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NYTimes: Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism
A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women
socialism  feminism  freedom  revolution  sex 
22 hours ago by gideonite
Microaggressions Strong Claims, Inadequate Evidence
The microaggression concept has recently galvanized public discussion and spread to numerous college campuses and businesses. I argue that the microaggression research program (MRP) rests on five core premises, namely, that microaggressions (1) are operationalized with sufficient clarity and consensus to afford rigorous scientific investigation; (2) are interpreted negatively by most or all minority group members; (3) reflect implicitly prejudicial and implicitly aggressive motives; (4) can be validly assessed using only respondents’ subjective reports; and (5) exert an adverse impact on recipients’ mental health. A review of the literature reveals negligible support for all five suppositions. More broadly, the MRP has been marked by an absence of connectivity to key domains of psychological science, including psychometrics, social cognition, cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavior genetics, and personality, health, and industrial-organizational psychology. Although the MRP has been fruitful in drawing the field’s attention to subtle forms of prejudice, it is far too underdeveloped on the conceptual and methodological fronts to warrant real-world application. I conclude with 18 suggestions for advancing the scientific status of the MRP, recommend abandonment of the term “microaggression,” and call for a moratorium on microaggression training programs and publicly distributed microaggression lists pending research to address the MRP’s scientific limitations.
Feminism  Microagressions  dp 
yesterday by walt74
Women's March
We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the
protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families -
recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of
our country.
activism  feminism  politics 
yesterday by missmaverick
The New Man of 4chan | Angela Nagle
On men’s rights sites and in some geeky subcultures, “beta male” is a common term of identification, one of both belonging and self-mockery. It has become a popular meme on 4chan’s recreationally obnoxious /b/ board, a precursor to /r9k/ that produced hacker collectives such as Anonymous while also incubating scores of anti-feminist online attacks in recent years. Know Your Meme records the earliest use of the term “beta uprising” in 2011, on the men’s rights movement blog Fight for Justice. From around 2013, the beta-male uprising was a regular topic among 4chan users...
In response to the attacks, Sierra closed down her blog and withdrew from speaking engagements and public life. In the time since the attack, weev has since become famous for hacking a phone company—a maneuver that triggered a Twitter-based #freeweev campaign, which gained support from prominent progressive endorsers such as Laurie Penny and Gabriella Coleman. Embarrassingly for those who expressed the view, fashionable in the heyday of the Occupy movement, that 4chan/b/ is a “counter-hegemonic space” and that trolls in the 4chan/b/ vein are, as Coleman argued, inheritors of the Dadaist and Situationist traditions, weev is a fascist sympathizer with a swastika tattoo on his chest. Penny claimed to be unaware of his far-right views, while Coleman not only continues to defend his rights as a hacker, but also presents him as an endearingly impish figure in her latest book.
politics  racism  theory  feminism  internet  transgression 
yesterday by juliusbeezer
Gender-Studies: Der Rufmord
Judith Butler und Sabine Hark werfen mir und der Zeitschrift "Emma" Rassismus vor. Da zeigt sich die Kluft zwischen Theorie und Wirklichkeit dieser Berufs-Denkerinnen.
Von Alice Schwarzer

Der Beitrag in der aktuellen Emma, um den es geht, ist vom ehemaligen Gender-Studenten Vojin Saša Vukadinović verfasst und basiert auf der Textsammlung Beißreflexe. Darin kritisieren Queer-Aktivisten ihre eigene Szene. Bereits als das Buch erschien, gab es heftige Kontroversen, wurde den Autoren Gewalt, ja "Waffengewalt" angedroht. Nun, nachdem Emma der Debatte Raum gegeben hat, reagierten Judith Butler und Sabine Hark persönlich und antworteten in der ZEIT. Und sie reagierten heftig.

Die Chefdenkerin der Queer-Theorie, Judith Butler, unterstellt Emma nicht nur undifferenziertes Denken und "Hassreden", sondern sogar Rassismus. Ein Argument, das uns definitiv ins Unrecht setzen soll. Bezeichnend auch, dass es in dem Text vor allem um die Form und kaum um Inhalte geht. Und das wohl nicht zufällig in einer schwer zugänglichen, selbstreferenziellen Sprache, die nicht auf Kommunikation oder gar Verständnis angelegt ist. Der Linguistin Butler müsste das bewusst sein.

Doch der Reihe nach. Worum geht es eigentlich wirklich? Es geht um zwei Sichten auf die Welt, um gegensätzliche politische Konzepte. Das verdeutlicht sich an drei Themen: den Geschlechtern, den Juden und den Muslimen. Immer ist da eine Kluft: eine Kluft zwischen (hehrer) Theorie beziehungsweise Ideologie und (niederer) Wirklichkeit.

Ich kann nicht voraussetzen, dass alle ZEIT-Leser mit den Gender-Theorien vertraut sind, denn die sind außerhalb des akademischen Milieus entweder unbekannt oder zur Karikatur verzerrt. Ersteres liegt auch daran, dass die Gender-Theorien sich einer lebensabgewandten, elitären Sprache bedienen – die Kritik an der Herrschaftssprache aus den sechziger Jahren scheint vergessen. Letzteres liegt daran, dass sie an den Grundfesten der Geschlechterordnung rütteln. Wir Feministinnen kennen das. Wir tun das ja schon länger.

Hier also in groben Zügen die Positionen. Der 1990 erschienene Essay Das Unbehagen der Geschlechter von Butler löste den Wechsel von der Frauen- oder Geschlechterforschung zur "Gender-Forschung" aus. Dabei handelte es sich nicht wirklich um einen Paradigmenwechsel, eher um neue Begrifflichkeiten für das alte Problem. Das (biologische) Geschlecht und die (soziale) Geschlechterrolle hießen nun sex and gender, Begriffe aus der amerikanischen Sexualforschung. Für Butler ist nicht nur Gender relativ, sondern auch Sex; also nicht nur die Geschlechterrolle, sondern auch das Geschlecht selbst. Was konsequent ist. Denn in dem Moment, wo die Geschlechterrolle nicht mehr zwingend an ein biologisches Geschlecht gebunden ist, verliert es seine Bedeutung.

DIE ZEIT 33/2017
Dieser Artikel stammt aus der ZEIT Nr. 33/2017. Hier können Sie die gesamte Ausgabe lesen.
Butler ist beileibe nicht die Erste, die so argumentiert, handelt es sich bei der Infragestellung des "kleinen Unterschiedes" doch um den Kern des feministischen Denkens. So schrieb Simone de Beauvoir schon 1949 in Das andere Geschlecht den Jahrhundertsatz: "Man wird nicht als Frau geboren, man wird es." Will sagen: Geschlecht ist nicht biologisch, sondern kulturell, ist Prägung; konstruiert, wie es heute heißt – kann also auch dekonstruiert werden. Könnte.

Und genau an dieser Stelle fängt das Problem mit Butler und ihrer Anhängerschaft an. Sie halten ihre radikalen Gedankenspiele für Realität. Sie suggerieren, jeder Mensch könnte hier und jetzt sein, wonach ihm gerade zumute ist. Und er, der Mensch, müsse auch keinesfalls wählen zwischen zwei Geschlechtern, schließlich gäbe es viele Spielarten und Facetten der Geschlechteridentität. Einfach queer sein!

Was für ein schöner Gedanke. Einfach Mensch sein. Das wär’s doch. Die feministische Utopie an sich.

Doch die Verhältnisse, die sind nicht so. Leider sind wir in der bunten Welt der Queerness noch nicht angekommen. Noch sind Menschen in den Augen der anderen – meist auch in ihren eigenen – Frauen oder Männer (und nur selten, wenn auch zunehmend, dazwischen). Oder weiß, schwarz et cetera. Doch so allgegenwärtig in der Queerszene die Sensibilität für Rassismus ist, so abwesend ist der Sexismus, das Wissen um das Machtverhältnis der Geschlechter. Ja selbst das Wort "Frau" ist abgeschafft oder nur noch mit einem angehängten * zulässig. Will sagen: Frau soll jeder Mensch, der sich situativ als Frau versteht, sein können – unabhängig von Sozialisation und Biologie.

In der Realität jedoch sind die weiblichen Menschen in unserer Kultur weiterhin die Anderen, es gilt für sie ein anderes Maß als für Männer. Entsprechend sind sie zum Beispiel in erster Linie zuständig für Einfühlsamkeit und Fürsorge, Kinder und Haushalt, sie verdienen weniger und können selbst in Liebesbeziehungen Opfer von (sexueller) Gewalt werden. In anderen Kulturen – wie in islamischen, in denen die Scharia Gesetz ist – geht es noch viel ärger zu. Da sind Frauen vollends relative Wesen, sind rechtlose Mündel von Vater, Bruder oder Ehemann, werden in den fundamentalistisch-islamischen Ländern unter das Kopftuch oder den Ganzkörperschleier gezwungen und aus dem öffentlichen Raum verbannt. Sie riskieren schon beim kleinsten Ausbruch aus der Frauenrolle ihr Leben.

Diese Verhältnisse werden von Butler im Namen einer "Andersheit der Anderen" gerechtfertigt. So erklärte die in Berkeley lebende und lehrende Butler 2003 in einem Interview zum Beispiel zur Burka: "Sie symbolisiert, dass eine Frau bescheiden ist und ihrer Familie verbunden; aber auch, dass sie nicht von der Massenkultur ausgebeutet wird und stolz auf ihre Familie und Gemeinschaft ist." Und weiter im O-Ton: "Die Burka zu verlieren bedeutet mithin auch, einen gewissen Verlust dieser Verwandtschaftsbande zu erleiden, den man nicht unterstützen sollte. Der Verlust der Burka kann eine Erfahrung von Entfremdung und Zwangsverwestlichung mit sich bringen."

Das geriert sich einfühlsam und edel, ist aber lebensfern und zynisch. Die algerische Politikerin Khalida Toumi (ehemals Messaoudi) nennt diese Art von Kulturrelativismus die "Kulturfalle": zweierlei Maß in Sachen Menschen-/Frauen-Rechte im Namen einer kulturellen Differenz.

Ist das ein Missverständnis?

Vor allem aber: Millionen zwangsverschleierte Frauen in der islamischen Welt, die davon träumen, die Welt und den Himmel sehen zu dürfen, werden eine solche Rechtfertigung der Burka durch eine amerikanische Intellektuelle als reinen Hohn empfinden. Verstärkt vor dem Hintergrund, dass Judith Butler selbst sich die – von der Frauen- und Homo-Bewegung erkämpfte! – Freiheit nimmt, mit einer Frau verheiratet zu sein. Für ihre "Andersheit" würde Butler in diesen von ihr so generös verteidigten anderen Kulturen mindestens geächtet, im schlimmsten Fall getötet werden.

Die Akzeptanz des "Anderen" muss also da ihre Grenzen haben, wo es um elementarste Menschenrechte geht. Und diese Menschenrechte sind weder okzidental noch orientalisch, sie sind human und universell. (Auch wenn der Begriff Menschenrechte seit einigen Jahren politisch missbraucht wird für ganz andere Interessen, wie bei den hegemonialen Interventionen. Aber das ist wieder ein anderes Thema.)

In ihrem ZEIT-Text räsonieren ausgerechnet Judith Butler und Sabine Hark (Leiterin des Zentrums für Interdisziplinäre Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung an der TU Berlin), sie wollten "zurückhaltender und bedachter mit apodiktisch daherkommenden Verallgemeinerungen" umgehen und "Begrifflichkeiten wählen, die Ambivalenzen auszudrücken erlauben. Die totalisierende und versämtlichende Sichtweisen zurückweist." Kurzum, sie wollten, "die Welt teilen, ohne die Andersheit der Anderen auszulöschen".

Wer will schon Andere "auslöschen"? Die Emma! Ist das ein Missverständnis? Nein, es hat Methode. Denn Kritikerinnen, denen man unterstellt, sie seien Rassistinnen niederer Machart, die den eigenen hohen Gedanken kaum folgen können, solche Kritikerinnen brauchen den Mund gar nicht mehr erst aufzumachen. Sie sind schon von vorneherein erledigt.

Der Ton von Butler und Hark verschärft sich beim Thema Islam. Die Politisierung des Islams mit all ihren Folgen – von der rigiden Geschlechtertrennung bis hin zum blutigen Terror – wird seit Jahrzehnten von aufgeklärten Muslimen ebenso bekämpft wie von universell denkenden Westlern, aber das ignorieren diese selbst ernannten "Anti-Rassistinnen" geflissentlich. Bei ihrer Kritik an der "Kritik am Islam" (was bedacht heißen müsste: Islamismus) fällt ihnen nur drohende "Verwestlichung" und "Freiwilligkeit" der Kopftuch- und Burka-Trägerinnen ein. Haben die erklärten Anti-Rassistinnen da eigentlich keine Angst vor dem sonst so gerne beschworenen "Beifall von der falschen Seite", nämlich der Islamisten?

Da ist es nur folgerichtig, dass Butler 2010 auch den "Zivilcourage-Preis" des Berliner CSD abgelehnt hat. Argument: Die Verantwortlichen des CSD seien "Rassisten". Warum? Weil einige von ihnen gewagt hatten, die Schwulenfeindlichkeit in der arabischen und türkischen Community zu thematisieren. Dazu von der taz befragt, antwortete Butler 2010: Man solle sich lieber um die homophoben Attacken der Neonazis kümmern. "Was ist mit dem Zusammenhang von Homophobie und rechtsextremen Bewegungen?", fragt sie vorwurfsvoll. Nun, einmal abgesehen davon, dass auch Islamisten Rechtsextreme sind, ist es doch erstaunlich, dass eine Wissenschaftlerin aus Berkeley, die auch mal in Heidelberg studiert hat, noch nicht einmal zu ahnen scheint, dass genau zu dieser Frage in Deutschland und Europa seit einem halben Jahrhundert geforscht wird. Denn in der Tat: Der männerbündische Faschismus ist, ganz wie der Islamismus, auch – nicht nur, aber eben auch – eine gesteigerte Form des Männlichkeitswahns.

Doch dererlei Defizite konnten den Ruf der Berufs-Denkerin nicht schmälern. Im Jahr 2012 erhielt Judith Butler den Adorno-Preis. Dagegen protestierte … [more]
Feminism  db 
yesterday by walt74
How Jokes Won the Election
Missed this the first go around. So smart.
trump  comedy  politics  feminism  crit 
yesterday by madamim
Silicon Valley’s weapon of choice against women: shoddy science
Sexism has long been recognised as a problem in Silicon Valley. But a lengthy memo written by a Google software engineer, and leaked online, has laid bare the ugly underbelly of how some in this male-dominated world think about women. The “manifesto” (which at the time of writing remains anonymous) uses scientific evidence in an attempt to explain that women are, on average, biologically different from men, in ways that make them less likely to work in the same jobs. “Women generally have a stronger interest in people rather than things,” the software engineer writes.


A portion of his argument is indeed based on published science. In particular, there is a school of neuroscience that tries to popularise the notion that male and female brains are distinct. It claims that female brains are typically hardwired for empathy, while male brains are built to analyse systems, such as computers and cars. This all hinges on the idea that autism represents an extreme form of the male brain, caused by exposure to higher than usual testosterone levels in the womb. Yet recent experiments have repeatedly failed to find a direct link between foetal testosterone levels alone and autism.

Indeed, psychological studies show that there are only the tiniest gaps, if any, between the sexes, including areas such as mathematical ability and verbal fluency. Navigating this complicated field for my latest book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, I was told by a prominent American researcher into sex difference that he no longer refers to brains as sexually dimorphic, because the science simply doesn’t support this. There isn’t a neuroscientist alive who can say with confidence which sex any given brain belongs to.

The science cited in the Google engineer’s memo is flawed. But since it was published at the weekend, there has been a groundswell of support for it on social media. Reportedly, some Google staffers have also quietly agreed with it. The journalist Toby Young personally informed me on Twitter: “Evolutionary psychology tells us there are genetically based psychological differences between men and women.”

What they fail to understand is that there are published scientific papers out there to support every possible opinion, even that black people are intellectually inferior to white people. Getting published doesn’t make an idea true, it only means that someone has managed to get it into print. In evolutionary psychology, theories are sometimes little more than speculation strung together with scant evidence.

Rockefeller brothers gather to receive gold medals from the National Institute of Social Sciences, in 1967. ‘Eugenicists convinced funding bodies, including the Rockefeller Foundation, that there are distinct human races.’ Photograph: AP
This is not because scientists don’t know what they’re doing, but because science is a slow process, not a growing string of truths. Ideas come and go, depending on what new research tells us. No single publication can be taken as fact in isolation; understanding scientific context is key. This is especially true of research into human biology and behaviour, which is complex and particularly susceptible to bias.

Bad science routinely slips through the cracks. Occasionally it rips open a gaping chasm. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, eugenicists in Europe and the United States convinced universities and funding bodies – including the Carnegie Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation – that there are distinct human races, some of them weaker than others. They enjoyed enormous support from those who longed for scientific evidence to shore up their dangerous political aims.

As we know now, they weren’t just morally wrong, but factually wrong. In the 1950s, once millions of lives had already been destroyed, a conscious universal effort was made to shelve the shoddy science of race. But what have we learned from this tragic episode? Today, it seems very little.

Weak scientific evidence and empty theories are still being used to support troubling ideologies. Women are making enormous strides in science and engineering – yet, with some half-cocked hypotheses in their back pockets, male software engineers feel they have the right to tell them they are somehow biologically unsuited to this kind of work.


They forget, perhaps, that many of the world’s original computer programmers were women, including the first: Ada Lovelace. Women began to be marginalised in technology around the time that personal computing took off and become a lucrative industry. Male software engineers forget that discrimination and sexual harassment have driven women out of Silicon Valley, and kept countless more out in the first place.

The myriad historical, cultural and social factors that create inequality are all too easily glossed over when someone reaches for the closest, most convenient biological explanation for what they see. This isn’t just intellectual laziness; this is prejudice masquerading as fact.

Scientists must take some responsibility for the political implications of their work. But we all, as consumers of information, need to be more critical in our reading of science, and more careful about what we think it tells us. “Be open about the science of human nature,” writes the author of the Google memo. He is absolutely correct.

Those who want to use science to support their views – especially if they seek to undermine equality efforts in the workplace – must make an effort to fully inform themselves about the science of human nature. They may be disappointed to learn that it’s not as simple as they think.
Google  Googlememo  Feminism  BadJournalism 
yesterday by walt74
The Mountain View Inquisition
Damore’s argument is a familiar one:

There are differences between men and women that are longstanding, general, and broad. Given that they are as near to universal as any aspect of human social life, it is unlikely that they are mere cultural expressions, “social constructs” in the modish language of the moment. While they are of practically no use in understanding any individual, they have some potential explanatory power when we consider such questions as why it is that women on average work fewer hours than men in similar occupations, or why women often choose lower-paying career paths (such as moving from sales into human resources) when they begin to have children.

These differences very likely have biological origins. It is easy to make too much of such insights, and very easy to make too little of them, especially if one is in thrall to the feminist-multiculturalist fantasy of an infinitely plastic humanity.

In the case of a company such as Google — which selects its key employees from a very narrow slice of high-achieving people with math, science, and engineering backgrounds — this question is not merely theoretical. Google maintains aggressive diversity programs and spends generously on them, but its work force remains stubbornly disproportionately male and Asian or white.

The times being what they are, Google is being sued by the federal government for “extreme” discrimination against women — a fact that almost certainly informed its decision to fire Damore. Perhaps they should have listened to him instead. Damore had some suggestions, and a great deal of praise for the company. If it is the case that women are on average more prone to suffer from anxiety, he argued, then Google should work to make leadership roles in the company less stressful — which, as he acknowledged, it already does.

He suggested that the company embrace part-time work not only as a matter of policy but also as a matter of culture. He suggested that hiring practices that privilege “diversity” candidates and mentorship and development programs that exclude employees because of their race and/or sex not only are unfair but also fail to serve Google’s interests.

Diversity, he wrote, is one Google asset among many, and one whose management should be optimized to meet the needs of the firm. He also argued — and Google quickly confirmed — that nonconforming political and social ideas are ruthlessly suppressed and punished within the firm, that those holding conservative (or simply non-left) views are subjected to a hostile work environment, and that the predominance of conforming views creates a problem of confirmation bias.

Google has been challenged on its political biases before, and its executives’ responses have been illustrative. “The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness, and science-based thinking,” chairman Eric Schmidt said. “You’ll find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”

Schmidt is a very intelligent man, but perhaps not quite cultivated enough to sense why this uniformity of opinion might be evidence for Damore’s indictment of Google rather than evidence for his own defense of it. Companies are free to forgo providing forums for the discussion of politics, policy, and issues relevant to their operations.

They are even free to prohibit political discussion per se during work hours. But that is not what Google is up to here. Google is attempting, in its Orwellian way, to redefine “diversity” as “homogeneity,” to redefine the respect for genuine human differences as the demand for absolute conformity, to redefine openness as closure and tolerance as prohibition.

Its bias problems are not limited to its personnel practices: Conservative outlets and publications are routinely excluded or marginalized by services such as YouTube and Google News, just as conservative voices frequently are silenced on Twitter and Facebook. We are reminded of our colleague Jay Nordlinger’s tales of bookstore clerks refusing to put conservative magazines on the shelves and vandalizing shipments of conservative books.

Like Google, a bookstore is legally free to follow whatever inventory policies it likes, but when it targets unpopular political views, it becomes in spirit something like the opposite of a bookstore.

The founder of the House of Elsevier, forerunner to the publishing giant of that name, made his bones smuggling Galileo’s manuscripts out of Inquisition Italy into the Netherlands, where they could be printed. Our modern tech giants could — and sometimes do — perform a similar role, though sometimes, like Apple, they knuckle under to the censors.

But Google here is guilty of more than cowardly accommodation: It has become the inquisitor, the persecutor, the enforcer of dogma, the suppressor. Irrespective of any decision about whether Google has behaved legally, it has behaved shamefully.
Googlememo  Google  db  Feminism  Work 
yesterday by walt74
Hullabaloo
David Brooks says that James Damore, in his now-famous Google memo about the genetics of gender, just wanted to have a thoughtful intellectual discussion about science rather than an ideological one about gender. I, for one, am in complete agreement with all such thoughtful initiatives. Complicated problems require thoughtfulness. I too seek to rise above ideology especially when science is involved.
politics  culture  feminism  media 
yesterday by philjr
The Science Says The Google Guy Was Right About Sex Differences
The Google guy behind the infamous gender memo, James Damore, is a troglodyte. An embarrassing, knuckle-dragging, flat-earther who is under the silly illusion that men and women have inherent differences. Google properly fired him for just being stupid. At least that’s the fashionable story.

But the truth is that it was Damore who got it right. (And his main concern was how to get more women working at Google, after all.)

Most of us know exactly why gender parity doesn’t exist in Silicon Valley. It’s not because they are consciously (or unconsciously) denying employment to women who are seeking jobs there. Actually, quite the opposite. It’s the fact that while women outpace men in college attendance today, those interested in STEM programs lag significantly behind. Other professions tend to interest them more. In fact, the annual U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index reported last year that enrollment among women in such programs declined from 2015 to 2016.

U.S. News reports that “Women may lag behind men in areas like engineering, for example, but they far outstrip men in earning biology degrees.” For instance, women make up 80 percent of the students enrolled in the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Wendy Williams, a professor in Cornell’s Department of Human Development, explains that “Women are choosing to do different things. Everyone doesn’t want to be an electrical engineer or to do computer science, and that’s not a failure or flaw.” Allowing women to choose what they want to do, without external and ideological pressure, is empowerment.

We know that men and women are hard-wired differently—not better, not worse—in part because of the breakthroughs in two very interesting fields of scientific inquiry: one is the hard science of neurobiology and the other is the softer science of cultural anthropology and evolutionary psychology. Let’s first examine the findings of neurobiology from the last two decades or so.

The Case from Neurobiology
Two of the earliest experts to write on this issue are the British team of geneticist Anne Moir and science journalist David Jessel in their groundbreaking book Brain Sex. Based on their own work and that of others, Moir and Jessel explain with equal parts boldness, clarity, and sureness:

… The truth is that virtually every professional scientist and researcher into the subject has concluded that the brains of men and women are different. … [T]he nature and cause of brain differences are now known beyond speculation, beyond prejudice, and beyond reasonable doubt.
Moir and Jessel anticipated the Google meltdown in this observation: “There has seldom been a greater divide between what intelligent, enlightened opinion presumes—that men and women have the same brain—and what sciences knows—that they do not.” Thus, “It is time to cease the vain contention that men and women are created the same. They were not and no amount of idealism or Utopian fantasy can alter that fact.”

This does not necessarily bode ill for women. Northwestern’s Alice Eagly is a feminist scholar emeritus and major contributor to the field of the social psychology of gender difference. She explains in an important journal article entitled “The Science and Politics of Comparing Women and Men,” that in dealing in male and female stereotypes in the popular and professional literature, “the stereotypes of women [are] more positive overall than the stereotype of men, at least in contemporary samples of U.S. and Canadian college students.” She adds that when examined, the literature on gender difference indeed “do not tell a simple tale of female inferiority.” It is not a small point to note that she is writing here in the early to mid-90s, examining earlier records in a time when we were less mindful of avoiding gender stereotypes in academic work.

Additionally, like Moir and Jessel, writing in the journal Feminism and Psychology, Eagly also distinguishes between elite assumption and scientific findings.

… [T]he majority of [studies] have conformed in a general way to people’s ideas about the sexes… this evidence suggests that lay people, once maligned in much feminist writing as misguided holders of gender stereotypes, may be fairly sophisticated observers of female and male behaviour.
She is saying grandma knew what she was talking about. Of course, the nature of male and female brain differences has wide-ranging differences for the whole person. Leading neuropsychiatrist Louanne Brizendine, working from the University of California San Francisco, explains in The Female Brain, that while male and female are certainly more similar than they are different, our seemingly small neurological and genetic differences create substantial and significant differences in the two sexes:

More than 99 percent of male and female genetic coding is exactly the same. Out of the thirty thousand genes in the human genome, the less than one percent variation between the sexes is small. But that percentage difference influences every single cell in our bodies—from the nerves that register pleasure and pain to neurons that transmit perception, thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, outlines a great many important and primary contrasts between the female and male mind in his deeply researched book “The Essential Difference.” From the first lines of his book, Baron-Cohen is frank with his reader:

The subject of essential sex differences in the mind is clearly very delicate. I could tiptoe around it, but my guess is that you would like the theory of the book stated plainly. So here it is: The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems.
These leading and distinguished professors would all be fired from Google.

The Anthropological and Evolutionary Record
Do male and female demonstrate different personalities in how they live, structure their lives, and interact with others? If so, how distinct are these differences? And how reliable is the research?

The answers to these questions, in order, are “absolutely,” “considerable,” and “quite.” This has become well documented in a growing body of multi-cultural anthropological investigations.

The Google memo smartly made reference to what social psychologists call the “Big Five Personality Traits,” and it was right to do so. Evolutionary biologists have examined these across more than 50 distinct cultures throughout the globe and determined gender-distinct qualities and characteristics are largely universal from culture to culture.

One group of scholars, describing their findings as “robust and surprising,” explain: “gender differences are modest in magnitude” but “consistent with gender stereotypes, and replicable across cultures.” Some examples are:

Universally, men rank substantially higher in assertiveness and women much higher in nurturance.
Women are more communicative and relational while men are more action oriented and mechanical.
Women are more likely to exhibit fearful emotions and anxious concern as well as desires to improve family situations and conditions.
Men are typically more adventurous, excited, and willing to take risks and move out into new areas. They are also more overtly influential in terms of leadership.
Women are consistently more affectionate and sentimental.
Women are most interested and concerned about life events and situations in closer proximity to them.
Men are more likely to be interested and concerned with events and situations beyond the village.
Where women see danger and concern, men see challenges.
Specific to our interest here, there are strong and consistent findings pertaining to vocational interests, as Cambridge’s Baron-Cohen noted: men are more likely engaged in investigative, explorative, and building interests, while women rank higher in a variety of artistic, care-giving, and relational interests. Men tend to like to build things. Women tend to like to make things. The seemingly subtle differences between these are easily understood by most men and women. While the customer populations at Home Depot and Hobby Lobby are certainly not gender-segregated, no one is surprised by or troubled that they certainly are heavily gender-weighted by the mere interests of the shoppers.

Consider children and toys. From very early ages, boys and girls develop their play differently, naturally gravitating toward and away from certain toys and no amount of idealistic parental re-engineering has had much success at changing this. The people at Lego wanted to find out why 90 percent of their customers were boys. Like Google, they thought it was merely a factor of advertising and availability. They found girls had little interest in playing with their product. So they created something else: Lego Friends. Not only are they advertised as being relational—“Friends”—but they have lots of domesticity, bright shades of pink, hair salons, supermarkets, kitties and flowers. They have been extremely successful. Girls love them even though many adults are bent out of shape that girls would react to them so positively. They were equally peeved when the Lego Friends “Research Institute” science lab for girls was discontinued. No kidding.

Yale’s Alan Feingold is one of the early scholars to survey and summarize the growing body of research on gender-distinct personality differences across diverse cultures. He explains that these consistent gender differences have remained largely consistent both through generations and across nations, indicating “a strong biological basis” rather than mere social construction.

Another study in evolutionary psychology took an interesting turn. In collecting data throughout 50 cultures on six continents, the main researchers wanted to examine how the male and female … [more]
Googlememo  Google  Feminism  db 
yesterday by walt74
Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.
There are many actors in the whole Google/diversity drama, but I’d say the one who’s behaved the worst is the C.E.O., Sundar Pichai.

The first actor is James Damore, who wrote the memo. In it, he was trying to explain why 80 percent of Google’s tech employees are male. He agreed that there are large cultural biases but also pointed to a genetic component. Then he described some of the ways the distribution of qualities differs across male and female populations.

Damore was tapping into the long and contentious debate about genes and behavior. On one side are those who believe that humans come out as blank slates and are formed by social structures. On the other are the evolutionary psychologists who argue that genes interact with environment and play a large role in shaping who we are. In general the evolutionary psychologists have been winning this debate.

When it comes to the genetic differences between male and female brains, I’d say the mainstream view is that male and female abilities are the same across the vast majority of domains — I.Q., the ability to do math, etc. But there are some ways that male and female brains are, on average, different. There seems to be more connectivity between the hemispheres, on average, in female brains. Prenatal exposure to different levels of androgen does seem to produce different effects throughout the life span.

In his memo, Damore cites a series of studies, making the case, for example, that men tend to be more interested in things and women more interested in people. (Interest is not the same as ability.) Several scientists in the field have backed up his summary of the data. “Despite how it’s been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate,” Debra Soh wrote in The Globe and Mail in Toronto.

Geoffrey Miller, a prominent evolutionary psychologist, wrote in Quillette, “For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate.”

Damore was especially careful to say this research applies only to populations, not individuals: “Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population-level distributions.”

That’s the crucial point. But of course we don’t live as populations; we live our individual lives.

We should all have a lot of sympathy for the second group of actors in this drama, the women in tech who felt the memo made their lives harder. Picture yourself in a hostile male-dominated environment, getting interrupted at meetings, being ignored, having your abilities doubted, and along comes some guy arguing that women are on average less status hungry and more vulnerable to stress. Of course you’d object.

What we have is a legitimate tension. Damore is describing a truth on one level; his sensible critics are describing a different truth, one that exists on another level. He is championing scientific research; they are championing gender equality. It takes a little subtlety to harmonize these strands, but it’s doable.

Of course subtlety is in hibernation in modern America. The third player in the drama is Google’s diversity officer, Danielle Brown. She didn’t wrestle with any of the evidence behind Damore’s memo. She just wrote his views “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.” This is ideology obliterating reason.

The fourth actor is the media. The coverage of the memo has been atrocious.

As Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic, “I cannot remember the last time so many outlets and observers mischaracterized so many aspects of a text everyone possessed.” Various reporters and critics apparently decided that Damore opposes all things Enlightened People believe and therefore they don’t have to afford him the basic standards of intellectual fairness.

The mob that hounded Damore was like the mobs we’ve seen on a lot of college campuses. We all have our theories about why these moral crazes are suddenly so common. I’d say that radical uncertainty about morality, meaning and life in general is producing intense anxiety. Some people embrace moral absolutism in a desperate effort to find solid ground. They feel a rare and comforting sense of moral certainty when they are purging an evil person who has violated one of their sacred taboos.

Which brings us to Pichai, the supposed grown-up in the room. He could have wrestled with the tension between population-level research and individual experience. He could have stood up for the free flow of information. Instead he joined the mob. He fired Damore and wrote, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K.”

That is a blatantly dishonest characterization of the memo. Damore wrote nothing like that about his Google colleagues. Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a C.E.O.) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob.

Regardless which weakness applies, this episode suggests he should seek a nonleadership position. We are at a moment when mobs on the left and the right ignore evidence and destroy scapegoats. That’s when we need good leaders most.
Googlememo  Google  Work  db  Feminism 
yesterday by walt74

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