you that every question I asked was made seriously, even if I said it in a sarcastic tone.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:52 pm

Yeah I messed up the quotes, my bad. I've got a couple different people coming at me with responses so if I miss some stuff initially forgive me.
As for your quote yes, there do exist both systems, i.e. the matriarchal societies, for instance the Nayar. However, these are cultural; my evolutionary basis was to say that I know of no society where the division is equal.



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