It’s funny how streaks occur. Anyone with a little experience with statistics isn’t so quick to find some deeper meaning to streaks. However they remain interesting. Recently, within my own life, online and in the media, I have been hearing the same message time and time again which I fear does any hope for equality a grave injustice. I suspect it may be somewhat orchestrated, to further popularise a new book that was brought to my attention on this afternoon’s Hack program as I returned home from work.
The book in question is Hanna Rosin’s, The End of Men and the Rise of Women.
While the author herself tended towards a mild approach – pointing out how well women are doing in general, both professionally and academically, compared to their male counterparts – the discussion on Hack, much like that I have had elsewhere of late, danced dangerously close to misandry.
I very much doubt that there is significant variation between the male and female capacity for critical analysis, ambition and knowledge acquisition. I am certain that individual differences among a gender will vary more than any genuine gender bias.
Moreover, I suspect such variations highlighted by Hanna and others are exponentially more likely due to social factors. With the recent liberation and empowerment of women, there is a real drive to succeed and prove oneself academically and professionally. Conversely, historical factors have offered young men a socially acceptable alternative to cultivating the mind or wall street; a trade (much of which are, unfortunately, in decline).
And then there is the social pressure to be cool, which is obvious in young adult media, that tends to favour the idiotic young man, making stupid mistakes for which his aspiring girlfriend can berate him for at length with astute powers of reasoning.
I’m not saying that these points are entirely to blame, only that it is far more likely that social influences are providing this bias over any true gender differences. Furthermore, inflating this evidence, arguably through confirmation bias by groups whom have long been fighting for equality provides no benefit to humanity as a whole.
I mean, come on; does anyone really believe, all of a sudden, in the reality of the “mere male” in contrast to the all-powerful female? Do we, all of a sudden, cross out the names of Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Darwin, Hawking… solely because they have the wrong gender?
Mary Wollstonecraft, in her amazing (and still progressive by today’s standards) essay, The vindication of the rights of women, provided what is, at its heart, a simple (and moving) message; if women had equal rights to knowledge and training in critical reasoning, surely they would become better mothers, wives, friends and contributors to society. If, as many commentators of the time suggested, a woman was inherently lacking in someway, well it would soon become obvious and require no male commentator to justify to subjugation of half of our species.
Her essay alone proved exactly her point. She deserves to be remembered as a genius.
Yet, the reality in her vision has taken a sour note. No doubt, if she were here today and up-to-date with pop-culture, Mary would be compelled to facepalm.
It is becoming commonplace to hear the success of females in recent years, both professionally and academically, to be the definitive sign of gender bias in favour of a superior female. Coupled with it are derogatory jokes, referring to men as mere sperm and the such.
It is behaviour that fails the flip-side test; it has been proven disrespectful to suggest the opposite.
Fundamentally, it is damaging. There is no gender bias that out matches differences within a given gender. Taking a like attitude to their former antagonists these individuals threaten to be seen in the same way. Ultimately, they detract any of their supporters, most importantly men who otherwise stand for equality.
We mustn’t allow such discriminations to slide, even if apparently harmless or meant in jest. They fail to improve the well-being of our species, but threaten to undo so much good. For instance, income has not matched the noted successes of females professionally and academically; here we have a clear case where discrimination is still occurring. How does belittling the other half of our species help to improve equality on this matter?