"The girl and the woman, in their new, individual unfolding, will only in passing be imitators of male behavior and misbehavior and repeaters of male professions. After the uncertainty of such transitions, it will become obvious that women were going through the abundance and variation of those (often ridiculous) disguises just so that they could purify their own essential nature and wash out the deforming influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully, and more confidently, must surely have become riper and more human in their depths than light, easygoing man, who is not pulled down beneath the surface of life by the weight of any bodily fruit and who, arrogant and hasty, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, carried in her womb through all her suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she has stripped off the conventions of mere femaleness in the transformations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching will be astonished by it. Someday (and even now, especially in the countries of northern Europe, trustworthy signs are already speaking and shining), someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only life and reality: the female human being." Rilke
"Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions.
Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts. This may sound outrageous, but think about how you react when precocious children dominate the talk at an adult party. As women begin to make inroads into formerly ‘male’ domains such as business and professional contexts, we should not be surprised to find that their contributions are not always perceived positively or even accurately."
As a feminist Math, Science, and Robotics teacher, I have this exact problem. Not only do our society’s strict gender roles affect who signs up for my classes (1 girl in a each class of 15-19 boys), but the boys in the classroom dominate the conversation the entirety of my classes, even when I am constantly trying to check on the girls to make sure they feel included. It’s exhausting.
Until now, none of the major social networks have had women on their boards. Sheryl earned her spot after protests of Facebooks all-male board, and after her own request for the seat. Obvi this is way overdue.
Maybe these articles about the same idea (The Atlantic published the last notable one I am thinking of), are getting redundant? Why is “having it all” defined as career + family? Still, Slaughter makes good points. I say focus less on the idea of “having it all,” and more on the idea of being happy and fulfilled. Sacrifice the right things, and you may be able to be fulfilled without “having it all.”
Brigitte Harris cut off her father’s penis, accidentally killing him in the process, because, she says, he sexually abused her for years. In 2009, she was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, and sentenced to five to fifteen years. This week she’ll have her first parole hearing. Should she be released?
What do you think? I can’t imagine I understand her pain or her anger.
The social construct of gender doesn’t seem to limit Gaga at all. She messes around with it in all sorts of interesting and provocative ways. One message of that is definitely that we shouldn’t be constrained or defined by traditional ideas of what it is to be male or female.
I heard Bill Mahar have jokingly make this argument on his show. He was joking about the abuse scandals in the Catholic church and on the Penn State football team, and said that the common link was that there were no women involved in the organizations! “Any institution where there’s no women around—like the Church, like football, like the Middle East, like fraternities—things go to shit,” he said.
I don’t know enough about the specific instances at Penn State to totally endorse that idea, and I don’t think I could generalize that the presence of a woman would always stop child abuse. I do think that many organizations, businesses, religions, social groups, etc. could benefit from the presence of both men and women. Men and women bring different principles, ideas, and skills to the table and having both is better to me.
Perhaps a Catholic church with a total imbalance of gender and power made some male priests feel like they would be able to get away with serious, serial child abuse (and many did, for a long time anyway). And maybe the Penn State male-dominated football program covered up Jerry Sandusky’s sex crimes as part of a male belief and behavior that men shouldn’t involve themselves in the business of others.