Thursday, May 3, 2012

Amazons or zombies

There’s been a spate of articles recently about the problems women face in academia, particularly science. Complaints by women cover the gamut from lewd innuendoes & sexual abuse to put downs & disdain for women’s intellectual work. One prominent neurobiologist who transgendered from woman to man has written damningly of the difference in treatment he received as a woman. Misogyny in science matters since they claim authority to challenge or confirm scientific bases to differences between the genders. It’s one thing for a phony science like evolutionary psychology (evo psycho) to twist the theory of evolution & go hog wild with speculations to prove women have weaker cognitive skills. It’s another thing when neurobiologists start talking this stuff. Evo psycho theory is treated in the media like scientifically established fact: women are verbal, empathic, people-oriented (unsuited to science); men are spatial, object-oriented (well suited to science). Why do women always come out on the remedial end of these comparisons!? The most notorious proponent of the ‘women are weak-minded’ theory is Lawrence Summers, former President of Harvard (now one of Obama’s gang) who said women are not represented on science & math faculties because they’re biologically unsuited. Steven Pinker, the Harvard evo psycho guy (a sloppy scholar & something of an ass), says women should not be discriminated against just because they’re inferior. He adds elitism to misogyny saying, “Most women are not qualified to be math professors at Harvard because most men aren't qualified to be math professors at Harvard.” True enough if the number of people competing for the jobs are only 1% of the population. He thinks the problem might be hormones--estrogen makes us stupid, especially during menstruation; testosterone gives men better spatial skills & presumably more aggression. You don’t need tenure at Harvard to come up with this stuff. Every bozo nursing a grudge against women says the same thing. But gender stereotypes busted by feminism are now back with a vengeance & this crap is showing up in other science literature. Simon Baron-Cohen, an English psychopathologist who studies autism argues it is an extreme form of the male brain based on the idiotic people/inanimate object dichotomy that serves neither gender. Another group of scientists at the University of California claim their “voxel-based morphometric analysis of MRI data” shows women have more white matter (considered passive tissue coordinating communication between brain regions) & men more gray matter (associated with cognition) involved in intelligence. You can get as morphometric as you like but it still comes out baloney to justify why women should stick to teaching & social service jobs & let men run the world. This is not just a problem for women scientists & academics. Woman have to operate in every sphere at odds with good old boy networks where women are not seen or heard unless they flatter & defer. So though this photo of zombie-like, dehumanized models at Sydney, Australia Fashion Week is disturbing, it is also a metaphor, a warning, & a call to arms. Eyes are the window of the soul, here exaggerated to emphasize emptiness & conformity. Time for the Amazons to start marching. (Photo by Tim Wimborn)

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