Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In which I say, "Fuck Off."

There's an interesting article over at the Guardian that points out the disparity between "big think" books as written by men vs women. Namely, that men seem to have written more or all of the popular ones, and women have not.

Now, this is actually worth pointing out. I think it's an interesting point, and one worth reflecting on.

But then the article goes on to discuss the why of it.

Julia Cheiffetz, [writes] "It is hard to know whether women are better at telling stories than propagating ideas (I'm thinking of Susan Orlean, Mary Roach, Karen Abbott), or whether the intellectual audacity required to sell our hypotheses about the world simply isn't in our genetic makeup."

Emphasis added. And oh yeah, fuck off.

But! I tell myself, that is just a quote within the article. One the author, Alison Flood, will look at and then dissect and disregard.

But I've still got the nagging feeling that there's something to this, that men are more likely than women to want to pin their ideas down, to package them neatly within the confines of a paperback with a catchy title. Or maybe that's just my feminine intuition.


What's terrible about that is that she admits in the paragraph before that

only a fifth of UK economists are female, and only 7% have made professor. You don't need to be an economist to work out that this kind of disparity will lead to fewer female economists writing books. And it's not just economics, recent figures suggest that across the whole of academia only 17.5% of professors are women.

See. And here's the thing. I don't think that has ANYTHING to do with women just "not being wired" towards educating themselves or expressing themselves.

I think things like this, this and this might have something to with it.

Maybe it has something to do with stories like Rosalind Elsie's, where you can discover the double-fucking-helix and then someone else gets the Nobel prize.

Maybe it's like Liss pointed out here.

this country is seriously fucked to the everloving hilt with misogyny when you can be a woman eminently qualified for the most important, most respected, most difficult job in the entire nation, and one of the most important, most respected, most difficult jobs in the entire world, and still be reduced to a "white bitch" by some wanker on CNN without anyone batting an eye—because, ya know, some women are "named that" for a reason.

Or maybe it has something to do with making 1/3 less pay for the same amount of work.

Maybe it's not that women are wired to just sit back and tell stories and let the men folk deal with all the "big thinking" type books.

Maybe it's that women are first taught not to be big thinkers, and the ones who make it past that and actually become big thinkers anyway? Are steadfastly ignored, ridiculed, regarded as "uppity", or their ideas swiped aside as "cute" and then copied and reprinted garnering lots of respect for someone else who happens to be more penisy.

Maybe it's just institutionalized sexism.

Or maybe women just aren't big thinkers.

I mean it's not like I read any big ideas from women on a daily basis or anything like that.

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