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« "One Man's Catastrophe is Another Man's Cheesy Souvenir" | Main | We Fought a Revolution So We Could Chuck It All 200-Odd Years Later »

June 07, 2005


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This is my fave of the genre:

It's totally socialized behavior. While boys are outside playing army and football, the girls are inside talking and playing with dolls.

Jesus, we're a slow species, considering we're the fucking paragon of animals or some such shit. People were having this exact same conversation in 1970, and I guess we keep having it decade after decade because we're so bored by our own enlightenment that we need to entertain ourselves by making a game of the pretence of ignorance.

I don't mean you, or Amanda, or anyone else who means well. I simply mean it's been there in front of our faces for hundreds of years, and Charlotte Perkins Gilmore wasn't the first to notice.

I want a seat on the next intergalatic flight.

Well and. There were a number of studies, IIRC, that showed that the supposed "innate" ability of women to read emotion better than men was actually linked not with sex but with status. That is, if you're subordinate to those around you--if they can hurt you more than you can hurt them--you'd damn well better learn to read their moods. Turns out you apparently find similar skills in men who are in subordinate(d) positions.

Want to see a woman kick Steven Pinker's ass? Read this debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke:

And then check out Spelke's paper
Sex Differences in Intrinsic Aptitude for Mathematics and Science: A Critical Review

" People were having this exact same conversation in 1970"
Watch "Free to Be...You and Me" sometime. Still waaaay ahead of anything else you might see on tv nowadays

I attended the Pinker/Spelke debate, and my personal judgment(from the crowd's response, the write-up in the paper, and conversations with other people who were there) is that few would say that Spelke kicked Pinker's ass. Perhaps it's like the Nixon/Kennedy debates. But in actuality, Pinker's presentation had both greater scope and more detail regarding the scientific literature. Regardless, everyone on both sides came away with a strong belief that such debates are very healthy.

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