Friday, September 30, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Now apparently the crux of her arguement is that "the female orgasm is not a biological adaptation with evolutionary advantages - it's just a light nature forgot to turn off". And being generally interested in evolution theories I'm curious to see the explanation for this. The Guardian interview doesn't bother with any such thing however. It merely offers Ms Lloyd's remarks that "In my book I examine 20 explanations which turn out to be completely unsupported by the evidence". That's a null arguement. If her explanation IS supported by the evidence, then we should be shown that evidence, just to say that other theories aren't supported by the evidence doesn't mean that an untested theory must be the right one. Now weirdly Elizabeth Lloyd agrees with me, since she adds "my view isn't necessarily the right explanation". So we're not learning much from this interview. I have a few points though...
Firstly, what isn't addressed is the widely-known fact (especially if you've ever seen The Vagina Monologues, which is well worth a trip if you get the chance) that the clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the penis. So the arguement that it's a biological left-over, compared in the article to male nipples, doesn't hold a lot of water.
Secondly so what? I mean I don't really care WHY it's there. What difference does that make? The article claims that Ms Lloyd's work has enraged feminists... Yet it doesn't name-check any feminists who have been enraged, nor does it offer any quotes from feminists or opportunity for feminists to respond to the comments made about them in the article. I should like to register now that I, a feminist, am distinctly un-enraged by a discussion on biology.
And finally, and this always gets me, why is biology the main thrust of every other article on the women's page. Is X biological? Are women pre-programmed to do Y? These seem to be the perpetual undertones of a majority of articles they feature. As if the question we all need answered is "do women deserve to be treated as second-class citizens?". It doesn't really matter what biological pre-dispositions we all have, what matters is that we're all given a fair and equal chance of success in this society. Save the biology for the science pages and address the issues that matter: the pay gap, discrimination against women, violence against women, the pensions gap and the rights of women around the world to live their lives in the way that they want to.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
I wanted to make a different point though. It really does seem that everyone has assumed that all women want to have children. Or at least that all women have a definite, 100% view on whether or not they want to have children and all women feel that those kids must, at all costs, be biologically "theirs"...
Maybe it's not a question of "waiting to have a family" but in fact of only deciding later in life that you actually want a family. And maybe the focus of medical advice should be to think twice about having a family if you're over 35, rather than encouraging women to get started now in case they decide later that they did want a family. Maybe older couples could be encouraged instead to consider fostering or adopting children if they are worried about the risks of pregnancy later in life? They would be ideal candidates to adopt older children who are often much more difficult to find good homes for than those put up for adoption at birth.
There is no shortage of babies in this country, no pressing need for more screaming ankle-biters around the place. In a fantasy Britain, governed by me, no-one would be allowed to have kids (yes, I know, Hitler tried this and it wasn't very popular, still run with me on it...) until they'd completed a programme of parenting skills classes at the end of which, assuming they passed all the assessments, etc, they would foster a child for a three-month period. It would, I suspect, significantly reduce the birth rate, increase the adoption rate and solve the problems of unwanted children and the shortage of foster carers. It would probably also do wonders for community spirit and race and inter-faith relations since inevitably people would be fostering within their own communities and sometimes across races and religions. ...well, ok, so we would all be living in a fascist state too. Realistically we couldn't make such a programme compulsory. Available and encouraged would be good though. Here's a link to Hackney's foster parenting scheme website.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Well far be it from the Cru-blog to refuse to participate so here's a nice bible quote for all of you to muse on this Friday (or any day you like!).
(Nahum Chapter 1, verses 2-8):
" The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies! The LORD is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans and rivers dry up, the lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade, and the green forests of Lebanon wilt. In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence. The LORD is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And he knows everyone who trusts in him. But he sweeps away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He pursues his foes into the darkness of night. "
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Monday, September 05, 2005
1) Lets assume IQ and IQ alone dictates ability to do a high-level job. Now we're told that the study shows that "there are three men to each woman with an IQ of more than 130, and 5.5 men for each woman with an IQ above 145". So why isn't a woman for every 5 men in a position of national leadership?
Here's the numbers by the way - amazing I can get my pretty little head around them I know - there are about 200 countries in the world. Most have one or two main leaders, a president and a prime minister, or just a prime minister, I'm ignoring monarchs who don't have any actual political power like the queen. So lets say a total of 300 key world political players.
And women in those roles:
Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka (1994- )
Mary McAleese, President of Ireland (1997- )
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia (1999- )
Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999- )
Tarja K. Halonen, President of Finland (2000- )
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines (2001- )
Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of Bangladesh (1991-1996, 2001- )
Luisa Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique (2004- )
Yulia Timoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine (2005- )
I make that nine. Lets assume I've missed one (I haven't, I'm smarter than that but hell...), so thats one woman for every 30 men in a position of global political power. So the headline should be *IQ study suggests women should have six times more political power*. That's not turning back the progress of the womens' movement...
2) This loser's so-called scientific research also shows that *Black people have a lower IQ than white people* by 15 points - three times the alleged male-female differential of 5 points. Why did the Guardian not choose that nugget of "information" as their headline? Well because the public would have reacted with understandable disgust to such a suggestion. And we're back at square one here where racism is rightly shocking but sexism is the acceptable face of prejudice.
3) So what? Since when has IQ and IQ alone been a reliable indicator of ability to do a worthwhile job or earn a certain salary? In my professional life there has always been a lot more need for hard slog than for genius inspiration. And we all know girls get better exam results than boys... "Prof" Lynn tackles this point with confidence:
"Asked why girls consistently outperform their male peers at school, he said: "When you're talking about better exam results like GCSEs and A-levels, this is partly a function of intelligence and partly a function of motivation and conscientiousness.
"Many of today's exams involve coursework, and women are more conscientious than men. This explains why girls are doing well at this level despite their lower IQs.""
So how about running with the headline *Women more conscientious than men*. Since given our super-low IQs we must be doing a hell of alot of extra work to take more exam glory across the board than boys! And isn't coursework - where you can use reference books, look stuff up and ask for help if you need it - a lot more like real life work than sitting in a dusty exam hall? Not that I have seen any evidence to suggest that coursework is the area where girls overtake boys.
5) No difference in average IQs justifies a deliberately discriminatory policy in the workplace, in the academic arena, or anywhere else. A difference in averages relates to averages. If a woman has the skills to do the job, give her the job. Assess people on an individual basis. Surely that's obvious. Again I think I'm going for no headline at all, although they probably need to fill paper space so *Vacuous pseudo-scientist publishes pointless report*
6) Personally my IQ has been measured a few times and has to date come out consistently in the range 156 to 164. This makes me one-in-five-thousand, but remember that means one-in-thirty-thousand since I'm a woman too, and therefore stacks more conscientious. So my final suggested headline is *Cruella for prime minister* ...join the campaign now!