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Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (wikipedia.org)
38 points by DanielRibeiro on Aug 11, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments



"She completed her studies, but was not awarded a degree because of her sex; Cambridge did not grant degrees to women until 1948."

How much talent has been wasted down the centuries due to nonsense like this?



Yeah I think comparing her to Galileo, Newton and Einstein is a little over the top.

That is so typical feminism, trying to frame things as if bad things happened to her just because she was a woman. If I remember correctly, Einstein was also not believed by the physics authorities of his time at first - he didn't even get a job in academics, remember? Galileo was almost burnt on the stake for his research. Professors trying to steal their students work also happens all the time. There is a debate that Newton might have stolen calculus from Leibniz.

Not saying these things are OK, but they didn't happen because Cecilia was a woman.

If she is not as famous as other physicists, perhaps it is because her work simply didn't inspire the imagination of people as much. Marie Curie is famous, and she is a woman.

Also her name might simply be harder to remember than other names. Life is a bitch. To be honest, my brain just goes "Cecilia prubschichdjadfw-whatever" when I read her name. That's not fair, but it is not because she is a woman, it's just that her name is longwinded and foreign.

Maybe Marie Curie is only famous because Kraftwerk made a song about her, and Einstein is only famous because there is that iconic picture where he sticks out his tongue. I don't think many people adore physicists because they understand the actual physics. Everybody can write down e=mc^2 and probably even know that they wrote down something significant. If you want Cecilia DJSjug-whatever to be famous, make a better story. Make a song about her, create an iconic formula, whatever. Don't complain that she is a female victim. In fact she seems to have been quite successful anyway.


On the other hand we have tons of data on how women in science are currently treated, and I don't think it's a huge leap to assume things used to be worse. So yes I'm pretty sure it's because she was a woman.

"according to the National Science Foundation research, after examining other factors such as age, experience, and education as the causes of why there is a gap in success between men and women, they concluded that discrimination is the only explanation for the poor positions and salaries of women and minorities."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_science#Statistics_abo...


The source that the quote is pulled from (Schiebinger, Londa (2001). Has Feminism Changed Science?. United States of America: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674005449) includes (in the very next paragraph):

"In 1996 salaries for women in professional fields increased to 85–95 percent of men with similar jobs. Younger women in the United States (childless women between the ages of 27 and 33) earned nearly the same (98 percent) as men in their age group."

The quote from the National Science Foundation in the book is unsourced, however, the only related information from the National Science foundation I could find was http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/issuebrf/sib99352.htm which is not necessarily contradictor, but paints an entirely different picture.

While I disagree with who you are responding to, there has been a massive improvement in 1 1/2 generations and it removes a significant amount of credibility to present information in a way to try and say that widespread systemic discrimination still occurs in areas where it does not.


The most recent information I can find says that the wage gap for similarly educated women in the physical sciences is 12%

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/08/gender_wage_gap_lower_i...

While I agree there have been drastic improvements, I don't think you can say structural discrimination no longer exists.


I've been reading a lot about that topic recently and I am pretty sure the science on that is not as conclusive as you claim. Most studies stop as soon as they find anything that could support their claim that it's discrimination, too.

For starters, any article that claims the pay gap is 20% is dishonest. Last I read all but 3% were accounted for by other factors like choice of profession, work hours and so on. So the actual wage gap is only 3%. And that doesn't prove discrimination either, could just as well be some other reason they haven't found yet. But feminism works like religion - discrimination is a handy explanation for everything, no need to ask any further questions.


Try 12%: http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/08/gender_wage_gap_lower_i...

And feminism works more like philosophy than religion. In fact pretty much all notable feminist thinkers are in fact philosophers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Butler


That article doesn't even seem to compare people in similar jobs, only people with comparable education. Women often choose different jobs, for example because they allow them more flexibility (yes, to take care of family, and also possibly because they are under less pressure to make a lot of money).

A common example you see in that kind of articles is comparing physicians to physicians. Seems only fair, right? But it makes a big difference whether you are a surgeon or a pediatrician. You can not step out in the middle of a 12h heart surgery to pick up your kids from school.

Just to give one example, there are lots of other factors (for example type of business/research, willingness to relocate).

I am too lazy to Google for the 97% quote right now, came across it only yesterday. Perhaps later. (OK: just duckduckgoed, the first link that came up was this: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=22058 - June O'Neill, "The Disappearing Gender Wage Gap," National Center for Policy Analysis, June 22, 2012). That article also claims that single, childless women earn 8% more than their male counterparts. So children really are the big issue.

As for Judith Butler, I tried to read her stuff, but it seems extremely convoluted. To be honest I suspect their confusion starts somewhere before the gender issue. If you have a recommendation for something readable, I'd welcome it.


No offense intended, but it seems like you're pretty anti-feminist without knowing a whole lot about the feminist movement.

Here is a great place to start, if you're still on the fence about whether or not you should care about feminist issues: http://www.amazon.com/Men-Feminism-Studies-Shira-Tarrant/dp/...


I don't really believe your claim without you providing any pointers as to where I am supposed to be wrong. I have been following that feminism thing for a while now and I don't think I am that misinformed.

Of course feminists themselves see themselves in a different light. They think they are warm, saintly, compassionate beings who want nothing but the best for all mankind. They don't really question what they are doing or what cult they have joined, though.

It is true, I have concluded that I am really anti-feminist, after watching the movement for a while. As I explained above, obviously that doesn't mean I am against equality. What I am against is the ideology of painting women as victims. Also the ideology seems in many parts damaging to women, for example it pressures them into working instead of spending time with their families (they should have a free choice), it is against extra pay for stay at home mums, it scares women by creating a completely overblown rape scare and so on.

As I said, if you can point anything where I am wrong, I would love to hear it. I will also take a look at your book recommendation.


And it can't be because there are more men geniuses than women (as statistics on iq point out) or because men are naturally more interested in some subjects than women (which has also been the subject of studies and demonstrated). Nope, we have to come up with a conspiracy theory which places the blame on, as always, evil white men. This is why nobody takes feminists seriously.


And you are why no one takes white men complaining about feminists seriously...

Care to back up any of your outrageous assertions? Do you actually know anything about feminism? Because all of your points have been addressed in feminist literature ad infinitum.


And evolution theory has been addressed ad infinitum by religious groups... Care to give any links?


Well I was asking for evidence to back up the parent's argument. Not sure why the burden of proof is on me, but since you asked:

I would think it should be obvious, but women test equally or higher then men on IQ: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201207/m...

As for the second part you're going to have to do some reading on your own. Believe it or not not all feminists think the exact same way.

Some schools of feminist thought would agree that there are some inherent differences between men and women, others would vehemently disagree. For more information read about difference feminism vs. postmodern feminism.


The theory about IQ is not that the averages are higher, but that the distribution is different. Supposedly there are more very intelligent and more very stupid men than women. So the average IQs will be roughly the same, but there are more high IQ men. Of course high IQ women do exist, just apparently less frequent. One article that explains that is http://triggeralert.blogspot.de/2010/10/is-there-anything-go...

The article you linked to only addresses averages.

As for not all feminists thinking the same way: yes, they keep claiming that, but I have yet to see an exception. My impression is that all feminism ultimately tries to portray women as victims (of the "patriarchy", a conveniently nebulous concept), and in turn want to claim special rights for women as a compensation. If you can provide exceptions to that, I'd welcome it. Certainly this pamphlet about Cecilia Payne was a prime example of that pattern.


Here's a fantastic article on the variability hypothesis: http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/06/01/gender-g...

Men having a higher variance in intelligence pretty much only holds for white americans. The opposite is true in other cultures, which to me, seems to indicate it's a cultural issue, not in innate biological difference.

You are right some feminists would argue that women are harmed by the "patriarchy" but they would also argue that the patriarchy hurts men too. Beyond that there are a plethora of widely varying feminist schools of thought: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_movements_and_ideologi...


Thanks - I am actually not that interested in the variability hypothesis, as I would expect other factors to be much more important. So I guess I won't spend the time to read the paper in detail. The summary mentions that variability seems to be the lowest in countries with the most gender equality. That doesn't seem to contradict the notion that some inequality is caused by variability - after all, you could read it the other way round, where there is high variability, it leads to gender disparity.

I've come to jokingly say that a bad maths teacher at primary school could be worth millions of $ in damage compensation. It must be the primary school maths teacher fault that you didn't make a high earning STEM career, right? Except of course nowhere in society is math talent really supported, most math talents are mostly on their own (just my impression, though).

To me differences in incentives seem likely to have a much higher effect. It doesn't pay off for women to take risks, or not nearly as much as for men. Women have biological value in their own right (reproduction machinery), whereas men are much more expendable. To get ahead, men have to take higher risks - nobody will care for an average man. And men can gain extreme advantages in reproduction by taking risks and winning (even fathering thousands of kids like Ghengis Khan).

On the other hand consider that for a woman planning on becoming a housewife with no special skills is actually a viable strategy. Few feminists will consider that because they are biased by their own preferences, but if only a fraction of women take the "easy" route, it will show in things like pay gaps and percentages of women in certain types of jobs. (Btw I don't think any of the pay gap studies take into account that women typically get half of their husbands income - I assume that is also the case in the US?). For example that recent hype of "we need more women in action movies" is complete nonsense, because women simply don't have the incentive to put themselves into risky situations where they might be shot to death. Yes, there are exceptions, but on average there will simply be fewer women who will do that. So demanding that 50% of action heroes should be women is simply bullshit. It's not role models that makes women not clamor to get themselves killed, it is simply that they have no need to do so (apparently even the women joining the army are exposed to much less risk because they get different jobs than men).

As for the plethora of feminist movements, does that mean one can't criticize feminism? I don't think so. Most of them seem to have in common that they blame men for suppressing women. I know that some acknowledge that the "patriarchy" hurts men, too (although how prominently it features in their campaigns is another matter). It is still an ideology of victims.

The crazy thing to me is that feminists don't just get it a little bit wrong (in my opinion) - in many cases they get it 180° wrong, exactly the opposite of what they believe is true.

Examples: women are not pressured into becoming housewives (as feminists believe), they have the privilege of having the option to become housewives - try to plan on becoming a stay at home dad? (This is actually one of the points where feminists believe they also help men, but they overlook that they simply have the higher biologically claim to be stay at home, because they invest so much energy into child bearing. I don't expect a huge shift towards stay-at-home daddying).

Or rape culture: our culture does not condone rape, as feminists believe, it actually sees rape as an especially horrible crime. Therefore it is given proportionally more attention than other crimes - men are much more likely to be attacked on the street, but the disproportionate rape scare makes us feel as if women are more endangered. Also every movie or book uses rape as an easy way to evoke emotions (because it hits us especially hard), adding further to the distorted conception of the prevalence of rape. Scantily clad women in advertising are of course weird, but they don't signal women are readily available everywhere - they signal that you have to work a lot, get rich and buy a fancy car to attract women. Quite the opposite - if men would really believe that women were readily available without them having to show economic viability, they'd stop working and the economy would go to ruins immediately. And so on, and so on...


You seem incredibly misinformed. I'm not sure how anyone can be familiar with feminist thought and come to those conclusion. Please don't think that feminist thought places the blame for patriarchy on men, internalized oppression is constantly brought up in feminist literature and the blame falls on men and women alike.

And I'm not saying that you can't criticize feminism, of course you're allowed to. But please be cognizant of the fact there are many different, often times opposing, feminist ideologies. You're criticism of one school of thought does not apply to all feminists, please try to be aware of when you are stereotyping.

You seem pretty angry, and I doubt there's much I can say to make you reconsider your positions. But, I'd like you to do an experiment, go to your nearest Toys R Us and compare the girl's toys and the boy's toys. After making your observations give some deep thought to whether or not gender is a social construct, and whether gender differences are learned or inherited.


>And I'm not saying that you can't criticize feminism

So why, as a feminist, am i being censored in twitter discussions RE ADA Initiative and Sarah Sharp? see tweets @ https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aZVjkK5QYeU0b30rGKJOGklB...


I'm assuming you are a man. If that's the case, you need to be aware of the fact that when entering into a conversation about feminism you are an outsider. Your views, while important and worth discussion, should not dominate the conversation.

Feminist discourse is one of the few places where women's thoughts and idea's are allowed to be the dominate ones. As men we have to take a step back, and realize we enjoy that privilege in every other discourse.


In fact, I am a woman, and have been a feminist since 1974. With all due respect, feminist discourse is best when all stakeholders participate. Silencing any point of view is disrespectful and not productive. Freedom of speech seems to be a problem in this whole discussion. Wondering why?


My apologies. I don't know why you were censored, I'm assuming you know way more about this than me.

I will say though I think it's dishonest to characterize feminist discourse by what happens on twitter. If this is happening outside of the internet, in feminist groups and academic discourse, I agree that it is problematic, but not a problem that is unique to feminism.


Dishonest? Dude, you're talking to a Quaker. Here is my wish. Will Geek Feminists Please Relax!?

I am perplexed by the negativity of the ‘geek feminist’ movement, and concerned about the inevitable backlash that could set women back in the STEM community. At a pivotal time in the evolution of corporate culture, when exciting creative cultures are forming, geek feminists are making demands on what they define as good and bad behavior, creating controversy and yes, hysteria, over any male behavior that is ‘offensive.’ (My personal apology to Mr. Hank)see rational explanation @ http://www.businessinsider.com/adria-richards-dongle-and-for...

These tactics only create tension and mistrust, making assimilation into the STEM community more difficult for women. It would be tragic if women were seen as monolithic, and further excluded from a community that provides so many benefits for women.

For example Sarah Allen, founder of Blazing Cloud says being a programmer has been a great career for her as a mom. "I don't think you can be a woman in our society and not experience sexism, so, sure, but that's not the point," she says.

Rana Florida, CEO at the Creative Class tells her team members “I don’t care when you work, how you work, or where you work,” Her new book Upgrade describes cutting edge corporate culture, with flexibility and responsibility

Meanwhile, Tony Hsieh of Zappos is transforming the derelict remains of Downtown Las Vegas into a “community where businesses can thrive.” ...where everyone feels like they can hang out all the time and where there’s not a huge distinction between working and playing.”

If the geek feminists think these cultures will welcome a demanding group of women, I suggest they think again. They are doing a disservice to all women, and men, and everyone else on the planet.


And you're talking to Unitarian! I've interacted with plenty of Quakers, and I have to say I'm a big fan. I didn't mean it as a personal attack, I'm sorry if came across that way. I just don't think it's fair to characterize the feminist movement by what happens on twitter.

I'm not at all familiar with the 'geek feminist' movement, so I appreciate your insight. I completely agree that the whole Adria Richards affair was overblown by everyone involved, however it doesn't seem like that's a typical response.

What do you think is the appropriate way for women in technology to create an equitable workplace? Is not speaking out when genuinely offensive behavior occurs really the right way?


So happy we found common ground! That's how it's done. Women must assimilate, not dictate. (Here goes the old "in my day" lecture:) we had to learn how to tie ugly scarves around our necks as tie substitutes....tacky...so ya loose a little dignity here and there, but what you gain, if you stay on TASK! is the respect of your coworkers, and 'power' flows from there. Don't sweat the small stuff:) wanna see what i mean, UGLY scarves:) http://www.rustyzipper.com/womens/scarves/1970/ I would prefer to hear cursing anyday!


> After making your observations give some deep thought to whether or not gender is a social construct, and whether gender differences are learned or inherited.

Why is this always framed as either/or? Why can't gender differences derive from both society and biology?


They certainly can be a mix, and that's what I personally believe. I didn't mean to present them as mutually exclusive ideas.


>And I'm not saying that you can't criticize feminism" It seems I am censored on twitter whenever I mention the feminist ideas of Camille Paglia. Perhaps geek feminist fear her point of view? Feminism is not monolithic, and all voices should be heard. Perhaps her views on 'protecting women' (she sez it is 'efantilizing') is not agreeable to geek feminists? see her Plyboy interview @ http://privat.ub.uib.no/BUBSY/playboy.htm


Interesting interview, unfortunately she really says some things that are rather extreme, such as HIV being nature's punishment for homosexuality. Too bad.

How does the censoring on Twitter work? I did not understand your screenshot.

Unfortunately discussing anything on social networks is a waste of time anyway. If the network itself doesn't censor you (I hear Facebook also does not allow questioning of feminism), then the personal filters of other people will just mute you. And stuff you post to social networks is essentially lost because they are walled gardens, so nobody will find your brilliant arguments from yesterday again, ever.


I did not say who or what creates the patriarchy - what matters to feminism is that women have to be seen as a disadvantaged group of people.

As for gender and toys, obviously industries don't usually have our best interests in their hearts, they care for themselves. One theory I have heard is that by creating gender specific toys they can sell more stuff. Same goes for advertising. To complain about advertising (and gender branding of toys) seems a bit silly.

The question is however, are we victims to advertising and toy industries? Feminism seems to think women are too weak to find their own identity. (And boys, too - but feminists seem to think the boys world is more desirable somehow).

Should we strive for censorship in toy products? That is the real underlying question? Should there be a law against using pink in toys? Of course no feminists thinks they are striving for such laws, but it is what they are effectively asking for. Personally I think it would be a bad idea to regulate such things. Feminists tend to think they are actually fighters for tolerance, but they are not - they fight for intolerance. Because if some girl decides she wants to paint her room pink, shouldn't she be allowed to do that, too?

I have no gripes against female self-help circles encouraging each others to use clothes and toys in other colors than pink, or encouraging each other to study maths instead of gender studies at university. If they think it is important to them, why not - they can do whatever they want. That is not what feminists are usually doing, though - instead they complain that they are victims of an evil (patriarchy controlled) industry that determines their gender roles against their wills. So they are the victims again, calling for daddy (in the form of the government) to rescue them instead of making their own fate. I can't bring myself to respect that.

As for gender being learned or inherited - it seems unlikely to me that preferences for pink are inherited (indeed historically pink used to be the color for men, or so I have read). However, there are undeniable biological differences between men and women. As I said, those create different incentives. For example sex is much more risky for women than for men, therefore women think twice before having sex with somebody. Having children is a much bigger investment for women than for men. Those things are bound to have an effect (on average). Also while you are pregnant you can not easily go and fight a war, or plow a field. That is just the way it is.

And as I said, if you are born as a man, you can not simply decide you want to live like a woman and count on becoming a stay at home dad. Why would women bear your kids AND work for you, too? On average women will want the man to work in exchange for providing the birthing service (which, as a man who has witnessed the birth of my son, I find fair enough, birth is no picnic). The other way (live like a man if you are born a woman) is much easier because men don't get special treatments in society, in fact I think there are some cultures where women can decide to live like men and forgo the advantages women enjoy - they then have to wear men's clothes for the rest of their lives (see http://petapixel.com/2012/12/26/portraits-of-albanian-women-... )


If you honestly think women are the privileged class, I urge you to befriend some transgendered women and try to learn about their experiences in transitioning.

Some of my best friend's are trans and it's pretty hard to ignore the privileges I enjoy as a man when I've seen those privileges disappear the second someone becomes female presenting.

And you still really have no idea what feminism is about, I can't think of any feminist ideologies that advance the "women are victims" line of reasoning. Most feminist ideologies seem, to me at least, primarily concerned with empowering women, and painting them as victim's is sort of the opposite of that.


If you can't see the "women are victims" aspect, you must be blind. Sorry - just look at the Cecilia Payne pamphlet that started this discussion. No victim painted there? And that is a very mild example. "Rape culture" does not paint women as victims?

As for privileges of women, granted, both genders face different issues in society. Most privileges of women center around having children - that is also the only place where you will find inequality in laws, and they are favoring women (there are in fact no laws that favor men in most western societies). If you don't want to have children or can't have children, as is presumably the case for transgender types, of course you face more issues.

If you don't want children, it sucks a bit - life indeed isn't fair in that regard. However I don't think society can be blamed for the fact that nature produced two sexes (or a bit more) and that people can not choose their sex by themselves. I suppose if you can make a credible case that you will never have children, most of those issues can go away (like employers being wary of hiring you because of the risk of motherhood).

Give some examples of disappearing privileges your transgender friends experience, though?


The privilege of not being catcalled every time they walk down the street (this is very real and very disturbing). The privilege of not being approached by every man who wants to sleep with you. The privilege of men not feeling entitled to your attention whenever they want it. The privilege of not being constantly objectified. The privilege of being able to go to a bar just to hang out with friends and not be approached by every dude in the bar. The privilege of being payed more (I recommended my friend for the exact same position I was in and she ended up being offered 20% less than I was before negotiation). I could go on forever..

You can't choose your sex, but you can absolutely choose your gender.. Please learn about the difference between the two.

There are no laws that favor men in western society? What if I told you that divorce law favors men? What if I told you that when men actively seek custody they are awarded full or joint custody 70% of the time. http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/Massachusetts_Gender_Bias...

And I'm pretty sure feminism is anti-rape culture. Most women are taught that in a rape situation it's better to not fight back, some schools of feminist thought teach the opposite. They teach women to fight back and to not accept the role of victim.


"you can absolutely choose your gender"

I've been reading the intro of the book you recommended. Frankly, that gender discussion seems extremely weird and trite. Why don't you just behave the way you like to, rather than get lost in philosophical mazes about gender? As you say, if you can choose your gender, why don't you just do so and be done with it?

So what exactly makes your friends be the victim of being approached? Are they men who want to become women? What attracts the men, boobs, or their clothing? I fully understand that it can be annoying to be approached all the time. However, it is the flip side of being attractive, which brings lots of advantages. Curiously, few industries cater to making people less attractive, a lot cater to making them more attractive. So perhaps your friends who want to be left alone are not very typical.

Yes, it is unfair that women are more attractive than men (as I elaborated in another comment, they have a much higher biological value than men, hence they are being sought out). But it has upsides and downsides (as has being a man). I am pretty sure you can also exert at least some control over the amount of street hassling you get by the way you present yourself.

I can assure you that not every man who wants to sleep with a woman approaches that woman. And not every dude approaches every woman in a bar.

Objectification is just a nonsense concept, sorry. That's pure ideology. What is it even supposed to mean? Attraction isn't real unless you recite poems together?

We had the pay discussion already, don't know enough about your friend to comment.

As for your divorce laws, that document is rather long, I couldn't read it all yet. If what you say is true I suspect you have found an outlier state. Also perhaps men who seek custody are the ones whose lawyers already said they have a chance because of the way their case is structured, it doesn't say anything about the real proportion of men who get custody.

As for rape, I have no idea if it is better to fight back or not - I'd recommend asking experts about that. I know that we don't live in a rape culture, though - as I've also explained in another comment already.


She's a victim of being approached all the time, because she presents as a woman not because she's attractive. Subjectively speaking I'm a much more attractive man than she is a woman, yet I get approached by women very rarely, and she gets approached by men constantly. And not in a good way, men will come up to her tell her disgusting stuff about what they want to do to her and not leave her alone when she's obviously not interested.

If you honestly think you can just chose your gender and be done with it, I again urge you to meet some transgendered people and talk to them about their experiences in transitioning. My friend wanted to change her name after she transitioned, and it took 3 tries with the court system. The first judge recused himself because he never granted name changes for transgendered people, the second judge made my friend cry on the stand by accusing her of just wanting to use women's restrooms so she could harass "real" women, and the third one finally granted a name change after months of trying. But, if you want to change your name to "Tyrannosaurus Rex" no problem: http://www.yorknewstimes.com/news/article_e9991cb6-9860-11e1...

As for the divorce issue. The most recent nationwide data I could find says it's a 50/50 split when men seek custody: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/more-fathers-g... Furthermore, the reason men are awarded custody less, is not because of bias in the court it's because men choose to seek custody less. Look at the statistics here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-meyer/dispelling-the-myt... Married men spend half as much time with their children as married women. Our culture dictates that women are the ones responsible for parenting, thus they are expected to take time out of their career for children, in divorce proceeding it's expected that they are the primary caregiver. Women being subjugated to the role of homemaker is a result of patriarchy and absolutely harms men too. I would love to live in a world where men spend just as much time with their children, where it's ok to be a stay at home dad, where it's expected that men will take a break from their career to care for their children. The fact is we don't live in that world, we live in a world where being a homemaker is intricately tied to the gender role of women. Feminists want to change that, and I suspect you have more in common with feminists than you would like to think. Feminists are all about extending, as you say the "privileges" they enjoy, to everyone.

And by the way, your comment is a perfect example of rape culture. You suggest that she should alter the way she presents herself so she doesn't get harassed. By saying that you are acknowledging the idea that men are rapists and women are victims. Why is it expected that she should change her appearance if she doesn't want to be harassed? Why is it accepted that men will harass women if they find them attractive? Why is it accepted that if a woman goes to a party and gets too drunk, that there's a good chance she'll be raped? I've been too drunk at many parties and not once have I had to even think about being raped. Feminists would argue that all men are not rapists, another point I suspect you would agree with feminists on.

I run around my neighborhood all the time in nothing but shoes and shorts, yet I've never been harassed or approached once. I guarantee you that is simply not possible for a woman to do.

Of course you are allowed to be attracted to someone based on how they look. That's not objectification. As a man, in my personal experience about 90% of the compliments I receive are related to my accomplishments or general intelligence, the other 10% are about my appearance. That 10% generally come from people I'm already intimate with, I can't honestly think of more than about 5 instances in my life when my appearance was complemented by a stranger. Do you really think that's true for women?

I urge you to talk to the women you know and try to learn about their experiences. Anyway, I'm glad you've at least tried to read the information I've given you, and you seem to be at least a little bit open minded, which I appreciate. I don't want to keep belaboring points, but you seem willing to challenge your worldview, so if there are any other feminist stereotypes you'd like me to dispel or you are interested in learning more about feminism you are more than welcome to contact me at the email in my profile and I'd be happy to point you towards some good resources.


We seem to have maxed out HN's nesting limit, it takes hours for the reply button to become available...

Thanks for discussing, it is actually very difficult to discuss feminism in the real world. Few feminists are willing to expose themselves to questions.

As for the attraction thing, it is all explained by the different value/risk of sex for men and women (as I've mentioned before). Therefore women are usually the ones being approached - it's not an arbitrary gender thing, it follows from the different biological incentives. Maybe it sucks if you just want to be left alone atm, but to never be approached also sucks (I know because I am a guy). I know a lot of women who also like it if the see that people turn their heads for them on the street. And if things were really as bad as you describe it, women would walk differently on the street. They would all be scared and depressed, but that isn't the case. When that street harassment discussion flared up where I live a couple of months ago, many women spoke up and said they don't have a problem at all. Might be worth investigating why some have problems and others don't.

Also I suspect feminism teaches women to consider every form of contacting to be "harassment" or a prelude to rape. That is just sad. A lot of interactions go unnecessarily bad because people just assume the worst. Of course there are probably a lot of unpleasant people out there (not only men). If it is too much perhaps you have to consider where you live - any place with too many people has a lot of downsides, for example I hate dog shit and it is everywhere in the big cities. I am sure you can also find bars where they throw out men who don't behave - and many bars are there for contacting other people, so you really have to choose if you don't like that.

As for clothes - first of all, talking to somebody is not rape, not even close. So your reaction is really over the top. But also, it is a nice thought that people should be allowed to wear whatever they want, but it is obviously unrealistic. Clothes signal things, that is just the way it is. Would you go to work just in your underwear? Or what if men were to wear codpieces again, would that go down well with feminists? They complain about men sitting on benches with their legs spread all the time, so I think it is hypocritical to claim their clothes shouldn't matter.

A lot of cultures have developed signals to tell wether women are available or not, btw., like wearing a specific piece of clothing. Would be debatable if something like that would be a nice invention for the Western world (appart from rings). Who really wants to talk to a woman that just wants to be left alone? It's hard enough to do even if you think she might like being talked to.

Rape at parties: statistics show that men are at a much higher risk to be victims of violence than women (including rape). So no you won't get raped at every party just because you are a woman.

Stay at home parents: you claim women are forced into staying at home, yet you wish you could be a stay-at-home dad? Doesn't add up. And how are women forced? Nobody is forced to marry or have children in this day and age (in the Western world). And is it really such a bad fate to stay at home and spend time with your kids? Feminists hate kids, but a lot of women actually like their kids... The reason women stay at home more often than men is because they have a higher claim to it. Don't know how to express it, but after going through 9 months of pregnancy and life threatening birthing pains, it would be quite weird to give up the kid they just produced investing everything they have and go back to work the next day. Women invest more in birth, therefore typically men compensate by working more to provide for the family. Exceptions support the rule... That is not suppression, that is just natural (I don't care if people do it in another way, I am saying there is a reason most people don't choose that).

As for divorces, your articles jump to conclusion. It sounds as if there has been progress. But what about fathers who weren't even married? And if "mother spent more time with kid" is an argument, isn't that also unfair given that men often don't have the choice to work less? And just because most custody cases are resolved out of court doesn't imply the courts are not biased - the bias will factor in the decision to go to court.


No I'm sorry, but the attraction thing has nothing to do with biology. It has everything to do with gender roles. The role of pursuer is intricately tied to traditional views of masculinity. Our gender roles are set up so that men are the pursuers and women are the pursued. Why is it in already committed couples the man almost always asks the woman to marry him? As a man I do get approached by women sometimes, and I agree it is really nice sometimes. If you'd like to be around strong assertive women who are willing to pursue men they are interested in, I suggest hanging out around feminists. Feminists are all about challenging traditional gender roles, redefining the relationship between pursuer and pursued to create equitable relationships based on mutual pursuit.

I wasn't implying that all harassment leads to rape. I was explaining that we live in a culture where the traditional view of masculinity is tied to aggressive behavior, a society where the expectation is that if a woman dresses "sluttily" she's more likely to be raped. That is rape culture, the idea that men can't help but rape and that women are the one's responsible for stopping it.

I'm well aware the statistics are worse for men, It is an issue and it deserves to be talked about, and in fact it's often a part of feminist discussion: http://thefeministwire.com/2013/03/feminist-anxiety-about-do...

But that has nothing to do with rape culture. Men aren't taught that they are going to be victims. Men are not taught not to drink too much at parties, they aren't taught not to go to parties by yourself, they aren't taught to never leave their drink unattended, etc... We teach all of these precautions to women, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of rapes are by people they already know. We've created a culture where men are seen as rapists who just can't help themselves, and that women should expect and fear rape. That is rape culture, and that is what feminism seeks to dismantle.

And no feminists don't consider all form of touching harassment, but they are pretty big on consent. I'm pretty sure if you ask first almost all forms of touching are ok, as long as the person consents.

It's not that women are forced at gunpoint to be homemakers, it's the societal expectation that the women should be the primary caregivers. Talk to some women and ask them if they ever feel pressured by family, friends, or our culture to accept the role of homemaker. Women very often feel pressured to have kids, it's a very real thing.

In couples with children where both parents work. Yes the man on average works more (about 5 hours more is the most recent stat I could find). But if you consider housework and childcare to be work (which feminists do, and I hope you do), women do significantly more work.

And yes I agree that being the primary worker being apart of our traditional view of masculinity is unfair to men. Again, feminism seeks to break out of those gender roles so that men can feel comfortable choosing to work less and devoting more time to traditionally feminine roles.

As for the sitting on benches thing, you'll find that on Tumblr, not in legitimate feminist discussion. And please don't say stuff like "Feminists hate kids" you just come across as hateful and ignorant by using such gross stereotypes.


Thanks for taking the time to answer. I disagree with almost everything you said - I think most feminist live in an imaginary world and have no idea of the real world.

But I'll leave it at that.

Perhaps the army of gender studies students that will emerge from universities soon will take it upon them to prove us right or wrong...

If you want to continue the discussion by email I would of course be happy to do so.

For a bit of fun, here is a recent experiment of men vs women asking for sex http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbPfW38F_5s&feature=c4-overvi....

There actually was a real experiment like that with similar results (I think it was done on Stanford Campus, too lazy to google). So men need to ask 100 times more people than women to get sex. Maybe if the first woman would say yes, there would be less "harassment" necessary. So if feminists make up their mind to have sex more often, it could help a lot to alleviate that problem...


Another question, since I don't personally know any transgender persons: if gender is just a mindset, what drives them to want another biological sex? Isn't the feminist dogma that biological sex is basically irrelevant and only gender (mindset) should matter?


That's like asking why gay people chose to be gay. Or me asking why you chose to be straight.

The feminist mindset is that biological sex, gender, and sexuality do not depend on each other.

edit: To clarify you do not choose the gender you identify as, but you can choose the gender you present as.


I know what attracts me about other people, and by analogy I can also imagine (somewhat) how gay people feel. I find it harder to imagine why I'd rather have a vagina and boobs than a penis. Seems fair to ask people who feel like that if they can express it somehow. And if it is more, for example wanting to dress like a woman, there has to be some kind of reason? You can't claim that female behavior (let's say wearing pink high heel boots and mini skirts as an extreme example) is merely a cultural construct but at the same time claim it does not have a reason.

I don't know if the transgender thing is just about wanting different sexual appendices or also about living the gender stereotypes.


Yes you know what attracts you, but do you know why those things are attractive to you?

I am by know mean speaking for transgendered people and if you want the best answer you should ask them. As far as I am aware it is mostly about identifying with a different gender role and for some (definitely not all) that includes having the sexual characteristics associated with that gender role.

There are plenty of transgendered people who identify as the opposite gender but are completely comfortable with their own physical sexual characteristics.


are you fucking retarded?

Marie Skłodowska-Curie won two nobel prices - in two different areas of research. The only human being so far of any gender to accomplish this feat.

and yeah, her full name just rolls of the tongue for non-Polish speakers.


Not true, Linus Pauling also did, admittedly many years after her. Also he's the only one to win two unshared Nobel Prizes.


Huh what is your problem? I said that Marie Curie is famous (and definitely nobody knows the Skoldowokski-part of her name - today is the first time I heard that). Are you saying that Cecile should be as famous as Marie? Or only as famous as "lesser" physicists like Einstein or Newton?

And you only confirm my point. I was going to suggest that if "we" (or feminists or whoever) want Cecile to be successful, we should just refer to her as Cecile Payne from now on.


no, YOU don't know it.

wikipedia knows it (the article on her lists her full name). anybody who looks for her on the internet thereby knows it. anybody who ever had more than 5sec of interest in her knows it.

it's not the rest of the world - it's you.

because the rest of the world absolutely needs to change their names so that english speaking idiots like you have an easier life. and still you could cope with schwarzenegger, go figure.


You didn't even get the point of my comment, which is that she (Payne) is not not famous because she is a woman. There are lots of other reasons that affect fame. A catchy name is just one example.

This whole thing is completely ridiculous, because lets face it, nobody cares about physicists. You think people on the street, or feminists, care about physicists? The ones that are known, like Einstein or Newton or Galileo, are all known for the narrative around it (Newton has the falling Apple, Galileo the burning, Einstein the tongue picture and the "bad in maths" legend). To claim that some physicist is not known because she is a woman is just ridiculous.

I dare you to walk out of your house or office and ask people on the street what "Marie Curie" means to them, and if they know her Polish name, too. For more fun, ask "who discovered radioactivity" without mentioning the name. Perhaps they know Curie because they worry about radioactivity, but that's probably about it (what was her other Nobel for anyway?). The consistency of stars doesn't worry people so much, so they don't know Payne - simple as that.

Anyway, the name was not even the point. But since you are apparently somewhat illiterate, of course you didn't realize that.

Btw I think your replies are very rude. Would you talk the same if you had any identifiable information on your profile? I would surely blacklist you for life according to your behavior. Not that I'd ever run into you (I think you live in the US), but still.

Edit: also I am not actually a native speaker of English. Edit 2: for more fun, try to hum the Kraftwerk song "Radioactivity" using Curie's full name.


At the time she was at Cambridge, her last name was Payne. It's clear you didn't read the article and have an axe to grind.


Well as I said, if you want her to be famous, just call her Cecile Payne from now on.

My point is that her relative fame probably has little to do with being a woman.

Of course maybe now she'll become famous for the only reason that she is a woman. I think that qualifies as irony...

I don't have an issue with the Wikipedia article, only with this feminist pamphlet that suggests she would be as famous as Einstein if she weren't a woman https://twitter.com/marcuschown/status/366132278381903874/ph...


There is a nice bit about her in Chandrasekhar's APS history interviews

http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/4552.html


And she inspired Joan Feynman: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Feynman


This was the more striking part of all this for me. I've read a lot of (Dick) Feynman biographical material, read his layperson books, his lecture series, etc.

Until today I had no idea he even had a sister, let alone that she also went into physics.


Really? Have you read What Do You Care What Other People Think? Because she's mentioned fairly prominently in the chapter about how he faced down a rent-a-mob accusing him of sexism ('Feynman Sexist Pig!').

(To be clear, Feynman actually was sexist, but not in the way that the rent-a-mob was complaining about.)


Wikipedia's creative begging for donations is annoying. IMHO.




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