The New York Times just published a piece on the potential for application of Title IX gender equity legislation to academic science. Before getting into the details of that particular horrid excuse for journalism, I just want to say a few words in general about the New York Times.
(In the interest of keeping the Feministe main page from being blocked by people’s work filters, I have placed the body of the post inside the crack. And if you are a whiny-ass whiner who is going to whine about colorful language, don’t farging click! Capisce?)
The Times is a total fucking disgrace to the notion of a vigorous press that is supposed to function in a Constitutional Republic as reality-testing opposition to the propagandistic tendencies of Government. The Times got totally fucking wrong the single most important thing in decades: the Iraq War. Instead of providing critical oppositional analysis to the absurd lies of Bush and his sick-fuck minions, it acted as a propaganda arm for the Bush regime. And to this day, it gives a massive platform to some of the most pernicious depraved destroyers of rational political discourse we have: Dowd, Brooks, Friedman, Kristol. The Framers are turning in their motherfucking graves.
OK. Let’s get started:
The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.
Step 1: Fail to do actual research, and just rely on fake-ass stenographic “balance” by credulously repeating the claims of spokespeople for the different “sides” of the “controversy”. Completely ignore the fact that one “side” is comprised of people who recognize and accept reality and the other “side” is comprised of wackaloon asshole apologists for male privilege.
Despite supposed obstacles like “unconscious bias” and a shortage of role models and mentors, women now constitute about half of medical students, 60 percent of biology majors and 70 percent of psychology Ph.D.’s. They earn the majority of doctorates in both the life sciences and the social sciences.
Step 2: Fail to mention that the overwhelming majority of faculty in those areas are men. Where the fuck are the women going, and why are they going there?
The gender gap is a result of earlier decisions. While girls make up nearly half of high school physics students, they’re less likely than boys to take Advanced Placement courses or go on to a college degree in physics.
These numbers don’t surprise two psychologists at Vanderbilt University, David Lubinski and Camilla Persson Benbow, who have been tracking more than 5,000 mathematically gifted students for 35 years.
They found that starting at age 12, the girls tended to be better rounded than the boys: they had relatively strong verbal skills in addition to math, and they showed more interest in “organic” subjects involving people and other living things. Despite their mathematical prowess, they were less likely than boys to go into physics or engineering.
Step 3: Are you fucking kidding me!?
But whether they grew up to be biologists or sociologists or lawyers, when they were surveyed in their 30s, these women were as content with their careers as their male counterparts. They also made as much money per hour of work. Dr. Lubinski and Dr. Benbow concluded that adolescents’ interests and balance of abilities — not their sex — were the best predictors of whether they would choose an “inorganic” career like physics.
Step 4: Women say they are “content”, so what’s the fucking problem?
A similar conclusion comes from a new study of the large gender gap in the computer industry by Joshua Rosenbloom and Ronald Ash of the University of Kansas. By administering vocational psychological tests, the researchers found that information technology workers especially enjoyed manipulating objects and machines, whereas workers in other occupations preferred dealing with people.
Once the researchers controlled for that personality variable, the gender gap shrank to statistical insignificance: women who preferred tinkering with inanimate objects were about as likely to go into computer careers as were men with similar personalities. There just happened to be fewer women than men with those preferences.
Step 5: Women “just happen” to like “dealing with people” instead of “manipulating objects and machines”, which is for MANLY MEN!!!1!! It’s just like in caveman times: the MANLY MAN cavemen manipulated objects and hunted down vicious wild animals while women chatted with one another by the campfire. Fucking lazy-ass chatterboxes.
Some female scientists protested that they themselves would be marginalized if a quota system revived the old stereotype that women couldn’t compete on even terms in science. But the idea had strong advocates, too, and Congress quietly ordered agencies to begin the Title IX compliance reviews in 2006.
The reviews so far haven’t led to any requirements for gender balance in science departments. But Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written extensively about gender wars in academia, predicts that lawyers will work gradually, as they did in sports, to require numerical parity.
“Colleges already practice affirmative action for women in science, but now they’ll be so intimidated by the Title IX legal hammer that they may institute quota systems,” Dr. Sommers said. “In sports, they had to eliminate a lot of male teams to achieve Title IX parity. It’ll be devastating to American science if every male-dominated field has to be calibrated to women’s level of interest.”
Step 6: Credulously quote an “expert” from a wackaloon wingnut welfare “think tank” propaganda outlet as if they know diddly jack shit about anything other than how to please their sick-fuck neo-feudal corporate masters. Fearmonger that trying to achieve gender equity is going to RUIN EVERYTHING THAT THE MANLY MEN HAVE ACHIEVED!!!!!11!!1!1!!
Whether or not quotas are ever imposed, some of the most productive science and engineering departments in America are busy filling out new federal paperwork. The agencies that have been cutting financing for Fermilab and the Spirit rover on Mars are paying for investigations of a problem that may not even exist.
Step 7: Fear-monger using the scary notions of “federal paperwork” and “quotas” being forced onto the “most productive” scientists for a problem “that may not even exist”. Imply that it is the MANLY MAN scientists who are “most productive”, and not those lazy-ass chatterbox women who just want to “deal with people” instead of “manipulating objects and machines”.
How is this good for scientists of either sex?
Step 8: The coup de grace: Trying to achieve gender equity in a patently inequitable realm is actually going to hurt women. They should shut the fuck up and remain “content” in their jobs “dealing with people”, while MANLY MEN “manipulate objects and machines”.
The New York Times should be ashamed of itself for publishing this despicable pack of transparent motherfucking right-wing lies that should be much more at home at America’s Shittiest Website™ (h/t Sadly, No!) than the supposed highest bastion of the Fourth Estate. But the New York Times has no shame.
At least this wasn’t put in the Style section, which is what the Times’s editors usually do with anything that has anything to do with gender equity, cause you know, gender equity is just a matter of “style”, and not the kind of hard-hitting MANLY MAN news that belongs in the “real” sections of the paper. Those are for printing sick-fuck government propaganda that gets us into illegal wars that result in the maiming and death of 100s of thousands of people. You know, MANLY MAN shit.