The only kind of man who says, “Not all men are assholes,” is an asshole. If you really were a “nice guy,” you’d be saying, “Wow, lots of men are fucking assholes to women. Let’s do something to change that.”
Q: Girls are discouraged? That sounds so 1970s.
A: There was a 2001 study that showed in fourth grade, 68% of boys and 66% of girls like science. Starting in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, we lose girls and boys, but we lose more girls and for different reasons: lingering stereotypes, societal pressures. It’s well known that many girls have a tendency to dumb down when they’re in middle school. Just last week, I was talking to senior executives, and a woman told me that she was the best biology student in high school and had the highest exam scores. At the end of the semester, a teacher told her: “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to give the award in biology to a boy, because it’s more important to him.” Almost every time that I give a speech or meet with a group of women, I’ll hear such stories.
Q: Boys earn 70% of the D’s and F’s in school and account for 80% of dropouts. Shouldn’t we fear more for their future?
A: It’s a big problem. Women earn the majority of undergraduate degrees in the U.S. and last year earned more Ph.D.s than men. But keeping girls in the science and math pipeline is a separate problem with different causes. It’s important we address both. You don’t stop research on breast cancer just because heart disease is also deadly. You work on both.
Q: Suppose you were an executive of a corporation that needs engineers. You meet a girl in high school. She scored in the 99th percentile in math on her SATs, yet says she wants to major in psychology or go to law school, because those careers sound more interesting. What do you tell her?
A: I’d introduce her to the coolest female engineer in the company. Girls tend to have a stereotype of engineers being 65-year-old guys who wear lab coats and pocket protectors and look like Einstein. Try to make it personal to them and show them some of the cool things that they can do in engineering.
Q: Let’s talk Lawrence Summers. The Harvard president recently resigned after giving a controversial speech a year ago suggesting that men might simply be predisposed to be better at math and science. Is there at least a grain of truth in what he said?
A: (Laughs). Suppose you came across a woman lying on the street with an elephant sitting on her chest. You notice she is short of breath. Shortness of breath can be a symptom of heart problems. In her case, the much more likely cause is the elephant on her chest.
For a long time, society put obstacles in the way of women who wanted to enter the sciences. That is the elephant. Until the playing field has been leveled and lingering stereotypes are gone, you can’t even ask the question.
Q: I will anyway. There are many obvious biological differences between men and women. This can’t be one?
A: There are obvious differences, but until you eliminate the more obvious cause, it’s difficult to get at the question scientifically. Look at law, medicine and business. In 1970 — that’s not ancient history — law school was 5% female, med school was 8% and business school was 4%. You could have taken a look at those numbers and concluded that women don’t make good lawyers or doctors. The statistics might have supported you. But today, all of those fields are about 50-50.
It reminds me of the “bike to work” movement. That is also portrayed as white, but in my city more than half of the people on bike are not white. I was once talking to a white activist who was photographing “bike commuters” and had only pictures of white people with the occasional “Black professional” I asked her why she didn’t photograph the delivery people, construction workers etc. … ie. the Black and [Latin@] and Asian people… and she mumbled something about trying to “improve the image of biking” then admitted that she didn’t really see them as part of the “green movement” since they “probably have no choice” –
I was so mad I wanted to quit working on the project she and I were collaborating on.
So, in the same way when people in a poor neighborhood grow food in their yards … it’s just being poor– but when white people do it they are saving the earth or something.
Thousands of new American citizens will be sworn in across the country at July 4 naturalization ceremonies. Here’s our map showing the foreign-born population by county for Dante Chinni’s Wall Street Journal column on the complicated politics of immigration reform.
Enjoy the long weekend!
Here in America in the 21st century, we live in an infuriatingly post-everything world, where racist people know they can’t be seen as racist, where anti-women activists know they can’t be seen as anti-women, and homophobes know they can’t be seen as homophobic. So we lace our words, our actions, our laws with different, thinly veiled excuses. Laws that target black men are instead interpretations of the Second Amendment that permit us to “stand our ground.” Women’s health and safety is put at stake in order to stand by freedom of speech and religion, as long as the religion is Christianity. And to finish off the triumvirate, lesbian books for children are banned not for being about lesbians, but because they include a few curse words.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth, published in 2012, was a YA tour de force, a book that older queers wished had been written when they were kids, lauded by numerous high-brow publications for the quality of its writing. It was also nominated for the much-coveted Morris Award, given by the American Library Association each year to the best new voice in YA. This wasn’t just a book that the gays were reading. Everybody was reading it! And loving it!
Then it was banned for “inappropriate language.”
@afterellen is working with a Delaware bookstore, Browseabout Books, to try to get the word out about the CAMERON POST banning. Anyone can call the store at (302) 226-2665 and order a copy of the book to be given to an interested area reader.
if you were to go into the “girl gang” tag right now, I can guarantee you’d find it filled with pictures of white girls in pastel fighting against the patriarchy. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to take back feminization! If that’s your preferred aesthetic, use it! But at the same time please know that there’ more appropriate terms for what you’re representing (squad, instead of gang maybe)
because where I grew up, gangs weren’t (and aren’t) something cool that you can just mess around with. They’re not something you can be after school or on the weekends. Gangs post a real threat
When I was 15, I moved to a different state and was shocked to see people wearing shirts in one solid single color. people were able to wear different shoelaces on each shoe and plain white t-shirts were allowed. Where I grew up, even as far back as the 5th grade, these things were a strict part of the “banned” portion of the dress code because of their gang affiliations. I remember days where anyone wearing red, or blue, or with Elmo on it was called to the office for questioning. This was normal and this was gang culture
people in my own family have been hurt and affected by gang violence but yeah, go ahead and glamorize it to get notes on your mixes, go ahead and spray paint “support your local girl gang” on the walls of your white neighborhood
I wrote a post a while back about how some people are very good at getting away with doing intentionally creepy things by passing themselves off as just ~awkward~.
Recently, I noticed a particular pattern that plays out. While creeps can be any gender, there’s a gendered pattern by which creepy men get other men to help them be creepy:
- A guy runs over the boundaries of women constantly
- He makes them very uncomfortable and creeped out
- But he doesn’t do that to guys, and
- He doesn’t talk to guys about it in an unambiguous way, and
- When he does it in front of guys, he finds a way to make it look deniable
- And then some women complain to a man, maybe even a man in charge who is supposed to be responsible for preventing abuse in a space
- and he has no idea what they are talking about, since he’s never the target or witness
- And he’s had a lot of pleasant interactions with that guy
- So he sympathizes with him, and thinks he must mean well but be have trouble with social skills
- And then takes no action to get him to stop or to protect women
- And so the group stays a place that is safe for predatory men, but not for the women they target
- Mary, Jill, and Susan: Jim, Bob’s been making all of us really uncomfortable. He’s been sitting way too close, making innuendo after everything we say, and making excuses to touch us.
- Bill: Wow, I’m surprised to hear that. Bob’s a nice guy, but he’s a little awkward. I’m sure he doesn’t mean anything by it. I’m not comfortable accusing him of something so serious from my position of authority.
What went wrong here?
- Bill assumed that, if Bob was actually doing something wrong, he would have noticed.
- Bill didn’t think he needed to listen to the women who were telling him about Bob’s creepy actions. He didn’t take seriously the possibility that they were right.
- Bill assumed that women who were uncomfortable with Bob must be at fault; that they must be judging him too harshly or not understanding his awkwardness
- Bill told women that he didn’t think that several women complaining about a guy was sufficient reason to think something was wrong
- Bill assumed that innocently awkward men should not be confronted about inadvertantly creepy things they do, but rather women should shut up and let them be creepy
A rule of thumb for men:
- If several women come to you saying that a man is being creepy towards them, assume that they are seeing something you aren’t
- Listen to them about what they tell you
- If you like the guy and have no idea what they’re talking about, that means that what he is doing is *not* innocent awkwardness.
- If it was innocent awkwardness, he wouldn’t know how to hide it from other men
- Men who are actually just awkward and bad at understanding boundaries also make *other men* uncomfortable
- If a man is only making women uncomfortable but not men, that probably means he’s doing it on purpose
- Take that possibility seriously, and listen to what women tell you about men
tl;dr If you are a man, other men in your circle who are nice to you are creepy towards women. Don’t assume that if something was wrong that you would have noticed; creepy men are good at finding the lines of what other men will tolerate. Listen to women. They know better than you do whether a man is being creepy and threatening towards women; if they think something is wrong, listen and find out why. Don’t tolerate give predatory dudes who are nice to you cover to keep hurting women.
In a study of children aged 2-5, parents interrupted their daughters more than their sons, and fathers were more likely to talk simultaneously with their children than mothers were. Jennifer Coates says: “It seems that fathers try to control conversation more than mothers… and both parents try to control conversation more with daughters than with sons. The implicit message to girls is that they are more interruptible and that their right to speak is less than that of boys.”
Girls and boys’ differing understanding of when to talk, when to be quiet, what is polite and so on, has a visible impact on the dynamics of the classroom. Just as men dominate the floor in business meetings, academic conferences and so on, so little boys dominate in the classroom - and little girls let them.
Having gone to an all girls boarding school this was a biiiig shock to me when I arrived at uni - how the boys expected to be getting the floor at all times, how they took ideas that I had offered, expanded on them forever and ever without me ever getting the word back, however much I tried to do so politely, and how they were credited with those ideas in the end. I became known as ‘very dominant’ in class because I refused to let that happen more than once. And by the time I left there were two kinds of people, the ones who considered me ‘more of a boy’ and the ones who thought I was simply an annoying b*tch. While I am just a girl speaking her mind.
emma stone and andrew garfield doing their ~awareness celebrity paparazzi walk thing to promote autism speaks…..
coooooooooool you people are really cool people who are very aware very liberal people who do great things very proud such charity.
- don’t trust men who have to insult other women in order to compliment you
- a subset of this rule is don’t trust men who say ‘you’re pretty/smart/[adjective] for an indian/asian/[identity group]’
- or ‘you’re not like other [identity group optional] girls’