Tuesday, January 25, 2005

you damned broads are keeping us from the truth! 1.25.05

here is a response to harvard professor larry summers' assertion that innate sex differences play into the lack of women at the top of the science heap. from the national review article by Judith Kleinfeld:

This fight boils down to a paltry point — more males than females are apt to have the off-the-map talent that lands them professorships in fields like physics, especially at elite universities. Yes, we should be sensitive to subtle forms of gender discrimination and social stereotyping. But no one could be doing more to reinforce damaging social stereotypes about women than Nancy Hopkins, the MIT professor of biology who started this flap. She didn't offer argument or evidence. She flounced off, fearful of swooning. This is the behavior of a southern belle of another century, now designed for the quite contemporary political purpose of punishing speech she classified as politically dangerous. We're entitled to a higher level of civility in academic discourse than Hopkins displayed. And we're entitled to truth.

damned womenfolk! walking out in protest like a woman! judith is so right. just a little point, not one that educators will use as evidence to dissuade struggling young women to try something easier like home ec or craft-making. and hopkins, she can't hear the truth-- that she might be better suited for baby-making, perhaps, or education. lord knows theories get debunked, and these innate differences may be minute, and-- "fearful of swooning?"


monkistan said...

i took lots of home ec when i was younger. what does that say about me.

English Professor said...

So the appropriate thing to do instead of leaving the room (oh, I'm sorry--"flouncing" and "swooning") would have been to stand up and argue from the floor? That would have gone over well: "Hysterical woman interrupts Harvard president, throws hissy fit."

Pahdon me--Ah think Ah'll go whip up a little batch of dumplings now. Ah DO hope my daughtah doesn't ask me any hawd questions today, like "Why does it rain, Mama?" Ah just can't handle those difficult science mattuhs.
"Southern belle," indeed!