Existence of the Patriarchy

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:23 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:You'll also find that a lot of the most radical women suffragists still thought that women had a 'proper place', a 'proper role', etc. Of course you're right; radical women always opposed male patriarchy (Olympe de Gouges comes to mind), but these were rare exceptions to the rule - women throughout history have long accepted and reinforced patriarchy and patriarchal notions. Because if they didn't, they'd find out - like Olympe de Gouges - that there are Consequencestm.


The Dreyfus Affair split France between the Dreyfusard and the anti-Dreyfusard (largely, Catholic women). It was a massive political scandal, which had ordinary (not radical) women fighting with men over the dinner table and in public. It was thought that the Women's Suffrage movement came about in Britain because of middle class women with too much time on their hands, but it was actually lower class, working women who prompted the change. Ordinary women have been plenty capable of making themselves noticed.

The Great Hippo wrote:You point at instances where women have acquired some degree of rights (the Roman empire is a good one; women also enjoyed certain unusual privileges in Ancient Greece - under Sparta, I think? - where they were actually capable of holding property) and define this as a struggle between two genders for power, but what you're leaving out is that all the power a minority attains is ultimately granted to them through the 'benevolence' of the majority. Women had the rights you mention under these cultures because male lawmakers decided to give those rights to them.


Women are hardly minorities, and I doubt we would call Spartan lawmakers benevolent, not with the way they happily oppressed an entire population into serfdom. Women have always resisted forms of control (this is why wherever we find patriarchal societies, we find popular stories of women resisting... Antigone is the obvious one. I can find others if you'd like).

The Great Hippo wrote:I challenge you to find one ancient civilization where women had fair and legal representation in the government body - in short, access to the fundamental right of self determination - rather than a male stand-in... Because until you do, I don't know what else to call an unbroken progression of governments created by males, run by males, and staffed by males busily passing laws that affect females besides 'a story of consistent male dominance'.


It's because it isn't consistent male dominance... I'm suggesting that male power has surged and ebbed, not that it hasn't always been on top. To give an example, early Mesopotamian culture put Goddesses at the centre of the Pantheon, and associated them with agriculture and water. It was thought that as men were originally the hunters and women were the gatherers, the early settlements based on farming relied heavily on women. As men started to farm, and developed irrigation, the central Goddesses switched gender and became male (Nashat & Tucker, Women in the Middle East and North Africa: 13-15). Much much later, under the Ottoman Empire, women had marital rights that were upheld by the courts, where they were allowed to represent themselves. Husbands and fathers could not make use of women's property without consent, and women could accumulate real estate and other wealth(Ibid.,71-72). I'm not suggesting there was equality, but that women have been suppressed to greater and lesser extents over time. This is because women have always had agency--not been helpless victims--able to assert themselves and take advantage of leverage despite the efforts of men to suppress their will.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:37 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:The Dreyfus Affair split France between the Dreyfusard and the anti-Dreyfusard (largely, Catholic women). It was a massive political scandal, which had ordinary (not radical) women fighting with men over the dinner table and in public. It was thought that the Women's Suffrage movement came about in Britain because of middle class women with too much time on their hands, but it was actually lower class, working women who prompted the change. Ordinary women have been plenty capable of making themselves noticed.
Fair, but the issue here is that while you're fighting for your right to vote on one hand, you can be simultaneously reinforcing the idea that a woman's place is at home - or that women need to all wear frilly dresses - on the other. This is not a binary proposition; because you're fighting for the right to vote doesn't suddenly mean you're opposing the male-dominated society wholesale. It is perfectly feasible for women to fight for the franchise and simultaneously reinforce the patriarchy.
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Women are hardly minorities, and I doubt we would call Spartan lawmakers benevolent, not with the way they happily oppressed an entire population into serfdom. Women have always resisted forms of control (this is why wherever we find patriarchal societies, we find popular stories of women resisting... Antigone is the obvious one. I can find others if you'd like).
I submit that women have been minorities in the past, and may still be minorities by reason of unequal representation in governing bodies - but that's irrelevant. Whatever you want to call them, women have been and continue to be in a position of unequal power. You cite narratives that tell the story of women fighting against the patriarchy; I ask you, who was the author of Antigone? What was their gender? Who allowed this narrative of the rebellious woman to surface? This is very important.
Pez Dispens3r wrote:It's because it isn't consistent male dominance... I'm suggesting that male power has surged and ebbed, not that it hasn't always been on top. To give an example, early Mesopotamian culture put Goddesses at the centre of the Pantheon, and associated them with agriculture and water. It was thought that as men were originally the hunters and women were the gatherers, the early settlements based on farming relied heavily on women. As men started to farm, and developed irrigation, the central Goddesses switched gender and became male (Nashat & Tucker, Women in the Middle East and North Africa: 13-15). Much much later, under the Ottoman Empire, women had marital rights that were upheld by the courts, where they were allowed to represent themselves. Husbands and fathers could not make use of women's property without consent, and they could accumulate real estate and other wealth(Ibid.,71-72). I'm not suggesting there was equality, but that women have been suppressed to greater and lesser extents over time. This is because women have always had agency--not been helpless victims--able to assert themselves and take advantage of leverage despite the efforts of men to suppress their will.
Uber-ancient Mesopotamian history aside - it's a good point that there may have been cultures that didn't oppress women way back then, and undermines the idea that all of history is one big long fuck-you to women - I still don't see how you can argue convincingly that the rights granted to women under these courts are examples of women attaining power for themselves when those laws were made and enforced by men.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Fair, but the issue here is that while you're fighting for your right to vote on one hand, you can be simultaneously reinforcing the idea that a woman's place is at home - or that women need to all wear frilly dresses - on the other. This is not a binary proposition; because you're fighting for the right to vote doesn't suddenly mean you're opposing men. It is perfectly feasible for women to fight for the franchise and simultaneously reinforce the patriarchy.


No, of course it's not a binary. But that also means that women demanding the franchise can't also be 100% about reinforcing patriarchal society. They are asserting themselves even if their actions didn't amount to wholesale rejection of male authority.

The Great Hippo wrote:I submit that women have been minorities in the past, and may still be minorities by reason of unequal representation in governing bodies - but that's irrelevant. Whatever you want to call them, women have been and continue to be in a position of unequal power. You cite narratives that tell the story of women fighting against the patriarchy; I ask you, who was the author of Antigone? What was their gender? Who allowed this narrative of the rebellious woman to surface? This is very important.


Sophacles reveals societal attitudes despite himself, as does Aristophanes. When they keep alluding to strong female characters defying authority then we can reasonably assume women acted in such a way in real life, even if they did not construct the narrative themselves.

The Great Hippo wrote:Uber-ancient Mesopotamian history aside - it's a good point that there may have been cultures that didn't oppress women way back then, and undermines the idea that all of history is one big long fuck-you to women - I still don't see how you can argue convincingly that the rights granted to women under these courts are examples of women attaining power for themselves when those laws were made and enforced by men.


Because I don't accept that the court rights came from male benevolence, but instead I think that women had these rights because they managed to secure them and managed to maintain them. For men to suppress those rights would have taken a lot of effort and sacrifice.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:30 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:No, of course it's not a binary. But that also means that women demanding the franchise can't also be 100% about reinforcing patriarchal society. They are asserting themselves even if their actions didn't amount to wholesale rejection of male authority.
Right. But asserting your right to something you don't have is not power. I think that the fundamental 'thing' here is a disagreement over the nature of power between the franchised and the disenfranchised.
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Sophacles reveals societal attitudes despite himself, as does Aristophanes. When they keep alluding to strong female characters defying authority then we can reasonably assume women acted in such a way in real life, even if they did not construct the narrative themselves.
But it's key that women could not create narratives such as these - they couldn't author the plays - men had to. And that's the thing: Feminism, like all civil rights movements, is persuasive, not coercive. Disenfranchised groups cannot acquire more power by exerting what little power they have; they have to convince those who have the lion's share of power to give it up. Up until recently, women haven't 'won' rights; they've convinced men to grant them those rights1. If that sounds like a very fucked up thing to say, that's only because it's a very fucked up situation. To this point:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Because I don't accept that the court rights came from male benevolence, but instead I think that women had these rights because they managed to secure them and managed to maintain them. For men to suppress those rights would have taken a lot of effort and sacrifice.
By what means could women secure rights for themselves under a system where they had only what legal means men afforded them? How could they maintain these rights? They maintained them only at the leisure of the men; it was the choice of a male-dominated society to grant women these rights. Perhaps women argued passionately for them - perhaps they fought in courts and presented their cases elegantly - but the judges who decided whether these cases had any merit were men. These men ultimately decided whether or not women would have any rights at all; the only reason it would have required sacrifice and effort to take rights away from women would be because some of the men within that system might have become passionate supporters of the women.

In other words, the only time it becomes hard to take rights away from the disenfranchised is when certain members of the franchised become convinced that they should have rights.


1In retrospect, that might be a false dichotomy - is there a real difference between convincing someone to give you a right and winning that right? I don't know; plus, my point here isn't to minimize the work done by those in the past to secure the rights of women - I just want to make clear that the power dynamic between men and women have always been lopsided in favor of men, and the only reason women gained rights early on was because they convinced those in power that they should have them. That's the pattern for all civil rights movements, I think.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:34 pm UTC

situations where we accidentally end up with a female ruler don't count
Define accident? Does this cover all hereditary systems?
I simply wonder if one of the factors is that white men decided it wasn't where they wanted to be anymore because bigger easier money without getting sued every five minutes was to be had on another track. It's a matter for argument whether they departed because doctors had lower status than previously for various reasons or whether doctors became lower status because the white men left the field.
Well you could claim both effects could exist.

A lack of "men head towards higher status occupations" effect would be ... unexpected. It would imply that the movement of men towards things that generate flurries of economic offshoots (engineering over the IR, programming recently, etc) is caused not by the activity, but by the fact that it is men doing it? That implies either a rather huge conspiracy (look! Men are doing computer science! Let's pretend that our inventory control system is more efficient now and we are out competing our opponents! Bwahahaha!)[1]... (A rather horridly sexist presumption would also pull it off)

Now, a reduction in status due to more people going into it (supply/demand) could make sense. Ie, "any job with low enough status that more than just white men can get into it has already been reduced to being easy to fill".

So a system in which you have a high demand job, and you perceive that nobody but a white man can have the competence to do the job, and thus only hire white men? Artificial barriers are raised to entry that discourage non-white men from trying the work (medical boards that can fire people on a whim, etc) because they perceive (possibly rightly) that those barriers will asymmetrically rule them out. In business, the 'boys network' can be used to generate the same kind of artificial scarcity, with members of that network benefiting from that scarcity.

Tear down the 'boys network' of business, and the artificial scarcity goes away, and the amount you pay a business person falls.

One issue with this is that computer science is a highly isolating field (if that is the right term). Long-distance networking in computer science is done via electronic communication, which makes biological sex far less unimportant to socialisation than other fields. Yet we have had a surge in male (but not just white) enrolment in computer science as it has increased in status and economic worth. Which brings forward the hypothesis that, in our society, males perceive status and wealth through employment as being a more important goal than women.

If that is what is going on, and these disparities are a problem, you could
A> Make wealth and status more important to women, or
B> Make wealth and status less important to men.
in order to reduce the disparity. You could also look at what makes wealth and status more important to men than to women. (Ie, see if there is an underlying effect to the problem, and go after that underlying effect instead of attacking the problem directly).

---

But it's key that women could not create narratives such as these - they couldn't author the plays - men had to. And that's the thing: Feminism, like all civil rights movements, is persuasive, not coercive. Disenfranchised groups cannot acquire more power by exerting what little power they have; they have to convince those who have the lion's share of power to give it up.

Is the power you are referring to a zero-sum term?

Looking for alternative models of this, you can examine many examples of a disenfranchised state (a low-power state) producing power, then proceeding to engage in coercive actions with an existing enfranchised state (dominant power in the region) and claiming power.

Ie -- the fact that you have less power does not prevent you from gaining power, even without the consent of those with more power. And it doesn't prevent you from being able take power.

There have been bloody revolutions for even social-group rights -- slave revolts have won, and the French revolution was the powerless rising up against the powerful nobility. That wasn't persuasive.

Persuasive attempts to increase power can be mixed with coersive action on the part of those with less power. Much power in a state ends up being voluntary rather than at the point of a spear -- societies that are run at the point of a spear end up being much poorer than voluntary self-policing societies. Those who are not dominant in a society thus have some power in that their voluntary cooperation with the rules of the society empowers the dominant -- even if the dominant can reduce society to 'end of a spear'.

That ability -- to withdraw voluntary consent in some parts -- is a source of power. And it can cause those with more power to change their behavior in order to avoid the harm they suffer (rather than pulling out the gun and starting to shoot) from it.

Naturally, if the withdrawl is total and those in the dominate position perceive the situation as being better if the pull out the spear instead, the spear can be pulled out. But the fact that one's power is not unlimited does not mean that one has no power.

Footnote [1]: And yes, that is a weak argument -- demonstrating that there is an argument for side A that doesn't work does not demonstrate that side A isn't plausible. But I had this wonderful image of Walmart being the core of the modern Patriarchal Conspiracy Council that I felt I had to express. My apologies for the poor argument.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:30 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Which brings forward the hypothesis that, in our society, males perceive status and wealth through employment as being a more important goal than women.

The whole thought process from which I grabbed this was interesting to follow, Yakk. Thank you! I'm not pulling this out as an attempt to separate it from the whole. I just didn't want to quote the whole thing.

I think that there's a piece missing in your list though that may alter your hypothesis and the subsequent approach based on it. It has to do with part of a field being considered high status by some people (not all have this criteria, but I find it common enough to be worth mention) specifically includes the requirement that it can only be done well by men. Especially if it is billed as "man's job" that women are inherently unsuited for because you need to be able to do math and be logical and such characteristics many believe women do not have or are not "inclined" towards. A job is therefore considered less difficult and requiring of strength and/or a certain brand of intelligence if even a woman can manage it. It's not that women turn out be able to do these things after all; it's that the job must not be as demanding as was previously thought. Therefore, for those who think that way, women successfully entering the field can actually have the effect of devaluing that field.

There is also the issue that girls still receive quite a bit of social training that jobs that require high level math and science skills are not as available to them or will cost them heavily in other areas and therefore they may not attempt those paths regardless of the value they place on the wealth and status those paths offer as they feel (accurately or no) they may be pre-barred.

What do you think?

A lack of "men head towards higher status occupations" effect would be ... unexpected. It would imply that the movement of men towards things that generate flurries of economic offshoots (engineering over the IR, programming recently, etc) is caused not by the activity, but by the fact that it is men doing it? That implies either a rather huge conspiracy (look! Men are doing computer science! Let's pretend that our inventory control system is more efficient now and we are out competing our opponents! Bwahahaha!)[1]... (A rather horridly sexist presumption would also pull it off)

And, yeah, that's crazy talk. :D Not implying anything anywhere near that premeditated.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:40 pm UTC

Not being a girl, i never get to experience this social training. Who/what is training women to not want to do math and science, and to what end? I'm not trying to harrangue you, i'm just having a hard time imagining what form it might take. I'm picturing a camp, somewhat similar to the "ladyness training" montage in "A League of their Own", but that's mostly because it makes me giggle a bit (a lady reveals nothing!).

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:51 pm UTC

Note: I'm using 'masculine' to refer to 'traits that our society encourages men to express' (as opposed to the equally plausible, alternative 'innate traits that men possess' meaning) in this post. If you can produce another term that is more clearly referring to what I'm saying with 'masculine', I'd appreciate it -- I hate overloading common terms.

So...

1> A field appears. It starts gaining in value (and hence demand, and hence salary, barring a corresponding increase in supply).
2> A perception that the field is valuable increases, and hence status. Some process (doesn't matter what) causes the field's talents to be perceived (or become!) as masculine.
3> Women who might be interested in the field are discouraged from joining the field, so as not to appear masculine (even if it pays more). Men are not discouraged, and in fact encouraged, as it is more masculine than it was before (and pays more).
4> Men flood into this growing status, growing remuneration field of employment.
5> Network effects kick in and the value of the profession grows even faster.
6> Numbers over-shoot the demand curve. Relative renumeration falls.
7> Remuneration, and hence Status, and hence Masculinity, falls. Women find that they are punished less for joining the field of study, and do so in more numbers.
8> Yet more increase in supply causes a further feedback loop, causing less status, more women, and lower renumeration.

On top of that, at #4 you can easily generate a 'boys culture', as the growing bias in the population causes 'masculine' traits to be the de-facto standard of operation. Failing to express these traits in how you do your work could lead to problems (from lack of Network effects, to incompatibility with the culture).

Another possibility is that 'masculine' traits might be a sub-optimal nash equilibrium -- sort of like betrayal in a prisoners dilemma, or closed source vs FOSS. If everyone is FOSS and puts the same effort in, people are more productive -- if you are the only FOSS with a permissive licence, you can get screwed.

There are multiple plausible ways that "stage 2" could occur.

---

Gunfingers, have you ever read a young girls magazine? Attended (say) a girl guides meeting (and a boy scout meeting) and compared? Watched TV?

Can you see no messages that "men are good at math/science" out there? How about "men are good at business"? Or "men should be self-reliant"?

How about watching TV from 20+ years ago? See any of that there?

Go read twilight, for a very contemporary example of this kind of thing.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Not being a girl, i never get to experience this social training. Who/what is training women to not want to do math and science, and to what end? I'm not trying to harrangue you, i'm just having a hard time imagining what form it might take. I'm picturing a camp, somewhat similar to the "ladyness training" montage in "A League of their Own", but that's mostly because it makes me giggle a bit (a lady reveals nothing!).

Heh. Your visual may not be that far off. And I love that movie.

I'm not sure "training women to not want to do math and science" is that right phrasing. It's more a triple whammy of want, can and should. The thinking on how it happens is actually a pretty long list with factors coming from a lot of different directions. I'm not trying to blow you off. It's just that the answer is book length or more.

Just as a very simple example, look around this forum for the number of times someone has explained that is reasonable to assume that women would reasonably be expected to not prefer math/hard science/engineering because brain scans show physical differences between the brains of men and the brains of women despite the absence of studies correlating those physical differences to any particular preferences. Why would that conclusion sound reasonable to someone unless they already had it in their heads that women simply do not prefer math/hard science/engineering? And where did they get that idea?

Yakk wrote:Note: I'm using 'masculine' to refer to 'traits that our society encourages men to express' (as opposed to the equally plausible, alternative 'innate traits that men possess' meaning) in this post. If you can produce another term that is more clearly referring to what I'm saying with 'masculine', I'd appreciate it -- I hate overloading common terms.

I accept your definition for the purpose of this discussion. And, I don't have a better term unfortunately.

I also accept your progression as a valid option.

What do you think of the situation where your progression occurs, but with a variation at stage 6. In this variation, the field is self-expanding, thereby removing or reducing the effects of limited supply of desirable positions. For example, you just keep making new things for people to be VP of. Does this change the effect of gender participation?

There is also another common variation to consider. Women value the status of the position and successfully enter the field, but they are consistently paid less than their male counterparts. How does this change the progression? (This one gets particularly interesting if you include bad economic times that call for layoffs and/or budget cuts.)

[edit]
yakk wrote:3> Women who might be interested in the field are discouraged from joining the field, so as not to appear masculine (even if it pays more). Men are not discouraged, and in fact encouraged, as it is more masculine than it was before (and pays more).

I also suggest that there are additional reasons why women would be discouraged from entering the field, including male protectionism of a field they consider to be "theirs" for various reasons, although this might take the form of telling women they will be considered masculine and/or undesirable if they enter the field. This may have been what you meant, but I'm not sure.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

See, that's exactly what i'm asking about. I've never once heard that assertation made except in irony during discussions such as this one.

Yakk wrote:Gunfingers, have you ever read a young girls magazine? Attended (say) a girl guides meeting (and a boy scout meeting) and compared? Watched TV?

Can you see no messages that "men are good at math/science" out there? How about "men are good at business"? Or "men should be self-reliant"?

I'm mentally going through the TV shows i watch consistently
-Family Guy uses a lot of misogynistic humor, but lately they've taken to using it in what i'm sure they think is irony.
-American Dad is pretty much the same
-The Simpsons doesn't seem to have anything good to say about anyone.
-House M.D. has a hospital run by Lisa Edelstein, but then she's been struggling with her "biological clock" lately, which isn't especially enlightened. Plus there was Jennifer Morrisson pining over House for the entire second season. Could go either way, i guess.
-Dollhouse is run by Olivia Williams. Staff doctor is a chick, too. But it's also a show about Eliza Dushku's legs so...i'unno?
-Every woman on The Office is insane, except Jenna Fischer.
-30 Rock specifically uses Adam Baldwin to represent the patriarchy and why it is wrong, with Tina Fey as his foil. One of my favorite lines from the show: "You're starting to act like a businessman." "You mean businesswoman!" "I don't think that's a word."
-Firefly has a female as the mechanic, a female who manipulates people for a living, and a female who beats the shit out of everyone. They also have a female who is insane, and three or four of the fourteen episodes are devoted to saving her loony ass.

I think i'm out of TV shows, so is this the kind of thing you're talking about? The businessperson-but-still-a-woman thing with Cuddy, and similar scenarios? A lot of it is women who are strong, and a lot of it is women who are not. I'm sure that could be an issue, but then i could probably point out a lot of examples of men as being weak-willed, stupid, and slaves to their sex drives. Or something. So yeah, is this the training?

As an amusing side-note, my ex-girlfriend and my roommate are in the middle of a fight over whether Twilight is an innocent childish love story or a horrible example of misogyny. The ex doesn't make much in the way of an argument, but Sarah Haskins hates it, and that's enough to convince me.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Jessica » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:37 pm UTC

Beyond that gun. Look at commercials. How many cleaning, or cooking commercials have women as the main actors? How many have men as the "incompetant person who needs to leave cooking/cleaning to the women"?
How many tool commericals have women in them as the main person?
How many beer commercials don't objectify women?
how many... Etc.
Commercials have to show a message in less than 30 seconds, and as such will mine the hell out of stereotypes and social norms to condense the message. That's their purpose. But, in so doing they really highlight things like, say, the woman's job is to be in the kitchen baking, or sewing, or cleaning the house, or caring for baby. Men go and work and have fun, and socialize.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:48 pm UTC

Having seen Target Women (i just saw this one, and feel that i must share), i have a vague familiarity with how commercials market to women, but i'm not really sure that's the same thing. It could just be my super-logical male brain, but i'm seeing a pretty strong disconnect between "Many of the people in certain commercials are women" and "women are trained from birth to believe they can't do science and math". But then i'm in computer science, a field discouraged by pretty much every form of media ever, so my wiring is probably a bit different than most anyway.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:20 am UTC

I think you might be missing the importance of culture as it impacts those within that culture.

Commercials are a great example--they have 30 seconds to indicate WHO uses the product and WHY you need this particular one. Who uses cleaning/household products? Who uses hardware products? Who uses cookware? What games/toys do boys want to play with? Girls?

When you think about the list of boys and girls toys--how many girls toys are construction based (ie. lego)? How many improve spatial awareness? Hand-eye coordination?

What I see is that marketing targets girls for dolls, art activity kids, and disney princess products. The socialization that happens to children is so complex that it doesn't even need to say 'girls are bad at math' when it demonstrates quite clearly that girls just don't play with mathy/sciency toys--girls want dolls so they can me mommy one day, they like kitchen playsets--they don't want tools to build things or battleship.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:45 am UTC

Yakk wrote:There have been bloody revolutions for even social-group rights -- slave revolts have won, and the French revolution was the powerless rising up against the powerful nobility. That wasn't persuasive.
No offense meant, but - no. That wasn't what the French Revolution was about at all.

The French Revolution was not about disempowered peasants overthrowing over-empowered nobility - the nobility were actually an immense and active part of the revolution, pushing it to its fruition. This is actually an excellent case of exactly what I'm talking about; the nobility and the growing middle class - who belonged to the third house, the house of commoners - worked closely together to bring about the changes (which eventually lead to the Reign of Terror). It is an incredibly pervasive myth that the French Revolution was run by a bunch of peasants who got sick and tired of the stuffy nobles - no small number of nobles were integral to the process and argued the case for granting peasants (especially the middle-class ones) a greater share of the power. This is linked to a lot of concepts, including Noblesse oblige ("we have a duty to the peasantry, the largest and poorest house who shoulders the greatest tax burden!"). Anyway, this is a case of those in power granting the disenfranchised the rights they need to remake society (and all sorts of terrible things happening as a result). You seriously could not have picked a more typical example of what I'm talking about!

Also, slaves who rebel and overcome their masters are just exercising a form of power they all ready had - force of arms. The response to slave revolts is to kill the slaves and restrict their rights more closely; you'd need to show me an example where a slave revolt actually resulted in slaves attaining greater social power and mobility to make me think otherwise.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:06 am UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:I think you might be missing the importance of culture as it impacts those within that culture.

Commercials are a great example--they have 30 seconds to indicate WHO uses the product and WHY you need this particular one. Who uses cleaning/household products? Who uses hardware products? Who uses cookware? What games/toys do boys want to play with? Girls?

When you think about the list of boys and girls toys--how many girls toys are construction based (ie. lego)? How many improve spatial awareness? Hand-eye coordination?

What I see is that marketing targets girls for dolls, art activity kids, and disney princess products. The socialization that happens to children is so complex that it doesn't even need to say 'girls are bad at math' when it demonstrates quite clearly that girls just don't play with mathy/sciency toys--girls want dolls so they can me mommy one day, they like kitchen playsets--they don't want tools to build things or battleship.

I'm not sure i agree with all of your assessments. As someone who worships legos as a god, i find the implication that they are not a toy for everyone deeply offensive. You'll be hearing from my lego bishop.

But to be quasi-serious, let's ask the question of why these commercials are what they are. It could be that marketing execs, be it consciously or otherwise, want to keep women in the kitchen. But from my perspective it seems that marketing responds to the culture it's in, not the other way around. Girls have been playing with dolls since long before commercials, after all. I'd put the response towards something closer, like in the family. I'm reasonably certain that very little of who i am comes from commercials. According to this thread i've been bombarded with the message that i should be an construction worker or something, yet somehow i'm not a construction worker*. I'm open to the possibility that i'm just too smart to be taken in, but it seems more likely that my situation isn't even slightly unique. I was however, greatly influenced by my father. Has there ever been a study done on the degree to which girls emulate their parents? Do girls whose mothers work pick "boy" toys over "girl" toys, or whatever?

*This message would probably carry more weight if i hadn't taken this week off to put in a new kitchen. Great many setbacks in this project, i am not at all the handyman the commercials make me out to be.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:21 am UTC

It isn't really that ad executives are making a conscious choice in the matter--it's that they don't bother to make the ads less gender stereotyped.

I know damn well the ads don't properly represent me...lego is awesome, building stuff is too. What makes me angry is that the society (via ads, media--television, books, movies, teachers, parents, siblings and friends) actively contributes to an environment that points out what you should look like, act like, and think like based on colour and gender and other descriptors not related to what you actually might prefer to be doing.

There's a lot of cultural baggage inherent in these ads, they're easy to examine because they're pithy and blatant in nature.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:27 am UTC

I'm not really sure it's a stereotype when it falls in line with reality like that. An ad for dolls that had boys in it probably wouldn't move very many dolls. An easy-bake oven in a color other than pink might work, though, lord knows talking me into brownies and cupcakes isn't challenging.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:35 am UTC

Is it that boys don't want to play with dolls or their parents don't want their boys to want to play with dolls? I've seen as many girls as boys play with dolls at the preschool level (although you already see lots of gender biased behaviour at this point--down to the pink and blue socks).

It's all part of a system that differentiates masculine and feminine in a specific way based on preconceived notions about what boys and girls should be playing with.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:42 am UTC

That comes back to what i was saying before, it's not something that comes from the media, it's something that comes from the family.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Yakk » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:09 am UTC

It is an incredibly pervasive myth that the French Revolution was run by a bunch of peasants who got sick and tired of the stuffy nobles - no small number of nobles were integral to the process and argued the case for granting peasants (especially the middle-class ones) a greater share of the power.

Also, slaves who rebel and overcome their masters are just exercising a form of power they all ready had - force of arms.
If you assume that any successful revolution or application of power is a de-facto claim that those that did it where actually dominant, then tautologically those without power cannot coherse.

If your definition is tautologically true, it is a semantic argument -- no point in actually asking for examples or disagreement, because tautologically they do not exist. If you are making a argument-from-your-definition-means-the-argument-is-true, please state so explicitly.

But had a dominent power group -- the royalty -- overthrown by a coersive action. Similar with the successful US colonial rebellion against the British crown. Non-dominant parts of societies can wrest control from currently dominant ones using coersive strategies.

It doesn't always work. And the option of exercising what power you do have to increase your relative power also works (and can also be coersive, in that the domiant power either capitulates, responds by using resources to oppose your use of power (which has a cost) -- ie, they might reduce society to 'at the end of a gun', which (tends to) harm the dominant power because of how inefficient that form of dominance is).
The response to slave revolts is to kill the slaves and restrict their rights more closely; you'd need to show me an example where a slave revolt actually resulted in slaves attaining greater social power and mobility to make me think otherwise.
That is why I mentioned Haiti. A state in which the slaves won the revolt.

It isn't a daisy and pony show, no.
But to be quasi-serious, let's ask the question of why these commercials are what they are. It could be that marketing execs, be it consciously or otherwise, want to keep women in the kitchen.

There is no need for malice. In order to send the message 'behavior X is masculine' you don't need conspiracy, you just need consistency.

In order to send the message 'acting masculine makes you less of a women', you don't need conspiracy, you just need consistency.

Finding malice isn't needed. Sure, malice is bad -- but this side-discussion started about 'messages of masculity, do they exist?'

If the message is 'being like your father is a thing that men should do, and being like your mother is a thing women should do', that is an example of society saying "X is masculine, Y is feminine". Even if there where no innate traits, and society today was otherwise completely gender-neutral ... that could easily generate significant disparity between the sexes due to only a handful of generations ago, the roles where much more rigid.

And no, these messages are not mind control. Demonstrating that they aren't mind control is no evidence that they do not exist.

The only girl scout troup in a town doesn't go camping.
One of many boy scout troops spends time camping and canoeing.

A girl who might enjoy camping now has a harder time to go camping. She has to either do a gender-crossing joining of the scouts (which is up hill), or go camping using other mechanisms (like with the family). This doesn't prevent her from going camping, but it means that fewer girls who might enjoy camping end up going camping.

For the boy, going camping after joining the boy scouts 'just happens' -- no uphill battle, no 'crossing gender lines', no need to get their parents to take them individually, etc.

None of this is coersive -- but it is messages saying 'X is masculine, Y is feminine'.

And much as walking around all the time in a short skirt, makeup and high heels as a man can result in additional difficulties in your life (as a simple example of 'acting feminine'), acting 'masculine' as a female can result in additional difficulties.

These difficulties need not be absolute. The messages don't have to be coersive. All I'm saying here is 'there are social expectations of masculinity that are communicated pretty broadly to most everyone' and 'people who go against social pressures find things more difficult and can get discouraged'.

Hammer wrote:I also suggest that there are additional reasons why women would be discouraged from entering the field, including male protectionism of a field they consider to be "theirs" for various reasons, although this might take the form of telling women they will be considered masculine and/or undesirable if they enter the field. This may have been what you meant, but I'm not sure.
Sure, but I was attempting to look at one path. As it happens, the path I was looking at was one that doesn't require any _blame_ to create disparity -- nobody conspired at any step.

The goal of this kind of model is to see if any parts of it can be tested, and the magnitude of the effect measured. Because writing a 'just so' story is fun, but it doesn't give you a grasp on what actually happens.

I will note that Computer Science 'nerds' went from being extremely marginal, to some of the movers and shakers (and hence higher status). You even have ownership of technogadgets being mainstream culture -- heck, "hipster" culture. This doesn't make it extremely masculine, but still.
Gunfingers wrote:I'm sure that could be an issue, but then i could probably point out a lot of examples of men as being weak-willed, stupid, and slaves to their sex drives. Or something. So yeah, is this the training?
It isn't "the training". It is messages saying "X is normative for men".

On top of that, remember that TV is considered 'massively liberal' by entire swaths of the US population (or so says talk radio ^_^). Even if TV was gender-neutral in its portrayal of roles, and 50% of US states where in-line with it, the 50% that consider TV programming you watch to be extremely liberal ... mean that 50% of women are in a situation with local messages of appropriate behaviour that are less liberal than TV.

And to get how much this stuff impacts stuff -- take a look at the rates of application to forensics degrees changed due to the popularity of CSI. One silly show, saying "it is cool to do forensics", caused people to decide that following that model would be a good career choice!
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:43 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:That comes back to what i was saying before, it's not something that comes from the media, it's something that comes from the family.



Which leads to what I'm saying: yes it's the family, AND the media, AND schools, AND every person, concept, and image people come into contact with. It's not just the family--by the time a child is school age there are far more influences on that child than just family.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:17 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:But it's key that women could not create narratives such as these - they couldn't author the plays - men had to. And that's the thing: Feminism, like all civil rights movements, is persuasive, not coercive. Disenfranchised groups cannot acquire more power by exerting what little power they have; they have to convince those who have the lion's share of power to give it up. Up until recently, women haven't 'won' rights; they've convinced men to grant them those rights1. If that sounds like a very fucked up thing to say, that's only because it's a very fucked up situation.
The Great Hippo wrote:By what means could women secure rights for themselves under a system where they had only what legal means men afforded them? How could they maintain these rights? They maintained them only at the leisure of the men; it was the choice of a male-dominated society to grant women these rights. Perhaps women argued passionately for them - perhaps they fought in courts and presented their cases elegantly - but the judges who decided whether these cases had any merit were men. These men ultimately decided whether or not women would have any rights at all; the only reason it would have required sacrifice and effort to take rights away from women would be because some of the men within that system might have become passionate supporters of the women.

In other words, the only time it becomes hard to take rights away from the disenfranchised is when certain members of the franchised become convinced that they should have rights.
The Great Hippo wrote:1In retrospect, that might be a false dichotomy - is there a real difference between convincing someone to give you a right and winning that right? I don't know; plus, my point here isn't to minimize the work done by those in the past to secure the rights of women - I just want to make clear that the power dynamic between men and women have always been lopsided in favor of men, and the only reason women gained rights early on was because they convinced those in power that they should have them. That's the pattern for all civil rights movements, I think.

I understand your point, especially the example you provided about the French Revolution. But, paraphrasing from Thucydides (from the Melian Dialogue in his History of the Peloponnesian War), "The strong do what they have the power to do, and the weak accept what they have to accept." I put it that if women sourced all their power from the benevolence of men in control, then they wouldn't have any at all. Men would simply withhold all rights for women. The fact that this didn't happen universally implies women had power. Where women weren't weak, they didn't have to accept all that men tried to impose on them. This is why the definition of women's rights changes with time and place.

To provide an example of my own, guerilla forces don't defeat their opponents militarily, but instead convince the civilian body controlling those forces to admit defeat. This is how India and Algeria acheived independence; it's how the Viet Minh and Viet Cong defeated the French and Americans; it's how the Spanish defeated Napoleon in the Peninsular War. They were conceded victories that couldn't be got militarily. Power is not just about lawmakers, but is something more complex that requires consent and recognition. The granting of female suffrage was not a sop to appease feminists, but an acceptance that the writing was on the wall.
The Great Hippo wrote:I submit that women have been minorities in the past, and may still be minorities by reason of unequal representation in governing bodies - but that's irrelevant. Whatever you want to call them, women have been and continue to be in a position of unequal power.


To this point, I just want to add that it comes across as very US-centric to equate being a minority with being disenfranchised. It marginalises the experiences of indigenous South Africans and the colonized in general, and it discounts political systems based on class that have dominated the past, from aristocracies to feudalisms. It is, in fact, a democratically-biased thing to imply.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Outchanter » Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:57 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:To this point, I just want to add that it comes across as very US-centric to equate being a minority with being disenfranchised. It marginalises the experiences of indigenous South Africans and the colonized in general, and it discounts political systems based on class that have dominated the past, from aristocracies to feudalisms. It is, in fact, a democratically-biased thing to imply.

That's an interesting comparison though. Immediately after the black South African majority got the vote, they voted in a majority black government. In contrast, women have made up half the electorate in most democratic countries for decades, yet males still make up a (very slowly decreasing) majority in those governments.

I think any comparison of sexism to an ethnic struggle faces at least one major hurdle: males and females depend on one another just to keep their society from dying out. Ethnic groups, on the other hand, can survive completely independently of other groups.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:29 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:To this point, I just want to add that it comes across as very US-centric to equate being a minority with being disenfranchised. It marginalises the experiences of indigenous South Africans and the colonized in general, and it discounts political systems based on class that have dominated the past, from aristocracies to feudalisms. It is, in fact, a democratically-biased thing to imply.

That's an interesting comparison though. Immediately after the black South African majority got the vote, they voted in a majority black government. In contrast, women have made up half the electorate in most democratic countries for decades, yet males still make up a (very slowly decreasing) majority in those governments.

I think any comparison of sexism to an ethnic struggle faces at least one major hurdle: males and females depend on one another just to keep their society from dying out. Ethnic groups, on the other hand, can survive completely independently of other groups.


Have you ever read America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction? by the Daily Show? It's a mock-up of a high school text book. Let me quote a bit:

"Minorities like African-Americans [this was published in the Bush/Kerry year], Asians and Hispanics make up an increasingly large percentage of the American population, yet are underrepresented in public office. In fact, there is not a single black elected Republican in Congress. Do minorities think they are too good for Republicans or something?"

So, following from this, you're making a bad comparison. Things...change with context. Social barriers can exist after legal rights are given. Give it thirty years.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Philwelch » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:26 am UTC

Jessica wrote:The difference between any two members of the same sex is larger than the difference between the average difference between the sexes.

In other words, men have more upper body strength on average than women, but that average difference is nothing compared to individual differences. In more other words, there are women who are much stronger than men, and really only in the outliers does the difference matter (strongest man competitions will never include women, because the strongest man is stronger than the strongest woman, but what does that matter to a construction worker who's mainly using tools to work, and their biology doesn't really matter).


It will affect outliers, but it will also affect averages. If, on average, men have more upper body strength, then more than 50% of bricklayers will probably end up being men.

Which makes naive statistical measures of gender equality flawed. Which raises the question—exactly what measures should we use instead?

Belial wrote:But the issue isn't the duration of the pregnancy, it's the times before and especially after, when the woman's career advancement and earnings are handicapped by the brief absence from the workforce, as compared to men who don't have to absent themselves for those reasons. The system punishes women for perpetuating the species, which, on top of being sexist (due to privileging the male condition above the female), is also just kindof a terrible call.


Economically, there are better ways to handle this than by forcing companies to compensate people for reproducing. Markets tend to work better when people are paid for producing something valuable to whoever's paying them.

That having been said, most developed countries (which are the only societies where this is even one of the most important problems) don't need any more reproduction anyway, so it's fair to say that the decision to have children in these societies is at best an expensive luxury, akin to taking sabbaticals or traveling the world. Especially since we have invented various means of preventing reproduction that are extremely reliable.

The Great Hippo wrote:Inherent in your question is the assumption often made by laissez faire capitalists - that society is merely reflective of reality. If something 'bad' happens to person A (person A loses money, etc), this was a product of reality - not society. Society is blameless for person A's ills; reality did it, not us. Of course, this ignores that the very idea that 'cost', 'money', 'labour', etc, are all concepts seated in social structure - different societies have different measures of labor and value. In some, having a child might be seen as a job. You could be financially compensated for the service.

The structure of society imposes these consequences, not reality - reality only defines the playing field. And the structure of society is as much a product of reality as it is our assumptions concerning what is important and what isn't.


It is true that people place value on different things, and insofar as people's individual value judgments are socially determined, so is the market. But "cost" and "labor" are as real as you can get. There are only so many natural resources and so much human time and effort to go around, whether or not we invent a common means of exchange for them. The market is a means of managing scarcity, partially through voluntary means (trade), partially through involuntary means (enforcement of property rights and contracts).

Children provide more human time and effort. A lot of the time, children are materially useful for that alone. They can do chores and support you in your old age. There's nothing preventing this from happening in a market society—indeed, it has happened.

Hammer wrote:Irigaray is talking about society more than about science, and she's trying to be disruptive at a very very low level to force the most basic assumptions onto the table. She is looking at the concept that there is only one possible perspective, only one valid approach, only one possible language to express concepts, only One True Way - and that One True Way validates traditionally masculine characteristics and devalidates traditionally feminine characteristics. She considers the possibility that there may be a "feminine" approach to science that is just as valid and effective as the scientific method. She considers the possibility that this is true for other things than science (since this thread really shouldn't become about the right way to do science).


Consider possibilities all you like. My response is essentially the same as Indon's:

Indon wrote:I feel that part of the function of the Patriarchy is to hijack useful things and give them masculine associations, while often associating inferior alternatives (when available) with females.

Science is effective - it is a ridiculously huge source of socioeconomic power. So men claimed it.


but I think the type of thinking that questions scientific methodologies is wrongheaded and dangerous for more reasons than that. Most scientific, mathematical, and logical methods were invented by men because women were excluded from doing these things. Now, over time, men managed to figure out fairly useful methods of doing science, math, and logic. These methods are undoubtedly subject to some change in the future, but I don't know of any reason, for instance, the "hypothesis-experiment-observe-publish" loop will be overthrown by some stereotypically feminine process. The scientific method was devised in an attempt to explain and predict the natural world. If it should be changed, it should be changed because there's a better way to explain and predict the natural world—not because the scientific method is stereotypically masculine. The problem is the stereotype, not the scientific method.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Yakk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:33 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:That having been said, most developed countries (which are the only societies where this is even one of the most important problems) don't need any more reproduction anyway,
Strange claim. You are aware that most developed countries are undergoing what appears to be early stages of a serious population collapse?
Children provide more human time and effort. A lot of the time, children are materially useful for that alone. They can do chores and support you in your old age. There's nothing preventing this from happening in a market society—indeed, it has happened.
Yes: child slavery and child labor can make having children financially benefitial to the parent. Modern western societies frown on that kind of thing.
Indon wrote:Science is effective - it is a ridiculously huge source of socioeconomic power. So men claimed it.
Note that men claiming it can also involve changing how it is done. And network effects can make the standard way of doing something the only efficient way, even if a wholesale change in the way of doing it would result in a more effective way globally.
Philwelch wrote:but I think the type of thinking that questions scientific methodologies is wrongheaded and dangerous for more reasons than that. Most scientific, mathematical, and logical methods were invented by men because women were excluded from doing these things. Now, over time, men managed to figure out fairly useful methods of doing science, math, and logic. These methods are undoubtedly subject to some change in the future, but I don't know of any reason, for instance, the "hypothesis-experiment-observe-publish" loop will be overthrown by some stereotypically feminine process. The scientific method was devised in an attempt to explain and predict the natural world. If it should be changed, it should be changed because there's a better way to explain and predict the natural world—not because the scientific method is stereotypically masculine. The problem is the stereotype, not the scientific method.

Hypothesis - Experiment - Observe - Publish is a quite Popperian view of science, in a sense.

One could argue, with quite some support, that Kuhn's description of normative science activities is a closer to reality description of what goes on. You have normative ways of doing science, and following those normative ways determines your scientific social status and ability to support yourself and build connections.

And tenure is a huge part of what the experience of being a scientist can be about -- a practically time-limited competition between scientists for the right to be a 'real professor', with lots of status and reward and power if you succeed at it, set during the handful of years after you get your PhD, in which density of output matters more than total output.

And in addition, the HEOP pattern ignores 'build new tools', 'do blind experiments', 'throw out lines of research that went nowhere', 'convince funding agencies to pay for your research', 'convince other scholars to work in the area you want', 'learn what other scholars have done', 'find errors or omissions in the work of other scholars', etc.

The Popperian positivist soul of science (if that is what you hold with) is at best a seed at the core -- even if you hold that constant, there are legions of socially constructed rules, patterns and requirements that surround it.

Remember: talking about masculine traits being attached to X doesn't mean that the people doing X have done anything morally wrong in their actions (other than sins of omission, of which there are infinite for everyone). It may just mean that they are acting masculine. And this may just happen to result in women, who are socially told not to act masculine, may be dissuaded from doing X.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Philwelch » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:That having been said, most developed countries (which are the only societies where this is even one of the most important problems) don't need any more reproduction anyway,

Strange claim. You are aware that most developed countries are undergoing what appears to be early stages of a serious population collapse?


Yes but managed immigration can solve both that problem and the problems of overpopulation and poverty in the developing world.

Yakk wrote:
Children provide more human time and effort. A lot of the time, children are materially useful for that alone. They can do chores and support you in your old age. There's nothing preventing this from happening in a market society—indeed, it has happened.
Yes: child slavery and child labor can make having children financially benefitial to the parent. Modern western societies frown on that kind of thing.


You must have been a really bratty kid if you kept pulling out the thirteenth amendment every time your parents wanted you to help with the dishes.

Yakk wrote:
Indon wrote:Science is effective - it is a ridiculously huge source of socioeconomic power. So men claimed it.
Note that men claiming it can also involve changing how it is done. And network effects can make the standard way of doing something the only efficient way, even if a wholesale change in the way of doing it would result in a more effective way globally.

Philwelch wrote:but I think the type of thinking that questions scientific methodologies is wrongheaded and dangerous for more reasons than that. Most scientific, mathematical, and logical methods were invented by men because women were excluded from doing these things. Now, over time, men managed to figure out fairly useful methods of doing science, math, and logic. These methods are undoubtedly subject to some change in the future, but I don't know of any reason, for instance, the "hypothesis-experiment-observe-publish" loop will be overthrown by some stereotypically feminine process. The scientific method was devised in an attempt to explain and predict the natural world. If it should be changed, it should be changed because there's a better way to explain and predict the natural world—not because the scientific method is stereotypically masculine. The problem is the stereotype, not the scientific method.

Hypothesis - Experiment - Observe - Publish is a quite Popperian view of science, in a sense.

One could argue, with quite some support, that Kuhn's description of normative science activities is a closer to reality description of what goes on. You have normative ways of doing science, and following those normative ways determines your scientific social status and ability to support yourself and build connections.

And tenure is a huge part of what the experience of being a scientist can be about -- a practically time-limited competition between scientists for the right to be a 'real professor', with lots of status and reward and power if you succeed at it, set during the handful of years after you get your PhD, in which density of output matters more than total output.

And in addition, the HEOP pattern ignores 'build new tools', 'do blind experiments', 'throw out lines of research that went nowhere', 'convince funding agencies to pay for your research', 'convince other scholars to work in the area you want', 'learn what other scholars have done', 'find errors or omissions in the work of other scholars', etc.

The Popperian positivist soul of science (if that is what you hold with) is at best a seed at the core -- even if you hold that constant, there are legions of socially constructed rules, patterns and requirements that surround it.

Remember: talking about masculine traits being attached to X doesn't mean that the people doing X have done anything morally wrong in their actions (other than sins of omission, of which there are infinite for everyone). It may just mean that they are acting masculine. And this may just happen to result in women, who are socially told not to act masculine, may be dissuaded from doing X.


I see, nowhere in this, even the slightest suggestion that our scientific methodologies fail to work because they aren't "feminine" enough. I see suggestions that our methodologies are too closely tied to the politics of academia, but that's a substantive kind of criticism that, frankly, has little connection to gender at all.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Yakk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:19 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Yes but managed immigration can solve both that problem and the problems of overpopulation and poverty in the developing world.

Not particularly that well. The developed world needs highly educated highly productive workers: the same kind of workers that the developing world needs. There is already a fair amount of work on the possible harms this is causing to the developed world (and making it not 'worth it' for the developed world to offer cheap education.)

Ideally, the developed also wants existing workers to invest in the next generation willingly and be motivated by this investment (killing two birds with one stone -- people work hard to pay for the investment in their children's development, and then the developed world gets the dividends of the highly educated and productive child).

It is possible that with the growing development of the 3rd world (India, China, etc) that the supply of highly educated / productive immigrants that the 3rd world pays for will be sufficient. But it isn't a trivial problem.
You must have been a really bratty kid if you kept pulling out the thirteenth amendment every time your parents wanted you to help with the dishes.

Helping with the dishes doesn't even place a dent into the expense of raising a child. As such, it isn't related to anything I was talking about.

Children, in the developed world, are a serious expense. They aren't a good investment for parents, financially. In the past, when you put your children to work on the farm and/or in a factory, or sell them off, and there was nothing like social security, children where a great financial investment.

Do you understand why I said what I said now?

[SNIP entire post you quoted for some odd reason]
I see, nowhere in this, even the slightest suggestion that our scientific methodologies fail to work because they aren't "feminine" enough. I see suggestions that our methodologies are too closely tied to the politics of academia, but that's a substantive kind of criticism that, frankly, has little connection to gender at all.

Academia in many disciplines is a heavily masculine environment. If you take the not so huge leap that this masculine environment might have something to do with how academia works...

Academia, and the various cultures in which people use science are part of how people use science. Publish or perish, tenure track pressure, etc -- all of these part of the methods used to produce science.

Imagine if in order to be paid to do science, you must go through process X. Even if process X isn't "part of core science", doing process X is part of being able to do science.

What I would call the Kuhnian view of science is that science is the what scientists do, rather than the Popperian position that science is about logical positivism.

In a sense, the Kuhnian view is more descriptive of what is actually going on -- science isn't about the scientific method, but rather about the ad-hoc methods and procedures that scientists have found that let them do science in a way that lets them do science. The scientific method, while being what you teach high school students what science is about, doesn't describe what scientists do or spend time and effort on in order to do science.

Given a Kuhnian perspective on science, can you understand how scientific methodologies might be highly removed from "the scientific method" or the Popperian logical positivist position, and yet have a huge impact on what kind of science is done, who does science, and how you do science in a particular field?

Then, due to Nash equilibria (or network effects), there might be a strong disincentive to individually move away from a particular Kuhnian scientific strategy, even if some other strategy would be globally more optimal?

For example, imagine a scientific culture in which there is an 'old boys club'. (This is a thought experiment -- clearly (heh) this doesn't exist anywhere in recorded history).

Scientific jobs, scientific funding and scientific accolades are handed out based on your status within this 'old boys club'. They have a method you are supposed to follow -- which is all politics and possibly arbitrary -- but if you leave that method, your papers aren't published, you find getting professorships hard, nobody wants to be your grad student or work under you because you have no funding and you won't be respected, etc.

This method they use might not block the ability to solve problems, but might make solving entire categories of problem harder. And between the method and the old boys club, people who don't fit a particular pattern of behaviour will find doing science much much harder.

So for each person, following that method and imitating the behaviour is by far the best option for them to do and advance science. Even if it is dumb and wasteful and inefficient.

Now, this kind of thing exists. It is part of doing science. From the notation to the patterns of behaviour required to get a job to the kinds and formats of experiments, to the kinds of statistical analysis that is accepted, to the font and format you have to use in submitted papers. There is a massive amount of "non-Popperian" requirements to succeed even in a relatively "pure" field of science.

It might be the case that the male dominance of a field might lead to masculine (in the sense I used earlier in this thread) bias towards the 'dressings' of science, which would bias the set of people doing science, and bias the kinds of science that is done. And without an external motivating force, it would be against the interests of each and every individual in the field to individually attempt to throw off these dressings.

I see suggestions that our methodologies are too closely tied to the politics of academia, but that's a substantive kind of criticism that, frankly, has little connection to gender at all.
[/quote]
The existence of non-Popperian features to scientific methodologies is an example of how things that aren't "pure science" have a huge impact on who and what does science, and even what science is done.

Once you are there, it isn't a huge step to say that gender bias can or does exist within Science. It doesn't have to be merely 'claimed by men' -- the very processes of how people do science are changed. And this damage can be more than a mere stereotype.

To go into another hypothetical, imagine if the best way to get your papers published or to get good advice on an advisor was to hang around in the school's sauna, because that is a socially acceptable place for the faculty to let their hair down and talk with students. And mixed sex saunas where illegal. This ends up being a key part of being a successful scientist relies on some innocuous process that happens to bias the environment towards being male. In that particular case (which isn't far from being current in many industries -- the men's only golf club at which business deals where made and bonds created existed in peoples living memory) we have a feature (hanging around in the men's sauna) appended onto doing science that happens to exclude women.

It is a prosaic example -- but excluding the possibility of the existence of such examples is different than saying "I haven't seen such an example". All I'm talking about is that excluding their existence from first principles is wrong.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby vers » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:37 pm UTC

can i ask an annoying question?
what is a man or a woman? Is there any true continuity between what is male and female? Even the existence (or absence) of genitalia can be as ranged as skin tone. :idea: Essentially there is no man or woman, and no race, no sexual deviance. All of these are social constructs. In that sense there is no patriarchy as much as it is simply one group of actors who have asserted a power relation over another, whose relation is reified by the resistance of the oppressed. True equality, if there is such a thing outside of objectification of sensory perception, can only be achieved by the demolition of social power relations through the refusal to accept social constructs which permit them. And that means, too, a refusal to accept the terms masculinity and femininity, even within the context of defense of these lifestyles :| . Every actor has power to build a collective of actors beyond the scope of another region of action, and to build within their collective new (or the absence of) social constructs. I see this as the only possibility. :)

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:18 pm UTC

vers wrote:can i ask an annoying question?
what is a man or a woman? Is there any true continuity between what is male and female? Even the existence (or absence) of genitalia can be as ranged as skin tone. :idea: Essentially there is no man or woman, and no race, no sexual deviance. All of these are social constructs. In that sense there is no patriarchy as much as it is simply one group of actors who have asserted a power relation over another, whose relation is reified by the resistance of the oppressed.


While possibly true, this question such that it is...is pretty useless considering that there are socially constructed systems by which people are urged into certain behaviours. Whether we are actors or not--the situation has not changed. Abstracting ideas until they are senseless does nothing to help.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Philwelch » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:15 am UTC

Yakk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Yes but managed immigration can solve both that problem and the problems of overpopulation and poverty in the developing world.

Not particularly that well. The developed world needs highly educated highly productive workers: the same kind of workers that the developing world needs. There is already a fair amount of work on the possible harms this is causing to the developed world (and making it not 'worth it' for the developed world to offer cheap education.)

Ideally, the developed also wants existing workers to invest in the next generation willingly and be motivated by this investment (killing two birds with one stone -- people work hard to pay for the investment in their children's development, and then the developed world gets the dividends of the highly educated and productive child).

It is possible that with the growing development of the 3rd world (India, China, etc) that the supply of highly educated / productive immigrants that the 3rd world pays for will be sufficient. But it isn't a trivial problem.


And probably deserves its own thread.

Yakk wrote:
You must have been a really bratty kid if you kept pulling out the thirteenth amendment every time your parents wanted you to help with the dishes.

Helping with the dishes doesn't even place a dent into the expense of raising a child. As such, it isn't related to anything I was talking about.

Children, in the developed world, are a serious expense. They aren't a good investment for parents, financially. In the past, when you put your children to work on the farm and/or in a factory, or sell them off, and there was nothing like social security, children where a great financial investment.

Do you understand why I said what I said now?


You can put children to work on the farm without having a slave economy, though—it probably remains the norm in this country, in farming communities. And most parents use children for ordinary house chores as well. Though the main gain is as an investment for the future, though this relies upon informal social expectations.

Yakk wrote:
I see, nowhere in this, even the slightest suggestion that our scientific methodologies fail to work because they aren't "feminine" enough. I see suggestions that our methodologies are too closely tied to the politics of academia, but that's a substantive kind of criticism that, frankly, has little connection to gender at all.

Academia in many disciplines is a heavily masculine environment. If you take the not so huge leap that this masculine environment might have something to do with how academia works...

...

Academia, and the various cultures in which people use science are part of how people use science. Publish or perish, tenure track pressure, etc -- all of these part of the methods used to produce science.

Imagine if in order to be paid to do science, you must go through process X. Even if process X isn't "part of core science", doing process X is part of being able to do science.

What I would call the Kuhnian view of science is that science is the what scientists do, rather than the Popperian position that science is about logical positivism.

...

Given a Kuhnian perspective on science, can you understand how scientific methodologies might be highly removed from "the scientific method" or the Popperian logical positivist position, and yet have a huge impact on what kind of science is done, who does science, and how you do science in a particular field?


Or, to rephrase things in less obscure and inflammatory terms—the political climate in academia (in the hard sciences at least) is exclusive towards women.

Why you couldn't just say that instead of arguing over Kuhnian semantic frameworks is beyond me. Probably because there's also an academic culture out there that values constructing impressive-looking ideological frameworks over clear and concise communication.

(Also, point of clarification—Popper was not a logical positivist. Neither was Wittgenstein.)

vers wrote:can i ask an annoying question?
what is a man or a woman? Is there any true continuity between what is male and female? Even the existence (or absence) of genitalia can be as ranged as skin tone. :idea: Essentially there is no man or woman, and no race, no sexual deviance. All of these are social constructs. In that sense there is no patriarchy as much as it is simply one group of actors who have asserted a power relation over another, whose relation is reified by the resistance of the oppressed. True equality, if there is such a thing outside of objectification of sensory perception, can only be achieved by the demolition of social power relations through the refusal to accept social constructs which permit them. And that means, too, a refusal to accept the terms masculinity and femininity, even within the context of defense of these lifestyles :| . Every actor has power to build a collective of actors beyond the scope of another region of action, and to build within their collective new (or the absence of) social constructs. I see this as the only possibility. :)


This kind of sophistry completely ignores the fact that, for about 99% of the population, self-reported gender, chromosome type (XX or XY), and external genitalia all agree on one of two sets of values (male, XY, penis/testicles vs. female, XX, clitoris/vagina). If we're not allowed to create generalizations that hold for 99% of cases, we can't use language. So while it's tempting to think along those lines, it's also fantastically destructive to rational thought.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby vers » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:26 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:This kind of sophistry completely ignores the fact that, for about 99% of the population, self-reported gender, chromosome type (XX or XY), and external genitalia all agree on one of two sets of values (male, XY, penis/testicles vs. female, XX, clitoris/vagina). If we're not allowed to create generalizations that hold for 99% of cases, we can't use language. So while it's tempting to think along those lines, it's also fantastically destructive to rational thought.

Ignoring that my argument has been dismissed as sophistry, my point is actually not quite what i think it has been taken to be.

Sure, ha ha, its all fun and giggles to dismiss sex and gender for the mere point of dismissing sex and gender and trying to confuse people. -BUT!- I would argue that creating generalizations is truly what runs counter to rational thought, and that besides being unnecessary, it is what causes our problems with all forms of bigotry.

I made a point of mentioning the incredible range of variables which the human body can assume for a reason. And that reason is that anyone, and especially not just 1% of the population, can fall ANYWHERE along the line of variability between 'male' and 'female', which, for all intents and purposes, are the fuzzy 'halves' of the spectrum.

The only rational thing to assume about someone based upon an observation, say, that they have breasts, is that they have breasts. One cannot assume they have a vagina. If they do, one cannot ASSUME they have a clitorus. If they do, one ESPECIALLY cannot assume their hormones are related in a significant way to their 'female' neighbors. If they do, one can NEVER assume that they share similar emotional qualities or virtues.

what im saying, is that generalization is simply assuming the qualities of a person by the observance of other qualities. Also, it is irrational to assume in this way, for it is unlikely that ANY human being will fit such a generalization the way any other person might see it no matter to WHAT extent, large or small, the generalization covers.

Not only is it irrational, it is completely unnecessary. We have absolutely no need to define man or woman as a set of preconceived notions that no human being will completely live up to. It is destructive to rational thought to do so. What is rational is only to say that you have any notion of a person's attributes based on direct observation of said attributes. Because generalization propagates stereoptype. And stereotype begets bigotry.

In short, to completely eliminate bigotry, including sexism, if that is our true goal, we must stop assuming that we know anything more about a person than what we have empirically viewed for ourselves. And down that path, there can be no generalization. For male and female are nothing but generalization and stereotype.

It is true that whether something is real or not, if a society believes it to be real, the effects of its existence are very real unto themselves. HOWEVER i say, fervently, that we have no NEED to teach our children these generalized social constructs (that no one fully adheres to) any longer, lest we propagate these other social reverberations of such constructs: bigotry.

That is my piece. And it is not sophistry. And it is not a game.

... :o phew

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:39 pm UTC

What you fail to account for is the fact that while you may have an enlightened approach to thinking of this--most people do not. The patriarchy that is on discussion here represents the cultural, social, mix of prejudice against women by society as a whole--so while your ideas might be one possible solution to the problems of patriarchy, they don't help in changing attitudes on a large scale.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby vers » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:45 pm UTC

why not dismiss all hopes of achieving a society free of bigotry then? if you're going to quell a theory before it gains popularity among the masses simply by saying it will never gain popularity among the masses, nothing will have a chance to become the new paradigm.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

It's not about it being quelled--it's that it's not as simple or as easy as you claim.

It's sort of like the famous (mis)attributed quote of Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat cake (well she* actually said: Let them eat Brioche)"

It doesn't examine the complexity of the issue. It ignores the experience of many and calls them foolish for their experiences. If the solution was so easy, why did no one think of it before?


*where she represents a female person in the French court before Marie Antoinette was even in France. :P
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rachel! » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

But I would argue that humans are naturally a categorizing bunch. If I see a person with breasts who generally looks female (longer or styled hair, style of clothing), I assume there is a vagina. I see no breasts and a generally masculine look (including clothing, harder facial structure, and hair), I assume penis. Most people do this. I don't know what percentage of people are transexual or have no genitalia at all, but it is small enough that I've never run into one in the dating scene.

Occasionally I will get thrown for a loop with a person who is too androgynous to determine, but this is very rare and generally only happens with a very fat subject who has short hair.

Yes, androgyny exists in nearly everyone. Very few fit the pure woman with no male interests or pure man with no female interests stereotype. But the fact that I am behaviorally androgynous does not mean it doesn't follow logically that I don't have a vagina if I have boobs, a pink sweater on, and long hair. It does follow logically and is a fair assumption that a human with breasts, long hair, and a pink shirt has a vagina. Of course there is far more that goes into a person's male/female determination than hair, tits, and clothing, but I'm just briefly illustrating my point.

To say that this is not a fair assumption, when it's only an unfair assumption for a mtf transexual who chooses not to get genital reassignment, is untrue. The percentage of people who can not be classified with this method is very, very, very small.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Philwelch » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:26 am UTC

vers wrote:Sure, ha ha, its all fun and giggles to dismiss sex and gender for the mere point of dismissing sex and gender and trying to confuse people. -BUT!- I would argue that creating generalizations is truly what runs counter to rational thought, and that besides being unnecessary, it is what causes our problems with all forms of bigotry.


I'm dubious that you can even have reasoning without using abstractions (which is all a generalization really is).

vers wrote:The only rational thing to assume about someone based upon an observation, say, that they have breasts, is that they have breasts. One cannot assume they have a vagina. If they do, one cannot ASSUME they have a clitorus.


If I can't make assumptions that aren't 99% true, than I can't get up in the morning. Because, even though I observe that there is a floor next to me, I cannot assume that it will not collapse as soon as I apply the slightest weight to it. Even though I observe that there are stairs leading from my floor downwards, I cannot assume those stairs will not collapse, either. Even though I observe a clear fluid coming out of my shower head, I cannot assume that fluid is water, and not, for instance, hydrochloric acid.

I think it's better to keep imperfect abstractions around and work on our understanding that these abstractions are imperfect, rather than try and do away with imperfect abstractions at all. There are severe philosophical and psychological issues you're unwittingly treading on here, and your proposed solution does severe violence to our psychological ability to do anything at all.

vers wrote:Not only is it irrational, it is completely unnecessary. We have absolutely no need to define man or woman as a set of preconceived notions that no human being will completely live up to. It is destructive to rational thought to do so. What is rational is only to say that you have any notion of a person's attributes based on direct observation of said attributes. Because generalization propagates stereoptype. And stereotype begets bigotry.


And yet, if I'm working on a crime scene, pick up a pair of bloody gloves used by the murderer, and find blood with XY chromosomes mixed with a separate DNA that we've already matched to the victim, it's going to save me a lot of time to narrow my search to male suspects.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Lucrece » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:42 am UTC

I've always found it curious how people go about discouraging women from certain fields.

A woman can't truly be just someone. The narrative is always about how she's a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, etc. There's never integration of nontraditional tasks with female identity. The female identity is split.

Meanwhile, you rarely see men referred in such split terms. They are this person with faculties. He is a businessman, but because he's a businessman doesn't mean that he must excel and compensate on other traditional tasks to be considered well-rounded. There is no interest in whether he chooses to be a father, whether he is a good father, or whether he's married. If he likes to work, he likes to work; he isn't selfish.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Gunfingers » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:59 pm UTC

Isn't every other children's movie about how daddy works too much and should be home with his kids more? Or lies too much, in the case of "Liar Liar".

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:13 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:I've always found it curious how people go about discouraging women from certain fields.

A woman can't truly be just someone. The narrative is always about how she's a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, etc. There's never integration of nontraditional tasks with female identity. The female identity is split.

Meanwhile, you rarely see men referred in such split terms. They are this person with faculties. He is a businessman, but because he's a businessman doesn't mean that he must excel and compensate on other traditional tasks to be considered well-rounded. There is no interest in whether he chooses to be a father, whether he is a good father, or whether he's married. If he likes to work, he likes to work; he isn't selfish.

Really? I thought the businessman-daddy was a trope verging on cliche, since Mary Poppins.
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