Existence of the Patriarchy

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

When exactly did you develop your own interest in computers? The trouble with trying to attract women into career paths once they are adults is that they have missed lots already, and already have a good idea about what they like and don't like to do. There is still a strong prevalence of the attitude that 'women are bad at math, science, and computers.' Unless she is very driven (and kudos to all that are), she won't choose that course of study. So saying your computer science department would like more female enrollment ignores much of the larger structures at work. You want more female engineers? You'd better start with the preschool set.

That coupled with the fact that in a mixed gender class boys get called on far more often, that the teacher says 'you guys', that teachers (I've heard even this week) tell students 'you throw like a girl'--you begin to see some of the patriarchal structures at work.

http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/502/context/archive
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:24 am UTC

Griffin, your post makes several concessions to feminism while still taking an overall contrary attitude to the idea of a patriarchy; many of the claims you make to explain away plain evidence of the patriarchy is contradicted by these concessions. For example, you say that prejudices against women are matched by "equal and as powerful prejudices in the opposite direction, against men," and yet you plainly realize that "the limitations on women are … a hell of a lot worse in most occassions." You also note that sexism is entrenched because it denies women access to the means by which they could attack it, but somehow you deny by the end of your post that male dominance of political and economic leadership constitutes a patriarchy.

This dominance is particularly relevant to the term "patriarchy" because it also encompasses the various means by which men perpetuate sexism. Men who run businesses hire men; men who run media companies sell to men and portray women as sex objects; men who run states pass laws that address their own concerns, ignoring issues such as reproductive rights, domestic abuse, and rape. While it is true that "society limits men and women in different ways," and men's and women's interactions both constitute our society, men have a near monopoly on the superstructure (sorry, Pez) that grants disproportionate power to fit society to their own terms.

I also agree with Rin's critique of your explanation of disparity in your computer science department. I would like to add that, regardless of the attitudes of that specific department, geek culture at large is plagued by its own legion of misogynous demons. However inviting your school's department tries to be to women, many are still rightly cautious of discrimination in college and in their careers afterward. Thus, the patriarchy does not even need to reach inside your school (though it certainly does) in order to keep women out of it.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby aneeshm » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:33 am UTC

Belial wrote:
athelas wrote:So here's a question: Let's imagine that we create an society de novo, in which men and women were all given equal opportunities to pursue whatever lifestyle they pleased, but due to innate preference, biological necessity (having kids), or what have you, not every profession is equally populated by men and women.

Point of order: a society that penalizes and limits due to the "necessity" of having kids is not an equal society. Please return to start.
Is the protein and carbohydrate cost of pregnancy a societal imposition?

To re-state the point more explicitly:

Is a society which does not penalise or limit anything due to the "necessity" of having children, but does nothing to "equalise" the said costs which are inherent to the having of children between the sexes, a sexist one?

To explain with an example:

Assume that there is some biological cost of child-bearing to a woman, and it is not the same as a man - for realism, assume it is higher. This biological cost results in an incapacitation of the woman for a certain time, and this said incapacitation incurs a societal cost. This cause of this cost has nothing to do with the gender of the person, only by the fact that the said incapacitated person is, for the duration of incapacitation, less valuable to this society. This societal cost is not determined by gender, only by the degree of incapacitation - it would be perfectly symmetrical; so if a man underwent the same incapacitation for the same time, for some different reason, the cost he would incur would be exactly the same.

Now, this hypothetical society does not impose any cost whatsoever on the woman, beyond that which is inflicted upon her by biological necessity. However, this society also does nothing to alleviate this cost. It does nothing to alleviate this cost for men, either, if they are found to be similarly situated.

Is this society sexist?

To put it even more bluntly:

Does a society which does nothing to "equalise" the costs which reality imposes differently on the genders a sexist one?

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

If it equalizes by deciding men get benefits because women have to bear children to continue the species. Yes.

If it equalizes by recognizing that this is a contribution and acting accordingly. No.


It's perhaps better to consider one Equitable rather than Equal.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:25 pm UTC

Does a society which does nothing to "equalise" the costs which reality imposes differently on the genders a sexist one?


It's a false question. See, what you're assuming here is that "people who don't get pregnant" are the baseline, and people who do get pregnant are somehow set back from that.

That's what most careers and such seem to assume, too.

That's sexist. It's treating the health needs of women as something extraordinary or handicapping, as opposed to par for the course for being human in society.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby aneeshm » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Does a society which does nothing to "equalise" the costs which reality imposes differently on the genders a sexist one?
It's a false question. See, what you're assuming here is that "people who don't get pregnant" are the baseline, and people who do get pregnant are somehow set back from that.

Well, no. It's a society which considers incapacitation - whether as a result of pregnancy or anything else - something which reduces the value of the incapacitated person for the duration of its incapacitation. Pregnancy happens to be one of the causes a person may be so incapacitated. If it were a man, and it was incapacitated by some other reason for a similar duration, it would be treated in exactly the same way.

And given that questions have no truth value, I see no good out of calling a question "false". The most you could have said in this case is that there are assumptions in the questions which you reject.
Belial wrote:That's what most careers and such seem to assume, too.

That's sexist. It's treating the health needs of women as something extraordinary or handicapping, as opposed to par for the course for being human in society.



It just so happens that the health needs of a pregnant woman are, in fact, handicapping her for the duration of the pregnancy, when considered against either men (which comparison you would reject, if I know anything about your stance), or against women who are not, in fact, at that time pregnant. Pregnancy is, in fact, an extraordinary time in a woman's life. Most women are not pregnant for the overwhelming majority of their lives.
Last edited by aneeshm on Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:41 pm UTC

And given that questions have no truth value, I see no good out of calling a question "false".


Based on false assumptions, if it must be spelled out.

It just so happens that the health needs of a pregnant woman are, in fact, handicapping her for the duration of the pregnancy, when considered against either men (which comparison you would reject, if I know anything about your stance), or against women who are not, in fact, at that time pregnant.


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.

Add to that the extra fuckery of women being, by and large, saddled with the childcare duties, and it just gets stupid.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:23 pm UTC

aneeshm wrote:Does a society which does nothing to "equalise" the costs which reality imposes differently on the genders a sexist one?
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.

Anyway, we consider a society that does not take some steps toward providing the disabled an opportunity to participate (handicap access, etc) to be discriminatory and wrong; why not consider a society that does not take some steps toward providing the gender capable of having children an opportunity to participate (maternity leave) to be discriminatory and wrong? Besides the implication that having children is a disability (obviously, not where I'm going with this), what's the significant difference between handicap parking and maternity leave?

In short, yes. Or, better - let's rewrite your question (the term 'equalize' is misleading): A society that excludes people on the basis of their biology is sexist, or, depending on the particular flavor of the exclusion, exclusionary. And some of us don't like the idea of exclusionary societies.

Edit: By the way, my wife pointed out that a simple way to handle the maternity leave thing is to just give maternity leave to everyone - both women and men - that is, give men maternity leave when their wife or significant other has a child. It undermines the idea of women being the sole caretaker, plus it just makes sense (doesn't a guy want to take time off to spend with his child?).

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby aneeshm » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:04 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
In short, yes. Or, better - let's rewrite your question (the term 'equalize' is misleading): A society that excludes people on the basis of their biology is sexist, or, depending on the particular flavor of the exclusion, exclusionary. And some of us don't like the idea of exclusionary societies.



I would say that there is large difference between active exclusion, as you claim exists, and the passive doing of nothing. I would liken it to the difference between locking someone up in a room and starving them, as contrasted with not sending aid to Africa.

The Great Hippo wrote:
Edit: By the way, my wife pointed out that a simple way to handle the maternity leave thing is to just give maternity leave to everyone - both women and men - that is, give men maternity leave when their wife or significant other has a child. It undermines the idea of women being the sole caretaker, plus it just makes sense (doesn't a guy want to take time off to spend with his child?).



This is a nice enough solution, but it does have one flaw. If the majority - or even a significant enough minority - of men decide not to take this leave, the system breaks down. And I do not think it appropriate to force people to stop working.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Edit: By the way, my wife pointed out that a simple way to handle the maternity leave thing is to just give maternity leave to everyone - both women and men - that is, give men maternity leave when their wife or significant other has a child. It undermines the idea of women being the sole caretaker, plus it just makes sense (doesn't a guy want to take time off to spend with his child?).


Its called paternity leave. The vast majority of large corporations and government offices already do this. If men don't take the time its usually because of "pressure" from work or they don't want to.

Boss "Too bad your going on paternity leave, I guess your going to miss out on that new Exxon account"

or

Boss "I hope you enjoy your time at home, I hope you still have a business to come back too."


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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:30 pm UTC

aneeshm wrote:I would say that there is large difference between active exclusion, as you claim exists, and the passive doing of nothing. I would liken it to the difference between locking someone up in a room and starving them, as contrasted with not sending aid to Africa.
Several huge problems with your metaphor - your first example is an individual's decision ("I'm going to lock you up in a room and starve you, Ted!") and your second example is a society's decision ("We're collectively refusing to send you food, Africa!"). These are two very different decisions with two very different contexts.

I never claimed that failing to accommodate for pregnancy was 'active' exclusion, by the way - I think that the difference between active and passive is irrelevant, especially to those being excluded. Ted and Africa are still starving regardless of what you call the exclusion. Besides, our society determines what's important and what's not - whether being pregnant is considered an incapacitation or a contribution. That social decision is as active as the decision to lock minorities up in a reservation camp and starve them (though nowhere near as conscious or immediately dreadful).
aneeshm wrote:This is a nice enough solution, but it does have one flaw. If the majority - or even a significant enough minority - of men decide not to take this leave, the system breaks down. And I do not think it appropriate to force people to stop working.
Why would the system break down as a result of men not taking leave? We just need to make sure the same opportunities are available to everyone; we don't need to demand that everyone take all those opportunities. Anyone can use a handicap entrance ("Hey, a slope! Easier than the stairs!"); that doesn't cause a problem. Why would this cause one?
Ixtellor wrote:Its called paternity leave. The vast majority of large corporations and government offices already do this.
Pardon, I was unaware. Although from your description it sounds very half-assed (I'd want more information before passing judgment, however).

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Azrael » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:26 pm UTC

Off-topic discussion split off.

Split off right into the trash can.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:44 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Why would the system break down as a result of men not taking leave? We just need to make sure the same opportunities are available to everyone; we don't need to demand that everyone take all those opportunities. Anyone can use a handicap entrance ("Hey, a slope! Easier than the stairs!"); that doesn't cause a problem. Why would this cause one?


The problem is when you pair the "equal opportunity to take leave" with the societal pressure for a mother to stay home and take care of the kids.

What happens is that the women are pressured to stay home, have to take extended leave, lose massive ground in their careers, and generally get fucked over. The men continue going to work, continue progressing, and so forth, and no one really questions them for doing so.

Giving men the option to stay home does nothing so long as that societal standard is in place: they just opt out, and continue getting ahead.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:52 pm UTC

Belial wrote:The problem is when you pair the "equal opportunity to take leave" with the societal pressure for a mother to stay home and take care of the kids.

What happens is that the women are pressured to stay home, have to take extended leave, lose massive ground in their careers, and generally get fucked over. The men continue going to work, continue progressing, and so forth, and no one really questions them for doing so.

Giving men the option to stay home does nothing so long as that societal standard is in place: they just opt out, and continue getting ahead.
I was parsing opportunity as incorporating the idea of pressure, there - I had originally written a part to address this - expanding the idea of 'opportunity' to point out that women who, early on in their formative years, are pressured to stay away from maths and sciences, are having an opportunity denied them - but I took it out for brevity.

I do agree that it's false-as-fuck to go "Men have this option too, so it's completely equal" when it's not an option for women, and men can get ahead by opting out - it's like building a handicap ramp that leads to a brick wall rather than a door and claiming you're being equal because people who can use stairs could theoretically decide to use the shitty ramp anyway.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:54 pm UTC

It also kindof neglects single parenthood. "It's equal now because you can split the care with your husband!"

"What husband?"

"Oh, I guess you're fucked."
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:15 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Belial wrote:The problem is when you pair the "equal opportunity to take leave" with the societal pressure for a mother to stay home and take care of the kids.

What happens is that the women are pressured to stay home, have to take extended leave, lose massive ground in their careers, and generally get fucked over. The men continue going to work, continue progressing, and so forth, and no one really questions them for doing so.

Giving men the option to stay home does nothing so long as that societal standard is in place: they just opt out, and continue getting ahead.
I was parsing opportunity as incorporating the idea of pressure, there - I had originally written a part to address this - expanding the idea of 'opportunity' to point out that women who, early on in their formative years, are pressured to stay away from maths and sciences, are having an opportunity denied them - but I took it out for brevity.

I do agree that it's false-as-fuck to go "Men have this option too, so it's completely equal" when it's not an option for women, and men can get ahead by opting out - it's like building a handicap ramp that leads to a brick wall rather than a door and claiming you're being equal because people who can use stairs could theoretically decide to use the shitty ramp anyway.


Well, using current technology, we can't change the fact that women have to give birth and men don't have to be around at all for babies to gets born'ed.

Do either of you have a proposal that you feel would make it equitable?

Most corporations have policies that explicitly state they wont fire women or men for taking maternity/paternity leave. Yes, many men choose to stay and work on their career instead of their 'family bonding'. (Sometimes they are pressured to do so, by sometimes I mean "Most of the time")

Another argument you are not considering ( I think ) is that a lot of time men DO want to take time off to 'daddy baby bond' with their newborns, but are put under pressure to keep working. So this 'sexism' thing works both ways.

I personally think it all works out fine and I don't know of a single women who has felt cheated by having kids and taking time off. Yes, this is anacdotal but I imagine it holds true. I also imagine a lot of career driven women who get preganant get abortions and keep on working.

What reasons do you have for believing that women getting preganant and staying at home, feel ripped off or cheated or the victims of sexism?


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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Heavenlytoaster » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I personally think it all works out fine and I don't know of a single women who has felt cheated by having kids and taking time off. Yes, this is anacdotal but I imagine it holds true. I also imagine a lot of career driven women who get preganant get abortions and keep on working.

What reasons do you have for believing that women getting preganant and staying at home, feel ripped off or cheated or the victims of sexism?


Its more the issue that the woman is less likely to be hired, because there is the potential that they will take the time off.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby eds01 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:41 pm UTC

In some countries (i.e. Sweden), paternal leave is mandatory, just like maternity leave. Currently, both parents in Sweden have 16 months of leave to split up among themselves, and the least amount that one parent can take off is 2 months (so the other takes off 14 months).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternity_leave

Rinsaikeru wrote:The Patriarchy exists as a term and reference for the male dominated society we've been describing. Like those who would prefer 'equalism' to feminism--I think the op has missed the point a little.

It isn't that there is a codified structure or leader to the patriarchy. Society is patriarchal because by and large families still descend on the male line, males do dominate the society. You can make a new word to mean essentially the same thing, but changing it and arguing about terms is just a distraction from the actual work to be done imho.


Except that the new word wouldn't mean essentially the same thing. Patriarchy describes a society based around the father. This has existed at numerous points in history and is a useful word. For example, look at roman society: the Pater Familias (the head of a house, essentially) could sell his children (both male and female) into slavery! In many cultures, the father had to approve of his child's marriage.

What we have now is something different. Fathers do not have anywhere near as much power as they had in patriarchal societies, but instead men, in general have more power. Just like a gynocracy is not the same as a matriarchal society, a patriarchal society is not the same as a andocracy. Although androcracy isn't quite the right word either (it just refers to men ruling the society, which we kind of have). Androcentric, possibly, or androarchal.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:39 am UTC

But for terms used in this sort of context, the word shifts as its meaning is used in broader ways. Language isn't standing still and holding up singular definitions for patriarchy doesn't really address the full impact of the word and its useage.

In academia it might be interesting to throw lots of terms to describe ideas around--but in terms of a movement, clarity and simplicity of the goals and their description is really important in some ways.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:20 am UTC

eds01 wrote:Except that the new word wouldn't mean essentially the same thing. Patriarchy describes a society based around the father. This has existed at numerous points in history and is a useful word. For example, look at roman society: the Pater Familias (the head of a house, essentially) could sell his children (both male and female) into slavery! In many cultures, the father had to approve of his child's marriage.
In addition to the shifting meaning of the word mentioned in the post above, I suspect patriarchal is still a useful term to describe our society because we're still operating from a patriarchal point of view. That is, as more formal patriarchal structures have collapsed, we've replaced them with cultural structures that still exert the same pressures but with different 'reasons' ("Well, men are simply better suited for work" - or "Well, women are simply better suited for taking care of children"). As the idea of "Father knows best" rightfully slips into oblivion, we find other ways to reaffirm that statement without actually saying it. And - seriously, we're, what, 50 years out of this? I mean, so long as the effects of a patriarchy are still being felt, I think it's fair to keep describing it as a patriarchal culture.

Also, it bares noting that all the patriarchal societies you can think of supply immense benefits for men outside of the family as well. You didn't have to be a 'father' to vote, etc. Patriarchy and male-centered societies go so hand-in-hand that I'm not sure you can separate them anywhere beyond fictitious landscapes we imagine up for the sake of internet arguments.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:17 pm UTC

Heavenlytoaster wrote:Its more the issue that the woman is less likely to be hired, because there is the potential that they will take the time off.


I never really ask for proof... but I would like to see some evidence that not hiring women because they MIGHT get preggers is common or rampant.

If you said a pregnant woman is less likely to get hired I would agree with you 100%. But I kind of doubt your statement is true to any meaningful level. Probably less likely than a man not getting a job because he is obese.


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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Belial » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:48 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Heavenlytoaster wrote:Its more the issue that the woman is less likely to be hired, because there is the potential that they will take the time off.


I never really ask for proof... but I would like to see some evidence that not hiring women because they MIGHT get preggers is common or rampant.


The problem is that it's very difficult to ask people *why* they're being so discriminatory in their hiring practices, because very few of them will admit to being discriminatory in the first place, and those who do are probably a skewed sample doing to being totally over-the-edge.

You can perform studies to demonstrate bias, but not necessarily what's behind the bias. So I severely doubt you can get evidence that women don't get hired *because* <blank>. But you can get evidence that they don't get hired, and then speculate as to why.

"She might get pregnant and cost my business money" is one of the more benign speculations.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:40 pm UTC

Belial wrote:You can perform studies to demonstrate bias, but not necessarily what's behind the bias. So I severely doubt you can get evidence that women don't get hired *because* <blank>. But you can get evidence that they don't get hired, and then speculate as to why.


Well leaving out construction jobs and jobs that require physical efforts, do you have any evidence that women are less likely to get hired in jobs that require brainpower?

I am fairly confident that women dominate the medical profession, under the age 60'ish (because of past discrimination and access to education)


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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Jessica » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

You think there are more women doctors than there are men doctors?
Or do you mean overall, where you count the number of nurces and doctors and technitions and... and average them?

I don't have numbers either way... just wondering what you were referring to.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:16 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:You think there are more women doctors than there are men doctors?
.


Yes I meant more female doctors.
I know if you look at the 50+ doctors they are vastly dominated by men, but if you only look at the profession since the modern civil rights movement for women (1960'ish) and above, there are more female doctors.

I did a very quick search and this confirmed something I heard: There are more females in Medical school.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health ... _medicine/

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Elennaro » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:18 am UTC

I'm a European medicine student. I can confirm that about 2/3rds of my fellow med students are female (stats, not just my own year at my own uni). This is actually a huge upcoming problem for our healthcare system, as said female doctors take a registry number and go to work. The country has previously decided to hand out only a fixed number of registry numbers per year. That number is based upon a time when most, if not all, new doctors worke pretty much all day long, most of the week. That's drastically changing through the feminisation (if that's a word) of the profession, as many female doctors prefer to work part-time.

Of course, that's a problem of the system rather than of the female doctors in question, and the system just has to adapt to it!

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

Just a note re female doctors. There are indeed more female doctors entering the field now than men (in USA anyway). Part of this is due to increased access to education and resources. However, there is an interesting coincidence that I think is worth mentioning. Men are reporting (again, USA) that they are not interested in becoming doctors anymore because it is no longer such a good path to giant money. You want a Business degree for that now. Having "a doctor in the family" isn't the status symbol it used to be. I don't want to imply a direct causal relationship, but the abandonment of the field by white men does coincidentally leave it more open to women and ethnic minorities of both genders, both of which have become much more prevalent.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Lemminkainen » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:28 pm UTC

Hammer wrote:Just a note re female doctors. There are indeed more female doctors entering the field now than men (in USA anyway). Part of this is due to increased access to education and resources. However, there is an interesting coincidence that I think is worth mentioning. Men are reporting (again, USA) that they are not interested in becoming doctors anymore because it is no longer such a good path to giant money. You want a Business degree for that now. Having "a doctor in the family" isn't the status symbol it used to be. I don't want to imply a direct causal relationship, but the abandonment of the field by white men does coincidentally leave it more open to women and ethnic minorities of both genders, both of which have become much more prevalent.


Might it be possible that the casualty relationship runs the other way? Because the cultural atmosphere of medicine is now open to women and members of minorities (as well as experiencing an influx of migrants from India and China), the supply of doctors has increased, which in turn lowers the price. Business, which remains dominated by criteria of connections rather than competence, is still largely male-dominated and has an artificially kept-down supply. When business becomes more open to women and members of minorities, salaries will doubtless fall thanks to the increased supply.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:59 pm UTC

Lemminkainen wrote:Might it be possible that the casualty relationship runs the other way? Because the cultural atmosphere of medicine is now open to women and members of minorities (as well as experiencing an influx of migrants from India and China), the supply of doctors has increased, which in turn lowers the price.

That certainly may be a factor. The people reporting speak more in terms of costs of insurance/equipment/litigation and UCR charge systems, but self-reporting does have reliability issues. For example, lawyers and law students are also increasingly female without a matching abandonment of the field by men as a law degree is the path into being a judge or a high-ranking politician and those are still considered high status positions. Of course, the number of high ranking judges and politicians is relatively controlled, so increased supply does not have as much of an effect on price.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Outchanter » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:33 am UTC

Ad hominem attacks, especially those that have to haul your baggage in from other threads, are never appropriate.

Knock it the heck off.

-Az


Sorry, that wasn't intended to be an ad hominem attack. Let me try again.

On the one hand, we have people saying that science needs to be equally accessible to both men and women, at every stage of life. This is a goal I would love to see realized:
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On the other hand, some voices within the feminist movement (e.g. Irigaray) seem to claim that the problem isn't just that there aren't enough women in science, but that science - the scientific method itself - is inherently masculine. This appears to contradict the previous stance. In fact it seems to be a remarkably anti-equality stance for a feminist to take. It seems to play right into the "differences are biological" point of view.

Any thoughts on this?

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:42 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:On the other hand, some voices within the feminist movement (e.g. Irigaray) seem to claim that the problem isn't just that there aren't enough women in science, but that science - the scientific method itself - is inherently masculine. This appears to contradict the previous stance. In fact it seems to be a remarkably anti-equality stance for a feminist to take. It seems to play right into the "differences are biological" point of view.

Any thoughts on this?


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). Go back to that thread and take a look at PhilSandifer's posts on the subject. He's got chops.

Note: I do not believe that only males may have masculine characteristics or that only females may have feminine characteristics. Very few people possess only characteristics from one set or the other. This is a question of ways of thinking, not of biology. A "feminine" approach to science (or any other field) may be applied by males, just as many females are fine with the "masculine" approach.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:00 pm UTC

Hammer wrote:Just a note re female doctors. There are indeed more female doctors entering the field now than men (in USA anyway). Part of this is due to increased access to education and resources. However, there is an interesting coincidence that I think is worth mentioning. Men are reporting (again, USA) that they are not interested in becoming doctors anymore because it is no longer such a good path to giant money. You want a Business degree for that now. Having "a doctor in the family" isn't the status symbol it used to be. I don't want to imply a direct causal relationship, but the abandonment of the field by white men does coincidentally leave it more open to women and ethnic minorities of both genders, both of which have become much more prevalent.


How did you arrive at this conclusion?

My brief research would seem to indicate that the decline in medical school enrollment was due to the perception that there was an oversupply of doctors beginning around 1980. From 1965 to 1980 the number of medical schools doubled and people were making predicitions of too many doctors back then. Since this didn't turn out to be the case, medical school enrollment has been on the rise, including big gains for men. Women are still the majority but its by a slim margin.

I think you might be able to stretch your argument if you target it at white men because I don't think their numbers have gone up , but hispanic and black men are attending medical schools in record rates.


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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:24 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:How did you arrive at this conclusion?

I specifically didn't arrive at a conclusion. I mentioned some information in some articles I once read and made it clear that I was not making a statement of causation. Just that I found the coincidence interesting and possibly relevant.

Ixtellor wrote:I think you might be able to stretch your argument if you target it at white men because I don't think their numbers have gone up , but hispanic and black men are attending medical schools in record rates.

Erm. That's pretty much what I did say...
Hammer wrote:the abandonment of the field by white men does coincidentally leave it more open to women and ethnic minorities of both genders, both of which have become much more prevalent
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:37 pm UTC

Hammer wrote:I specifically didn't arrive at a conclusion. I mentioned some information in some articles I once read and made it clear that I was not making a statement of causation. Just that I found the coincidence interesting and possibly relevant.


1) I wasn't trying to attack you.
2) To narrow my question: What evidence did the article have that white men were less likely to become doctors because it was not seen as a path to wealth?
3) I would also be curious to see evidence that being a Doctor is less of a status symbol. The closest I can think of is the prevelance of ivy leaguers to gravitate towards investment banking in recent decades.
4) If you don't have the article or recall it, thats ok. I was just curious, but mostly because I am suspect.

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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:58 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:1) I wasn't trying to attack you.

I didn't take it as one.

2) To narrow my question: What evidence did the article have that white men were less likely to become doctors because it was not seen as a path to wealth?

The evidence was that the white men they asked said so. If you read a few posts after the one you're quoting, you'll see where I'm being more specific about their reasons given and also mentioning the limited reliability of such self-reporting.

3) I would also be curious to see evidence that being a Doctor is less of a status symbol. The closest I can think of is the prevelance of ivy leaguers to gravitate towards investment banking in recent decades.

This particular bit is coming from personal observation and hearing a lot of people talk about what they want for themselves and for their children and from knowing a bunch of doctors. Being a doctor just isn't what it was when my grandfather was practicing and my grandmother's family was so proud that she'd been the one to land him when all the women were trying to marry the doctor. Airline pilot is no longer a "glamour" occupation either, although it used to be. :) As you say, Finance is considered the way to go now (although very recent events may impact that :D ).

4) If you don't have the article or recall it, thats ok. I was just curious, but mostly because I am suspect.

I'm afraid not. It's something I recall reading in my travels, but I don't have it to hand. If you're suspect that I read such a thing, then there's not really much I can do. If you're suspect about the information in it, then I agree. Reporting of self-reporting isn't the most reliable thing.

When women and ethnic minorities are able to make such large strides in a previously overwhelmingly white male field, there are usually significant contributing factors. In this case, it's likely a combination of factors. 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. :wink: I make no claim to know the answer to that.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Indon » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:58 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:On the other hand, some voices within the feminist movement (e.g. Irigaray) seem to claim that the problem isn't just that there aren't enough women in science, but that science - the scientific method itself - is inherently masculine. This appears to contradict the previous stance. In fact it seems to be a remarkably anti-equality stance for a feminist to take. It seems to play right into the "differences are biological" point of view.

Any thoughts on this?


I noted my opinion on this phenomenon in the Feminism thread in General, actually.

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.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Charlie! » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:13 am UTC

Indon wrote:
Outchanter wrote:On the other hand, some voices within the feminist movement (e.g. Irigaray) seem to claim that the problem isn't just that there aren't enough women in science, but that science - the scientific method itself - is inherently masculine. This appears to contradict the previous stance. In fact it seems to be a remarkably anti-equality stance for a feminist to take. It seems to play right into the "differences are biological" point of view.

Any thoughts on this?


I noted my opinion on this phenomenon in the Feminism thread in General, actually.

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.

Just like that, huh?

I think that might be a large oversimplification. Consider the relationship of women and higher education circa 1900, or the lack thereof. Why weren't the women who had the background that today would give them access to education not getting it (in general) past a certain point? Because they were too busy being kept as mothers and homemakers. Is this because there was some Patriarchy out there in the shadowy shadows "Claiming" every discrete part of knowledge that they liked? Of course not, it's because education in general was disfavored.

The Fraternal Order of Men Who Claim Things that your version requires by its specificity doesn't exist. Just lots of people making individual decisions that create a whole.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Hammer » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:12 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:Of course not, it's because education in general was disfavored.

Also, because women were not allowed into institutes of higher education and, even when the folk who run said institutes were bullied or bribed into allowing a woman to attend, the male students refused in various ways to have class while she was present. Hence, the need to establish sister schools like Radcliffe for a woman to get anywhere near higher education.

The Fraternal Order of Men Who Claim Things that your version requires by its specificity doesn't exist. Just lots of people making individual decisions that create a whole.

Decisions like "Women can't apply for patents, own property in their own name unless under certain conditions, or vote."

I agree that the body of all men do not get together and have giant meetings, but that does not mean there is no patriarchy in operation. The initial exclusion of women from various areas of life may have been due to many individually tossed beans adding up to a hill, but men have throughout history gotten together in groups of lawmakers or committees or administrative bodies and made a specific decision that excluding women from a particular area is right and proper and must be continued. And groups of women are often standing right beside them nodding their heads because they've bought lines like "The strain of higher education can damage the ovaries." (I'm not making this up. Good thing testicles are immune to this strain.) Women support the patriarchy too.

Fortunately, with enough work, sometimes they get together and decide that maybe the world might not crumble if women vote and take physics and serve in the military and read the holy books and stuff. The more that happens, the less of a patriarchy we have. I'm afraid there's still quite aways to go though.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:25 pm UTC

Hammer wrote:I agree that the body of all men do not get together and have giant meetings, but that does not mean there is no patriarchy in operation. The initial exclusion of women from various areas of life may have been due to many individually tossed beans adding up to a hill, but men have throughout history gotten together in groups of lawmakers or committees or administrative bodies and made a specific decision that excluding women from a particular area is right and proper and must be continued. And groups of women are often standing right beside them nodding their heads because they've bought lines like "The strain of higher education can damage the ovaries." (I'm not making this up. Good thing testicles are immune to this strain.) Women support the patriarchy too.

Fortunately, with enough work, sometimes they get together and decide that maybe the world might not crumble if women vote and take physics and serve in the military and read the holy books and stuff. The more that happens, the less of a patriarchy we have. I'm afraid there's still quite aways to go though.


This view doesn't make sense to me at all. How did groups of women stand beside each other nodding approval to patriarchal values, but then 'with enough work' get together and start challenging it? It doesn't fit, or implies that women before Susan B. or Queen Vic just couldn't accomplish anything. I find it more likely that women have always challenged male hegemony where it exists, and that it was the industrial revolution that tipped the scales too far towards men which spawned the feminist movements. Industrialization did this because it changed the nature of the private and public spheres and made them more seperate, while it moved people to urban environments where suddenly you didn't know everyone you walked past on the street and stereotypes and categories became more potent. To say 'throughout history' men have gotten together 'and made a specific decision that excluding women form a particular area is right and proper' is absurd, because it paints history as a linear progression. In Western society, women gained considerable rights when the Roman Empire lost ground to the Germanic tribes, and under the Ottoman Empire women enjoyed rights at the time that were foreign to Europe. History does not tell a story of consistent male dominance, but of conflict between the genders with men usually taking the more lucrative and demanding positions because women were predisposed to raising the family and therefore taking care of the household (partly because of the pregnancy thing, and partly because of the breast milk thing).

Western culture is patriarchal, and I have no problem with it being described like that. Because it implies there are elements of a patriarchy, but is not at odds with the existence of areas where women are gaining ground, surpassing men, or sections of society where no discrimination exists. When people say 'the patriarchy won't allow this' they are making an offensive simplification, that suggests that neither men nor women have agency in their role within society and that the obstacles towards equality are insurmountable.
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Re: Existence of the Patriarchy

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:50 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:This view doesn't make sense to me at all. How did groups of women stand beside each other nodding approval to patriarchal values, but then 'with enough work' get together and start challenging it? It doesn't fit, or implies that women before Susan B. or Queen Vic just couldn't accomplish anything. I find it more likely that women have always challenged male hegemony where it exists, and that it was the industrial revolution that tipped the scales too far towards men which spawned the feminist movements.
While doing a lot of research for my story-fu, I came across a lot of books like this--compilation of essays written by female anti-suffragists. 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.

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.
Pez Dispens3r wrote:History does not tell a story of consistent male dominance, but of conflict between the genders with men usually taking the more lucrative and demanding positions because women were predisposed to raising the family and therefore taking care of the household (partly because of the pregnancy thing, and partly because of the breast milk thing).
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 (situations where we accidentally end up with a female ruler don't count1, unless you can find me an incident where it wasn't accidental or a temporary solution). 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'.


1 It might seem like cheating on my part, but I'm loathe to even call any incident where a woman manages to become a ruler as an 'exception to this rule'. The few cases I can think of (and all were accidental) maintained power by reinforcing some notion of patriarchy - either by playing the diminutive flower or by basically pretending to be male (Hatshepsut is an example of this). And these were always remarkable exceptions. Maybe you could describe these as 'breeches' of the male-dominated rule, but shortly after they died or lost the throne, standard operating procedure once again applied.


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